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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

BOOK REVIEW - From Beat to Beat - Memoirs of the Man of the Harmonica

From Beat to Beat - Memoirs of the Man of the Harmonica
40 Years of music and cinema as experienced by Franco De Gemini
Beat Records Company BBK 001
Softback 236 pages

Not content with their ever extending catalogue of fine Italian music releases, Beat Records have issued their own Franco De Gemini's memoirs of his 40 years in the business of performing and preserving many fine film scores (and more).
It's a lavishly illustrated little gem of a book, sprinkled with many fascinating photos of De Gemini's family, friends and colleagues, plus of course of the man himself, as well as a lavish section at the end of the book, where full colour reproductions of the covers of many of the Beat album releases over the years can be poured over.
As for the text, well De Gemini's many English speaking fans will be delighted that, save for the "commentaries from friends" section, just before the album cover gallery, the text is given both in Italian and English.
What emerges from the pages of this book is that Franco De Gemini has obviously enjoyed his life, both professionally and personally, and there are many humerous moments retold along the way, not only of his professional encounters with filmmakers and composers, but of his social encounters too, often revolving around good food and drink. It really is an absorbing and highly entertaining read from start to finish, and the author does a great deal to bring to life in the imagination many of the names we have routinely seen on album covers and booklets over the years.
As if the book itself wasn't enough, a bonus 77-minute CD accompanies the book, and features 19 splendid tracks, not only featuring the fine harmonica playing of Franco de Gemini, but highlighting compositions and performances by many of those mentioned in the book. There's something for everyone here - not just film scores, but also some opera and even Mahler - all released on the Beat Records label.
If you are a fan of classic Italian film music, don't delay - order your copy today at and enjoy!


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