Nicola Piovani, born in Rome on May 26, 1946, was a passionate student of the Greek composer Manos Hadjikakis. His career began in 1969 when he created the music for the film “The Secret” by Silvano Agosti, and continued to collaborate with the same author for a long time. In 1970 he had the opportunity to meet Marco Bellocchio, with whom he initially worked on “Nel nome del padre”. Followed by the passionate soundtracks of “Sbatti il monster in prima pagina”, “Triumphal march”, “The seagull”, “Leap into the void” and finally “The eyes, the mouth” in 1982.
Norma Martelli age, husband, children
The date of birth of Norma Martelli is not known. She married Nicola Piovani. The couple have two children, both boys, who studied physics and engineering.
In the 1970s, his music was the engine of the films of numerous Italian directors, such as “Il marchese del grillo” and “Speriamo che sia female” by Mario Monicelli, but also by Giuseppe Tornatore, Sergio Citti, Gianfranco Mingozzi, Peter del Monte, Daniele Lucchetti, Antonio Albanese, Fabio Carpi and Damiano Damiani. Her music was absolutely essential in bringing these cinematic masterpieces to life!
In 1981 he embarked on a journey of creating music for the films and screenplays of the Taviani brothers, such as “La notte di San Lorenzo”, “Kaos”, “Good morning Babylon”, “Il sole anche di notte”, “Fiorile” and “You laugh”. The 80s were a period of immense growth for him, as he was also able to collaborate with Federico Fellini for “Ginger e Fred”, “Interview” and “La voce della Luna”, and with Nanni Moretti for “La messa è over”, “Palombella rossa”, “Dear Diary” and “The room of the Son”. This period was for him a period of immense passion and creativity.
Piovani’s work has been a whirlwind of activity abroad, with collaborations with renowned directors such as Bigas Luna, Joe Stelling, John Irving, Ben Von Verbong, Maria Luisa Bemberg, Sergei Bodrov and John Harrison. In recent years, the passionate collaboration with Roberto Benigni and Vincenzo Cerami has produced the incredible soundtrack of “Life is Beautiful”, which won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Original Score and was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Awards.
Nicola Piovani dedicated himself to the theater, composing the music for the musical comedy “The Seven Kings of Rome” by Luigi Magni in 1989, directed by Pietro Garinei. The passion for the theater was shared with Vincenzo Cerami, with whom he founded the Compagnia della Luna. Together they created and staged “La cantata del fiore”, “La cantata del buffo”, “Il Signor Novecento”, “Canti di scena”, “Romanzo musicale” and “La Pieta”, a stabat mater concertante. They have also collaborated with the Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto to produce “Concerto fotogramma”, which reverses the usual “submission” of musical matter to its cinematographic referent. In particular, Nicola Piovani composed the music for Fellini’s ballet, staged in Rome in August 1995 at the Teatro dell’Opera. His enthusiasm and commitment to theater is truly inspiring!
With a burning passion, Piovani created an impressive repertoire of chamber music, such as the trio “Il demone meschino”, “La ballata epica” for flute and piano, the saxophone quartet “L’assassin” and “Canto senza parole for Vittorio Gassman” for violin and piano. His work is further highlighted by the collection of songs written for Fabrizio de André, Roberto Benigni and Noa’s “Beautiful that way”.
The incredible career of Nicola Piovani is perfectly enclosed in the sound and scenic realization of his “Concert Frame”. His soundtracks, and others, are so powerful that they leave an indelible imprint on the viewer’s mind, creating an experience that is a “life record” or a unique aesthetic form. His poetics of sound creation are based on a personal approach that pays attention to the narrative and the psychological interiority of the characters, avoiding any excessive emphasis and maintaining a disarming simplicity that is almost too good to be true.
The intricate complexity of the themes is evident, with a marked preference for breaking the structural balance of the piece, incorporating thematic contortions and rhythmic ‘accidents’ with unexpected harmonic turns. These subtle but impactful details recall the stylistic features of Nino Rota, the composer of most of Fellini’s music, whom Piovani follows with passion in his interpretations for the Rimini director’s latest films. This soundtrack is characterized by a pervasive feeling of alienation, grotesque visions and distorted perceptions of reality.
We find a passionate connection between the two musicians in the way their compositions are structured, with a strong emphasis on the diatonic system and a tenacious resistance to chromatic distortions that lead to a Wagnerian hyperchromatism and avant-garde jazz modulations through the intertwining chords ninth and eleventh.
From a technical point of view, in both the meaning of the diminished seventh chord is evident, which shuns the deceptive practices used in many cases, to return to its traditional role in early 19th-century opera, which we can consider practically “revolutionary”. in its melodic progression; moreover, Piovani’s musical choices show a “direct” simplicity and intensity, often through a rhythm similar to an uninterrupted song of considerable expressive power. In this case, the film music would derive from a fully “Mediterranean” lyrical tradition, inspired by the representation of emotions according to explicit codes, exaggerated and amplified over time but never distorted in their communicative essence: the “affects” are transferred to the listener through simple recognition, but through their projection into a transformative dimension.
Piovani’s artistic expression is characterized by a classicist distinction between “feeling” and “representing”, and by the use of clarity and “candor” to explore the complexities of the human soul. He is almost a passionate “return to childhood”, where childhood amazement is expressed through celesta melodies and garrulous and joyful singing. His parody music pokes fun at his retro influences, making use of distorting sounds such as the recurring music box, creating a comic effect that mechanically duplicates sound.
Piovani’s music is the perfect accompaniment for films that are very comical, in line with Béla Balàsz’s idea that sound distortion is only funny if the audience knows it is intentional. The use of the music box, a seemingly overused instrument, is a prime example of this, as it evokes personal memories and a sense of nostalgia. This is a great example of ars comica; the true comedian knows that if the public doesn’t understand, he doesn’t exist, and this is an aspect that is also found in more dramatic expressions, such as Benigni’s “Life is beautiful”.
Piovani’s style is a passionate combination of deconstruction and empathy for the listener’s sensibility. His ability to combine work as a film composer with other activities allows him to understand the needs of the audience. His musical themes, defined by the same “signs of reality”, arise from a mixture of sound winks and alienating dissonances. An example of this is the variation applied to Turati-Galli’s “Hymn of the workers” in “Palombella Rossa” (Nanni Moretti, 1989), where the passage from the major to the minor key creates a captivating disorientation that alters the music in its entirety .