Tag Archives: Piero Piccioni.


Composer Piero Piccioni like his fellow countryman Ennio Morricone worked on numerous movies and television series, but unlike Morricone who seemed to lean to more of a symphonic and grandiose style wen scoring movies, Maestro Piccioni became known for his polished and undeniably masterful use of jazz within his film scores. The composer in interview told me many years ago that jazz was pure music and it was a style and genre of music that his was obviously passionate about. At times he would integrate jazz influences and colours into western scores and also combine jazz textures with dramatic and even epic sounding compositions, which one would think would not gel or work, but surprisingly they did and each of the styles complimented and enhanced one another bringing to the project a fresh and invigorating sound. When I say that Morricone leaned towards the grandiose and symphonic, I did not of course mean that Piccioni did not, many of the composers soundtracks are indeed laden with rich fully symphonic pieces and his works for the cinema are amongst the most melodic and haunting that have ever been written.



THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD for example, is wonderfully atmospheric and has to it lush and lavish thematic content as well as containing tense and dramatic passages that are brought to fruition via the use of sombre sounding strings and edgy stylised percussion and woodwinds. His score for IL MOMENTO DELLA VERITA for me is one of his best scores from the 1960.s with Piccioni fashioning proud and rhythmic sounding pieces using an array of instrumentation which include, organ, brass, strings and various bolero, flamenco and Bossa nova influences which add greater depth and energy to the score. This score was originally released on a CAM long playing record back in 1965, then it was later re-issued on compact disc as part of the CAM SOUNDTRACK ENCYCLOPEDIA, which was a collection of 100 cds representing music from the CAM catalogue and also showcasing the ample talents of many Italian Maestro’s. Many of these have recently been re-issued onto CD again by Sugar music, but separately.


The original collection boasted numerous soundtracks by Nino Rota and also included MINNESOTTA CLAY which was Piccioni’ s first foray into scoring movies and an early Italian western, which starred Cameron Mitchell in the title role. The movie was released in the same year as A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS which is probably why it did not attain the popularity it deserved, but in recent years has become essential viewing for devotees of the Spaghetti western genre.

But it is IL MOMENTO DELLA VERITA or THE MOMENT OF TRUTH that I would like to focus upon for this review, sadly I am of the opinion that the wonderfully thematic and driving score has over the years been somewhat neglected, maybe because the composer has done so much in the way of film scores and this early offering just got overwhelmed a little by the composers more jazz orientated works for the silver screen and his veritable landslide of western scores etc. But, saying this IL MOMENTO VERITA too contained a scattering of jazz infused cues, the composer employing double bass, piano and sultry saxophone in places. The main theme too is given a somewhat contemporary sound via the use of percussion and up tempo solo trumpet in the opening track LA HORA DE LAVERDAD which opens in a very serious and powerful way with a church organ creating an imposing atmosphere, this however moves into a more up beat mood with drums, bass, brass and solo trumpet to create a proud and commanding bolero.


The composer then adds strings to the equation, with these giving the piece an even more Hispanic sound, it is a attention grabbing opening, which one is not really expecting, however it is a welcomed and entertaining statement that sets the scene perfectly for the remainder of the score, this is a symphonic work but also has to it a contemporary musical direction, with Piccioni cleverly integrating and fusing the symphonic with the jazz and also the more traditional styles of Spain to create a score that is probably one of his most accomplished. It is a potent combination of styles that are effective within the film highlighting the proud and brave world of the bullfighter and adding to this a modernity via the jazz because of the period that the film is set, the power and daunting sound  of the church organ that opened the scored midway through being replaced by Hammond organ that is supported by an easy going flute solo with a samba backing. These themes and musical ideas are also affecting when listened to as music without any images. Piccioni moulds the many styles and sounds into a formidable musical force, that is filled with a vibrancy of colours and textures, epic at times, grandiose in key moments and light and melodic elsewhere. If you have not heard this, it is about time you checked it out.


FRATELLO MARE,(brother sea) is a documentary, filmed in Polynesia, and the score by Piero Piccioni is one of the latest releases from the BEAT stable in Rome. I have to admit that Piccioni is not one of the most listened composers in my household, at times I do find his style rather too jazz orientated, but of course there are the exceptions to the rule as in THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD( a reference to which is made within this work in track number 17) but saying this he is or was a composer that I would buy blind as it were in my early days of collecting with no knowledge of the movie or indeed of the music. FRATELLO MARE is I have to say one of the composers most pleasant sounding soundtracks, it is rather easy going and light in its overall style, and yes there are a number of jazz references within it but these are more of an easy listening nature rather than full blown statements from that genre of music and there are also a handful of cues that are percussive led and ethnically themed. The music here is however, gentle for the majority of the scores duration, with the composer utilizing piano, strings, woodwind and also a subtle and understated organ within certain sections of the work. This is probably Piccioni at his most laid back and also his most low key, the central theme being returned to a number of times and cropping up along the way in various guises and arrangements, the composer employing solo guitar on a number of occasions as the principal instrument which purveys the simple but haunting theme. So although I am probably not the most ardent fan of Piccioni I still think that this is a score well worth adding to your collection. Packaged well by BEAT with informative notes in Italian and also in English. Take a chance and have a dip in the tranquil and melodic waters that have been created by Piccioni on this one. This incidentally is the last in the BEAT series (which have numbered 8) of releases of Piccioni’s film music.




