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Luis Bacalov
Bacalov in 2014
Luis Enríquez Bacalov

(1933-08-30)30 August 1933
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died15 November 2017(2017-11-15) (aged 84)
Rome, Italy
OccupationFilm score composer

Luis Enríquez Bacalov (30 August 1933 – 15 November 2017) was an Argentine-born film composer. He learned music from Enrique Barenboim, father of Daniel Barenboim - conductor of the Berlin and Chicago orchestras, and from Berta Sujovolsky.[1] He ventured into music for the cinema, and composed scores for Spaghetti Western films. In the early 1970s he collaborated with Italian progressive rock bands. Bacalov was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, winning it in 1996 for Il Postino.[2] Bacalov composed significant works for chorus and orchestra. Before his death, he was the artistic director of the Orchestra della Magna Grecia in Taranto, Italy.[3]

Life and career

Luis Bacalov was born in Buenos Aires to a family of Bulgarian Jewish origin. He identified as a Jew but did not practice Judaism.[4][5][6] His paternal grandparents were Banat Bulgarians who emigrated to Argentina.[7] His film credits include westerns such as Django, A Bullet for the General, and The Grand Duel, and Italian crime films such as Caliber 9, Il Boss and Mister Scarface. He also scored Fellini's City of Women in 1980.

Bacalov was nominated twice for Academy Award for Original Score—music adaptation or treatment— in 1967 for Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew, and won the award for Il Postino in 1996.

In the early 1970s, he collaborated with Italian progressive rock bands such as New Trolls, on their 1971 album, Concerto grosso per i New Trolls,[8] Osanna, on the band's second album, Preludio Tema Variazioni e Canzona released in 1972,[9] and Il Rovescio della Medaglia for the 1973 release of their third album, Contaminazione.[10]

Bacalov composed significant works for chorus and orchestra, including Misa Tango (1997), a work that set a Spanish-language adaptation of the classic liturgical Mass to the tango rhythms of his native Argentina. The standard Mass text was significantly truncated in accordance with Bacalov's desire that the work appeal to all Abrahamic faiths: Christians, Muslims and Jews.[6] All references to Christ — except for the Lamb of God (Latin: Agnus Dei) — have been deleted. Credo, the third and longest text part of a sung Mass, has been reduced to most of its first strophe and part of the second one: "Credo in unum Deum, ... omnipotentem, factorem cœli et terrae." (" I believe in one God, ... Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth") plus "Amen" at the end. Misa Tango debuted in Rome with Plácido Domingo as solo tenor in 2000 and was later recorded by Deutsche Grammophon with Plácido Domingo (tenor), Ana María Martínez (mezzo-soprano) and Héctor Ulises Passarella (bandoneón). Its first US performance was on 19 May 2002 at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre (William E. Thomas, Music Director).

Bacalov composed Cantones de Nuestro Tiempos (Psalms for our Times: The Cambridge Psalms) (2006), a commissioned work with text from the Psalms of David for baritone and soprano soloists, orchestra and chorus. It had its world premiere in spring 2006, also at Sanders Theatre, performed by the Cambridge Community Chorus (William E. Thomas, Music Director).

Two of his songs, "The Grand Duel (Parte Prima)" and "The Summertime Killer", were used in Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill (2003). Tarantino also used three Bacalov songs from the Spaghetti western era in his 2012 movie Django Unchained: "Django" and "La Corsa (2nd Version)" originally from Django (1966), and "Lo Chiamavano King" from His Name Was King.

Bacalov was the first to write a triple-concerto for bandoneón, piano, soprano and symphony orchestra: Tango Music with Symphonic Proportions.

From 2005 to his death, he was the principal director of Orchestra della Magna Grecia in Taranto, southern Italy.[11] He was considered a brilliant pianist throughout his life.[12] He died in Rome from an ischemic stroke on 15 November 2017 at the age of 84.[13]

Selected filmography


Studio albums

Extended plays



  1. ^ "Luis Bacalov". Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  2. ^ "The 1996 Oscar Winners". Associated Press via the New York Times. 27 March 1996. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Bacalov: "Più attenzione per l'orchestra ICO della Magna Grecia"" [Bacalov: "More care for the Orchestra ICO della Magna Grecia"] (in Italian). 7 July 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  4. ^ Luis Bacalov, la vuelta al pago (Interview with Luis Bacalov)
  5. ^ Luis Bacalov: 'Io, musicista ebreo affascinato da Cristo' Archived 31 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b Italian television, TG2 Mizar, 08.09.2014, La musica, il cinema e materia: Il vangelo secondo PPP vis(su)to da Luis E. Bacalov Archived 18 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine (The Gospels according to Pier Paolo Pasolini seen and lived by Luis E. Bacalov), at 00:10:35. See also Giuseppina Manin, Bacalov in concerto, il tango diventa una messa in Corriere della sera, 1 October 2000, p. 35.
  7. ^ Moskov, Nikolay (1 February 2013). "The composer of Django Unchained – a Banat Bulgarian". 24 Chasa (in Bulgarian). Sofia: VGB. Archived from the original on 11 May 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  8. ^ New Trolls.
  9. ^ Osanna.
  10. ^ Il Rovescio della Medaglia.
  11. ^ "L'Orchestra" (in Italian). Orchestra della Magna Grecia. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  12. ^ 88 notes pour piano solo, Jean-Pierre Thiollet, Neva Editions, 2015, p 249. ISBN 978-2-3505-5192-0
  13. ^ Il Mattino (15 November 2017). "Morto a 84 anni il premio Oscar Bacalov. Firmò le musiche de "Il postino" per Troisi". Retrieved 15 November 2017.

Luis Bacalov official site