Saturday, February 29, 2020

Who Are Those Composers ~ Riz Ortolani

Rizziero ‘Riz’ Ortolani was born on March 25, 1926 in Pesaro, Italy. He was the youngest of six children. Ortolani's father, a postal worker, gave his son a violin at age 4. Ortolani later switched to flute after injuring his elbow in a car accident. He studied at the Conservatorio Statale di Musica "Gioachino Rossini" in his hometown of Pesaro before moving to Rome in 1948 and finding work with the RAI orchestra. Though the chronology is unclear, he also likely served as a musician in the Italian Air Force orchestra, formed a Jazz ensemble, and came to the United States as a Jazz musician in Hollywood, all before scoring his first film.

In the early 1950s, Ortolani was founder and member of a well-known Italian jazz band. One of his early film scores was for Paolo Cavara and Gualtiero Jacopetti's 1962 pseudo-documentary “Mondo Cane”, whose main title-song More earned him a Grammy and was also nominated for an Oscar as Best Song. The success of the soundtrack of Mondo Cane led Ortolani to score films in England and the United States such as “The Yellow Rolls-Royce” (1964), “The Spy with a Cold Nose” (1966), “The Biggest Bundle of Them All” (1968) and “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell” (1968). He also scored the 1972 film “The Valachi Papers”, directed by Terence Young and starring Charles Bronson.

Ortolani scored all or parts of over 200 films, including German westerns like “Old Shatterhand” (1964) and a long series of Italian giallos, spaghetti westerns, Eurospy films, Exploitation films and mondo films. These include “Il Sorpasso” (1962), “Castle of Blood” (1964), “Africa Addio” (1966), “Day of Anger” (1967), “Anzio” (1968), “The McKenzie Break” (1970), “The Hunting Party” (1971), “A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die” (1972), “Seven Blood-Stained Orchids” (1972), “The Fifth Musketeer” (1979), “From Hell to Victory” (1979), the controversial Ruggero Deodato films “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980) and “The House on the Edge of the Park” (1980), and the first series of “La piovra” (1984). In later years he scored many films for Italian director Pupi Avati.

His music was used on soundtracks for “Grand Theft Auto: London 1969” (1999), “Kill Bill: Volume 1” (2003), “Kill Bill: Volume 2” (2004), “Drive” (2011) and “Django Unchained” (2012).

In 2013, Riz Ortolani was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Soundtrack Academy.

Riz married singer, actress Katyna Ranieri [1927-2018] in 1956. He was the father of production manager Rizia Ortolani [1966-    ]. Riz Ortolani died in Rome on January 23 2014.

ORTOLANI, Riz (aka  Roger Higgins, Ritz Ortolani, Oscar Rice) (Rizziero Ortolani) [3/25/1926, Pesaro, Marche, Italy – 1/23/2014, Rome, Lazio, Italy (bronchitis)] – composer, conductor, songwriter, actor, married to actress, singer Katina Ranieri (Caterina Ranieri) [1927-2018] (1964-2014) father of production manager Rizia Ortolani [1966-    ].
Apaches’ Last Battle* – 1963
Gunfight at High Noon – 1963
Ride and Kill – 1963 [as Oscar Rice]
Hour of Death – 1964
Ride and Kill – 1964
Seven from Texas - 1966
Beyond the Law* - 1967
Day of Anger* – 1967
Kill and Pray* – 1967 [as Roger Higgins]
Dead Men Don't Count - 1968
Boot Hill – 1969
Night of the Serpent* - 1969
The Unholy Four - 1969
Madron – 1970
The Hunting Party – 1972
Massacre at Fort Holman* – 1972
Where the Bullets Fly – 1972

*Available on CD

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