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Carlos Franzetti: Modern Tanguero Or Orchestra Master?

Carlos Franzetti

The opening lines of Carlos Franzetti's resume pretty much sum it up:

"Composer/conductor Carlos Franzetti's musical range seems to know no limits. Symphonic and chamber works, big band and Latin jazz and film scores have all been the focus of his vast talent."

The credentials which Mr. Franzetti have collected over his career reflect a musician who moves freely from one genre to another, is easily open to new projects, and one who has an absolute control over the craft of music, allowing him access to recording studios and concert halls throughout South America, the U.S. and Europe. In sum, he has the tools necessary to succeed as a 21st Century musician.

I am reminded of some of the skilled -- yet utilitarian -- composers of Great Britain when I consider the compositional work of Carlos Franzetti. It's not easy to play this role, for one must have mastered the craft in order to say yes to writing a film score, or a ballet, or symphonies and concerti. Confidence must also be there in good measure before taking on tasks such as arranging and orchestrating the music of others, or writing something new and original for unusual combinations of instruments at times. There are many otherwise accomplished musicians who would refuse much of the work Franzetti has undertaken. They are focused upon their own creative muse and can't be bothered with making arrangements for Paquito D'Rivera or Mercedes Sosa. Not so with Carlos Franzetti.

Credit Amazon.com
Carlos Franzetti: Piano Concerto No. 1

A musician has to figure out how to pay the bills, put kids through school and enjoy a vacation now and then. That's where Franzetti's willingness to engage in such a wide range of musical projects comes in handy. And, of course, once such projects are delivered, on time, on budget, the word gets around. With such a track record a composer might be tempted to write only on demand; and indeed, many make careers exactly that way. The risk here is that a musician can become pigeon-holed. Some might be perfectly content with that; we find many a film or television composer living quite well without ever penning a symphony or even an overture.

So how does one reconcile the dictates of the creative muse with the demands of commissions, or assignments? I still remember asking Carlos about this the first time I interviewed him. His reply:

"I sometimes self-commission music. When there is something I really want to write, I simply set aside the time to work on it."

This is likely much easier said than done, especially when the rent is due and you're only half way through that self-commissioned 2nd symphony or 1st piano sonata. On this week's edition of "Itinerarios," I catch up with Carlos Franzetti, get an update on his latest projects, and ask the burning question: Any recent self-commissions?

"Itinerarios" airs every Sunday evening at 7  on KPAC & KTXI. The show also streams online from 7-9 p.m.

James first introduced himself to KPAC listeners at midnight on April 8, 1993, presenting Dvorak's 7th Symphony played by the Cleveland Orchestra. Soon after, he became the regular overnight announcer on KPAC.