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Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone is probably the most famous film composer of the 20th century. He is also one of the most prolific composers working in any medium. No exact figure is available, but he's scored several hundred films over the past several decades, perhaps as many as 500. While these have been in almost every imaginable musical style (and for almost every imaginable kind of movie), he is most identified with the "spaghetti Western" style of soundtracks, which he pioneered when providing the musical backdrop for the films of director Sergio Leone. Morricone's palette is extraordinarily diverse, drawing from classical, jazz, pop, rock, electronic, avant-garde, and Italian music, among other styles. Esteemed by such important figures in modern music as John Zorn (not to mention contemporary directors like Martin Scorsese), he is increasingly placed among not just the finest soundtrack composers, but the most important contemporary composers of any sort.

Morricone began studying music at Rome's Conservatory of Santa Cecilia at the age of 12. Urged to concentrate on composition by his instructors, he supported himself by playing trumpet in jazz bands, and then worked for Italy's national radio network after graduating from the conservatory. He didn't begin scoring films until the early '60s, and didn't begin attracting international notice until he began collaborating with Leone, starting with A Fistful of Dollars in the mid-'60s. (Morricone had previously worked on other Italian Westerns with other directors.)

The spaghetti Westerns only comprised a phase of Morricone's career, but for many his work in this field remains his best and most innovative. Morricone amplified the film's plots and drama through ingenious use of diverse arrangements and instrumentation. Jew's harps, dissonant harmonicas, dancing piccolos, bombastic church organs, eerie whistling, thundering trumpets, oddly sung gunfighter ballads, and ghostly vocal choruses -- all became trademarks of the Morricone-Leone productions, then of the spaghetti Western genre as a whole. The influence of rock & roll was felt in the low, ominous twanging guitars, which reflected (intentionally or unintentionally) the sound of contemporary recordings by the Ventures, Duane Eddy, the Shadows, and John Barry. Morricone's most famous composition, the theme to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, made number two in the U.S. when it was covered by Hugo Montenegro.

Even while he was busy with collaborations with Leone, Morricone found time for various other film projects, such as the agitprop classic Battle of Algiers and Burn! By the 1970s, Morricone was winding down his involvement with both Leone and the spaghetti Western, working with numerous other directors all over the world. Grand orchestration and memorable motifs were commonplace in Morricone's work; Warren Beatty, for instance, once told the Los Angeles Times that "there's nobody better than Ennio to create a haunting theme." His scores also began to utilize more contemporary electronic influences, with mixed results.

Age has not slowed Morricone in the least. In fact, the 1980s, '90s, and 2000s saw his commercial success and widespread recognition at an all-time peak. He garnered an Academy Award nomination for The Mission in 1986. He worked for such top directors as Pedro Almodovar, Brian DePalma, Roman Polanski, Mike Nichols, Oliver Stone, and Barry Levinson. Cinema Paradiso is probably the most renowned of his recent scores.

With such an abundance of recordings, collecting Morricone remains a daunting proposition. It's doubtful that anyone will collect all of his soundtracks under one roof; after all, the composer himself doesn't even remember how many films he's worked on. RCA's The Legendary Italian Westerns, Virgin's two Film Music volumes, and Rhino's Anthology are useful collections, and the DRG label has reissued other noteworthy compilations of his work. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Title: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, film score

Comments

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True story telling done so very well through many instruments simply making nonsensical sounds. Like strings laying about being finely woven into something beautiful.
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The good bad and ugly one of the best films ever made
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A true master composer
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Greatest 7 minutes of a movie f**kin ever..miss you pop. .
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Epic
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Highest rating.

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One of the great melodies EVER!
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smichels4
Love the music from John Carpenter's The Thing.
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Poll: Morricone good composer full stop
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Poll: Morricone good composer.
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I agree with @MartyvH. I am not aware that President Obama has taken any public position regarding Ennio Morricone.
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@michaelback e r 9 7 Off topic. It's all about Mr Morricone.
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This music reminds me that there is much more to life than is apparent.
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Mr. Morricone is one of the greatest composers of our time. His music is akways new and inspiring, refeshing and healing.
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gotta love it !!!
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As only a pilot who loves Western instrumental s as much as I love my traditional country music/bluegr a s s , I have a rather eclectic taste in music! I have always loved the theme from "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!"
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amcmahon88
As a lifelong musician, I hold Ennio Morricone in the highest regard as one of the 3 most gifted composers of the 20th century. Joined in company by George Gershwin and John Williams, he is just brilliant!
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ruchiewo01
Can't get better than this.
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I've been an Ennio Morricone film since the '60s. He is a genius. From Fist Full of Dollars and The Good, the Bad, The Ugly to The Mission and La Califf. his two most beautiful scores. His is one works, that if it were available, I would own them all. No one grasps the sense of the scene and the air as does Morricone - sometimes you can just taste it.
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The Movie Once Upon a Time in America Robert DeNiro
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+Follow this artist: http://www.p a n d o r a . c o m / h u g o - v a z q u e z
on Pandora
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Who is the oboist?
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bjragan1937
fabulous!
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The Mission - hands down brilliant - unearthly beauty and power
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one of my favorite western movies
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uni143
What a present encounter! Once upon a time in the west!
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uni143
it's from on upon a time in the west I really like this one!
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Viva MORRICONE !
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pass the cheese
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mbennett0601
Love this song, from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
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jose20gt
uuuuuffff this song is a love!
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jose20gt
uuuuuffff this song is a love!
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cascostephen
Ennio et Yo-Yo ont fait la musique la plus belle ! Je l'aime
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The ecstasy of gold.... beautiful composition!
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I never knew who wrote song!
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babuon
Where is Cinema Paradiso - wonderful score.
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vrgp
What a genius ! Love all of his music. I wish he does more and more !!!
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Beautiful... . s o peaceful��
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jantramontan o
He is the most beautiful composer. His movie scores stay with you. They define the essence of their stories
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Morricone,e tra i migliori colonasonori s t i dell mondo!
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Excellent film & music score.
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There are no words for this....just . . . a h h h . . . . a m a z i n g , beautiful, gorgeous.... . R I P Tuco
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John Williams is the most famous in America maybe, but Morricone would be worldwide -- and far more prolific.
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I'm not sure who wrote this - but I would say John Williams would be the most famous film composer. However, Morricone was gifted in many ways.
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I love this the music is beautiful. Jehovah's creation of us has so many talents hidden within us we never knew but some who use for instance like this artist makes u appreciate being able to enjoy life at some point for a purpose and not on purpose to be deviant and evil. I love music and respect it. It's how I control my days since I was a young girl
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Hes amazing!! I love the good, the bad and the ugly!! RIP mr. Eli
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If you look in the vocabulary a best of the best is name appears
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dmahlm
I would agree he is the most famous film composer. Can you name anyone who even comes close to Morricone
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The good old days of Clint Eastwood westerns!
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It's the ocean like music ...
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