From the 1960s into the 2000s, Bacalov's fertile imagination has supplied scores for well over 112 films. He is also a noted piano virtuoso. Bacalov began his concert activity in South America, then traveled to Spain and Paris to further his technique while working as a nightclub pianist. Settling in Rome, Italy, he played piano for RCA film orchestras, and got his first break when Giovanni Fusco asked him to arrange a song for Chico Marselli'sRead more La ragazza con la valigia (The Girl With the Luggage); the song became a hit. When Damiano Damiani needed a song for his film La noia, Bacalov proposed that he write the entire score, and "so I made my name into the cinema."
From 1959 until 1963, he composed under the pseudonym Luis Enríquez. His notable '60s soundtracks include Pasolini's The Second Gospel of Matthew (1965); M. Fondato's I protagonisti (1968), a strongly rhythmic soundtrack in a modern style; and Damiani's Quién sabe? (1966). This last film was supposedly done under the "supervision" of Ennio Morricone, but in fact, Morricone never heard the music; the producers simply wanted his name in the credits. When Bacalov's name was replaced by Morricone's in Spain, Bacalov could not sue because the company had ceased to exist.
The 1970s saw the creation of music for C. Lizzani's Roma Bene (1971), known for its irony; F. Di Leo's Milano calibro 9 (1972), another highly rhythmic score with imitation responses between the instruments; Giraldi's La rosa rossa (1973, The Red Rose) with quotes from various symphonies by Gustav Mahler; the 1979 TV miniseries Le rose di Danzica (directed by Bevilacqua); and F. Giraldi's La giacca verde (1979, The Green Jacket). When famed composer Nino Rota passed away in 1978, director Federico Fellini needed a composer for La città delle donne (1980, The City of Women). Rota had previously introduced Bacalov to Fellini during the sound recording for Fellini's Il Casanova (1976) and had praised his musical abilities, so Bacalov was hired. Other significant scores in the 1980s included D. Kurys Coup de foudre (1983) and F. Infascelli's La maschera (1988, The Mask) with Bacalov's fine imitation of Baroque music styles and even a miniature "opera caricatura."
The unique timbres of Bacalov's score for Greco's Una storia semplice (1991, A Simple Story) are especially interesting. But, aside from the work for Fellini, Bacalov is best-known for his Oscar-winning score for Il postino (1995, The Postman). Director Michael Radford was said to be "a difficult man with composers," but he was eventually pleased with Bacalov's tango-inflected Spanish/Latin American score that features the complex accordion called the bandoneon. "If I had written a much better score for a less important film, I would never had an Oscar. In a way, the Oscar was for the Italian film." Bacalov's other work includes scores for several TV films (Don Milano -- Il priore di barbiana, L'avvocato delle donne) and American and French films (It Had to Be You, The Love Letter, Les enfants du siècle). Read less
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