Venganza siciliana (Spain)
Les guérilleros (France)
Seduction of the South (UK)
The Italian Brigands (USA) (TV title)
Der Bandit von Neapel (West Germany)
Limited edition of 400 copies.
Alhambra Records in Germany is proud to present on this CD the world premiere release of Angelo Francesco Lavagnino's complete score for the 1961 historical adventure movie I BRIGANTI ITALIANI. This wonderful CD project - the fifth CD in our Lavagnino series - has only been possible thanks to the generous support of the three daughters of the composer - Bianca, Iudica and Alessandra Lavagnino -, who still had open reel tape copies of the original mastertapes in stereo in their personal archive.
Directed by Mario Camerini in parts like a Western with ironic overtones, I BRIGANTI ITALIANI starred an international cast of well known actors: Ernest Borgnine plays the brigand Sante Carbone, Katy Jurado his wife Assunta Pescatore and Vittorio Gassman the corporal Vincenzino. Among the supporting actors were Rosanna Schiaffino, Bernard Blier, Micheline Presle and Philippe Leroy.
The story of the film takes place in Campania in 1861, just after the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been conquered by the KIngdom of Sardinia. The country is in the hands of the Piedmontese troops, while a band of armed bandits led by the outlaw Sante Carbone infests the place and launches attacks against the Italian authorities. Vincenzino, the young corporal from the defeated Bourbon army who is much more interested in love affairs than in warfare or politcial matters, gets captured by Sante, but manages to escape again some time later. Through a series of mix-ups and delightful coincidences Vincenzino meets Sante again and they suddenly become friends. When Sante gets defeated in a battle of annihilation by the Piedmontese troops, he decides to surrender, but he can't realize his intention anymore: In the middle of the piazza of Stagliano he is shot down from the back by one of the land barons who had originally hired him.
In 1961 Lavagnino was one of the busiest Italian film composers and scored more than a dozen films throughout that year, most of them historical epics or costume pictures which almost always demanded quite an amount of music. Despite this frenetic activity his melodic inspiration almost never ceased, and the score for I BRIGANTI ITALIANI is no exception to this rule.
The "Main Title" immediately grabs the listener's attention with an ear-catching brisk and stirring theme for full orchestra and mixed chorus. This music exudes a fabulous spirit of adventure and would also be suited for a Western story. Although the theme mainly represents Sante's fight for liberty and the rides of his band along the rugged Campanian countryside, it is highly adaptable and can be used in manifold ways to describe different moods and various situations. The braggart and ladies' man Vincenzino, who during the first half of the movie is always surrounded by his own small troupe of bandits, gets his own sly musical theme which is best heard in "Viva l'Italia" when they start their ramblings through the country in an almost Don Quixotian-like manner.
During the second half the movie changes its tone and strikes a more tragic note. The fierce battle scenes are scored with propulsive and exciting action music not unlike the ones used by Lavagnino for his peplum scores. After the defeat, the longest musical sequence in the film appears ("Vincenzino and Sante") where we get to hear a new pastoral and nostalgic theme which is mainly intoned by solo oboe and then extended until in the end an almost religious atmosphere is achieved.
We hope that many fans of the composer and of classic Italian film music can now enjoy for the first time ever on CD the splendid beauty of this exciting symphonic film score.
This CD edition with a 12-page booklet will be limited to 400 copies.
- Alhambra Records