Tag Archives: Gianni Marchetti

COLPO DI MANO.

.$_80Composer Gianni Marchetti is in a word UNDERRATED. He is possibly one of the most talented composers that was working in Italy during the 1960,s through to the early eighties, writing music for film and television as well as acting as a musical arranger and director for numerous popular artists of the day. His musical output was considerable and consistently very good. He like many other Italian composers during this period wrote a number of scores for the spaghetti western genre which kept composers and musicians in gainful employment as it enjoyed a surge of interest and popularity all around the world. Marchetti was also a very versatile composer who was able to easily adapt his musical prowess to any genre of film, he wrote rhythmic, infectious and vibrant sounding themes that graced and enhanced not only westerns but also worked wonderfully within love stories, gangster films, adventure romps, war and action films and comedy capers. It is somewhat surprising that Marchetti never attained the status that he so richly deserved on a more global scale, his contributions to film etc often being overshadowed by the vast output of other fellow Italian Maestro’s such as Morricone, Rota and Ortolani, the latter attaining recognition outside of his native Italy early on in his career via the scoring of non Euro-productions. Marchetti is I suppose very much like fellow composers, Fidenco, Romitelli, Cipriani, Ferrio,Orlandi, Lacarenza, Alessandroni, Giombini, Patucchi and to a degree De Masi, because he like his peers always produced great scores that matched the pictures they were intended for perfectly and also at the same time had a life away from the images, standing alone as just music that could be listened to and enjoyed without having to go to the cinema.  In recent months there have been a number of Marchetti soundtracks released on compact disc, many being expanded releases and others being first time issues much to the delight of collectors old and new. One of the most recent releases comes from the UK based independent label helmed by Lionel Woodman Hillside CD production, who in association with GDM music and the ever guiding hand and boundless knowledge and expertise of Proffessor Roberto Zamori have been responsible for releasing so many landmark Italian soundtracks, a number of these being by Marchetti i.e. DIE SLOWLY YOU WILL ENJOY IT MORE, COWARDS DON’T PRAY, TOP CRACK and ONE STEP TO HELL. The film COLPO DI MANO or EXPLOSION was released in 1968 and the soundtrack was issued on a 16 track CAM long playing record in the same year. This latest edition of the score boasts the original album and also a further 8 bonus tracks taken from the master tapes. Many of the additional tracks are similar to the original content of the album but there are slight variations in the orchestration and arrangement of the music.

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Marchetti’s score is made up of a handful of principal themes, the composer utilising these as a foundation and building upon there simple but effective content and developing and expanding them further as the work progresses. Given the subject matter of the movie, which is an action/war film set during the Spanish civil war and tells the story of a group of soldiers who have been given a dangerous mission to blow up a bridge over the river Ebro the score contains a number of references to martial music although these never develop into what is full blown or bombastic sounding marches, Marchetti creating the atmosphere by more subtle and subdued instrumentation which hints at a militaristic style. It also has within its make up Hispanic sounding nuances and sounds which add a certain authenticity to the proceedings. Castanets and solo guitar being utilized at key points within the score. Choir also plays a major role within the work, and on this particular score we have the vocalising of two, I Cantori di Basilliche Roma and Nora Orlandi’s excellent and distinctive 4+4 Coro, the style employed by Marchetti with the choral writing is very reminiscent of some of the early works of Ennio Morricone.

39568 Marchetti also adds little trills and musical punctuation marks along the way in the form of jaws harp, strummed guitar, plaintive woodwind solos and an almost eerie sounding female vocal which although is not a solo or centre stage performance adds great atmosphere and depth to the soundtrack. There are also performances from the stock instrumentation of the Italian film score, ie, racing snare drums, chimes, tubular bells, bass guitar, piano, electric guitar and harpsichord which all at some point within the score make their contribution and leave their mark, and if all this great music is not enough then we have the added presence of another Italian Maestro, Stelvio Cipriani who conducts the score. This is again another formidable release from GDM/HILLSIDE and one that should be in every Italian film music fans collection, great music and great presentation; (apart from the lack of liner notes) all I can say is More Marchetti please…..and go an get this now.

