Piero Piccioni Biography

6 December 1921, Turin, Italy, d. 23 July 2004, Rome, Italy. Also known as Peter Piccioni and Piero Morgan. Piccioni studied law in Florence but was more interested in music. He first played piano professionally in the late 30s and over the next few years played in a jazz band. In the post-war years, using the name Piero Morgan, he led an orchestra on radio from Rome. Soon, he entered the re-born Italian film industry where he displayed his gifts as a composer. His first film was Sampan Boy (1950) and he then worked on Il Mondo Le Condanna, La Spiaggia, La Donna Che Venne Dal Mare, and others. As his talent blossomed and was recognized, he was quickly in demand as a composer of film scores and by the early 50s was working on important films not only with Italy’s leading directors but also with filmmakers from other counties: Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Luchino Visconti, Francesco Rosi, Lina Wertmuller, Mauro Bolognini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Elio Petri, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Anthony Joseph, Sergio Corbucci, a long-time collaborator, and actor-director Alberto Sordi, with whom he had an especially fruitful and long-lasting association.

During his long career Piccioni wrote more than 100 scores, including Poveri Ma Belli aka Poor, But Handsome (1957), Godard’s Le Mépris aka Contempt (1963), which starred Brigitte Bardot, Minnesota Clay (1965), Lo Straniero aka The Stranger (1967), Radley Metzger’s erotic film, Camille 2000 (1969), that developed a cult following, Puppet On A Chain (1970), Il Caso Mattei aka The Mattei Affair (1972), All Screwed Up (1973), Swept Away … By An Unusual Destiny In The Blue Sea Of August (1974), and Cristo Si È Fermato A Eboli aka Christ Stopped At Eboli (1979), many of which attracted attention outside Italy. Other film scores by Piccioni include L’Assassino, Il Giorno Più Corto, Un Tentativo Sentimentale, Tre Notti D’Amore, La Fuga, … Dopo Die Che, Uccide Il Maschio E Lo Divora, Due Maschi Per Alexa, and Una Tomba Aperta... Una Bara Vuota. Numerous recordings were made by studio orchestras, some of them under Piccioni himself, most of them of his own film scores with the majority proving to be sufficiently popular to be reissued on CD. Strikingly versatile, Piccioni’s scores exhibit his comprehensive grasp of classical and jazz styles, together with his knowledge of Italian folk themes and the established musical language of international filmmaking. Piccioni continued working to a heavy composing schedule through to his late seventies.

The following list of albums includes those of music composed by Piccioni and in many cases also conducted by him. Customarily, record stores list these albums under his name. For convenience of cross-checking, where an album is of music from an individual film it is arranged in chronological order of that film’s date.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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