I'm afraid I can't recommend anything, because I'm here looking for recommendations!
At the moment I'm steering clear of the spag westerns because they are not a priority for now. If you followed my contributions to one of the other threads, I said that I was thinking of picking up SOLIMANO IL CONQUISTATORE. I didn't order it this time round, but will do so soon. I'm also going to explore some of his other peplums (pepli?) - stuff like the MACISTE series of films. It's all still kind of new to me in my old age.
What REALLY got me interested in Francesco De Masi's music was when I saw AN ANGEL FOR SATAN during a Barbara Steele marathon. Great film, great music. Here are the Main Titles, which I think are just sublime, a wonderful combination of languid imagery and heartfelt music. The way that the solo violin comes in at the 2-minute mark, with those trills, is just gorgeous.
I did ask here (I think) about the possibilty of a release of this score, and I think I was advised to contact De Masi's son (who I believe is in charge of his estate?), but no luck. Whatever, I'm looking for scores that have that kind of sound to them. I'm also aware of his scores to some of the Gothic Italian horror thrillers of the '60s. I liked LO SPETTRO, which has much in common with UN ANGELO, but it seems that only a small portion of the score survives, and was released on Beat Records as the second feature to LA LAMA NEL CORPO. I think I saw that one as well, but the music didn't impress me so much. I might be thinking of a completely different film of course. It didn't seem that familiar when I checked YouTube just now.
This one's really nice - DI CHE COLORE È IL VENTO. Here's a track I found from it. The accompanying image is a bit odd, but the music's great.
If it's all like that I'll be happy, I did read quite recently that there's a harmonica on every track of this score, but that can't be right coz there ain't one on the YT track. Fake news? It's paired on the Saimel CD with UN SOLO GRANDE AMORE which I think was previously released as a standalone by Beat. I heard a track from that too, and it's in a light pop-flavoured style. Anything that veers towards Morricone psychedelia is fine by me.
Any comments/ observations/ "advice" based on the above?
What REALLY got me interested in Francesco De Masi's music was when I saw AN ANGEL FOR SATAN during a Barbara Steele marathon. Great film, great music. Here are the Main Titles, which I think are just sublime, a wonderful combination of languid imagery and heartfelt music. The way that the solo violin comes in at the 2-minute mark, with those trills, is just gorgeous. I did ask here (I think) about the possibilty of a release of this score, and I think I was advised to contact De Masi's son (who I believe is in charge of his estate?), but no luck. Whatever, I'm looking for scores that have that kind of sound to them.
I know the impressive UN ANGELO PER SATANA score very well from the film and so I also know what you are looking for. The problem is that such a refined classical score with those violin solos is a bit unusual in De Masi´s musical output. It seems that the master tapes of ANGELO PER SATANA are probably lost so that we will wait in vain for a release on CD. I would recommend you the CD of EROE VAGABONDO which was composed in just the same year as UN ANGELO PER SATANA - and this may also be one of the reasons that there are some similarities regarding the heartfelt themes and the melancholy, partly almost tragic mood. Listen for example to the excerpts of track 1 ("Eroe vagabondo") and track 7 ("Fercoce destino") on the Kronos website which could be such tracks which you will like: http://www.kronosrecords.com/K8.html
I am not sure if you will like the complete score as there is also a strong Spanish flavour (with reminiscences of De Falla and Rodrigo) in some cues and there are two or three source music tracks on the CD, but all in all I would say that at least about 50% or a bit more should be in the style you are looking for. Above all the last few tracks on the CD have the same passion and subtle instrumentation you will hear in ANGELO PER SATANA and are simply wonderful. Sometimes De Masi prefers guitar solos in EROE VAGABONDO (according to the Spanish setting of the film), but there are also quite a few passages with the solo violin very much reminiscent of the ANGELO PER SATANA main title. Anyway, the music is completeley different from his usual genre efforts and therefore quite surprising.
I haven´t heard De Masi´s DI CHE COLORE E´ IL VENTO for a long time, but the complete score is more carefree with a slight pop touch and certainly not throughout in that style of the one track you have posted from Youtube. Here for example another track from that same score which is quite different: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt4VcixYhYw
Thanks Bill and Stefan for your recent comments and links.
That track that Bill put up from UN SOLO GRANDE AMORE is damn great! Excellent. Love the way the jazzy trumpet comes in. Ennio's shadow is long. Seeing as this has been in my local (ie same country) shop for twenty years, I'd be a nutmeg not to pick it up. And on the Saimel it's coupled with DI CHE COLORE È IL VENTO. The piece that Stefan linked to is very nice. I also checked out the EROE VAGABUNDO samples. Yes, good stuff.
I'm now getting a bit confused about what I've heard and what I haven't. But I'm pretty sure I'll be getting that double bill of DI CHE COLORE È IL VENTO and UN SOLO GRANDE AMORE along with the pre-ordered SOLIMANO.
So it's not all mournful cello and violin for me. I like a good bit of the '60s pop leanings, especially when they go towards psychedelic. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Pity that UN ANGELO PER SATANA seems to be lost though.
Still, looking on the bright side, there are ten billion things to investigate starting now.
