Associated with director Brian de Palma with whom he has worked several times, Pino Donaggio has as a result written much music in the horror and suspense genres. Listening to it you will hear the influence of Bernard Herrmann just as much as you will see Alfred Hitchcock's influence in the director's work. Yet Donaggio's music also includes an element from modern pop culture perhaps in keeping with the cast of and intended audience for some of these films. This mix of classical film score and popular music is not surprising given the composer's background. Giuseppe (or "Pino") Donaggio learned to play the violin at a young age and received a classical music education. He then discovered rock and roll, and pursued a career as a singer-songwriter. His biggest hit in that capacity was the song "Io che non vivo", and its English version "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" was recorded successfully by Dusty Springfield and Elvis Presley in the 1960s.
His first film score was "Don't Look Now" in 1973, an Anglo-Italian production for director Nicolas Roeg, and this was followed by a string of movies in Italy and elsewhere. Some films gave Donnaggio the opportunity to use his song-writing skills, "Carrie" for example in 1976 featured the songs "Born to Have It All" and "I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me" co-written with Merrit Malloy and performed on the soundtrack by Katie Irving. "Carrie" was the first of several films with Brian de Palma and the pair worked together on "Home Movies", "Dressed to Kill", "Blow Out", "Body Double" and "Raising Cain". The composer also worked with director Joe Dante on "Piranha" and "The Howling". The soundtrack to "The Howling" was for many years not available on CD and an online campaign was started to gather support for its release. Although the online petition still exists on the website without comment, it looks very much as though the campaign was successful as a soundtrack CD was released in 2005, digitally remastered from the original album master tapes. If you are looking for this score on CD then try the following links for availability: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
In 1985 Pino Donaggio created a score for the movie "Ordeal by Innocence" starring Donald Sutherland and based on an Agatha Christie novel. However the studio were not satisfied with the film and it was substantial re-edited and revised with some new footage added. The changes were so substantial that the film needed to be rescored. However by this time Donaggio was no longer available due to other commitments on another movie. Controversially the filmmakers used existing music by jazz legend Dave Brubeck which they re-recorded for the film, though the result is widely thought to be less than satisfactory as film music, due to the conflicting emotional tone of the chosen tracks. However the original Pino Donaggio score has now been released on CD - though a limited edition, it may be available from time to time at these links on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Since the mid-1980 Donaggio has composed for many television productions in Italy and elsewhere including "Do You Like Hitchcock?", a 2005 TV movie by Dario Argento. The story has lots of references to Hitchcock film plots, and gave Donaggio the perfect opportunity to pay homage to Hitchcock movie scores especially the work of Bernard Herrmann. To many Pino Donaggio will invariably be associated with horror and suspense movies and it has to be said that there are many in those genres. However it should be recognised that the composer has scored films such as the Romantic Dramas "A Fine Romance" (with Julie Andrews) and "Up At the Villa" (with Kirstin Scott Thomas), some comedies ("Home Movies" and "Cosi Fan Tutti"), the Disney family movie "Tex", the muscular Fantasy "Hercules", the action thiller "The Order", and most recently the historical drama "Winter in Wartime".
The soundtrack to "Do You Like Hitchcock?" is to be released by Quartet Records including an unused track called "Homage to Hitchcock" (see the CD cover above).
Some of Donaggio's soundtracks are relatively rare but here are links to the main ones where you can check on availability:
Here are some CD covers signed by Pino Donaggio with a small hand-written notation sample. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click any thumbnail below to see the image full size in a separate window.