Without music, life would be a mistake. Friedrich Nietzsche
‘Library Music’ is a vast catalogue of Italian records made mainly in the 1960s and 1970s by some of the finest musicians in the country, with Rome and Milan the centres of this exciting scene. Generally commissioned by RAI, Italy’s state broadcaster, musicians of the calibre of Piero Piccioni, Egisto Macchi, Alessandro Alessandroni – to mention a few – were hired to score background music to accompany TV shows, advertisements, and documentaries.
Although this phenomenon began life as generic soundtrack music, it was the genesis of a fertile music scene. Many of the musicians carried on their careers outside RAI, pursuing different styles, breaking new borders, forging a peculiar spaghetti western or polizziescogroove. Or like Ennio Morricone achieving worldwide recognition for scoring soundtracks like Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966).
This Italian Library — while sometimes referred to as obscure — encompassed avant-garde composition, classical harmony, psychedelia, and funk with brash horns, guitars, and futuristic synths prominent. It was a fertile ground for experimentation and creativity, strongly influenced by the social, economic and political dynamics of that epoch.