Francesco De Masi has always been one of my favourite film composers, especially for the ‘Spaghetti Western’ genre.
His scores are exemplary, and - to most ears - a joy to listen to.
A few months ago, I had the chance to e-mail Filippo De Masi, Francesco’s son, and was able to ask him a few questions about his legendary father. Not only did Filippo respond back to my questions, but was also kind enough to send my a very rare photo/leaflet, of his father, signed by the great man, himself.
Filippo also sent me a rare copy of a Franceso De Masi ‘programme of events’, at which his father would be performing.
I wish to share not only Filippo’s replies, to my questions, but also images of the autograph, and programme cover.
Here are the responses from Filippo De Masi, regarding his dad:
"There are a lot of score I love! For thriller movie, definitely “The big game” which is a German-Italian production starring Stephen Boyd. Almost unknown movie but the music is a masterpiece! To the horror my heart is divided between “ghost” of Riccardo Freda and the New York Ripper by Lucio Fulci. For the western score choose Johnny Hamlet by Enzo G. Castellari and for the comedy definitely Ector the mighty. Of police movies I love Napoli Spara! by mario Caiano while for the war movie sure Inglorious Bastards. Then there are hundreds of documentaries signed by Folco Quilici among which a special place occupies “L’arte Barocca”. For historical films, peplum, choose Revenge of Spartacus by Michele Lupo. But to say that others do not like them is wrong … in truth perhaps love them all."
“I was really a lucky person to have a father so special! He taught me what music is. He taught me respect and sensitivity toward the world. From him I learned everything, even how to behave in the workplace. Today I’m a director and I was really useful. He also bequeathed to me the esteem and friendship of so many wonderful people. My love for him has not changed and I will take him in the heart long as I live. The pain of losing it is never past, perhaps today I have learned to live with it.”
“Ask a father what his favorite son is not possible. I know that Dad loved Lone Wolf Mac Quade because he said that was a summary of everything he had done before. Then there was a movie which was really in love for him and for which, he said, had composed an extraordinary soundtrack: “Ostia” by Sergio Citti.”
“My first memory of dad is the piano he composed in his studio. Of those moments particularly I remember the smell of pipe tobacco Dunhill that he loved to smoke while writing. Then I remember with great enthusiasm when he took me for the first time in a recording studio: I picked her up, took my hand and led me to direct. I thought that with every movement of the wand of conductor corresponded an orchestra sound and it amused me very much.”
"I do not think he had a favorite kind of movie for which writing the music. He loved to compose and worked for any film, good or bad, always put the maximum effort. I can say however that he had a director with whom he liked to work: Sergio Citti. A true poet.
But he is so enthusiastic even when composed by Enzo G. Castellari with whom he had a very good feeling. But making a classification would be a mistake, he loved music and this led him to love his job.
One last thing: Dad loved to teach and love to help young generations. Its two professorships at the conservatory of music made him happy. With him grew many masters of orchesrta and many conductors who still remember him with great love."
End of e-mail interview, with Filippo… However, he was kind enough to send me - what I believe - is a very rare, original photo/theatre pamphlet, signed by his father, Francesco, in silver ink. He also sent me an original ‘programme of events’, at which his father would be performing. Here are images of them:
First, the autograph.
And now the ‘programme of events’.
I’ll end this humble tribute to the great Francesco, with these wonderful scores…