Tag Archives: Franco Micalizzi

SEI IELLATO AMICO HAI INCONTRATO SACRAMENTO / I DUE VOLTI DELLA PAURA.

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Like so many collectors during the 1970,s I was introduced to the music of Franco Micalizzi via his landmark score for the comedy western THEY CALL ME TRINITY, it was not until about a year later when I purchased the LP record THE BEST OF FRANCO MICALIZZI that I realised there was far more to this Maestro than the catchy little tunes on the Trinity score, Personally I am of the opinion that Micalizzi is probably the most important film music composer in Italy next to Morricone, he has the ability to create jazz infused cues and romantic emotive themes plus he has written some classic Italian western scores, which include some pretty infectious thematic material. I think my next encounter with Micalizzi came with THE DEVIL WITHIN HER, then THE TREE WITH PINK LEAVES and THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING followed in quick succession, so as you can imagine I am over the moon that at last a number of this Maestro, s scores are being issued on CD. A release from Digitmovies has been this double soundtrack CD which has on it the score from the western SEI IELLATO AMICO HAI INCONTRATO SACRAMENTO and a thriller I DUE VOLTI DELLA PAURA. Now I would have been pleased with just SACRAMENTO but the second score is a bonus and a pretty amazing one too. The first score SACRAMENTO was originally issued on a promotional LP way back in 1972, which has proved to be very elusive, although some CDR LP transfers were made available a few years back via collectors. In many ways SACRAMENTO is similar to TRINITY, although personally I think it is a better structured and far better orchestrated work. Micalizzi utilizes again piano, electric and Spanish guitar and solo trumpet passages combined with soft almost romantic sounding strings, and punctuates the main themes with jaws harp and choir to add that certain Spaghetti western sound which he does to great effect. The score gives off the persona of being written for a comedy western at times, but also there are other cues which undoubtedly create the atmosphere of a serious and more urgent nature, the composer uses to wonderful effect the marvelous vocal talents of Edda dell Orso, and the distinct sound of IL CANTORI MODERNI both of which add depth and power to the work. This is an entertaining score that has the ability to stand on its own away from the images it was intended to enhance, and will be a sheer delight to all fans of Italian film music. The second score on this CD is as equally rare as the first; it too was originally issued on a promo LP back in the 1970,s and has been just as elusive as SACRAMENTO for collectors. I DUE VOLTI DELLA PAURA (THE TWO FACES OF EVIL) contains a score that is very much in the style of Morricone, strings, harpsichord, piano, percussion and female vocal combine to create a haunting yet easy going sounding theme, which as I have said could easily be mistaken for the work of Morricone, the remainder of the score is very much in the same vein, easy on the ear themes fill the soundtrack light and airy tone poems that are orchestrated and arranged with much skill and precision. Alongside these there are just a few tracks that can be described as dissonant and suspense filled but even these few examples of atonal writing are in their own way melodic. It is however the cues that contain what I label as the classic Italian sound of the more romantic and easy listening cues that are the attraction of this score, flawless and at times soaring female vocals, beat/shake compositions with an injection of a pop infused Hammond organ and romantically slanted tracks are all included here, this compact disc is probably one of the most entertaining and enriching listening experiences within the digit movies catalogue thus far, I say thus far because we can only hope that scores such as THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING, THE TREE WITH PINK LEAVES and the excellent WHITE HORSES OF SUMMER all by Micalizzi will one day see a CD release on this label. Let’s hope it’s not too far off. It’s one of those CD,s that you buy for the first score, then end up loving the second score as well, which is always a delight as it is unexpected. As always art work and presentation are second to none and sound quality is exceptional. I cannot recommend this CD enough, just go and get it now!!!!!!!!!!!

