How can a musician be so totally in unison and have such a close working relationship with such different film directors as Francesco Rosi and Alberto Sordi? Piero Piccioni managed this with formidable results. On the one hand, with Rosi’s films, he wrote sober, sometimes dry scores, which would not bow to the temptation of an appeasing the images with a consoling melody. He would complement the Neapolitan director’s attacks on society. On the other hand, for Sordi’s films, he seemed to underline the humorous aspects of a good-hearted comedian, at the same time sarcastically deconstructing the social mechanisms of superficiality and appearance. In reality, a tragic-comic suffering would transpire under an overtly comical smile. These were two juxtaposing ways to address moviemaking but essentially successful as they were united by the Jazz origins of a composer who had always nurtured a vibrant interest for anti-academic music and applied this synaesthetically to the visual.
Piccioni’s career has seen many important collaborations with directors such as Franciolini, Bertolucci, Lattuada, Risi, Pietrangeli, Petri, Zampa, Comencini, Salce, Visconti, Wertmuller, Scola, Goddard, Rossi, Cervi and more. In each and every one collaboration, his music has always retained an absolute dignity. Under his apparent ease of expression and inspiration, there are always deeper, more complex and richer levels than one may experience at first glance. Music as a reflection of his person; modest, unassuming and sometimes shy, but so profusely valuable.