Tag Archives: Marco Werba


Marco Werba.

June 10th 2022, and a chance for a rare trip to London and a scoring session at the renowned Angel studios in Islington, which are now part of the Abbey Road family. The film being scored was The Island of Forgiveness directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ridah Behi which stars Claudia Cardinale, as Agostina, Katia Greco as Rosa and Paola Lavini as Elena. The movie is produced by Ziad Hamzeh, Nicole Kamato, and Ridha Bedhi.

Marco Werba Conducting the ESO.

From what I could make out from the scenes I was seeing when the scoring was taking place it is a commanding drama that contains scenes that are powerful, romantic, and emotive. The score is the work of the Spanish born award winning Maestro Marco Werba who lives and works in Italy and has been doing so for many years now. Many collectors will already be familiar with the Maestro’s film scores and his wonderful gift of melody within them. He at times took to the podium during the sessions and conducted a sixteen-piece orchestra made up of strings from the English Session Orchestra (https://www.instagram.com/englishsessionorchestra/) with cello playing an important and affecting role within the score at key points, its somber but captivating sound adding an alluring atmosphere that is filled with passion, romance, and poignancy.

Michele Catania.

Other sections of the score were directed by composer Michele Catania who orchestrated some of the music and was on this occasion assistant to Marco Werba, he was assisted by Nicolo Braghiroli with the preparation of the scores and the parts for the musicians. . As soon as I heard the first cue, I knew that this was going to be a special day and one that would be filled with emotive and beautiful music.

Watching the scenes being scored was a thrilling and enriching experience, because seeing the film scored like this also allows one to see and hear just how important music is in movies, there is no dialogue or F/X just the images and the music being performed live to picture. In many ways watching the images with just the music is probably more emotive and affecting because there are none of the normal distractions such as dialogue or even the sounds in the theatre when you are watching the movie. The music is the prominent factor that is embellishing and underlining the emotions and actions that are being played out, rather than being a background to these scenes. The music that Marco Werba has composed for The Island of Forgiveness is eloquent, sophisticated, and deeply moving and from my point of hearing contained hints of the sound we associate with composer Ennio Morricone in movies such as Cinema Paradiso and had the same emotional impact of the work of another Italian Maestro Nicola Piovani in movies such as Life is Beautiful.

There is an aura and a sound present within Marco’s music that is totally consuming and wonderfully beguiling, at times it conveys a strong spiritual persona, that is inspiring and truly hypnotic and recalls the style of French composer Georges Delerue for the films of esteemed filmmaker Francois Truffaut such as The Woman Next Door. Despite these references, Marco Werba has his own style his own individuality and his own unique musical fingerprint that can be recognized through the various works he has written.

The music for The Island of Forgiveness has to it a freshness, but also possess familiarity purveying warmth and richness, which in turn creates highly emotional, intimate, and beguiling moments.

The Maestro slowly and precisely adding various levels of emotion, placing fragile and delicate melodies beneath sequences, adding colour and texture to these, his music never overpowering the storyline but instead empowering and ingratiating it and the images upon the screen. The composer’s music however is never merely a background to events but becomes an important and integral component of the overall cinematic experience, his compositions create an abundance of emotions and express numerous senses whether these be dramatic, or filled with melancholy and romanticism, but every time become affecting as well as effective.  I spoke to the composer about the movie and the music.

 JM.How did you become involved on the movie

M.W. One year ago I was in touch with producer Ziad Hamzeh for a film by a woman director, but the collaboration with that director didn’t move forward. Two months ago Ziad called me to propose to me the feature drama “The Island of Forgiveness” by tunisian director Ridha Behi, who has worked in the past with Nicola Piovani and Jean Claude Petit, and I immediately accepted.

He told me that they had financial problems and that I would need to find a music publisher who would be able to finance the film score. My previous score (“La Grande Guerra Del Salento”) had been financed by Kevin Ferri (Crisler Music/Soul Trade Music Publishing Group) and I proposed him to become the music publisher of this movie. He accepted. I told him that this movie would deserve to have a high-quality orchestra and that it would be wonderful to record in London with the “English Session Orchestra”. He accepted.

A few years ago I had been a guest of Dom Domalos Kelly, manager of the orchestra, during the recording session with Christian Henson for the British sci-fi movie “Robot Overlord”, at the “Air studio”, and I was really impressed by the quality of the performance. Now I finally had the chance to work with them.

