In Praise Of: Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Most Unconventional Music | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

In Praise Of: Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Most Unconventional Music 

Curb Your Enthusiasm said goodbye this month, with its series finale, after a run lasting nearly 25 years, if one counts back to the initial HBO pilot in 1999. 

It’s one of the funniest TV shows of all time and one of the most influential, and much has been written about its misanthropy, unique humor, and the way the show ties in with Judaism. 

But I want to discuss an underrated aspect of Curb Your Enthusiasm’s appeal: Its music. Ironically, it’s more Italian and tuba-based than you would expect. For such a Jewish show, the music is very gentile, and for such an American show, it’s extremely European.

Everyone knows the opening theme. But were you aware that Curb rotates many pieces of music in its episodes? 

Some examples of Curb’s music, while from varying sources, will likely always be associated with the show.


This is the particularly well-known one that opens and closes each episode. It’s by the Italian composer Luciano Michelini and was written in 1974 for the movie La Bellissima Estate. Larry David has said that he first heard the song in a bank commercial and decided to use it for his own show. 


This song is by another Italian composer, Franco Micalizzi, who did a great deal of his work on spaghetti westerns. The show uses it at varying speeds, depending on the situation. 

“The Puzzle”

This one is also by Micalizzi, and often used on the show for its patented “staring contests.” 

“Clubhouse Capers”

This son, used often on the show, dates back to the ‘90s and is credited only to “Universal Production Music.” 

“Big Top Polka” 

This one, featured in interstitials during many episodes, comes from 1990 and was written by Eric Gemsa, performed along with his Little Street Band. His biography describes Gemsa as “A classical musician composing for library music.”

“Il Circo” 

Also by an Italian composer, Manuel de Sica, the son of The Bicycle Thieves director. This song used more sparingly on the show, came from the 1970 film Le Coppie

“Tango Passionata”

This one, by Piero Umiliani, is just what it sounds like – a “passionate tango.” 

“Toucas Au Vieux”

This song, by Christian Sebasto Toucas, has underscored some of the series’ wackiest moments. And no, “toucas,” at least in this instance, doesn’t mean what you think it does.  

“Moulin Rouge Waltz” 

This one, often used for interstitial scenes and montages, is by Teddy Lasry, who in a switch is French and not Italian.

“Sur les bateaux-mouche”

By Jacques Mercier, also French, this tune is often used for scene transitions. The song was also used in a commercial for A.G. Edwards.

“Slidin’ Steps”

This one isn’t included on most Curb playlists. But composed by yet another Italian, Claudio Mattone, this one scores my favorite scene of the series, with Larry, Richard Lewis, and “sorry about your bird, the good news is, I’m still alive.”

“Mazurka Bastiaise”

This one, by French guitarist Jean Michel Panunzio, is used more sparingly, but often memorably. 

“Spinning Waltz,” or “La donna e una cosa meravigliosa” 

This one, used for transitions, was composed by another Italian movie composter, Piero Piccioni.  

What were some of your favorite music moments from Curb Your Enthusiasm?

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