You started to become involved with music at an early age, I understand?


C.F. I began piano studies at age six at the National conservatory in Buenos Aires and later I studied piano privately with Lucia Maranca and Guillermo Iscla, except for a few seminars in composition I was largely self-taught until I moved to Mexico in 1971.



After your initial studies and after re-locating to Mexico, and then going to the United States in 1974, did you continue to study?

CF. Yes, indeed I went to Mexico and worked as the music director for Fermata publishing. I was twenty-one years old and there was this composer, Humberto Hernandez Medrano, recently graduated from the Moscow conservatory who studied with Shostakovich. I think I was one of his first students. Later, he taught most of Mexico’s new composers.

Were you from a family background that was musical in any way?
CF. Not at all. My Father was an MD in the army, who retired with the full rank of Colonel and my Mother, although she liked music, was more interested in painting more than anything else.

At what age did you begin to compose music?


CF. I think I was like eight or nine, when I started writing very simple melodies. I would try them on guitar and not on my real instrument, the piano.

One of the first recordings that I added to my collection by yourself Was the soundtrack to LA PELICULA DEL RAY, which is a stunning score, I was lucky enough to get the Milan LP back in 1986, how did you become involved on the movie and what size orchestra did you have for the assignment?

The 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards - Pre-Telecast

CF. This was during a brief returned to Argentina in the mid-eighties. (I lived in Buenos Aires for three years, commuting to the States every couple of months) Film director Carlos Sorin, came to a jazz concert where I was playing my compositions, and asked me to write the soundtrack for his new film. He had a nice budget and gave me Card Blanche for the music that I was going to compose.
We had a very nice orchestra, basically the Buenos Aires Philharmonic woodwinds by two, meaning 2 flutes, 2 oboes, two clarinets and 2 bassoons. Four horns, three trumpets, true trombones, tuba, percussion and a large string ensemble 14/12/ 10/8/6 plus a 16 strong female choir ( 8 sopranos and 8 altos ).



You are a multi-talented composer arranger and musician, and have written many different types of music, classical, jazz, movie scores etc, is there any genre of music that you are more at home in than others?


CF. I love films especially European films. In the sixties and seventies, I was very much intrigued by some movie scores by Hermann, Rota, Alwyn, Goldsmith, Schifrin, John Williams. Walter Schumann (Schumann wrote his only and one of my all-time favourite scores for (The Night of the Hunter). Manuel De Sica : The Garden of the Finzi- Conti, William Alwyn ; Odd Man Out, John Dankworth, amazing score for The Servant .
In those days Film music was an outstanding contribution to the genre so I was very attracted to the idea of becoming a film composer and did several films in Argentina before moving to Mexico, where I also composed for movies. Eventually my interest moved to concert music rather than films.

Is writing the score for a movie, more difficult or restricting than writing for the concert hall, I ask this because the movies have sound effects, dialogue that you have to be aware of, and also timings that have to be precise?

CF. A film composer becomes another actor on the film he or she is working on. One day the composer has to become a whimsical, magical commentary, another day a Mexican or Cubano full of energetic mambo rhythms, a great seductive melodious soul, or a military commander. You have to be prepared to do it all. As far as timings, music under dialog, etc everything is paramount in the artistry of film scoring. Nowadays we live in an age of minimal music scoring, when in some cases, it is non-existent.





You have recorded two albums I think, where you cover various themes and pieces from motion picture scores, are there any film music composers that you find particularly interesting and what composers either jazz, classical or film music, would you say have influenced you in your approach to musical composition?


CF. Well I have more than two albums under my name, I think I have about forty, between classical and jazz (of course I’m only talking about CDs where I’m the artist and not collaborations) I’ve mentioned before some of the film composers that I admired and whose music influenced some of my film work. In classical or academic music, I feel that my interest fall more on twentieth century composers, such as Stravinsky, Ravel, Shostakovich, Hindemith, Dutilleux and Berio.

FILM NOIR is a very entertaining album, did you decide what tracks would be on the recording and how long did it take to prepare and record?


CF. I always wanted to do an album of film music where the saxophone was the main ingredient. I thought about calling it “Sax Scenes” but the label decided to name it Film Noir. I came out with the repertory and had a lot of fun writing the arrangements. I especially liked the John Barry: Body Heath, one of the best Film Noir tunes ever, as well as the Hermann Taxi Driver and Raskin, The Bad and the Beautiful: what a great haunting American melody!



