Fabio Bertagnolli is a well-studied and consummate composer of concert, film and multimedia music, having created inspiring scores and earning much greatly-deserved credit over the years. Based in New York City, Mr. Bertagnolli has won numerous awards for his musical contributions for films, concert, and multimedia. He was also recognized twice at the American Tracks Music Award Competition, once for “Paradise” a composition for string orchestra which won an award in the Best Music category (“Paradise” was also awarded Bronze at the Global Music Awards), and again for his musical score on the award-winning short film Dedication, which received two awards at the 2017 Top Indie Film Awards for Best Short Documentary and Best Message and was accepted as an official selection at numerous films festivals, including the Views of the World Film Festival in Montreal, Canada, the Equality International Film Festival in Sacramento, California, the Glendale International Film Festival in Glendale, California, the Greenwich Village Film Festival in New York City, and the Ringerike International Youth Film Festival held in Hønefoss, Norway. Mr. Bertagnolli also received an honorable mention at the Indie Gathering Film Scoring Competition for his musical score for the trailer of the 2015 award-winning short film “Roman Citizen”. Recently, his composition “Personality Quartet”, for string quartet, won the 2nd Prize at the prestigious “Central International Composition Competition” 2018, in Malta, a competition that every year attracts composer from all over the world.
Let us zoom in onto “Dedication”, a documentary that Mr. Bertagnolli recently scored. This documentary is the real story of one man’s journey from humble beginnings in India to the bright lights of New York City to fulfill his dream of becoming a working actor. An emotional drama of the realities that immigrants have to face every day in America that seems to be getting more conservative in the new administration. The protagonist of this story is Karan Choudhary, director of the documentary that also plays the role of himself in it.
Music for multimedia can easily fall into the category of simple background music, the kind that you know it’s there but it doesn’t really matter that it is, in fact, sometimes we even fail to notice the music, and sometimes it becomes so distracting, we just want to see our content without it. Bertagnolli’s music is nothing like that, it’s the kind of music that brings tears to your eyes, that puts you in the shoes of the people and characters that you look at, it makes you feel their struggles, their dreams, their fears… it compliments every step and every turn of the story, delivering the right amount of tension and the right amount of relief, bringing you along for the difficult ride and building up to a spectacular fulfillment of the whole composition.
As a dreamer himself, capturing the right atmosphere for every moment could be thought to have been easy for Mr. Bertagnolli, but in truth, it is only through hard work and consistence that mastery is achieved. His music is complex, layered, heartfelt and compromising, it is constructed to perfection and every element was placed and executed masterfully and without anything out of place. It is this kind of craft that blends into the imagery and brings it to life, gives it new meaning, without it, it would be plain.
“Dedication” has yet another aspect to bring to the table, and Mr. Bertagnolli honored and expressed it well. It is not dreams, or goals, but hope itself… that quirky hope that creeps even in the darkest times and plucks a smile out of you. There is not a single piece that conveys despair or difficulty without it having that ray of happiness, that sound of motivation and determination that creates such a good setting for a story as inspiring as this.
Mr. Bertagnolli is so understanding of music in general, that even the pieces created to accompany India, which is where it all began in “Dedication”, feel familiar and delicate, unlike instances of music made by people foreign to a place that ends up being messy, forced, or what the composer thinks a place sounds like, based on his or her pre-conceived ideas. He shifts from such a far place, India, to his familiar NYC seamlessly, the work and the level of polish and detail put into these tracks truly is outstanding and relatable for everyone in every of the settings, be it India or New York. It is this effort to create something that is full of class and relevance that is worth the mention above all else, as this composer truly achieved working with the theme, the places, the feelings and the reactions altogether in harmony.
The whole composition is crafted with certain situations and timing in mind, as you would expect from music that supports a narrative. The first track Dedication’s “Main Theme” is a mild opening, alluding to dreams in their youngest form, the beginning of it all, soft and uplifting. “Karan Auditioning” is the most cheerful of the bunch, setting the scene for a yearning opportunity to be taken, with nervousness and expectations of success imprinted all over it. Following up, “India”, which is the most adventurous one by Mr. Bertagnolli, as said before, it’s exotic and it does portray well the setting, without being cheesy or over the top, the subtle hints of Bollywood instrumentals are used sparingly and in harmony with the rest of the classical sounds, it is classy and it stands out on its own from the rest.
The middle of the plot is first accompanied by “Train”, building up excitement and speaking on its own about dealing with hardships and overcoming them, it is music of ideas and resolutions, hopeful and enlightening. “Karan Salesman of the Month” is a composition of success, a rewarding piece for the center of this story. “Searching Online” is brief and bubbly, transitioning into the final part of this wonderful adventure.
“Finally NYC” is the kind of big and majestic composition that accompanies our moments of realization of goals, after scores that were much more subdued, this track is celebratory and more of a protagonist. “Every Day is a new Day” corresponds to the nostalgia of having come all this way through music and imagery, and gives way to “Never Give Up”, leaving aside the humility of the beginning and its contrasting grandiosity in the end to get the message across, which is the sole purpose of the effort of this composer and everyone involved in the creation of “Dedication”. It’s a finishing touch of determination and encouragement, wrapping everything up into a well-timed composition that travels along the story, not against it, not faster than it, almost blending too well for you to notice the different parts that comprise it.
Fabio Bertagnolli is on par with big film and media composers, having the sensibility and the mastery of everything he does, creating successful scores and evoking all kinds of feelings perfectly. His studies and his dedication show through his passion and work.