Do you come from a family that was musical as in performers and composers?

Yes, my mother played classical piano, but not by profession.  Maybe I inherited the artistic vein from her.


What would you say were your earliest memories of any kind of music?

As a child I adored Elvis Presley.  From the classical world I loved Rachmaninov and Ottorino Respighi, but more generally I was very impressed by all the masterpieces of symphonic and popular music and films, Ravel’s Bolero, Beethoven’s fifth, Morricone’s films, John Williams’s etc.

What musical education did you receive?

I started at the age of nine with a classical setting and graduated in piano, composition and orchestra conducting at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome.

I personally encountered your music for the first time on the soundtrack to the Black Decameron. At the time I had not seen the movie, but I saw the LP on RCA and in those day’s, (1970’s) one could listen to a record before buying, as soon as I heard your score, I knew I had to add it to my collection. Do you recall what size orchestra that you used for the movie and did you also write the song La Reina Bella that was performed by Beryl Cunningham?

The orchestra that I used for the music of “La Reina Bella” consisted of: percussion, timpani, double bass, flute, piano.  And yes, I wrote all the music of the “Black Decameron”.

Was writing music for film and television something that you had always wanted to do and what was your first score for a movie and how did you become involved on the project?

Yes, my dream was to make film music.  My first soundtrack I wrote for Josè Bolanos, a Mexican director.  Which was called  Arde baby Arde  and presented at the Venice film festival. I became involved after Salvatore Laurani, a great screenwriter, introduced me to Bolanos.

You are a brilliant pianist; do you perform on all of your film scores and do you compose at the piano also?

I have composed a lot of film themes for solo piano and piano and orchestra, and use the piano to write my music for film.

Film music has altered and some say has evolved over the years, but lately it seems that composers avoid thematic compositions, which in my opinion is sad. Do you think it is important to have specific themes for characters and for locations in a movie, so the audience are able to identify with the storyline, its content and individual characters?

Yes, I have always created harmonious themes and movements that identify with the characters in the film and with the narrative situations , suspense, scene changes, flash backs, etc.

 Anna, Quel Particolare Piacere, is a great score, it contains so many colours, styles, and textures, in fact I would go as far as to say it is one of the best scores to come out of Italy in the 1970’s, did the director have any specific instructions or ideas regarding the style of music or where it should be placed?

Yes, the director Giuliano Carnimeo had given me precise directives on the psychology of the characters, on the type of orchestration and on the narrative needs of the film.

At what stage of the production do you like to become involved, do you prefer to see a script, or is it better for you to start work at the rough-cut stage?

Yes, sometimes I have read the script before starting, but not always.  I preferred to work manipulatively for the director with pieces of film pre-assembled by them.

Back in 1974 you wrote a piece entitled The Red Baron which was on the soundtrack for the movie La Bellissima Estate, the main score was credited to Alberto Pomeranz, and you also received a credit for that particular cue, did you write any of the other music for the movie and did you also perform piano on the score. The Red Baron theme is now known by most people as the theme for the TV series Curb your Enthusiasm, how did your music end up being used for this popular series?

On that occasion I re-wrote all Maestro Pomeranz’s arrangements, improving his main theme, which had been criticized by the producer.  I also wrote other songs, including “Il Barone Rosso”, which was then used by Larry David, an American director, for the TV series Curb your enthusiasm, and has become known all over the world with the title “Frolic”.

You scored a number of movies in the 1970’s, but I notice that you never worked on a western, which is when they were still very popular, were you ever offered an Italian western,  or was this a genre that you were not that interested in?

No, I’ve never been invited to write the music for a western film. Although there was a curious episode: I was called by Nora Orlandi, author of the soundtrack of the film “Clint the loner” to sing over the opening credits of the film.


What composers or artists would you say have inspired you or maybe influenced you?

The composers who have certainly inspired or influenced me are Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, John Williams and Armando Trovajoli.

When you score a film or a TV project, how many times do you like to study the footage before deciding where music should be placed to best serve the storyline, and are you also aware that there are sections of the film that maybe do not require any music?

Before deciding, I like to study the footage for 10-15 days.  There are films in which music from a source such as a radio on, a concert, a disco, etc. prevails.


Have you been asked to compose in a particular style, or have you encountered the temp track on any projects, and is this something that you find can be a helpful guide, or maybe the opposite?

Yes, I was asked for a certain style of orchestration in the Black Decameron, where the very fussy director Piero Vivarelli provided me with various examples of African music, which were very useful to me.


You had Edda Dell Orso perform on your scores from time to time, did you also collaborate with Il Cantori Moderni and Alessandro Allessandroni?


Yes, in my career I have often collaborated with Edda dell’Orso,  much more than with the modern singers of Alessandro Alessandroni.

Do you conduct your film scores, or do you prefer to supervise the session from the recording booth?

I prefer to conduct the orchestra in the hall and then listen to the recording in the Control Room.

I know you are involved in other musical genres, and have released a number of recordings which include cover versions of film themes, when working away from film and composing original songs, is this less confining as in film you have to write music that goes under dialogue or is underscoring action scenes, plus the timings etc, so is the process of writing away from film easier?

The writing process outside the film is certainly less restricted because it is free from the narrative and psychological needs of the film, but that doesn’t make it easier because it determines exclusively musical compositional choices.  Paradoxically, the music of a famous film becomes famous independently of the film itself.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I still compose several songs and give concerts in Rome with my arrangements of music from my films and famous authors.