×

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Music: How the Italian Tuba March Found Its Way to Larry David

When “Curb Your Enthusiasm” returns for its much-anticipated 10th season it does so with it a musical theme that’s a prime example of recognizable sonic branding and has become synonymous with comedy in our complicated times: “Frolic” by composer Luciano Michelini.

But surprisingly, this comic march for tuba, mandolin and piano wasn’t specifically written for the series. Rather, it was composed as a throwaway piece for an obscure Italian film (“La Bellissima Estate aka The Beautiful Summer,” a 1974 melodrama starring Senta Berger), wound up in a music library and was accidentally discovered by comedian-writer Larry David.

In a previous recounting, David spoke of hearing it in a bank commercial. “I love that, where’d they get that from?” he thought at the time. “The commercial ran for a week and I never saw it again. Then I had my assistant research it — it became this whole ordeal to get the name of the bank and the music, and finally she tracked it down. I just put it away for sometime when I would need it.”

When, in 2000, David launched “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” he remembered “Frolic,” and series editor Steve Rasch found it at what was then known as Killer Tracks, a production music library which is now Universal Production Music.

“‘Frolic’ was in a catalog we called the RCA-L library, which was basically Italian film music from BMG,” says Carl Peel, who is now vice president of repertoire and music production at the company. “We were owned by BMG at the time and we rep’d this catalog of old Italian film music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. ‘Frolic’ was on one of those discs.”

Peel provided “Frolic” and “a bunch of music that was related, with the same sort of Italian circus-y vibe,” he added. Much of the music over the series’ past nine seasons, also licensed from Killer Tracks, originated with such Italian composers as Luis Bacalov (“Il Postino”), Armando Trovajoli (“Marriage Italian Style”), Piero Umiliani (“Big Deal on Madonna Street”) and others.

But “Frolic” remains the series’ best-known piece. “It’s one of the most recognizable of our pieces out in the culture,” says Peel. As David noted: “It just sort of introduces the idea that you’re in for something pretty idiotic.”

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” Season 10 premieres Jan. 19 on HBO.

More Music

  • Sir Elton JohnElton John in concert,

    Elton John Cuts Concert Short Due to Walking Pneumonia

    Elton John was forced to cut short a concert in New Zealand after falling ill with walking pneumonia, according to the BBC and multiple news outlets. The singer, who is continuing his multi-year farewell tour, lost his voice mid-way through his set at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday. “I’ve just completely lost my voice. [...]

  • Freestyle Love Supreme review

    'We Are Freestyle Love Supreme': Film Review

    For any Lin-Manuel Miranda fans whose hearts sank almost as quickly as they rose upon hearing that, yes, there’s a “Hamilton” movie, and no, it won’t be out for another 20 months, succor may be on the way in the form of a probably faster-arriving movie that features Miranda in almost as big a role, [...]

  • Roxanne

    'Roxanne' Video Is Arizona Zervas' Homage to '90s Movies 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Trainspotting'

    The video for Arizona Zervas’ viral hit-turned-legit smash “Roxanne” is, in its own way, a trip through ’90s movie history. The clip directed by Nick Jardona and released earlier this week references such classics as 1993’s “Groundhog Day,” 1994’s “Pulp Fiction” and 1996’s “Trainspotting” — in addition to 2003’s “Kill Bill” and 2004’s “50 First [...]

  • Unmasked review

    Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Unmasked': Theater Review

    It takes guts to admit you were wrong — especially when you have been so right, so often. Take composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose successes with  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Sunset Boulevard,” and “School of Rock” have made him a musical-theater uber-Lord. Early on during [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    R. Kelly Hit With New Charges Alleging Sexual Abuse Against a Minor

    R. Kelly has been hit with new federal charges in Chicago, alleging that he sexually abused a minor female for four years, beginning in 1997, according to the Chicago Tribune. The superseding indictment, which was made public Friday, alleged Kelly sexually abused a girl who was identified as “Minor 6.” Kelly is already in prison [...]

  • David Buckley arrives to take part

    'Good Wife' Composer David Buckley to Score 'Unhinged' Starring Russell Crowe

    David Buckley will score the movie “Unhinged” starring Russell Crowe. Directed by Derrick Borte and written by Carl Ellsworth, the Solstice Studios psychological thriller rooted in a story of road rage is the company’s first theatrical release and is slated to open on Sept. 4. It is currently in post-production. Among Buckley’s credits is the [...]

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13:

    Ozzy Osbourne Shares Stories of First Album in 10 Years at SiriusXM Taping

    It’s probably no surprise to anyone that pain continues to inspire Ozzy Osbourne. “Someone told me writers come up with the best stuff when they’re miserable. And I was pretty f–king miserable,” Osbourne said about his upcoming album, “Ordinary Man,” to the 30-plus fans gathered at SiriusXM’s live music space in Hollywood on Feb. 13 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content