Alessandro Cicognini

Real Name:
Alessandro Cicognini
Profile:
b. January 15, 1906 in Pescara, Italy - d. November 9, 1995 in Rome, Italy.

Film music composer.

Alessandro Cicognini was, for 20 years after World War II, the single most influential voice in film music in Italy, as the composer of choice for Italy's most successful postwar filmmaker, Vittorio De Sica. Trained as a classical musician and composer at Milan's Conservatory of Music, he came to film music in 1936, in the belief that movies had supplanted theater and melodrama as popular entertainment. He had worked in Italian cinema for 10 years, with such directors as Augusto Genina and Alessandro Blasetti, before he met De Sica in 1946, while the latter was working on the first of his classic neo-realist film, Shoeshine. Cicognini provided De Sica with a score that managed to couple dark string passages with fragments of popular tunes, which captured the mood of despair surrounding Roman teenagers trapped in poverty and delinquency. His next score, The Bicycle Thief (1948), which earned an award as Best Soundtrack of the Year, displayed a lyricism reminsicent of Puccini's best operas. As with all film composers, Cicognini was, to some degree, at the mercy of the quality of the films he scored, but in his case that was not a problem, nor was there any element of "mercy" involved. Indeed, he became the most well-known Italian composer of film music in the world beyond Italy, as his music, attached to one De Sica masterpiece after another for more than a decade, was heard by audiences all over the world. This exposure allowed him to move relatively easily into international film work during the mid-1950's--Cicognini wrote the music for the costume adventure Ulysses (1955), starring Kirk Douglas, and also for the romantic comedy Summertime (1955), starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi, and in 1962 he scored the Hollywood-produced comedy The Pigeon That Took Rome. But De Sica remained for almost two decades the source of some of his best inspirations. Composer and director were of one mind on the best of these, and, especially, the wry wit that informed one's images and the other's sounds. A good example is the gentle waltz that makes up much of Umberto D (1952), a tragic yet engrossing story about an old man who has no place else left to go, and ultimately comes within moments of killing his one loyal companion--his dog--in despair. Much of Cicognini's music for films is characterized by the use of small ensembles, in sharp contrast to full orchestral scoring, and unusual instruments, and the mixing of musical genres. His ability to capture varying moods was put to good use by the filmmaker in Gold Of Naples (1954), an anthology of four humorous yet serious stories, which the composer translated into some of the most appealing music of his career. His music for The Last Judgement (1961) is some of the most inventive of his career, alternating between epic passages, gentle lyricism, and waltz. Cicognini's masterpiece, however, is the score he wrote for De Sica's Miracle In Milan (1951), one of the sweetest, saddest movies ever made, a fantasy built around the plight of displaced persons living in dire poverty--the music captures the mix of joyous, impassioned fantasy and the undercurrent of bitter despair behind it as well as any shot in the movie, its chorus (which entered the Italian popular music vernacular) a biting and haunting distillation of the movie's message. Cicognini gave up film composition in 1965 in favor of a career in teaching. By that time, younger composers such as Mario Nascimbene and the latter's one-time assistant, Ennio Morricone, were dominating the film music of Italy, incorporating more direct Hollywood influences. He never preserved any of the written scores of his film work, but scholar Giorgio Spacca has undertaken the reconstruction of his best work for the cinema in usable performing editions, and conductor Nicola Samale has obliged by recording much of it commercially in the 1990's.
Aliases:
Variations:

Albums

Alessandro Cicognini - Indiscretion Of An American Wife album art Alessandro Cicognini Indiscretion Of An American Wife Columbia US 1954 Sell This Version
Alessandro Cicognini - The Black Orchid album art Alessandro Cicognini The Black Orchid (Album) Dot Records US 1959 Sell This Version
Alessandro Cicognini - A Breath Of Scandal (Music From The Motion Picture Sound Track) album art Alessandro Cicognini A Breath Of Scandal (Music From The Motion Picture Sound Track) (Album) Imperial, Imperial 1959 Sell This Version
Alessandro Cicognini - It Started In Naples (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) album art Alessandro Cicognini And Carlo Savina Alessandro Cicognini And Carlo Savina - It Started In Naples (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Album) Dot Records US 1960 Sell This Version
PML-10295 Alessandro Cicognini - Il Giudizio Universale album art Alessandro Cicognini Il Giudizio Universale(LP) RCA PML-10295 Italy 1961 Sell This Version
OOAP2301-10 Alessandro Cicognini - Visconti E la Musica album art Nino Rota, Piero Piccioni, Maurice Jarre, Franco Mannino, Giuseppe Rosati, Alessandro Cicognini, Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner Nino Rota, Piero Piccioni, Maurice Jarre, Franco Mannino, Giuseppe Rosati, Alessandro Cicognini, Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner - Visconti E la Musica(10xLP) CBS/Sony OOAP2301-10 Japan 1981 Sell This Version
Alessandro Cicognini - Ulysses - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album art Alessandro Cicognini Ulysses - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Album) Intermezzo (2) Italy 1986 Sell This Version
CDDM121 Alessandro Cicognini - Il Compagno Don Camillo (Original Soundtrack) album art Alessandro Cicognini Il Compagno Don Camillo (Original Soundtrack)(CD, Album, Ltd, RM) Digitmovies CDDM121 Italy 2008 Sell This Version
CD MDF 641 Alessandro Cicognini - Don Camillo album art Alessandro Cicognini Don Camillo(CD, Album) Cinevox CD MDF 641 Italy 2009 Sell This Version
KR 20021-4 Alessandro Cicognini - The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown / A Breath Of Scandal album art Billy May, Alessandro Cicognini Billy May, Alessandro Cicognini - The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown / A Breath Of Scandal(CD, Album, Ltd) Kritzerland KR 20021-4 US 2012 Sell This Version
DCM 135 Alessandro Cicognini - Station Terminus / The Black Orchid (Two Original Motion Picture Soundtracks Albums) album art Alessandro Cicognini Station Terminus / The Black Orchid (Two Original Motion Picture Soundtracks Albums)(CD, Album, Ltd) Disques Cinémusique DCM 135 Canada 2012 Sell This Version
LP-8008 Alessandro Cicognini - Music From The Films Of Jennifer Jones album art Alfred Newman, Alessandro Cicognini Alfred Newman, Alessandro Cicognini - Music From The Films Of Jennifer Jones(LP) Cinema Records (6) LP-8008 Germany Unknown Sell This Version
AUSLP 1011 Alessandro Cicognini - A Breath Of Scandal (Music From The Motion Picture Sound Track) album art Alessandro Cicognini A Breath Of Scandal (Music From The Motion Picture Sound Track)(LP, RE) Liberty AUSLP 1011 Australia Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

PM45 3028 Alessandro Cicognini - Ninna Nanna Per Un Negretto / Gran Valzer Finale (Musiche Dalla Colonna Sonora Originale "Il Giudizio Universale" album art Alessandro Cicognini Ninna Nanna Per Un Negretto / Gran Valzer Finale (Musiche Dalla Colonna Sonora Originale "Il Giudizio Universale"(7") RCA PM45 3028 Italy 1961 Sell This Version

Compilations

CD23, CD 23 Alessandro Cicognini - Alessandro Cicognini Per Vittorio De Sica (Original Sound Film Scores) album art Alessandro Cicognini Alessandro Cicognini Per Vittorio De Sica (Original Sound Film Scores)(CD, Comp) Legend (4), Legend (4) CD23, CD 23 Italy 1995 Sell This Version

Videos (6) Edit