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THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2018 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 I t all began with silent movies. The absence itself of sound turned out to be the best celebration of word and music on the silver screen, when they arrived. A piano in the movie theatre and bands playing in the dark, both intepreting the emotions of those first movie shows, began to educate people's ears and make them understand how much of their emotions, thoughts and understanding they bestowed on noise, voice, rhythm and sound's intensity. When, in 1927, Alan Crosland's The Jazz Singer came out, a decisive step was made in the language of movies: the immense, expressive possibilities of sound films were discovered and people realised it wasn't only a matter of how essential dialogues, scene noises and background music or songs were. Leit motive first anda soundtrack later became a distinctive mark of movies. Recognizable themes, reassuring for the audience, but also able to lead, anticipate, interpret, highlight, comment the story taking place on screen. Indeed, they gained so much relevance that directors began looking at them as an incredibly powerful expressive instrument: because in the history of cinema, music has rarely been only "commentary," without turning into a determinant part in the building up of a movie's atmosphere, rhythm and editing. For many directors, from Alfred Hitchcock to Stanley Kubrick, from Luchino Visconti to Sergio Leone, music was central to construct their movies' language, becoming anticipation of the action to come, strengthening emotions or contrasting images. So powerful are these effects that, in some cases, music is the first thing coming to mind when citing a movie, even before memories of specific scenes or their actors. This is all to say that the added value of a soundtrack doesn't lie only in being a perfect synthesis and union of sound and image, a melody able to deliver movement and spatial depth, feelings and emotions, but also in its ability to permeate our collective memory. Transmitting emotions with seven notes, creating cinema music, is as much of an exceptional trait as leaving the cinema to get into people' Italian music: an extraordinary soundtrack to more than cinema From the director mind. Stanley Kubrick used to say that movies are an intense, subjective experience, which reaches the audience at a deeper level of conscience, in the same way music does. Just think of the extraordinary duo Fellini-Rota and of marvellous musical and cinematographic masterpieces such as The Road. Or of Sergio Leone, who found in soundtracks the best expression of his Spaghetti Western. Think of Morricone who, throughout his 40 years- long career, during which he composed more than 400 works, made of The Mission an extraordinarily unique movie: that, indeed, was music truly deserving an Oscar! Written in 1986, it could have been composed today or, maybe, its age doesn't really matter at all: it's a timeless piece of virginal beauty, just like the meeting between humanity and civilization it describes, just like the power and esuberance of the nature it interprets, just like the ability of emotional synthesis music creates. In this context, we should also remember composer, director, eclectic instrumentalist and arranger (speaking of high professionalism) Alessandro Alessandroni: his famous whistling made For a Fistful of Dollars immortal, the movie's music score penned, once again, by Morricone. That of the "musical commentary" is an art Italians learned to interpret at the highest levels and that finds its roots directly in the century long tradition of opera music, then transformed into operetta and "varietà." Its protagonists were extraordinary artists like Armando Trovajoli or Luis Bacalov, who almost got an Oscar for Michael Radford and Massimo Troisi's The Postman's soundtrack. Musicians who, between the 1950s and 1960s, along with the greatest "musical scorers" Rota and Morricone, built the legendary Italian music of those years, which still today represents the highest comparative point for all musicians of this field. So much so, in fact, that in the age of rap and belting, of fast and choppy rhythms, there is still people who prefer using and championing what was once known as a "catchy tune." The very same type of tune that, just about 60 years ago, a virtually unknown lad called Domenico Modugno sang to conquer the Festival of Sanremo first and the hearts of America later. It was a little song called "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu," our "Volare." Then, it isn't really a case if, in 1999, melody brought yet another Oscar to the Italy of music, thanks to Nicola Piovani and his score for Life is Beautiful. Simone Schiavinato, Director NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS

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