Alhambra Records proudly presents on this CD the world premiere release of Angelo Francesco Lavagnino's complete original score for the 1965 Italian western GLI UOMINI DAL PASSO PESANTE (US title: THE TRAMPLERS) which had been co-directed by the Italian Mario Sequi and the American producer Albert Band. Experienced US character actor Joseph Cotten stars as a Southern Colonel (a role he should repeat one year later in Sergio Corbucci´s I CRUDELI) who refuses to give up the fight after the Civil War has ended whereas his son Lon with whom he gets into conflict is played by former muscleman star Gordon Scott. The supporting roles are filled by Franco Nero (just one year before his DJANGO fame) and Jim Mitchum, the son of Robert Mitchum.
Although released in late 1965, the movie contains many ingredients which still link it to some of the more mature US westerns from the 1950s which had depicted a similar family feud. It also focuses more attention on the psychologies and motivations of the main characters than the standard Italian western fare of that period. On the other hand, the excessive violence of the action scenes is of course unmistakably that of the Italian western genre so much in vogue at that time.
At the beginning of the film Lon Cordeen who had fought for the Confederate Army returns home and becomes witness to the regime of terror his father leads by killing any Northerners who come into his way. A huge family feud erupts when Lon disregards his father´s orders to kill or at least run out of town the local settler Charlie Garvey, a suitor for one of Lon´s sisters, Bess. Together with his younger brother Hoby he helps Charlie to elope with Bess and embarks on a cattle drive venture to the North with them. In the end most of the family members will get killed whereas Temple himself loses all sense of reality and falls more and more into madness.
As well as the movie itself, Lavagnino´s score – certainly one of his best he has written for this genre – also harkens back more to the traditional style of classic US westerns than to the innovative sound world that Ennio Morricone had already created for the Italian western genre in 1964. His propulsive principal theme which gets introduced in the Main Title is a highly melodic, fast-paced tune full of rousing excitement and unstoppable energy which immediately grabs the listener´s attention. It will recur in various guises throughout the film and is equally capable of being intimately rendered for example by a lonely harmonica or in a more somber and muted vein played by electric organ and guitar. Besides this domineering main theme Lavagnino has also supplied a couple of additional romantic themes: A warm-hearted family theme exudes a nostalgic flair with fragile memories of a time long lost whereas the love scenes between the two couples Lon and Edith and Charlie and Bess shine with Lavagnino´s characteristic use of sensual high strings. One of the highlights of the score is the sumptuous cattle drive music which is set for full orchestra with appropriate French horn accompaniment and which radiates a sense of genuine epic grandeur and of wide-open spaces.
As a bonus we have added at the end of the CD all the original music which had been especially composed for the low-budget genre movie ZORRO IL RIBELLE in 1966. Partly western and partly adventure movie, the picture was directed by Piero Pierotti and starred Howard Ross (as Zorro), Dina De Santis, Arturo Dominici and Charles Burromel. As many important cues in the film had been recycled from earlier swashbuckler scores by Lavagnino, he just wrote about 12-13 minutes of new music – mainly a few flamenco dances and music for two sword fight sequences – which we could use for this CD.
This wonderful CD project – the 15th 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 master tapes in their personal archive which we were allowed to use. Our CD edition which contains a 16-page booklet with extensive liner notes and numerous colour stills from the two movies is limited to 400 copies.
- Alhambra Records