J.M. Did the director have any specific requests regarding the style or sound for the movie

Good question. Director Ridha Behi is very intelligent and has good taste. It’s not easy to work with him because he is a perfectionist (like me) and loves to experiment various  solutions before choosing the definitive ones. He then asked for various options and various changes. He is one of that rare category of directors who don’t want to have too much music  in his movies. This is a choice that I respect because most of the directors I have worked with (except Cristina Comencini and Aurelio Grimaldi) have always asked me for a lot of music. 

Music is important but you need to know how to dose it well. I always give this example to the composition students I had in some masterclasses: Caviar is precious, but if you give it in large  quantities it loses its preciousness. For this film the only request from the director was to not write a Tunisian style music with Arabic instruments. I therefore wrote a dramatic music theme in various versions, two more themes and two waltzes (one was used in the film, the other will be included in the CD). There is only one composition (The Burial – L’enterrement), in which there’s a Middle Eastern flavor. Bruno Di Stefano then wrote a few short additional compositions for the movie. 

Riccardo Rocchi.

J.M. At the sessions there were the string section which I heard, were there any other instruments utilised on the score?

Yes, a Classical guitar performed by my trusted collaborator Riccardo Rocchi, a mandolin performed by my assistant Michele Catania,who also orchestrated and conducted some of the music, a piano that I performed and a few sampled instruments, Timpani, snare drums, recorder etc.

JM. How did you enlist the performance of Ellen Williams.

Ellen Williams is an excellent singer. I heard her cover versions of “No time to die” and “Gladiator” and fell in love with her voice. Her performance of the title song “Rosa’s Song” for “The Island of Forgiveness” has been truly amazing. Probably the best performance I have ever had of a song. Ellen wrote the lyrics and she is therefore co-writer of the song.

Marco Werba with Ellen Williams.

J.M. How much music did you compose for the score.

Not so much, because as I said director Ridha Behi didn’t want to have too much music in the film. I think we have more or less 30 minutes of music, but it is inserted in the most important scenes and well balanced. I would like to thank the “English Session Orchestra” for the beautiful performance, Ellen Williams for her  amazing performance, Sound engineer Marco Streccioni and his assistant Gabriele Conti per the great job they did, Michele Catania for all the work he has done, music publisher Kevin Ferri for the financing of the recording and Lanfranco Carnacina for his beautiful performance of the song “I Feel the Danger” that will not be used in this film. 

Gabriele Conti with Marco Streccioni.

The afternoon session began at around 14-10, and this was for vocal recordings, having already recorded the music the orchestra members were not present for this part of the sessions. The song that accompanies the movies end credits roll, was to be recorded the vocalist being Welsh Soprano Miss Ellen Williams, who has an amazing vocal range and such a pure and distinguished sound. I spoke to Ellen briefly before Marco returned to the sessions, and she told me she had also written the lyrics to the song and had even made a last-minute alteration to these on her way to the studio. Apparently, Marco had found her on You Tube and was impressed by her talents and wanted her to be involved on the project.

And speaking of this I suggest you check out her album on digital platforms entitled Cinema on which she performs vocal versions of movie themes and to look at her website click here  Ellen Williams | Welsh Classical Artist

Ellen Williams, Marco Werba and Lanfranco Carnacina.

I asked Ellen a few questions.

J.M. Are you a fan of film music, if so, have you any favourite themes or composers apart from Marco Werba of course?

E.W. Absolutely, I grew up listening to Classic FM on the radio and the array of soundtracks they often play. I’ve always been captured by how the music fills a suspenseful pause in films and really brings all the emotion and drama of the storyline to life. I love the music of Hans Zimmer and John Williams. I think one of my favourite themes of all time would probably be the theme form Schindler’s List. 

J.M. You wrote the lyrics for the song that you performed, is writing lyrics something you have done before?

E.W. I love to write in not only English and Welsh, but also Italian, French and Spanish, and so when Marco asked me to write the lyrics for the song I got straight into meeting with producer Ziad Hamzeh to really understand the sentiment of the film and compose something meaningful. In December 2020 I recorded a new lyric to traditional Welsh folk song Suo Gân, which Spielberg featured in the film Empire of The Sun. The track was a reflection of all that was happening in the world at the time with the Covid19 pandemic at a peak, and I was delighted to see people connect with the song, which went to number 1 in the UK Classical Charts. 