ONE STEP FROM HELL

 

13933This is not as many collectors thought a spaghetti western, but an action adventure movie, set during the early 1900,s. Ty Hardin is cast in the role of a British Colonial Policeman, Lieutenant King Edwards (sorry if that should make anyone think of potatoes) an unfortunate name for the leading character but hey, the movie was a pretty solid adventure yarn and also starred respected actors Rossano Brazzi and George Sanders. Directed by Nino Scolaro and Sandy Howard, this Italian, Spanish and American co-production tells the story of a policeman’s pursuit of a band of killers who have escaped from prison and whilst doing so take a hostage Piers Angeli, who provided the love interest within the story. Edwards pursues the killers over sprawling and desolate plains in Southern Africa and tackles wild and untamed countryside that is as the title of the movie suggests, ONE STEP FROM HELL. The musical score for the movie was composed by Italian Maestro Gianni Marchetti, sadly although being a more than original and talented composer of film scores; Marchetti still to this day remains almost unknown outside of Italian film music collecting circles.
The composer worked steadily on many Italian produced films throughout the 1960,s and also into the 1970,s providing these with scores that were not only perfectly shaped to the needs of the movie but contained an abundance of composition that managed to have a life away from the film for which they were intended to enhance.
Marchetti utilised a symphonic sound for the majority of his assignments but infused and bolstered this with an almost pop or up-beat style that was akin to the sound and style that was being utilized in many Spaghetti westerns etc. Marchetti pairing electric guitar with driving percussion, brass and strings to create some tantalising and effective film music moments. His score for ONE STEP TO HELL could easily be at first listen mistaken for an Italian western soundtrack, but after one begins to explore the music more deeply it yields up an eclectic sound that encompasses many styles and incorporates a plethora of instrumentation. Harmonica player Franco De Gemini, features throughout the work producing some fine musical interludes and moments as does a solo female soprano, but I do not think that on this occasion it is Edda Dell Orso.

The score begins with a rousing and infectious theme, brass and timpani combine with underlying strings and woodwind to create a sweeping and almost romantic sound, add to this Female vocal and we have an entertaining and haunting beginning to the compact disc. Track two is completely different from the opening, it leads with a slightly subdued introduction from the string section which is short lived as the composition launches into a full on and urgent cue where throbbing African sounding drums take the lead, these are punctuated by brass stabs which are almost big band sounding in style, harpsichord is added to the equation as the brass play out a pulsating theme which is almost continually accompanied by the percussion creating an atmosphere that is exciting and dramatic. Track three is for me personally the one closest to the sound of the Spaghetti western, it starts with a martial sounding beat being played lightly on drums, this is accompanied by woods and then overwhelmed by a flourish from the strings, brass again makes an entrance this time mirrored by a bass guitar, strings then segue into the proceedings along with bursts of harpsichord and faint woodwind, the timpani all the time gaining momentum in the background until it eventually becomes foreground and then the music lulls for a few moments, timpani is re-introduced alongside electric guitar which themselves then act as background to a brief interlude from female voice.
African sounding drums then return to beat out a slow but rhythmic musical passage that brings the cue to its conclusion. Track four, is another great composition that has a infectious rhythm, again percussion is utilised to create a sound that is obviously African sounding but highly rhythmic and laced with flourishes from harpsichord and brass which rises and falls giving the percussion support, depth and even more musicality, these elements act as a background to a solo flute which picks out the now established central theme from the score. Track six, is a more upbeat affair, pulsating drums hammer out a tense and near frantic backing to big band brass which is also quite tense in its presentation and performance. I think if I was asked to describe the sound that is achieved here by Gianni Marchetti, I would have to say it is a score that has elements of the sound of the spaghetti western genre, combined with the easy listening lounge sound of Italian cinema and the grandeur and romanticism of Hollywood and Cinecitta combined. In essence a must have soundtrack an essential purchase for any fan of the Italian film music Maestro’s. Presented well by Lionel Woodmans ever industrious label, Hillside with a great front cover and also another illustration inside that can double as a front cover, the liner has no notes but is filled with colourful stills from the movie. The sound is amazing and in full stereo. I do urge you to buy this score and if you have yet to discover the originality and infectious compositions of Gianni Marchetti, this is a perfect introduction and once you have been introduced you will want more of this composers soundtracks in your collection. Maybe now SEVEN RED BERETS will receive the compact disc release it deserves along side numerous scores by Marchetti that are lying in dusty vaults waiting to be given a new lease of life. Highly recommended.