When writing the score for a movie, at what stage do you like to become involved?


C.F. As soon as the movie is edited. Unless is a movie where the director is asking you to compose source music, for dancing, singing etc. In that case you work before they even shoot.


You have worked with the City of Prague Philharmonic, who as we all know are an excellent orchestra. Do you have any preferences when it comes to recording, i.e. venues or studios and do facilities in recording studios vary in different locations?

CF I’ve done about a dozen different projects with the City of Prague Philharmonic and I always find the experience rewarding. Their musicianship is outstanding and the recording studio, engineers and producer: top notch. You just have to show up with your baton, and the music will be in the stands, the microphones placed accordingly and the coffee ready. All you have to do is your job, they do the rest marvellously.


When you are scoring a movie do you conduct the music as well as performing piano?


CF. Very rarely, I would rather conduct the music against picture and make sure that the timing is correct and that the orchestra performance excellent. In most cases I will have the piano part performed by my wife, concert pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti: finest musician I’ve ever known also great ears, can catch any wrong note coming from the end of the room. In some other cases I will overdubbed the piano at the end of the session.


Do you orchestrate all of your music or at times do you use an orchestrator if the schedule is a little tight?


CF. I have never used an orchestrator, I believe in orchestrating your own music, like Bernard Hermann did. I have done music scores, both composing and orchestrating 40 minutes of music for a sixty piece orchestra in a week.


Your first two movies were both directed by Juan Battle Planas, did he have a hands-on approach to where the music should be placed and what style of music was required, or was he happy to let you work on the score and give you freedom?

CF. I wrote my first score for Juan Battle Planas when I was twenty years old. I wasn’t sure of how good I could orchestrate so a couple of days before the recording I called the small chamber orchestra and invited them for tea and pastries at my parents’ house ( a very large house in BA,) I also invited Juan Battle and played the score, luckily everything worked out fine and a couple of days later we recorded the music.
Many years after while working with Sidney Lumet in Q&A I went through a similar experience, but in this case, it was something that Lumet would do with every score for his movies. He would record on Mondays, but Friday prior to the final session he’ll have a reduce orchestra playing the complete score against picture, if something didn’t work or he didn’t like, you’ll have to revise and rewrite over the week-end. Luckily this time it also went OK.

What are you working on at the moment?


CF. I just finished a composition for two pianos based on Alice in Wonderland, also some arrangements for the Canadian Brass and on the 21 st of this month I’m going to the studio to record a new solo piano album, to continue my love for film scores, this CD will include music from the French film Diva and Morricone’s Ricordare from the Tornatore film. A Pure Formality.

We look forward to hearing that, many thanks to the composer who took time out of a very busy timetable to answer my questions.





Back in the 1980, s 1986 to be precise, I read a short review on a soundtrack from a movie entitled LA PELICULA DEL REY (A KING AND HIS MOVIE) by composer Carlos Franzetti. The review was short but very positive, so as I was in London that weekend I decided to search for the LP. To my surprise I found it in HMV Oxford street without even having to ask the counter staff. I got it home and it was better than the review had stated. I tried to get it on compact disc but sadly it was deleted very quickly, I think being an Argentinian movie it was something of a rarity in the UK and the soundtrack was probably deemed as being obscure. It is a score I have looked for in recent years and again had no success, then I got Spotify (yep I am a late comer to the Spotify party). I randomly typed in Carlos Franzetti who is the talented composer of this score and to my amazement there it was, but not just LA PELICULA DEL REY but also another score by the composer entitled EVER SMILE NEW JERSEY and a handful of wonderfully attractive and alluring jazz compositions performed by the Carlos Franzetti trio and two outstanding piano performances by Allison Brewster Franzetti. Carlos Franzetti was born on June 3rd 1948 in Buenos Aires Argentina, he began his musical education at the age of 6 when he entered the National Conservatory in Buenos Aires. He later continued his musical education by taking private lessons in piano and then continued to study music in Mexico after relocating to the country in 1970. Four years later Franzetti moved to the United States and graduated from the Juilliard School in New York. Film and television music is just a small part of this versatile and talented composer’s repertoire, he has written symphonies, concerto’s, operas. Chamber music and big band jazz compositions. His piano concerto number 1 and his symphony number 2, Atlantis are in a word magnificent. In 2001 his album TANGO FATAL won the Latin Grammy Award for best TANGO ALBUM. Two years later in 2003 he was nominated for two Grammy Awards, these were for his recording POETA DE ARRABAL which was in the classical crossover category, plus he co-produced Paquito D’ Rivera’s album PORTRAITS OF CUBA. He has also arranged music for THE BOSTON POPS ORCHESTRA, THE BUFFALO PHILHARMONIC and THE BROOKLYN PHILHARMONIC. As well as LA PELICULAR DEL REY and EVER SMILE NEW JERSEY the composer has scored THE MAMBO KINGS (1992) and filmmaker Sidney Lumet’s 1990 movie Q & A alongside many others.



