Composer: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
CD series: Italian Classics
Number of CDs: 1CD
CD status: Available

Title: La leggenda di Fra Diavolo (1962)

Order No .: A 9046
Tracks: 31
Duration: 60:56
Release: 2018

Audio sample:

The twelfth CD album in our Alhambra series with works by the famous Italian composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (1909 – 1987) contains the complete music available here for the first time ever for the historical adventure film LA LEGGENDA DI FRA DIAVOLO, which was made in 1962 but was never shown in Germany, directed by Leopoldo Savona and starring Tony Russel, Haya Harareet, Mario Adorf, Claudia Mori and Amedeo Nazzari. The legendary figure of the Neapolitan bandit leader Fra Diavolo, who in Napoleon’s time at the end of the 18th century first fought in secret but later officially as a colonel against French hegemony in southern Italy, served as an opera and novel as early as the 19th century Template until then in the 20th Century also adopted the medium of film. The almost 2 1/2 hour epic from 1962 also combines the biographical elements with two more or less fictional love stories.

Lavagnino has written a magnificent symphonic adventure score, some of which is almost operatic-like due to the choir passages, and which is particularly impressive from the start thanks to its wonderful main theme. The many romantic sections with the two love themes processed in them know how to please with their subtle elegiac basic tone. In addition, there are thrilling dramatic passages for the battle scenes and atmospheric tracks with a strong focus on color. All in all a lush, varied and colorful score for all friends of classic Italian film music symphony. The original mono tapes that are heard here come from the composer’s estate and were kindly provided to us by his daughters.

Alhambra Records proudly presents on this CD the world premiere release of Angelo Francesco Lavagnino’s complete original score for the 1962 adventure movie LA LEGGENDA DI FRA DIAVOLO which was directed by Leopoldo Savona and starred American actor Tony Russsel as Fra Diavolo besides Haya Harareet, Mario Adorf, Claudia Mori and Amedeo Nazzari in supporting roles. During the end of the 18th century Fra Diavolo had been a famous Neapolitan guerrilla leader who resisted the French occupation of Naples and together with his ruthless gang of bandits fought for the Bourbon Kingdom. His name received legendary status during the 19th century so that he became the subject of an opera by Daniel Auber, of some novels by Alexandre Dumas and in the 20th century also of several movies.

Lavagnino had already tackled the theme of historical brigandage in I BRIGANTI ITALIANI (also available on Alhambra Records) one year before in 1961, but this picture took place more than 60 years later. And even though there may be a few similarities in the approach of the dramatic battle scenes, the FRA DIAVOLO music stands fully on its own as a lavish symphonic work full of fresh and strong themes with splendid instrumentations. The Main Titleimmediately presents the rousing and heroic main theme for full orchestra and male choir accompanied by a galloping rhythm of the snare drums which is a truly fitting march for the Robin Hood-like figure of Fra Diavolo and his indefatigable struggle for freedom and which will recur throughout the score in many variations. For the two women whose characters are so different and who are both in love with Fra Diavolo Lavagnino has composed quite a lot of glowing romantic music which is a pure delight to listen to. Fiamma’s theme is soaring and upwards-stirring whereas the one for the Countess is more tender and introverted and most often has a mournful quality. Besides all these lovely romantic tracks our CD also offers some propulsive action music for the battle scenes as well as some folk music track like for example a lively Neapolitan tarantella dance. We hope that many listeners will enjoy this sumptuous swashbuckling score by one of the masters of this genre.

This exciting CD project – the 12th CD in our Lavagnino series – has only been possible thanks to the generous support of the three daughters of the composer – Bianca, Iudica and Alessandra Lavagnino -, who still had open reel tape copies of the original mono master tapes in their personal archive which we were allowed to use. Our CD edition which contains a 12-page booklet with extensive liner notes and color stills from the movie will be limited to 350 copies.


01. Main Title 1:52
02. Fra Diavolo ́s Father Gets Captured 0:49
03. The Coach 1:47
04. Encounter with the Countess 1:27
05. The Survivors of the Massacre 1:34
06. Fra Diavolo and Fiamma (Love Scene) 1:32
07. Riding Along the River ** 2:14
08. Preparations for the Battle – The Battle 2:50
09. The Bandit ́s Camp 1:40
10. Fra Diavolo Rides Away 0:48
11. The Countess Luisa 3:39
12. Fiamma ́s Jealousy 1:08
13. The Countess Arrives 2:19
14. Reflections – Fiamma Learns the Truth 2:53
15. Napoleon ́s Proclamation – In the Mountains 1:37
16. The Funeral – Fra Diavolo ́s Decision 4:36
17. Gathering of the Bandit Troops 1:52
18. Fiamma Worries About Fra Diavolo – The Bridge 1:23
19. The Countess and Fra Diavolo ́s Child 4:48
20. The French Army Prepares for Battle 1:17
21. Before and After the Battle 2:33
22. Tarantella Dance 2:41
23. On the Run 1:55
24. Fiamma ́s Death 2:03
25. The End of Fra Diavolo 2:11
26. The Legend 1:16

Bonus tracks

27. Calabrisella mia (Folk Song) 1:22
28. Raid on Itri 3:01
29. Colonel Fra Diavolo 0:24
30. Fanfare # 1 0:17
31. Fanfare # 2 0:26

Music Composed by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Conducted by Carlo Savina

** damaged track