J.M. The score will be released on CD and would think on digital platforms eventually, will there be a single release of the song?

E.W. We are currently in the process of discussing releasing Rosa’s Song as a single.

Ellen Williams.

J.M. What is next for you another film soundtrack?

E.W. The biggest project I’m currently working on is a new album, a collection of hymns and songs to inspire hope and faith which will include rousing renditions of Abide with Me, Amazing Grace, beautiful Welsh hymn Calon Lân, and World in Union. 

Her performance was truly breathtaking, as she performed, we sat in total silence not moving, transfixed by her beautiful voice. The song is a vocal version of Rosa’s Theme, which is the thematic foundation of the work. it is a haunting piece which is heard in various forms throughout the movie. The song had to it a Gaelic sound or Irish lilt which was effective adding an ethereal ambience to it. As well as the end title credits song, Ellen performed a wordless vocal for a section of the score, this was for a dramatic and impacting scene in the movie, her part was brief but its quality outstanding. The power of Miss Williams soaring vocal combined with the richness and drama of the orchestral performance act as support and punctuation for the sequence, but also elevate and add greater depth lending a wonderful atmospheric to the scene, heightening the sense of drama and tragedy adding an operatic aura to the scene.

Lanfranco Carnacina and Marco Werba.

After Miss Williams had concluded her performance, they recorded another song, “I Feel the Danger” but this was for a movie that will not be released until 2023, the music and lyrics are penned by Marco Werba the vocalist being the famous Italian singer Lanfranco Carnacina, the story of this and the score for the movie I hope to tell you soon after the recordings in Rome. I will say that it was a polished and fixating performance, and Lanfranco was as we say in England the life and soul of the party. I want to add that I have been to a few recording sessions, and this I think was the most relaxed and friendliest and will also be the most memorable for me. My thanks to Maestro Marco Werba, and his wonderful group of friends and associates that were present making this one of the most enjoyable days ever. Also, many thanks to the staff and management at the Angel studios, who made everyone welcome and were always on hand to advise and assist.

Also present were Massimo Privitera of Soundtrack City and http://www.colonnesonore.net who’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious, Lionel Woodman of Hillside CD production, Jaques Dejean of Plaza Mayor Music Publishing, and at the mixing desk the Maestro of sound Marco Streccioni who has recorded and mixed nearly five hundred scores for film and television, working with many famous Maestro’s including Ennio Morricone and Luis Bacalov. He was assisted at Angel studios on this day by Gabriele Conti.

Marco Streccioni, Marco Werba and Jaques Dejean.

Thanks also to the brilliant members of the English Session Orchestra.  w: www.englishsessionorchestra.com   fb: /EnglishSessionOrchestra   ig: englishsessionorchestra   tw: @LondonOrchestra  ,  https://www.instagram.com/englishsessionorchestra/

© MMI/John Mansell.  2022.




Composer Marco Werba is Maestro that has over a number of years has built up a reputation based on his deliverance of highly supportive film scores, in my opinion the composer has in the past two decades been responsible for creating some of the most entertaining film scores as in the music working as part of the film making process, with image and music working closely together, the music creating moods and atmospheres that ordinarily would not have been experienced if it were not for the composers intuitive and innovative use of music. One of the composers most recent scores is for, IL DELITTO MATTARELLA, which is released on Digit Movies, The, film which is directed by filmmaker Aurelio Grimaldi, is the fourth collaboration between the director and composer.



IL DELITTO MATTARELLA is a tense and consuming drama, that is set against political and criminal backgrounds, and the score by Maestro Werba, is in a word excellent. I would go as far as to say that is probably the composers most accomplished work for cinema, but then again when one looks at and listens to the impressive and varied filmography of the composer, it is difficult to select just one film score as being a stand out item, because all of his scores are highly polished and brimming with outstanding compositions. The score for IL DELITTO MATTARELLA is a powerful one, and contains strident and sweeping thematic material, right from the offset we are treated to an intriguing and commanding musical persona that purveys a dark and forceful atmosphere. Fully symphonic as far as I can tell, the score contains gentle nods and bows to the style of the late Ennio Morricone, but there is also the distinct and wonderful style of Marco Werba a style that dominates and oozes a luxurious and inventive musical personality . It is a score that is overflowing with a rich and vibrant sound. But not all of the soundtrack is dark and foreboding, there is melody and also lighter moments throughout, with piano, cello, flute and guitar being featured as solo instrumentation on various cues. The flawless cello performance is soaked in emotion and melancholy and perfectly complimented by flute, that is gracious and affecting.


