Composer Stelvio Cipriani, has worked in almost every genre of film. His music punctuating and enhancing a multitude of scenarios and situations. His film scoring career began in 1966 when he wrote the music for the Spaghetti western THE BOUNTY KILLER, but he had previously been a pianist in a small band which would perform on cruise ships and also play in many of the dance halls that had opened and become very popular in Italy during the late 1950,s and into the early 1960,s. After doing a number of cruises the composer returned to Italy where he became pianist to the now well known Italian singer Rita Pavone who had just begun her career in show business. The composer put his success in the writing of music for the cinema down to the various experiences that he had encountered whilst playing in a band and also acting as accompanist to Pavone. He felt that working in an environment where you had to arrange or be able to play a piece at a minutes notice was at times invaluable when it came to delivering a film score on time or at very short notice, which is often the case in the world of the film music composer. He also felt that orchestration was an important part of the composing process and carried out the orchestrating duties on 99 percent of his film scores. His most popular film score within the Spaghetti western genre has to be A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN, the theme that the composer penned for this spaghetti sage brush saga has endured throughout the years and is still looked upon by many collectors and aficionados as an iconic piece of music and one that has gone down in Italian cinema history, being covered by numerous artists Henry Mancini, Geoff Love and LeRoy Holmes among them. He is also revered for his work on THE ANONYMOUS VENETIAN which contained a lush and romantically laced soundtrack. Cipriani is probably one of the most well known composers who worked in film in Italy alongside the likes of Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai and others such as Gianni Ferrio and Francesco de Masi, his music being most prominent during the mid to late 1960,s through to the end of the 1980,s working on movies such as BLINDMAN, FEMINA RIDENS, MARK IL POLIZIOTTO,TENTICOLI,A BAY OF BLOOD, PIRANHA ll, THE GREAT ALLIGATOR, THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW, RABID DOGS, BARON BLOOD, COME TOGETHER, THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE, THE SILENT STRANGER, HEADS YOU DIE TAILS I KILL YOU, RETURN OF ALLELUJAH and many more. Born on August 20th 1937 in Rome, Cipriani came from a non musical family and according to the composer he became involved in music by chance.

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He initially trained as an accountant and after qualifying he worked for a year in that job, but whilst doing so also enrolled at a music conservatory to study. His first music lesson were when he was a small child and was given guidance by a Priest at the church he attended, as a youngster Cipriani was fascinated by the organ and the Priest noticed the young boys aptitude for music and alerted his Grandfather to this. Cipriani marks composers such as Henry Mancini and Nino Rota as his influences, “I would have to say that the great Nino Rota is at the top of my list of influences, his music for the films of Fellini especially had a great effect upon me, he was I think a complete musician”. The composer also worked with Dave Brubeck and scored movies for Mario Bava. “My collaboration with Mario Bava was always very good, he was shall I say a careful and meticulous director. He took great care when film making and was always interested in how the music would work within his films, he always found time to attend the recording sessions”.

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This latest release from Kronos records is something of a rarity and will be a treat for all collectors of Italian film music the world over. THE BLACK SPIDER has music by Italian Maestro Stelvio Cipriani and is a multi themed work which is filled with a veritable smorgasbord of musical colours and textures. At times the score leans towards the more easy listening or lounge genre of music that is associated with numerous Italian movie soundtracks but also it does occasionally contain a deep and dark sound within its perimeters that becomes unsettling and sinister. We can hear within the work influences from previous Cipriani scores such as the aforementioned THE ANONYMOUS VENETIAN, with lavish sounding strings, harpsichord and piano combining to create light but at the same time substantial tone poems that linger long after one has ceased to listen to the compact disc. The composer utilises to great effect this combination of instrumentation to achieve an overall sound that is inventive and supremely entertaining. Each cue is wonderfully written and cleverly orchestrated by the composer, the piano solos in particular verge on concerto like performances which are full of melody and hauntingly attractive. To support the more traditional instruments the composer also employs synthetic sounds and electronic embellishment which fuse seamlessly into the proceedings giving the score greater depth and a higher level of atmospheric impact. There are also a number of cues that include organ and guitar solo performances, these evoke the sound of Morricone, Trovaioli and Nicolai during the 1960,s. This is a score that will be returned to many times and one that will be a worthy addition to any film music collection.

John Mansell © 2016 (ifmca) Movie Music International.