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Michele Lacerenza.

Born in Taranto, Puglia, Italy on January 7th 1922. Michele Lacerenza was to become one of the most important musicians to be connected with the Italian cinema and in- particular the Italian western. Like Alessandroni, s whistle and guitar playing, Franco De Gemini’s excellent harmonica performances and Edda Dell Orso’s unique aural vocalising, Lacarenza was to make his mark on the western genre and also other movie scores with his inspired and unblemished trumpet playing.

Lacerenza came from a family background that was musical; his Father Giacomo Lacerenza was a well known conductor. Lacerenza came to the forefront of Italian film music when he was asked by composer Ennio Morricone to perform trumpet on “A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS”. The films director Sergio Leone had originally insisted on having Italy’s most prominent trumpet player at that time Nini Rosso to perform on the soundtrack, but Morricone wanted to use Lacerenza because he remembered his flawless performances whilst they were at the music conservatory and has stated since that he wrote the piece with Lacerenza’s trumpet in mind.

After playing the films central theme for Leone the great film-maker was said to be reduced to tears because Lacerenza’s performance was so full of emotion. Morricone described him as “A sublime trumpet player” After the success of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, Lacerenza continued his collaboration with Morricone on scores such as A PISTOL FOR RINGO , FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Lacerenza became much in demand and began to perform on many other film soundtracks, it was also at this time that he had a hit record with a cover version of THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (La Casa Del Sole) a song that had been a worldwide hit for British rock band The Animals.


Lacerenza’s career went from strength to strength and as well as performing on film scores and collaborating with composers such as Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota and Armando Trovaioli he also began to compose music for the cinema and although his output may not have been immense it was certainly important and original. The Maestro also taught music at the Foggia conservatory of music and the Santa Cecilia Academy.  He died in Rome on November 17th 1989.







Movies about sport or sporting personalities more often than not contain a musical score that is inspiring, romantic, highly thematic and above all emotional. Just cast your mind back to ROCKY, HOOSIERS, RUDY, and their like. IL GRANDE FAUSTO (1995) is no exception to the rule. The screenplay for this movie is based upon the life of Fausto Coppi, born in 1919, Coppi went on to be a champion class cyclist and took part in over 600 races all over the world out of this number he won 118. He competed in tours of France and Italy, and won these in the years 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953.Composer Franco Piersanti fashioned an excellent score for the movie, the work being packed with some truly haunting and emotive tone poems as well as the numerous action led cues. The music for me evoked memories of Ennio Morricone, the way in which Piersanti orchestrates and builds themes is very similar to that of Maestro Morricone. This style or approach is evident more prominently within track number 8, GRANDE VITTORIA-GIRO D,ITALIA 1949. Urgent and racing strings open the track but these soon melt away and segue into a softer and far more gentle piece which is performed by solo piano and then solo whistler, these are then supported by use of subdued choir and underlying strings which add poignancy and fragility. The composer utilises solo piano a great deal within the score which for me personally makes the work more appealing and entertaining. It is rich with vibrant and highly emotive themes and awash with romantic undertones, where the composer fuses both piano strings and choir to evoke the richness and lushness of vintage scores from Hollywood. Tracks such as STORY OF A SECRET LOVE are simply stunning, this is a score that could easily be overlooked as I do not think the movie was released outside of Italy, the compact disc which was issued on CAM back in 1995, is one that I would recommend.






Carlo Siliotto is a composer whose name has made regular appearances on many film and TV credits since he began to write for the cinema in 1984 with his debut score CHI MI AIUTA? It was probably his score for FLIGHT OF THE INNOCENTS that threw him into the collecting fraternity’s and since then the composer has attained quite a following. Going back a few years now well more than a few to 1995, to an intimate and rather pleasing work for a comedy entitled PALLA DI NEVE or SNOWBALL as it was titled outside of Italy. The film focuses upon an entertainer who works on board a cruise ship and his relationship with a young boy and a rather cute Beluga whale. This is as one can imagine a tale filled with many emotional and heartrending scenarios and situations plus there are also as many comic and madcap occurrences as the story unfolds. Siliotto provided the movie with a varied and vibrant soundtrack, his score elevating and underling each moment. It is a score that is filled with melodic and poignant pieces which stand alongside and combine with as many lighter and more comedic thematic material. Throughout the work the composer attaining just the correct balance of each. The compact disc opens with THE MAIN TITLE THEME which begins with Whale song, or the sound of the Beluga, this is fleeting and short live with the composer bringing into play an introduction on solo piano, this is soon joined by the string section which take on the central theme and develop it into a rich and romantic sounding piece that eventually is performed by full orchestra, wind and brass sections melt away and give the stage to the string section as it performs a waltz like arrangement of the scores main theme. The cue then slows in tempo and strings gradually make way for lilting woods which bring the piece to its conclusion. The composer makes effective and positive use of solo piano throughout the score and it is this instrument that features in track number two with a particularly pleasant rendition of Siliotto’s core theme, it is a motif that is repeated throughout but is indeed kept fresh by the composer’s inventive orchestrations and arrangements. There is also a secondary theme heard at times, again performed in the main on piano, which is mirrored by a chiming effect giving the music an almost childlike sound. I am not going to say that this is the greatest score ever, but it is however an entertaining and highly melodic one. The composer acquitted himself admirably on this assignment and incorporated many styles into his score, which include, Jazz, and a scattering of dramatic and action cues. Released originally on the CAM label this is a score that will be a nice addition to any collection.


Two spaghetti western scores on one compact disc, both by the same composer Bruno Nicolai, yet both original and individual in their style and sound.

