Composer Gianni Marchetti
is in a word UNDERRATED. He is possibly one of the most talented composers that was working in Italy during the 1960,s through to the early eighties, writing music for film and television as well as acting as a musical arranger and director for numerous popular artists of the day. His musical output was considerable and consistently very good. He like many other Italian composers during this period wrote a number of scores for the spaghetti western genre which kept composers and musicians in gainful employment as it enjoyed a surge of interest and popularity all around the world. Marchetti was also a very versatile composer who was able to easily adapt his musical prowess to any genre of film, he wrote rhythmic, infectious and vibrant sounding themes that graced and enhanced not only westerns but also worked wonderfully within love stories, gangster films, adventure romps, war and action films and comedy capers. It is somewhat surprising that Marchetti never attained the status that he so richly deserved on a more global scale, his contributions to film etc often being overshadowed by the vast output of other fellow Italian Maestro’s such as Morricone, Rota and Ortolani, the latter attaining recognition outside of his native Italy early on in his career via the scoring of non Euro-productions. Marchetti is I suppose very much like fellow composers, Fidenco, Romitelli, Cipriani, Ferrio,Orlandi, Lacarenza, Alessandroni, Giombini, Patucchi and to a degree De Masi, because he like his peers always produced great scores that matched the pictures they were intended for perfectly and also at the same time had a life away from the images, standing alone as just music that could be listened to and enjoyed without having to go to the cinema. In recent months there have been a number of Marchetti soundtracks released on compact disc, many being expanded releases and others being first time issues much to the delight of collectors old and new. One of the most recent releases comes from the UK based independent label helmed by Lionel Woodman Hillside CD production, who in association with GDM music and the ever guiding hand and boundless knowledge and expertise of Proffessor Roberto Zamori have been responsible for releasing so many landmark Italian soundtracks, a number of these being by Marchetti i.e. DIE SLOWLY YOU WILL ENJOY IT MORE, COWARDS DON’T PRAY, TOP CRACK and ONE STEP TO HELL. The film COLPO DI MANO or EXPLOSION was released in 1968 and the soundtrack was issued on a 16 track CAM long playing record in the same year. This latest edition of the score boasts the original album and also a further 8 bonus tracks taken from the master tapes. Many of the additional tracks are similar to the original content of the album but there are slight variations in the orchestration and arrangement of the music.
Marchetti’s score is made up of a handful of principal themes, the composer utilising these as a foundation and building upon there simple but effective content and developing and expanding them further as the work progresses. Given the subject matter of the movie, which is an action/war film set during the Spanish civil war and tells the story of a group of soldiers who have been given a dangerous mission to blow up a bridge over the river Ebro the score contains a number of references to martial music although these never develop into what is full blown or bombastic sounding marches, Marchetti creating the atmosphere by more subtle and subdued instrumentation which hints at a militaristic style. It also has within its make up Hispanic sounding nuances and sounds which add a certain authenticity to the proceedings. Castanets and solo guitar being utilized at key points within the score. Choir also plays a major role within the work, and on this particular score we have the vocalising of two, I Cantori di Basilliche Roma and Nora Orlandi
’s excellent and distinctive 4+4 Coro, the style employed by Marchetti with the choral writing is very reminiscent of some of the early works of Ennio Morricone
39568 Marchetti also adds little trills and musical punctuation marks along the way in the form of jaws harp, strummed guitar, plaintive woodwind solos and an almost eerie sounding female vocal which although is not a solo or centre stage performance adds great atmosphere and depth to the soundtrack. There are also performances from the stock instrumentation of the Italian film score, ie, racing snare drums, chimes, tubular bells, bass guitar, piano, electric guitar and harpsichord which all at some point within the score make their contribution and leave their mark, and if all this great music is not enough then we have the added presence of another Italian Maestro, Stelvio Cipriani
who conducts the score. This is again another formidable release from GDM/HILLSIDE and one that should be in every Italian film music fans collection, great music and great presentation; (apart from the lack of liner notes) all I can say is More Marchetti please…..and go an get this now.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light