NAPOLI VIOLENTA.

napoli_violenta_cdcr79More infectious,disco infused groove from the ever amazing vaults of BEAT records, this upbeat and funky sounding score from the pen of Franco Micalizzi is one that will be savoured and replayed by many a collector. NAPOLI VIOLENTA the soundtrack has never been issued before as an entire recording, and when one takes a listen to this score its hard to believe that no one thought to release it until now, it is a prime example of the buoyant and effervescent sound that many Italian composers employed to support and enhance these Police/thriller stories. Micalizzi seemed t be able to do this with consummate ease and is certainly a master of this type of scoring. The Maestro combines styles that are jazz driven alongside orchestral and instrumental cues which are both dramatic and romantic, add to this another dimension of styles that are at times almost disco orientated with a hint of the big band sound and there you have it, an unlikely mixture you may think, but a mix that works and one which is utilised to great effect within the movie. Plus it stands on its own away from the picture and remains just as hard hitting and entertaining. There are two vocals on the soundtrack one of which is performed courtesy of the Bulldogs, the group who also performed the songs for Fidenco on BLACK EMMANUELE, Track number 6 A MAN BEFORE YOUR TIME is a catchy little number that I am sure once heard will just go around in ones head for days. There is also a great vocal performance from singer RAOUL on track number 3 TIRA’A REZZA OJ PISCATORE, which was a very pleasant surprise. This is a soundtrack that any self respecting Italian film music connoisseur should have, so what are you waiting for. Get online and buy it.

CINEMA A MANO ARMATA.

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For any fan of Italian movies and film music the name of Franco Micalizzi will certainly be familiar, the composer produced some of the most lyrical and romantic scores of the 1970s and also managed to pen more than a handful of hard hitting jazz influenced works for police thrillers that were produced during this period. Micalizzi also had great success with his now classic Italian western scores THE GUN MEN OF THE AVE MARIA and THEY CALL ME TRINITY. Overall I think that Maestro Micalizzi, is probably along with Ennio Morricone one of the most successful composers of film music from Italy. Sadly though the Maestro’s work has up until recently been poorly represented on the compact disc format, so this is why I was so glad to see this and other  releases being issued by a number of record companies in Italy. . Granted this collection is not a compilation of themes that are  taken from the original tapes, but they have been arranged marvellously and painstakingly by the composer for performance by THE BIG BUBBLING BAND, who are an ensemble of nearly thirty musicians that come together wonderfully to create a uniquely vibrant sound. The band were formed back in 2004 by Franco Micalizzi, he put them together specifically to perform a concert of his Polizieschi film music from the 1970s and 1980s. The first concert proved to be very popular and many more were to follow, thus the next logical step was to release a compact disc. If you like the hard hitting jazz style that was employed in numerous Italian movies during the 70s and 80s I know you will just love this album, every track is a musical tour de force, driving percussion, uplifting, powerful sounding brass, pulsating keyboards and almost sleazy sounding sax and laid back flowing woods all go to make up the perfect cocktail that will please and delight the listener. Ten movies are represented on the disc, some well known others not that familiar, but the important thing is that the music is good, well more than good it’s brilliant. This is a must buy put it at the top of your shopping list, , because once you put it in the compact disc player you will not want to take it out and will probably still be listening to it in a month or so,s time. Its got pizzazz and panache and its just a great listen. Recommended.

LA BANDA GOBBO.

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Another classy and funky disco beat filled soundtrack from the ever popular Franco Micalizzi. The composer again combining the styles of jazz, dramatic orchestral scoring and  big band sound to great effect. I am so grateful for the likes of Digitmovies, BEAT, fin de siecle media etc for starting this release programme of some wonderful Micalizzi scores. This fast paced and intelligent Italian made police thriller was released in 1977, and starred the flamboyant and over the top Cuban born actor Tomas Milian. The score however has remained un-released up until now, this is certainly one of those rare jewels from Italian cinema and Micalizzi’s score is a foot tapping and enjoyable experience, it contains its fair share of disco sounding cues, which are included alongside tense and suspense filled compositions and also joined by brief but almost elegant sounding romantic tracks for orchestra and solo voice. If you did not know what movie the music had come from, you would probably think it was the work of Quincy Jones, Johnny Pate or even Isaac Hayes in parts. The theme or central musical motif for the score is heard in many of the tracks on the CD, Micalizzi fashioning the captivating rift and making it fresh and vibrantly interesting each time it is utilised, I found that once I had listened to the soundtrack I had to put it back on again, the themes are so appealing and haunting, I needed to hear them again. Presented wonderfully by Digitmovies, with numerous stills and interesting but brief sleeve notes, this is another must have release from the Italian record label.

The Last snows of Spring/The Tree with Pink Leaves.