Well done Bill for starting this thread, and it's great Graham that you are giving De Masi's music a try. There is so much superb music by De Masi and other Italian composers that is worth exploring! I first started getting interested in De Masi (and other Italian composers) thanks to Lionel Woodman at the London film fairs, he would recommend various things to try. As Bill and others have noted there is some great Italian western music to explore by De Masi, however here are some brief thoughts on other scores from different genres I like that have mostly not been mentioned yet I think, I'm not sure how easy some of these are to find on cd/lp: LA VENDETTA DI SPARTACUS - Although it is a short score on the CAM cd (coupled with GLI SCHIAVI PIU FORTI DEL MONDO) this is my favourite peplum score by De Masi, a truly beautiful love theme and excellent dramatic music. EROE VAGABONDO - As Stefan has noted there is some gorgeous music on this, and should be high on your list Graham. UNA STORIE D'AMORE - on Beat, this is a similar romantic style score to the excellent WHAT COLOUR IS THE WIND & UN SOLO GRANDE AMORE, perhaps more upbeat though. LA MACCHINA DELLA VIOLENZA - I only have the LP but there is an expanded cd on CSC. This is a very entertaining score, and the songs are lovely. QUEL MALEDETTO TRENO BLINDATO - On Dagored, a lot of the score is missing so quite short, I believe Tarantino liked this movie and it inspired INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, anyway it is quite a powerful score. L'UOMO EUROPEO & FESTA BAROCCA - I believe these are only on LP so might be difficult to get, but there is a change of direction here more towards a folk/classical style. THUNDER/THUNDER 111 - De Masi did quite a few of these action movies, like MAD DOG and FUGA DAL BRONX, but I like these 2 best, some powerful themes. The cd with both scores is on Beat. Finally the lengthy main theme from VIZI PRIVATI, PUBBLICHE VIRTU is superb, although the rest of the score does not live up to this theme. I only have the LP so not sure if there is more worthwhile music on the Quartet cd. But it would be worth you getting Graham for this main theme.
Thanks David. I have two on order and may go for a third. How would you rate his MACISTE scores?
Here's an interesting title (and "good" cover art) - LESBO. It's from the right era for me (1969) and has... a promising subject matter. I like the sensual, almost orgasmic, side of Morricone for example, and was wondering how this one would shape up. Anything leaning towards '60s psychedelia is also welcome. Anyone know it?
ADDED A FEW MINUTES LATER -----------------------------------
I plucked up the courage to type "Lesbo" into YouTube (it's a family-shared computer), and there are quite a few tracks up from the film (co-composed apparently by Alessandro Alessandroni). It appeals to me, at least when dipping into a few cues. The only thing I don't really like is when these kind of scores start sounding a bit too much like holiday programmes or game shows such as "Sale of the Century".
I must give a nod to his score to Ringo il volto della vendetta its up there with the best of his scores.
Good point soundtracksi - it is great. And the digital clean up job on it was excellent - i heard a few tracks before it was published and i knew it would be superb. Heres what i could find on youtube of it.
David - it was lionel who pushed me to try more De Masi too, after i liked what was on Best of bloody western themes - and i think i got The machine of violence LP as well, and The Big Game LP. Couple tracks from La macchina della violenza
Graham, the MACISTE scores have their moments, but I would recommend you start with the other scores on my list, and on recommendations by others on this thread, as well as the westerns. I only have an LP recording of LESBO, again it has some good moments.
Graham the Saimel cd DI CHE COLORE È IL VENTO / UN SOLO GRANDE AMORE is very good indeed I especially like the opening track from Di Che Colore E Il Vento titled Wind Colour it is superb
Lesbo is solid all the way through I really enjoy that one as well.
Thanks, wayout. I have the Saimel ordered, along with SOLIMANO IL CONQUISTATORE. I already decided last night that I'd add LESBO. The clips sound great. Some of me is a lounge lizard.
David, SOLIMANO was just a kind of spur-of-the-moment "let's try it" - it was devilishly cheap. MACISTE will have to wait, perhaps forever. The Westerns are sort of on hold. No, not "sort of", but totally. For a while anyway.
You may notice that I rarely ask for advice, because I rarely take heed and just follow my nose in the end.
This De Masi song from "Quella Sporca Storia nel West" (JOHNNY HAMLET in the U.S.) is about as sweeping and lyrical as western songs come.
That's my favorite western song by De Masi, really great stuff!
Btw, have you noticed that the film version is slightly different, especially the organ part. Also, the film version does not have the repeat effect on the organ: https://youtu.be/ltwfmAkLwDw?t=251
I actually prefer the film version (as always). However, the instrumental version on the soundtrack album sounds like it uses the same instrumentation/arrangement as the film version of the song, except for the electric guitar which replaces the vocalist.
There's an impressive piece for pipe organ in the pre-credits but for some reason it's missing on the CD. Could be an existing track from an earlier De Masi score but which one? Another nice piece for pipe-organ, used during the duel in the abandoned church in "Vado l'ammazzo e torno" (also by De Masi) is also missing from its soundtrack album. As I love organ music I find it very frustrating.
I recently received this title which I bought during Kronos' black Friday sale ... and upon 1st listen, it sounds more like a Euro Western than a historical gladiator flick.
It is no wonder that you feel this way as De Masi recycled the main theme from SETTE CONTRO TUTTI just a few months later for one of his most famous Spaghetti Western themes. It is called "A Man Must Fight" and used as instrumental version in SETTE DOLLARI SUL ROSSO and as vocal version in LA SPIETATA COLT DEL GRINGO. Both of these westerns got released in March 1966, but SPIETATA COLT DEL GRINGO otherwise has almost only stock music from the CAM catalogue whereas SETTE DOLLARI SUL ROSSO is really one of De Masi´s best western scores ever. "A Man Must Fight" is not the main theme in SETTE DOLLARI, but a subsidiary theme. Here is the vocal version of "A Man Must Fight" which was used in the Main Title of LA SPIETATA COLT DEL GRINGO: