Yearly Archives: 2013

Varese Sarabande released my soundtrack for No Place On Earth. Here is a sampling of the reviews it received.
John Piscitello’s emotional score resonates very deeply. The beauty of the approach and exploration of this powerful story make the emotions hit big.

Film Music Media (5/5 stars):

John Piscitello’s score is a masterpiece and for this to come from a composer who is practically getting started is just awe inspiring….This is a score that has true meaning and a real exploration of the human condition behind it. It’s a must listen and an exemplary score that represents the power and meaning of film music.

Film Score Monthly (4/5 stars):

The score is by relative newcomer John Piscitello, who crafts a gorgeous work for strings supported by flutes, horns, harp and piano….The surprising No Place on Earth is a fine score with engaging thematic writing, and the use of a real orchestra lends this documentary feature the kind of depth not often present in this genre.

John Piscitello’s first soundtrack release is an auspicious showcase of his skills in writing themes and dramatic variations for the sensitive docu-drama No Place on Earth…The score was crafted with an appropriate level of sensitivity, avoiding the pitfalls of melodrama and overstating the dire emotions of the film’s subjects, and there are a handful of cues where Piscitello allows for a little lightness.

Film Music Magazine (June Soundtrack Pick):

It’s almost disarming how pleasant John Piscitello’s documentary score is when you think that it’s for a Holocaust movie about Ukrainian Jews who find shelter, and safety from the Holocaust in the bowels of a giant, utterly dark cave. While Piscitello evokes the string-shivering danger of the depths these survivors are reduced to, the main feeling that “Earth” evokes is a hauntingly beautiful nostalgia for a past

Blu-ray.com:

The main use of the surround channels is to give “air” to the restrained, poignant and classical score by John Piscitello.

Paste Magazine:

John Piscitello’s graceful score hits all the right notes, showcasing more melody and timbre than most documentary scores allow for.

Find the No Place On Earth soundtrack on iTunes and Amazon.

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello

About a succinct summary of the history and art of film composing as you’ll find.

Steiner composed 11 other film scores the same year he worked on Gone with the Wind.

James Horner said of his work for Titanic: “I probably wrote all the material in about three hours. The themes literally came to me in 20 minutes.”

On the other hand, John Williams went through 300 versions of the five-note alien greeting from Close Encounters of the Third King before Spielberg was happy.

Those five tones from Close Encounters are embedded in the score, they are heard in the lead-up to the communications sequence. Back up this video a bit to hear them. (By the way, isn’t it lucky the aliens happened to have a tuba player aboard?):

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello
The Short Game will open in 30 theaters this Friday. The kids from the film are appearing on Katie Couric, Jimmy Fallon, and Ellen DeGeneres.

Here are showtimes plus 2 clips below (both happen to include music I wrote for the movie):

The Short Game – Pinehurst

The Short Game – Daddy Caddy

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello

I did a podcast interview with Mark Hasan of Big Head Amusements. Mark has an excellent radio voice, far better than my own. We talked in depth about scoring No Place On Earth and the competitive world of film composers.

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello
John Mansell covers film music, and his site Movie Music Italiano goes deep on classic Euro and Italian movie soundtracks. I did an interview with him about the No Place On Earth soundtrack. He asked excellent questions, so the interview
is a bit of a deep dive.

http://jonman492000.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/john-piscitello/

Here’s “Coming Out” from the soundtrack:

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello
I agree our culture is too loud. Our mobile phones certainly don’t help – you have to raise your voice to be heard on the other end, and earbuds inure us to overloud volumes. I pity this guy:

A year ago, I thought it a brilliant purchase. Especially since a charming, creek-side writer’s cottage was grandfathered into the property…resplendent with trees, meadows and wildflowers.

But then came the insidious waves of hikers and mountain bikers and their incessant, loud chitchat augmented by shouts of encouragement, bike bells and . . . singing.

It started to grate on me. I could not write. Apparently, my next-door neighbor was having a similar problem. The same cadres of von-Trapp-family hikers clomping on the periphery of his lot were also driving him and his dog nuts. Since the hiking trails were not technically on our properties, it seemed there was nothing we could do to stem the tide of annoyingly happy campers.

We should all try and be low talkers.

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello

No Place On Earth is out on DVD and Blu-ray this week (with an updated onesheet). It’s on DVD but you can also get it as a digital download on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

No Place On Earth is a good watch, I promise!  77% on Rotten Tomatoes, Variety called it “A substantial contribution to Holocaust cinema,” and LA Times said “Add one more extraordinary survival tale to the canon of Holocaust documentaries”.

The Playlist

covered the film when into wider theatrical release back in April and ran a clip, which happens to feature the opening cue from the soundtrack, Coming Out, watch it below.

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello
I recently did a Twitter chat with @HBSAlumni. They asked me about leaving Silicon Valley to pursue film scoring, recent projects like No Place On Earth, and my recommendations of favorite film scores (hint: I may have brought up this concert of Ennio Morricone conducting):

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello

Anita Elberse of HBS wrote about how master violinist Joshua Bell was ignored by busy DC Metro commuters and the career lessons for artists.

Here is an account of what happened in the metro (entitled Pearls before Breakfast”):

Anita Elberse describes the importance of a strategy for presenting your work:

Bell’s performance at the metro station was purposefully devoid of any indication that suggested he is, in fact, a superstar worthy of people’s attention. It was the worst marketing strategy imaginable: the wrong location, the wrong time, and (with his street clothes) the wrong image. If the goal had been to attract attention, even a few little adjustments would have gone a long way: picking a place in the station where commuters naturally stand still, placing a banner displaying his name, or hiring a few fans to serve as his cheering section, to name just a few examples. In many ways, everyone who is competing for attention in the workplace needs a strategy, too — even paying attention to seemingly minor details can go a long way.

True that.

Here is more Joshua Bell, this time with proper lighting and microphones, playing Shubert’s Ave Maria:

(The funny thing is – the Metro station video is where he’s been seen the most on YouTube, that has about 3 times the views of his next-biggest video.)

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello

From their review:

Very rarely do you find a new voice amongst the scoring community that stands out above the rest as something truly special. A voice that truly has something to say and isn’t fitting into a mold or pattern. John Piscitello is a voice just like that, and this relatively new composer is making a grand mark with his score to the stirring documentary No Place On Earth.


John Piscitello’s score is a masterpiece and for this to come from a composer who is practically getting started is just awe inspiring. The music feels alive and has a very distinct personality with many sides to it.

Here’s one clip from the soundtrack, “Coming Out”:

Posted 3 years ago by John Piscitello