Saturday, February 21, 2009

Remembering Angelo Francesco Lavagnino

Italian composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino was born on February 22, 1909 in Genoa, Italy. Although a classically-trained musician who performed in concert halls and opera houses throughout Italy he turned to teaching and writing music. In the early 1950’s he was encouraged to turn his skills to composing film scores and his talents were showcased in a number of highly visible international productions. Included in these films were Orson Welles “Othello”, “Chimes at Midnight” and Eugene Lorie’s “Gorgo” and Henry Hathaway’s “Legend of the Lost”. Because of this exposure he became one of Italy’s best known composers. Little known trivia, he was Leone’s first choice to write the music for “Fistful of Dollars”. Thankfully Sergio chose a lesser known and cheaper composer named Ennio Morricone. Despite this Lavagnino composed over two dozen scores for European westerns during his career. His scores are original and more classical in style and do not fit the standard fair we are used to in the genre. Angelo won the Nostro d’Argento award for Best Score twice for “Continente perduto” (1954) and “Vertigine bianca” (1956). Lavagnino died at the age of 78 on August 21, 1987 in Gavi, Italy. We remember Angelo Francesco Lavagnino today on what would have been his 100th birthday.

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