Friends, a little over a week ago we lost Carl Reiner and now we have the unfortunate task to pass along the news that another legendary artist has passed away – as it has been confirmed that Ennio Morricone has died today. I accept that 91 years is indeed a long life and it cannot be denied that Morricone has left behind a truly staggering amount of music in film and television as a legacy that will be hard pressed to ever be matched – with 520 credits as a composer and his work used in over 300 soundtracks. But as I said in the article about Carl Reiner – I’m just not ready to say goodbye to someone I have admired for so many years – in this case a man who has delivered so many memorable film scores that I hold dear. Taking a quick glance at his IMDB page before I sat down to write this article – he had two projects from this year, an episode of a TV Mini-Series entitled Cine Chalom and a short film called On the Road with a future project, an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost listed as being in pre-production. I think it would be fair to say he was quite the prolific composer and before I get into paying my respects to Ennio Morricone I am going to share this trailer for the 2017 documentary Sad Hill Unearthed – which is about rebuilding the cemetery used in the The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – a powerful testament to the love of film and one you can watch on Netflix this very minute.
Ennio Morricone got his start scoring films and theatrical productions in ’55 – this was after he had a career as a trumpet player in various jazz bands. I have read online that his early work as a composer was as a ghost writer for other artists or by using pseudonyms on his music. I feel it would safe to say that he earned worldwide acclaim thanks to his work with Director Sergio Leone – the ‘spaghetti westerns’ starring Clint Eastwood as The Man with No Name.
I am going to do something a little different in this article – to honor the passing of Ennio Morricone I am going to present a handful of my favorite pieces of the numerous scores he worked on over the years. Starting off with The Ecstasy of Gold from The Good, the Bad and The Ugly – the third and final entry in the Dollars Trilogy.
Another one of my favorite soundtracks that Ennio Morricone composed is for Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables from 1987. This soundtrack was one of the very first I bought with the money I earned during the days working at a local video store in my youth – and many a night I would fall asleep listening to it.
While many of my favorite scores that Morricone created had a tendency to be uplifting or in some cases soothing to sit and listen to – his soundtrack however for John Carpenter’s The Thing from 1982 is anything but that – especially the track entitled Humanity (Pt. 2)!
I am going to end this article with a sampling of the score for Cinema Paradiso – it is the one Morricone soundtracks that ALWAYS causes me to cry when I sit and listen to the score. A score that is a fitting testament to the talent and passion for film and music that Ennio Morricone obviously possessed – a film that I believe I will watch this very evening to pay my respects.