Milano: Il Clan Dei Calabresi

Milano_clan_calabresi_DDJ002Once again the BEAT records company come up trumps with another fantastic sounding soundtrack from the supreme silver age of Italian film music.  I have for many years championed the music of Gianni Marchetti, as in my ever so humble opinion he is one of the unsung heroes of music for Italian cinema, one of those composers who made great contributions to this quirky, dramatic and at times surreal world of film but never really received the recognition he so richly deserved. One can just tell from the outset of this soundtrack that it is one that will savoured and devoured by all serious collectors of music all, a italiana for the cinema. It is a hard hitting slice of scoring in which the composers puts to effective use various stock instrumentation that have become the calling card of many a Italian Maestro, i.e.; powerful sounding piano, harmonica, driving underlying strings, harpsichord, vibes, female voice (which is quite subtle and understated in this case),  whistling, mysterious sounding woods, jaws harp, electric guitar passages that are at times fuzzy sounding and fast paced percussion, all of which in this particular case are combined and intertwined on occasion with funky sounding backing and infectious thematic properties that not only suit the film perfectly but also have the ability to be entertaining and engrossing as stand alone pieces.  The composers obvious gift for producing melodic and catchy musical phrases and passages becomes apparent early on in the score and pays off big time for the listener,  the central themes for the score re-occur throughout the work but are given a bright and fresh sound on each outing by the composers inventive and innovative skills as an arranger. Amongst the many cues on the compact disc we are treated to some lighter and laid back sections in which the composer employs an easy listening almost sleazy sound which too is effective, creating that dim lit night club atmosphere with a meandering almost improvised piano solo backed by lazy sounding percussion that is punctuated by an uncomplicated double bass that marks time in a deliberate and systematic fashion. For me this is a wonderful score by Marchetti, and I feel that we as film music collectors have been missing out because of the unavailability of this composers work on any type of recording, maybe now the vaults at Italian record companies are becoming slightly less congested compared to what they were a few years back, Marchetti’s musical gems will be uncovered and released at last, if they are half as good as this particular score we will all be in seventh heaven. More Marchetti Please…

 

MUORI LENTAMENTE TE LA CODI DI PIU.

 

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Composer Gianni Marchetti, is probably more than any other Italian film music composer underrated, underused and also under represented on recordings of any type. I first discovered Marchetti via his scores for COWARDS DON’T PRAY and SEVEN RED BERETS which were issued as a double soundtrack album on Long playing record back in the 1960s by CAM, these two atmospheric and haunting works were a great introduction for me as at that time I was still discovering the multi faceted, alluring and ingenious world of the Euro score. The composer’s obvious ability to create lingering and effective themes and his gift and talent for orchestration was refreshing and attractive. The problem was that there was at that time little or no other scores available for me to collect. This situation has sadly not been remedied to any great extent and Marchetti’s scores have in my opinion been neglected by record labels and also because of this collectors are in most cases still unaware of this composers wealth of material. Hillside did release COWARDS DON’T PRAY around two years ago, and earlier this year they issued MUORI LENTAMENTE TE LA CODI DI PIU (DIE SLOWLY, YOU’LL ENJOY IT MORE). I was actually always under the impression that this was a western score, as I had seen the LP cover many times in ads etc. from CAM, and this had Lex Barker brandishing a rifle dressed in what I thought was a Jim Bowie type jacket. I did find out later of course it was not a western. Hillside’s release of this score contains many more cues than the original LP record; 35 in all. Marchetti’s score is a multi edged one, it contains large expansive string arrangements that would not be out of place in one of those over the top romantic Hollywood pics, these are full and richly luxurious and sweep and swell in a style that can only be labelled as grandiose.  Intimate and poignant tone poems that are intricate and delicate, hard hitting jazz infused action cues and highly charged jazz compositions that fuse big band and lounge styles flawlessly. 
Add to this already eclectic musical palette stunning solos on saxophone, electric guitar, piano and trumpet all supported by percussion and enhanced by lightly strummed guitar with occasional light use of vibes and subtle inclusion of organ and strategically placed harpsichord, plus the exquisite and unblemished vocal performances of Italian film music’s first lady Edda Dell Orso and the precise and faultless inclusion of the Il Cantori Moderni chorus of Alessandroni and what we have here is a classic in every sense of the word. Its one of those rare soundtrack moments when you are never tempted to reach for the fast forward button or to jump a track, the listener will just sit and do what they are meant to do Listen, from track 1 through to track 35 and then play the disc   again. The central theme is the core or backbone of the work, it is infectious and appealing and the composer utilises the composition or arrangements and elements of it throughout the score each time it is a delight because the composer keeps it fresh, vibrant and effervescent on each appearance. This is a must have compact disc, its contents being, dramatic, exciting, emotional and extremely pleasing and entertaining. I only hope that more Marchetti is on its way. Highly recommended.

One Step To Hell

One Step To Hell
One Step To Hell

This is not, as many collectors thought, a spaghetti western but an action adventure movie set during the early 1900s. Ty Hardin is cast in the role of a British Colonial Policeman, Lieutenant King Edwards (sorry if that should make anyone think of potatoes) an unfortunate name for the leading character but hey, the movie was a pretty solid adventure yarn and also starred respected actors Rossano Brazzi and George Sanders. Directed by Nino Scolaro and Sandy Howard, this Italian, Spanish and American co-production tells the story of a policeman’s pursuit of a band of killers who have escaped from prison and whilst doing so take a hostage, Pier Angeli, who provided the love interest within the story. Edwards pursues the killers over sprawling and desolate plains in Southern Africa and tackles wild and untamed countryside which as the title of the movie suggests is ONE STEP FROM HELL. Continue reading One Step To Hell