Listening to Another Italy

Egisto Macchi’s New Music for Italian Documentaries of the 1960s

Authors

  • Marco Cosci University of Pavia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.37320

Keywords:

documentary film, modernism, World War II, Egisto Macchi, memory

Abstract

The transition between the 1950s and 1960s is a watershed moment for the construction of the Italian post-war identity through cinema. Not only do feature films of those years reflect this critical point, but also documentaries become a privileged medium for revealing the contradictions of a country that was increasingly divided between tradition and progress. In this article I focus on the production of composer Egisto Macchi, a leading figure in the renewal of Italian music. He worked with significant filmmakers scoring hundreds of non-fiction films during the 1960s. Combining archival sources with historiographical and theoretical discourses of musicology and film studies, I examine some key examples of Macchi’s soundtracks. Macchi’s scores shun widely encoded musical styles in an attempt to investigate the most striking and hidden character of the reality observed by the camera. On the one hand, experimental music is seen as the best way of engaging afresh with the subject matter; on the other, these documentaries establish a viewpoint and a way of hearing rooted in the contemporary music soundscape.

Author Biography

Marco Cosci, University of Pavia

Marco Cosci gained his PhD in Musicology (2015) at the University of Pavia, where he is currently Research Fellow at the Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage. In 2015 he was postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Music of the Giorgio Cini Foundation (Venice) and in 2014 he was a visiting scholar at Tufts University, Boston, MA. His research interests cover Italian popular music, music theater, and film music, with a particular interest in the relationship between modernism and post-war European cinema. He has published articles in books and journals such as Music/TechnologyMusica e storiaL’avventura: International Journal of Italian Film and Media Landscape, and Archival Notes. He is completing a volume (Brepols) on the compositional process of Egisto Macchi’s score for The Assassination of Trotsky by Joseph Losey.

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Published

2019-09-09

How to Cite

Cosci, M. (2019). Listening to Another Italy: Egisto Macchi’s New Music for Italian Documentaries of the 1960s. Journal of Film Music, 8(1-2), 109-125. https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.37320