April will focus on soundtracks for Peplum.
Peplum (otherwise referred to as “sword-and-sandal”) was inspired by popular Hollywood epics such as ‘Spartacus’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’, and these movies dominated the Italian cinema from the late 50s and early 60s until the entry of Eurospy and Spaghetti Westerns, which themselves capitalized on the success of the James Bond series and Hollywood Westerns featuring the likes of John Wayne. Suddenly tunics were out of style, losing out to tuxedos and cowboy hats.
Almost all of the music for Peplum scores was either orchestral or choral. Yet to be introduced were the groovy beat influences heard in the Eurospy scores, or Morricone’s legendary use of the Fender guitar for ‘A Fistful of Dollars’. Compared to the music created for those film genres, Peplum scores did not deviate far from traditional Hollywood fair, however it’s fascinating to hear these brilliant Italian composers operating within those set boundaries. All that aside, they created some fantastic music which is worth exploration.
Since today is Easter, it’s only appropriate that I share a piece from Angelo Francesco Lavagnino’s score for the 1962 film ‘Ponzio Pilato’. It's a short yet amazing spot of music.