The score for LA PELICULA DEL REY is stunning, it is a varied and entertaining collection of themes that compliment and support each other as well as enhancing and punctuating the movie, the composer employing an at times jazz orientated approach but at the same time also maintaining an air of the dramatic, the romantic and the symphonic.

The opening cue EL GRAN RODAJE, (track number 6 on the recording) is filled with a style and sound that for me evokes the days of vintage Hollywood, maybe the romanticism of Max Steiner or the rich and opulent style of Korngold when in romantic mode shines through or is certainly hinted at within this excellent piece. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but it has an appeal that is delicately pleasing and purveys a subtle persona, which is haunting and not only pleasant to listen to but sets the scene perfectly for what is to follow. Track number 7, ESPEJOS is the second offering from LA PELICULA DEL REY, I must say this is one of the highlights of the score on a personal level, but there again all tracks from this score are highlights because of their quality and outstanding style and sound. It hints at the style of Morricone with a faraway sounding solo trumpet being utilised whilst being surrounded and enhanced by strings that elevate and give weight to the solo performance creating an almost mysterious sound. The film itself is a comedy, directed by Carlos Sorin, the basic outline is that a Buenos Aires movie director who is rather fond or should I say obsessed with the legend of the King of Patagonia and Araucania decides that he will go to Patagonia to commit this epic tale to celluloid, he is accompanied there by a less than talented acting company. Despite of his lack of funding and beset by various technical problems and all round bad luck he continues his journey to film his obsession, but soon finds he has been deserted not only by the company but also the producer. Franzetti created a marvellously affecting score for the movie which is one of those gems within film music that has been sadly overlooked by many, fans and critics alike.




Track number 8, CACIQUES, again is dominated by the string section with a fleeting but essential performance on horn which adds an element of loneliness or solitude, the horn solo is expanded upon and as it grows so do the strings gain more prominence, with harp adding depth and emotion to the piece. It is a subdued composition that builds with enticing and teasing fragments of the scores central theme being suggested at throughout. Moving forward to track number 12, MANIQUIES, where we are treated to a more celestial or epic sounding piece, the composer bringing into the equation choir which is supported by the string section and punctuated by woodwind and harp, again I got the feeling of the vintage scores of Hollywood whilst listening to this cue.


The final cue from LA PELICULA DEL REY is MARCHA DEL REY which is stirring and imposing, but also contains a more subdued and poignant sounding section midway through. Going back to that review I told you about at the start of this review, I must agree that this is a triumphant sound which has certain affiliations with the style created by Elmer Bernstein at times. It is a patriotic and certainly proud sound that we hear within this composition. The other soundtrack on this release is from EVER SMILE NEW JERSEY which was another movie directed by Carlos Sorin and starred Daniel Day Lewis as a travelling dentist in Argentina, and featured actress Mirjana Jokovic as a girl that the dentist meets on his travels in his quest to rid Argentina of tooth decay. It must be one of Daniel Day Lewis’s most obscure movies, but is a very entertaining and at times hilariously funny and oddball. Sadly, Carlos Franzetti’s excellent score was removed and not utilised in the finished motion picture, but replaced with an electronic soundtrack. But we are blessed to have it on this recording or at least sections of it. In fact, there are five selections from the score here, all of which are varied and different, it is a mesmerising work that is filled to overflowing with a rich and vibrant collection of themes. The composer making effective use of the string section once again throughout and interspersing this with flawless piano solos that are jazz infused but romantic at the same time, the piano solo is laced and intertwined by restrained and fragile sounding woods which when fused together in this way create a lusciously enticing and attractive sound. The entire album is pure gold and you should add this to your collection as soon as possible.