Anda muchacha spara (Dead Men Ride) is a western soundtrack from 1971 which most definitely belongs to the Morricone-esque school of western scoring, with plentiful use of choir solo trumpet, piano, organ and racing chase music. Django spara primo (Django Shoots First) from 1966 is more Americanised in style, displaying hardly any signs or musical trademarks that are normally associated with the spaghetti western, save for the central theme performed on solo trumpet. The remainder of the work is quite low key and fully orchestral, rather than utilising theelectric guitar as in other western scores that Nicolai worked on during this period.

Anda muchacha spara is the star score on this cd, containing all the stock sounds and attributes now associated with the western all’italiana: solo female voice, showdown music, tense riding themes and Mexican sounding mariachis. There is even a cue (track 5) that resembles Morricone’s ‘Addio Cheyenne’ track from Once Upon a Time in the West, a clumsy sounding but faintly attractive and entertaining piece employing a lazy sounding piano accompanied by a laid back banjo solo.

Track number eight is one of the compact discs highlights, with Nicolai utilising to great effect the flawless vocals of Edda Dell Orso (supported by underlying strings and the wonderful harmonising of IL CANTORI MODERNI). Nicolai produced an entertaining and highly accomplished scores for both of these movies, and excelled in his orchestration and composing on ANDA MUCHACHA SPARA..

The tracks on the compact disc do not actually have titles. Anda muchacha spara has a running time of just 24 mins 49 secs and takes up tracks 1 to 15 on the compact disc. Django spara primo is slightly longer in duration, at 25 mins 04 secs, and is numbered from track 16 through to track 28. So, a running time of just under 50 mins; but well worth the money even if its for the first score alone. Packaged adequately by CAM with descent art work, info on both movies and a short piece on Bruno Nicolai. Recommended.



LOS AMIGOS or DEAF SMITH AND JOHNNY EARS as it was re-titled in the UK, is an Italian western which starred Anthony Quinn and Franco Nero. Two friends have a strong bond Quinn’s character being a deaf mute Erastus Deaf Smith who has lots of experience and Nero’s character Johnny Ears being something of a amateur and a hot head full of ambition. The movie directed by Paolo Cavara also featured Pamela Tiffin as the storylines love interest and the object of Nero’s characters affections. Set in the early nineteenth century we see the two comrades heading for Austin in Texas just after the republic won independence from its Mexican occupiers. The future of the republic however is in jeopardy because Foreign powers are attempting to cause unrest and ultimately intervene and gain a foothold in the area. The President Sam Houston sends the two friends as agents to try and infiltrate the ranks of one of these factions headed by a general Morton, but news of their coming reaches the rebels who are then on the look out for a deaf mute, it then becomes Nero’s job to conceal his friends handicap and at the same time act as his ears and voice. They arrive at their destination to find that their contact Colonel McDonald and his family have been brutally murdered, wiped out and silenced for good by Morton’s men. The movie was entertaining and a solid addition to the genre of the Spaghetti western, although it did have within it a number of influences from the Hollywood western. The score was by Danielle Patucchi who produced a soundtrack that was itself leaned a little more towards Hollywood than Cinecitta, the composer not really utilising any of the established stock sounds of the Italian produced western within his score (ie whistles, rifle butts cracking, shouts, screams or solo trumpet performances), he did however include two vocals both of which are memorable and catchy. THE BALLAD OF DEAF AND EARS opens the film with a jaws harp pinging that ushers in vocals courtesy of Ann Collin backed by IL CANTORI MODERNI, Collin also provided the lyrics to this and the second song on the score track number five, EVEN IF YOUR NOT THE FIRST ONE, which is a love song of sorts easy on the ear and delightfully haunting again performed by Collin and is heard over a scene with Nero and Tiffin. The second vocal is given a fully orchestral work out on track number two of the compact disc, PRIMO INCONTRO is for me one of the highlights of Patucchi’s score it being one of the tracks that is closest to the style of the spaghetti western that is present having elements of Morricone’s THEY CALL ME NOBODY or to a degree WHEN WOMEN HAD TAILS within its framework. Track number three is a dramatic and fast paced version of the opening song, fully orchestral with the emphasise on brass, fast strumming guitars and racing percussion all of which create an exhilarating and action packed composition.

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Track four is a straight orchestral version of the opening song, guitar taking the lead as easy going percussion creates a suitable backing track the composer then introducing underlying strings that plays a counter melody to the central theme augmenting and complimenting it, the cue I feel has a kind of folk sound to it, and at times is reminiscent of the style employed by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis. Track number six, NEL BUIO is an excellent piece that is filled with tension and apprehension, no real thematic properties are present here but the composer fashions a highly effective piece of tense nervous and slightly atonal music to accompany this section of the storyline.

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Track number seven, IL PUNTO PIU ALTO is another arrangement of THE BALLAD OF DEAF AND EARS, this time given a slightly harder edge via its leaning towards a martial sound created by snare drums that provide quite a rigid backing for the composition. Track number eight, is a wonderfully laid back arrangement of EVEN IF YOUR NOT THE FIRST ONE, complete with tantalising strings and luscious woods that are enhanced by subdued percussion and laced with harpsichord flourishes and further supported by emotive piano. The final cue on the compact disc is ADDIO A DEAF, a plaintive and emotional sounding version of the opening cue, performed on guitar and supported by woods and underlying strings, harmonica too is introduced giving the cue an even more melancholy sound, again I was reminded of the style of De Angelis whilst listening to this. Overall this is a very good soundtrack and a great listening experience, one complaint, Not long enough, but this was the problem with the original CAM SOUNDTRACK ENCYCLOPEDIA series, most releases were under forty minutes and this is no exception with a duration of just 27 mins. However it still has my recommendation, your collection will be lacking without it.