Marco Werba
Marco Werba

The instruments combining and fashioning a delicate and haunting tone poem that has to it a dark underlying sound, but at the same time is filled with fragility and apprehension. The composer combines and interweaves solo cello, piano and strings in SICILIA 1980, to create a sense of tension, and also utilises a small string ensemble that underlines and compliments guitar and cello in the cue INCONTRO 1 and 2. To choose just one cue within the score s being more prominent than the other, would be impossible, because the entire soundtrack has to it an imposing quality, and an attractive and entertaining style.  Recommended no question.






We are all aware of the talent of Marco Werba as a composer, and his ability to craft wonderfully thematic scores for movies and Television. But did you know that he once wrote about film music? I do remember seeing a few articles in Soundtrack magazine, which were always of interest. Then he began to become more and more into the collectors gaze as a composer. Recently Marco has returned to writing about music for the cinema and has written a book, which is in print now. I spoke to him about the book and the reasons he wanted to write it.


1) What made you decide to write a book about film music

It was a long time since I had planned to write a book that was a kind of composition manual about music for genre films (Thriller, horror, science fiction). A book that was missing in the literary scene, the only book, among other things, which contains almost all the orchestral scores, that I wrote for Dario Argento’s thriller, “Giallo”, starring Adrien Brody and Emmanuelle Seigner.
The second half of the book therefore consists of scores from “Giallo” and the analysis of these scores.



2) I have not sadly seen the book as yet, so what areas and composers did you focus upon.

I talked about the most important composers who dedicated themselves to this genre, especially Americans, English and Italians ones. I talked about the two schools of thought, the first (orchestral) linked to Bernard Herrmann, the second (electronic) born with Mike Oldfield. I talked about the first soundtrack that struck me and gave me the incentive to start this activity. I refer to the science fiction movie “Logan’s run”, scored by Jerry Goldsmith. A revolutionary nusic, which alternated electronic avant-garde music for the scenes within the city of the future with orchestral music for the scenes outside the city.



3) Is the book available in English.

Not yet. The book will be available in Italy from June 25 (through “Falsopiano” publishing) and should be printed in Spain in September by “Editorial Rosetta”).





4) How long did it take to write the book and did you research it thoroughly first or did you begin to write it and then start to do more research.

Good question. I worked on the book for almost one year (working on it between one film score assignment to another one). I already knew most of the film scores written by Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Pino Donaggio, Stelvio Cipriani etc and it was not difficult to select the best scores and talk about them. I asked to a few ex-students and friends to help me analyze a few scores by Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith, as well as my score for “Giallo”.  I also included fragments of other books such as “Jerry Goldsmith” by Mauricio Dupuis, “Colonna Sonora” by Ermanno Comuzio, “La musique du film” by Alain Lacombe and Claude Rocle and an article by Steve Vertlieb about Bernard Herrmann.



5) do you think there is another book inside you.

I don’t think so. I must concentrate on writing film scores.


These are MMI,s contribution to the sleeve notes on SEGUIMI,(follow me) released on KRONOS RECORDS.


To say that composer Marco Werba’s music for the psychological mystery SEGUIMI is haunting and atmospheric would be something of an understatement. It has about it a presence and a persona that is given greater impact because of the composers use of layers of sounds and a somewhat sparse but at the same time attention grabbing style, the composer fuses electronic instrumentation with ethnic and conventional orchestral performances to create a soundtrack that immediately engaging. It I think is probably one of the Maestro’s most accomplished and innovative works for cinema. It is a score that is rewarding and interesting to listen to, and one that compliments, supports, and enhances the scenarios that are being played out on screen. I would not say that this is a score that is laden with rich or lush sounding themes in fact they are more steamy and sensual, but nevertheless it is a work that will hold one’s attention whether listening to it on compact disc or experiencing it in the cinema when watching the movie. The balance created by the composer is perfect, with subtle and understated woodwind at times leading and on other occasions acting as punctuation or underlining violin passages. The composer also makes effective use of short but simple piano flourishes at certain points within the score, with a sense of solitude and sadness being relayed via a heartrending cello performance. Throughout the score there is a re-occurring five note motif which can be heard in a number of variations, but no matter what instrumentation or synthetics are utilised to convey the theme it remains chilling and apprehensive. The score is filled with musical textures and colours that often just fleetingly hint or introduce and suggest senses and moods, it is  a work that is oozing with an acoustic fertility which purveys sensuality, uneasiness and even discomfort. A masterful creation and one that will delight and enthral connoisseur’s of movie music.


