There were very few Italian composers that managed to work on movies out side of their country of birth, instead their music was usually confined to films that were made in Cinecitta. There were a few exceptions to the rule however and Maestro Mario Nascimbene was thankfully one of these. Nascimbene worked on numerous Italian produced movies and also scored his fair share of non Italian motion pictures such as SOLOMON AND SHEBA and THE VIKINGS, he also worked on a handful of British movies which were produced by the famous Hammer studios Nascimbene creating original and vibrant sounding scores for ONE MILLION YEARS BC and WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH etc. It is however his romantic soundtracks or at least his romantically laced themes that he fashioned for the movies that he will be remembered for. His music for the 1957 melodrama L’ULTIMA VIOLENZA is typically Italian sounding and contains and purveys a rich and vibrant persona that is engaging and highly melodic. The composer utilises the string section to its maximum to create a lush and lavish sound that oozes romanticism and also has tinges of melancholy. The light and delicate piano solos are wonderfully touching and emotive and are underlined and laced with subdued strings and cello solos, this highly effective combination of instrumentation shines and stands out as one of the scores most appealing attributes. Nascimbene also includes a guitar solo performance which is supported by a slightly upbeat but at the same time easy going tempo the theme that is performed is a variation of the scores central thematic material and is heard throughout the work in various guises and arrangements. Considering the year in which the score was recorded the sound quality is for the most part very good, this is a pleasure to listen to, it is a work that easily imprints its various motifs and themes upon the listeners brain and although the music is for the majority of the scores duration a style that can be categorised as lounge or easy listening music it still remains memorable and effective within the context of the motion picture. In my opinion the score has to it a sound and also a style that evokes the works of Max Steiner and Alfred Newman when these composers were working on movies such as NOW VOYAGER and ALL ABOUT EVE, it has a definite Italian foundation of sounds but the romantic string passages hail from the vintage days of the golden age of Hollywood.
Another interesting release from KRONOS records and another worthy addition to the labels Gold Series which grows larger and more excellent with each release. If you love Italian film music and are an old romantic this is most certainly one for your collection.
Born in Milan, Lombardy Italy as Mario Ernesto Rosolino Nascimbene on November 28th 1913. Mario Nascimbene as he became known was to become one of the most successful Italian film music composers of the 20th Century. He studied composition and conducting at the Guiseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan under Ildebrando Pizzetti, after which he began to write various pieces of chamber music and ballet’s, he began to write music for Italian motion pictures in the 1940,s, his first assignment being L‘AMORE CANTA(LOVE SONG) in 1941. He was certainly one of the most original composers to come out of Europe during this period as he was not frightened to experiment with sounds and created a unique electronic process where he enhanced the sound of everyday things turning them into musical instruments of sorts, items such as bicycle bells and typewriters would feature within his soundtracks and even the sound of clocks. The utilisation of this type of experimental writing would be passed on to composer Ennio Morricone who worked with Nascimbene on a handful of film scores, most notably BARABBAS in 1961.
The composer also incorporated non-orchestral instruments such as the harmonica and jaws harp into his works thus attracting film makers from out side of Italy to his somewhat quirky but effective style of scoring. Nascimbene however also wrote more conventional sounding film scores which were highly melodic the composer creating lush and lavish works that were sublime and romantic sounding, which included THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, ROOM AT THE TOP and the superb and memorable music for THE VIKINGS.
Nascimbene was not restricted to scoring Italian or European productions, in many ways he still remains one of the most successful Italian composers because he would very often work out side of his native Italy his style and sound easily crossing over to American and also British productions, during the 1960,s he produced some effective soundtracks for The Hammer studios in the United Kingdom, these were for the companies prehistoric dramas, ONE MILLION YEARS BC, CREATURES THE WORLD FORGPOT and WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH. Nascimbene also provided Hammer with the mysterious and haunting score to THE VENGEANCE OF SHE which was tinged with jazz elements in the form of a theme for tenor sax and strings, which would accompany the young girl at the centre of the films storyline. All of Nascimbene’s Hammer scores were recorded in Rome under the baton of famous musical director Franco Ferrara who also conducted many of his other film soundtracks including SOLOMON AND SHEBA in 1959, ALEXANDER THE GREAT in 1956 and ROMANOFF AND JULIET in 1961, he was the recipient of numerous awards these included THE DAVID DI DONATELLO AWARD and NASTRO D’ARGENTO AWARD. He died on January 6th 2002 in Rome Lazio.