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Three Franco Micalizzi soundtracks on 2 compacts discs, this is a real stunning collection of the Maestro’s finest work for cinema. Three romantically laced scores which all compliment each other perfectly and make for a wonderful listening experience for any fan of the composer or any Italian film music enthusiast. All are from the 1970s which was a particularly fruitful period for Micalizzi, during this period he created some of Italian cinemas most memorable soundtracks and was involved with numerous popular movies of all genres. Micalizzi established himself quickly as composer who was consistently good at delivering a top notch score no matter what type of film it was. The first score featured on this Digit movies release is THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING which was released into cinemas in 1973, this was a popular movie throughout Europe and the soundtrack sold well in Italy as well as outside of that countries borders. This tearjerker of a film was even advertised on UK television as was the soundtrack album that got a limited UK release on K-Tel records. Ok nowadays it would probably be relegated to late night cable television if it was indeed shown at all as time has not been kind to it and now it is looked upon as a sentimental and syrupy example of 1970s cinema. With a fresh faced child actor Renato Cestie taking the part of a boy who’s Mother has died and refuses to accept his Fathers new partner. The score however has managed to stand the test of time and even now sounds as bright and melodic as it did way back when I first heard it on the RCA Original Cast LP which I purchased from Michael Jones in London. Micalizzi,s gift for melody is evident in the first flourishes of the films love theme. The CD release includes the 13 original album tracks, plus we are treated to a further 10 cues which were not before issued in any format until now, Micalizzi, manages to create an atmospheric as well as heartrending sound throughout the score, via use of the string section, harpsichord, guitar, piano and also subtly placed woods which not only support but enhance the many swelling string flourishes that send a shiver up ones spine as they rise and fall throughout the work. There is also a song on the soundtrack, CRIANCA, performed by Trio de Paula and Gino Marinuzzi which I would compare to the style of Antonino Carlos Jobim, as it has a definite Brazilian sound about it. 

Micalizzi also utilises a jazz sounding organ which can be heard at its most effective during track number 12-VODKA PER DUE, when it is showcased alongside harpsichord and percussion. This is a score that one will never tire of and I am sure will be returned to on many occasions. Next up is The lesser known, THE TREE WITH THE PINK LEAVES, a film in many ways similar to THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING, a tearjerker involving a young male child (Renato Cestie) and his sadness about the break up of his parents, a sadness that eventually drives him to run away but tragedy strikes and he is involved in an accident and sadly dies for this movie Micalizzi again created a suitably emotive score, in which he utilises solo guitar that is supported heavily by strings and woodwind. There are certainly similarities between the two score, I suppose there would be as they were both written by the same composer almost back to back, THE TREE WITH PINK LEAVES was released in 1974. The highlight cue for me from this soundtrack is track number 26 on disc 1, FAVOLA which is a combination of strings, harpsichord and soothing sounding woodwinds that are punctuated by piano and guitar; it is a sheer delight and one of Micalizzi’s most haunting pieces. Originally released on Cinevox records, the LP has now become sought after by collectors, not just for the music it contains but also for its vibrant and eye arresting art work some of which is reproduced for this CD release. The soundtrack is spread over two discs and runs from track number 24 to 28 on disc one and then continues tracks 1 through to 5 on disc two, a score that contains light jazz orientated cues with sleepy sounding trumpet being lifted by sentimental strings, romantically infused pieces and some cues that mange to be mysterious yet highly harmonious. Again a wonderful score, which will be firm favourite of collectors old and new. The third score on this collection, has never been issued in its complete form before, a few tracks appeared back in 1976 on a Franco Micalizzi best of collection, that was released on RCA in Italy and also a 45rpm single did get a release, THE WHITE HORSES OF SUMMER again is a tearjerker, and involves yet another sad tale about a young boy, who when holidaying in Italy falls from a cliff and badly injures himself, but through this accident brings together his parents. This score by Micalizzi, is quite stunning, full of melody, and also features the stunning soaring wordless vocals of Edda Dell Orso, this release features no less than 19 tracks which are pure unadulterated romantically Micalizzi. Delicate piano solos, soaring strings, beautiful female voice, charming themes and a delightful song all go to make up a rewarding and enriching listening experience, I recommend this one of Digitmovies latest releases whole heartedly I just hope that more Franco Micalizzi soundtracks will be made available on compact disc, as he is certainly one of those unsung heroes of film music. Packaged very well by Digitmovies with notes by Claudio Fuiano, and clear and very crisp sound. This is certainly one for the collection.