- Just One of Those Things
- Lullaby in Rhythm
- The Nearness of You
- With A Little Bit of Luck
- A Foggy Night
- Bernie's Tune
- Love Me or Leave Me
- Sometimes A Heart Goes Astray
- I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me
Armando Trovajoli (piano);
Gino Marinacci (flute);
Enzo Grillini (guitar);
Berto Pisano (bass);
Sergio Conti (drums);
Franco Chiari (vibes)
Armando Trovajoli (2 September 1917 - 28 February 2013), who has died aged 95, was a prolific composer for Italian films and stage musicals. He worked with many of Italy's leading directors, including Mario Monicelli, Dino Risi, Ettore Scola and Vittorio De Sica, for whom he composed music for La Ciociara (Two Women, 1960) and Matrimonio all'Italiana (Marriage Italian Style, 1964), both of which starred Sophia Loren, who became a friend. When Loren was going to Hollywood for the first time in the mid-1950s, Trovajoli composed and recorded with his orchestra a song in Neapolitan for her, Che M'è 'Mparato a Fà (What Did You Teach Me to Do?), which did much to launch her in the US.
Trovajoli was born into an upper-middle-class family in Rome. He learned to play the violin as a boy and, in the 1930s, studied piano at the Santa Cecilia conservatory. By 1939 he was playing with a leading jazz band. After the second world war, when Italians were finally able to listen to the latest American music, Trovajoli played with an Italian orchestra at a jazz festival at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, where Miles Davis and Charlie Parker were on the bill.
His professional musical activities were eclectic, beginning with performances as a pianist and composer for the radio. After composing music for Riso Amaro (Bitter Rice, 1949) with Goffredo Petrassi, Trovajoli composed for another box-office hit, Alberto Lattuada's Anna (1951), starring Silvana Mangano as the eponymous nun. In the film, Anna dances a tango and sings Trovajoli's song El Negro Zumbon, which went on to become an international hit in a recording by Amália Rodrigues.
In 1962 Trovajoli was asked to compose the music for a film by the director Pasquale Festa Campanile about the 19th-century Roman popular hero Rugantino. By coincidence, the managers of the Sistina theatre, in Rome, Pietro Garinei and Sandro Giovannini, were also preparing a musical stage comedy about Rugantino. To avoid the clash, it was agreed that Campanile would make his film later, and Garinei and Giovannini were able to engage Trovajoli to write the music for their show. It opened in December 1962 and became an immediate hit. One of the numbers, written in Roman dialect, Roma Nun fa' la Stupida Stasera (Rome Don't Be Stupid This Evening), is still treated by locals as the city's paean. The show was revived many times.
An enthusiastic review in January 1963 was read by two American impresarios who travelled to Rome to see it. One wanted to translate it into English but Garinei and Giovannini accepted the other proposal, which was to bring the show to New York in its original Italian production, with the addition of English surtitles. It turned out to be a success; the two-week scheduled run was extended for a further three weeks.
This was the first of many musical stage comedies that Trovajoli, Garinei and Giovannini did together. In 1965 they made Ciao Rudy, with Marcello Mastroianni taking the role of Rudolph Valentino. His performance won audiences' sympathy but the show was not a great success. A much bigger hit was Aggiungi un Posto a Tavola (Add An Extra Seat at the Table) – though Trovajoli, not a religious man, was embarrassed by the evangelical tone of the show. It would be seen in London in English as Beyond the Rainbow.
Trovajoli is survived by his second wife, Maria Paola, and their son, Giorgio; and a son, Howard, from his marriage to the actor Pier Angeli, which ended in divorce.
(By John Francis Lane from guardian.co.uk)