Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Remembering Piero Piccioni

Piero Piccioni was born in Turin, Italy on December 6, 1921. Son of a Turin mother (her maiden name was Marengo), and from here the origin of the pseudonym Piero Morgan, which he adopted until 1957. He had played on the radio with his historic Big Band "013" in 1938, to then return, after the liberation of Italy in 1944. His was the first Italian jazz band to be aired in Italy. Piero Piccioni had listened to jazz since he was a child and had learned to play as a self-taught musician, his father used to accompany him to visit the E.I.A.R. in Florence, to listen to orchestral recitals. As he began to write some songs of his own he was able to get some published by Carisch. Having written nearly 300 soundtracks and pieces for radio, television, ballets and orchestra he was deeply influenced by 20th century classical composers and by American cinematography. Amongst his favorites were Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Ford and Alex North, who had greatly influenced him in his use of jazz.  Piero Piccioni had come in contact with the world of movies during the fifties when he was practicing as a lawyer in Rome and sealing movie rights for Italian distributors such as Titanus and De Laurentiis. During that time, Michelangelo Antonioni had called him to create music for a documentary for one of his apprentices, Luigi Polidoro. His first feature film was Gianni Franciolini's, "Il Mondo le Condanna"(1952). Piccioni found a close working relationship with directors Francesco Rosi, Salvatore Giuliano and Alberto Sordi, and had also cemented strong personal and professional bonds with them. Piccioni scored 10 Euro-westerns such as “Minnesota Clay” (1964), “Gatling Gun” (1968) “The Deserter” (1971) and “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Colt” (1973). Piccioni died on July 24, 2004 in Rome. Today we remember one of the great composers of the era and the Spaghetti western genre on what would have been his 90th birthday.

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