The music of Piero Piccioni was a great influence upon people during the 1960,s and 1970,s. He along with Ennio Morricone was probably one of the busiest composers in Italy that was writing for film at this time. Piccioni could turn his composing hand to almost any genre of film, but he seemed to excel in the world of the Eurospy and scored numerous examples of these movies. But I have to say that NIENTE ROSE PER OSS 117 is something of a disappointment, I think because the composer was involved with so many of these low budgets but entertaining movies his attention to originality began to stray slightly. NIENTE ROSE PER OSS 117 is a collection of nice enough themes but to be honest these themes could be taken from any number of other scores that Piccioni was responsible for during this period and by the third or maybe fourth cue it becomes a little tiring and monotonous. To be truthful I could not really differentiate where one track stopped and the next started and rather than a soundtrack to a Eurospy movie I began to think I was listening to an easy listening compilation and although packaged and presented well by BEAT with clear and lush sound quality for me personally this is a disc that will sadly remain in its jewel case after my initial first few listens, its good to see it released but honestly it could have probably remained in the archive for a little longer.

Available on BEAT RECORDS BCM9522



Maestro Piero Piccioni, was one of the great composers who were active in Italy during the 1950,s through to the nineties, his scores were varied and also inventive but as we all probably know he did lean towards the jazz elements when it came to any film score which included his Italian western soundtracks. LE ALTRE is a delightful work and I am so pleased that BEAT records have seen fit to release the full soundtrack on a double compact disc set. The music is light airy and melodic, the composer takes us on a musical journey through pop orientated cues, light and laid back easy listening compositions and also jazz influenced passages that are tuneful and haunting. Piccioni makes excellent use of piano, harpsichord and also choir with the emphasise also on solo female voice in certain cues. The score is a simple but effective one and is easy on the ear, Piccioni creating beautifully melodious pieces that glide and amble along evoking the sound of the late 1960,s steamy saxophone, cool sounding organ, strummed guitar and stroked percussion combine and compliment each other along the way all punctuated and supported by double bass. Plus we have the odd shake track that slips in here and there creating something of a stir in a nice way. This is a score that you should own, presented well by BEAT records with great sound quality and informative notes by Andrea Morandi of CIAK magazine with technical notes written by Claudio Fuiano. Another must have for Italian film music enthusiasts.

Available on BEAT RECORDS (ITALY) BCM 9523.



The film Puppet On A Chain received its theatrical release in Great Britain during the latter part of summer 1970. The movie unfortunately did not do that well at the box office, and thus a planned album release of the soundtrack from the film was cancelled. Now some 31 years on, the score has turned up on CD and LP, which for many collectors of film music will be a welcome sight. Composer Piero Piccioni, has over the past three decades been involved with literally hundreds of film soundtracks, both for the Italian market and also outside of his native country. Maestro Piccioni has written music for a wide variety of films, which have included westerns, thrillers, comedies, horror etc etc etc.

Puppet On A Chain was a British production, that boasted an international cast that had a storyline set amongst the dangerous and seedy underworld elements that frequented the city of Amsterdam. Piccioni,s up beat almost bombastic sounding score was well suited to the frenzied and unrelenting action of the movie, and the composer let loose an array of styles and sounds to compliment and underline the non stop onslaught of activity that unfolded upon the screen. Highly dramatic near symphonic passages are fused with Hammond organ compositions and electric guitar riffs, that in turn are swept along by a a big band style that struts its way throughout the score creating a listening experience that must not to be missed. The work also includes some quieter interludes, as in track 14 ‘The Love Theme’. But for the majority of its duration the score is beaty and up tempo, an amalgamation of the dramatic and the pop orientated sounds of Lounge music. Thick and heavy sounding brass is supported and embellished by Piccioni,s utilisation of percussion, bass guitar and brushed or lightly struck cymbals, on cues such as ‘Escape’ track 6. This formula is repeated on track 7, ‘Night Club’, but this time Piccioni adds a somewhat cheeky Hammond organ to the proceedings, that tweeks its way in and out of the piece, weaving a slightly comical thread throughout the cue.
Every cue contains a passage or a sound that will be of interest to someone. There is also certainly no doubt at all that the score has stood the test of time, as it would riot be out of place in some of today’s spy thrillers, The CD is presented excellently, and contains a booklet which comprises of eight pages, that include photographs and information both from the movie and of the composer. For Italian film music aficionados this release is an essential and important purchase, and one that I recommend without reservation. For collectors that have yet to experience the powerful and original compositions of Piero Piccioni, this CD, I am sure will be a perfect introduction to the colours, sounds and varying styles that are the work of Maestro Piccioni.PUPPET ON A CHAIN.