Marco Werba was born in Madrid, Spain on July 27th 1963. He studied piano and harmony in Italy, and composition and film music at the Manes College of Music in New York. Plus, conducting which he studied in France. As well as being a composer he also teaches film music in Italy and gives tuition on how to score films. He was always interested in cinema and as a young child began also to direct movies himself, making super 8 movies which he would track with music by composers such as Williams and Goldsmith. It was after seeing LOGANS RUN and discovering the rich score by Jerry Goldsmith that Werba decided that he would study music and become a film composer. The composers first scoring assignment was ZOO, directed by Cristina Comencini, which featured a 13-year-old, Asia Argento. The composer sent the director a short adagio for strings entitled THE SURVIVORS, which resulted in him being offered the movie, at first the director wanted to score the film with classical music and a handful of original themes, but in the end Werba wrote forty minutes of music for the picture, which was applauded by fans and critics alike.
Since those early days, the composer has written the music for many motion pictures and has established himself as one of Italy’s most original and talented composers of music for film, being nominated for,  and winning numerous awards.

DARK WAVES. (liner notes for the Kronos records release)

Released on KRONOS RECORDS July 2016.


DARK WAVES (BELLEROFONTE), is an Italian produced fantasy/horror movie which was released in 2015, directed by Domiziano Christopharo who’s more recent contributions include FLESH MANNEQUINS-TOTALLY UNCUT, VIRUS EXTREME CONTAMINATION and the absorbing Giallo like horror THE TRANSPARENT WOMAN. Christopharo is not just a director in fact one could probably refer to him as an all round filmmaker because he is a writer, cinematographer, producer and also worked on special effects, he has turned his hand to editing and acting as well as being able to compose music. His other credits include DOLL SYNDROME, RED KROKODIL, HYDES SECRET NIGHTMARE and BLOODY SIN alongside many others. Composer Alexander Cimini, has provided DARK WAVES with a highly atmospheric score, there are many moods and colours to the music and the soundtrack elevates and supports the story being acted out on screen wonderfully, the music being unobtrusive but at the same time creating deliciously dark yet romantically laced passages which seamlessly weave themselves throughout the storyline adding a greater impact to it. The composer has collaborated with Christopharo before on SHOCK;MY ABSTRACTION OF DEATH in 2013 but most notably on RED KROKODIL in 2012. Cimini too is an individual that is multi talented within the film industry and although he predominantly works as a composer he also regularly works from behind the camera as a director and assistant director, plus he has also worked as an editor and a producer and as a composer has written the theme music for films such as REGALO A SORPRESA and HYDES SECRET NIGHTMARE. Alexander Cimini was born and raised in Germany, his parents owned a restaurant and he resided in Germany until the age of six. The composer recalled that it was the music of Ennio Morricone that inspired him and he would hear soundtracks such as DUCK YOU SUCKER, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST on the families radio in the car. It was also the piano playing of Richard Clayderman that influenced him and drew him to playing the piano himself. The composers Grandfather was also a composer but sadly he never met him as he died before he was born. The music for DARK WAVES is a score that although being new or contemporary also has to it a sound and style that can be likened to the scores written during the 1970,s by composers such as Morricone, Donaggio and Cipriani. The composers use of a wordless Female vocal (Soprano Monica Boschetti) within the score is affecting and haunting and creates a ghost like mystical musical persona that at times is chilling but also can be mesmerising and beautiful.


This exceptional performance is fused with outstanding violin and cello solo performances by Roberto Noferini and Sebastiano Severi respectively and together these make this score one that should be in every discerning film music aficionados collection. Composer Marco Werba also contributed to the soundtrack by writing a lilting and melodic piece entitled LOVE SONG which is the opening credit theme for the movie, this appears at the end of the compact disc (track 17). This is a score that is delicate, powerful and undeniably romantic with an underlying mood that is fearsome, apprehensive but never overwhelming.

John Mansell 2016. (IFMCA/MMI).