Take a walk with Gianni Ferrio.
Or rather, let him take you for a walk throughout the refined paths of his elegant melodies.
Gianni Ferrio is a much less well-known composer than Morricone, especially in Giallo. Yet his music stands for me as the most delightful surprise of the genre's soundtracks.
It's particularly interesting noticing the differences between both musicians in the composition structure.
Morricone builds his scores on a simple and recurring theme, which somehow works like stones thrown on the water's surface: bouncing and developing circles in waves which grow and vanish, always moving back and forth. An almost fractal musical structure, both very tight and loose at the same time, which made his signature and probably produced the most beautiful themes ever written for films.
If Gianni Ferrio does not have this incredible consistency and strength within his own themes, he is definitely immensely talented for something different, very much ahead of its time: coming up with deliciously crafted pop melodies encapsulated in a mix of jazz and classical structure. This cross-over of musical genres is so natural in his compositions that it comes across effortlessly.
La Morte Accarezza a Mezzanotte is a great example: its theme was built on the main character, Valentina, like a pop-sounding starting point of both the film and the score, which later takes us through more jazzy sounds, nice acid jazz party snapshots and eventually easy listening flavours. It really feels like visiting a house: the general atmosphere remains consistent but depending on the moment and the room you're in, the atmosphere changes and you experience a variety of tunes few composers can compete with.
Another fantastic score is Una Farfalla con le Ali Insanguinate, which manages to mix Tchaikovsky's Concerto no.1 with a jazz tune and makes it sound perfectly elegant and balanced. Again this soundtrack feels like taking a nice walk through the park of an old house which classy owners all have something to hide. Not to forget this very melancholic core theme, reflecting the bitter reality behind a glossy surface depicted by the film. One of these scores which is completely tailor-made for the film yet has a life of its own.
Thanks for the nice walks, dear Signore Ferrio.
Gianni Ferrio's giallo soundtracks and more are available at Movie Grooves.