Alberto Sordi

Alberto Sordi

The congeniality, irony, versatility and above all, the ability to best represent the vices and virtues of the national character have made Alberto Sordi the icon, par excellence, of the average Italian. Actor, but also director, showman, voice actor and radio voice, Sordi also wrote and sang his own songs. Endowed with a bass timbre that he was able to exploit intelligently and sarcastically, he left numerous recordings behind, some associated with his films, but most of them related to his beginnings in the world of entertainment. Son of Pietro, bass tuba at the Opera House, as a child he sang in the choir of treble voices at the Sistine Chapel (directed by the great composer Lorenzo Perosi). At 17, he won a competition as a voice actor for Oliver Hardy (Ollio) and with that mischievousness, he sang Guardo gli asini (che volano nel ciel), to the aria A Zonzo. In the 1950s, he recorded several 45 rpms that hovered between a warm-up stage act and the new cabaret, including Nonnetta (from the film Mamma mia che impressione, which he also produced, and wrote the script and screenplay for with Cesare Zavattini), and Il bimbo (che non conobbe infanzia), "proto-demented" songs that overturned the tear-jerking clichés of the time: they begin with abundant strings and choruses, mocking facile sentimentality to the rhythm of the mambo, rumba and rock'n'roll. One of Sordi’s singing habits was to zero in on "Nordic-style" voices, very rooted in the time when the productive heart of the RAI was divided between Turin and Milan: the double consonants are cut in half (noneta, dona, fanciula), "emozion, apparizion" become "emosion, aparision"... For the centenary of his birth (June 15, 1920) we have selected songs from the early period and other great hits (Ma 'ndo Hawaii, with Monica Vitti), Caroselli and lyrical arias, preceded by the samba of Piero Piccioni which was (also) the theme song for the successful television broadcast Storia di un italiano.