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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

cascostephen
Ennio et Yo-Yo ont fait la musique la plus belle ! Je l'aime
The ecstasy of gold.... beautiful composition!
I never knew who wrote song!
babuon
Where is Cinema Paradiso - wonderful score.
vrgp
What a genius ! Love all of his music. I wish he does more and more !!!
Beautiful... . s o peaceful��
jantramontan o
He is the most beautiful composer. His movie scores stay with you. They define the essence of their stories
Morricone,e tra i migliori colonasonori s t i dell mondo!
bcfan1972
Excellent film & music score.
There are no words for this....just . . . a h h h . . . . a m a z i n g , beautiful, gorgeous.... . R I P Tuco
John Williams is the most famous in America maybe, but Morricone would be worldwide -- and far more prolific.
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.
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
Hes amazing!! I love the good, the bad and the ugly!! RIP mr. Eli
If you look in the vocabulary a best of the best is name appears
dmahlm
I would agree he is the most famous film composer. Can you name anyone who even comes close to Morricone
bcfan1972
The good old days of Clint Eastwood westerns!
It's the ocean like music ...
bwahl_chesta
Fantastic!!! !
alcoursey
Yes, he's good. Yes, he's prolific. But the most famous film composer of the 20th century? Good grief, what a ridiculous claim. Are these bios not edited?
The Mission, wow what a film score.
People need to listen more music like this....
World would be a better place to live.....
Adorable,Unf o r g e t a b l e . . . . . . U n t o u c h a b l e . . . . . . . .
A true maestro. The best composer of the 20th century in my opinion.
This song is so rexaling
dean786
To jorfe27: The spelling is Chi Mai. To add to Pandora, look for your station and click on Add Variety then type in Chi Mai (several different artists come up. You can also find the song on YouTube by searching Chi Mai by Ennio Morricone. Happy Listening
The soundtrack he did for The Untouchables is probably one of my all time favorites.
Chai Mai (sp?) I am new in using this service.Does anyone knows how to find and play this Morricone's track (Chai Mai) here?
roboriandasu b e r w a l t i g e n d
Yo-Yo Ma and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra are both similar artists...
I'm curious, how did it the slang term come about?
dodea48
the instrument is called a Mouth Harp. Jew's harp is anti-Semitic slang.
Love this song
johjoh
vala
recreologist
if you dance to this song u will get killed by the grim reaper
I love Ennio Morricone's compositions . Beautiful, engaging, everlasting. True genius.
This is absolutely beautiful!
This is a beautiful tune. I particularly like Pat Metheny's version on Beyond the Missouri Sky.
if you like Yo Yo Ma half as much as you like Ennio Morricone you really need to buy the cd of Yo Yo Ma playing Morricone's music (with orchestra in the background.) . I call that cd "Chocolate and Peanut Butter" because they are a perfect combination, just like Morricone and Yo Yo Make!
Oh my! That is beautiful. I am resonating with it.
adds dimension to a musical score
If this doesn't give you goose bumps every time you hear it check your pulse, because your probably already dead!
Why does the 1st theme not play all the way through..the r e is a beautiful lady's voice that you don't even hear.. very disappointin g ! !
Good stuff, deep music! Luv it!
gbreakwell
flfemflier i fear you have little knowledge of true movie music
loudend
Music evokes sunsets, sunrises, rustlers, gentlemen devoted to animal husbandry, and babes wearing leather chaps. Has Ennio ever walked on land east of L.A. or west of St. Louis ?
This here is true music. It gives you the feel of the old west without seeing anything. It is a story playing in your head with every instrument.
mwh251
Now that is a real artist. Captures your thoughts without words, and causes your mind to run wild.
flfemflier
What absurd, hyperbolic PR flack bullshit. A great composer, certainly... L O V E his action themes... but far, FAR from probably the most famous film composer of the 20th century. Hardly anyone outside Italy or the industry has ever heard of him and you rank him ahead of Mancini and John Williams and Hermann and Barry and Jarre and the Bernsteins and Zimmer (OK, he's also 21st)? Get real.
Don't read this because it actually works.You will get kissed on the nearest possible friday by the love of your life. However if you do not post this comment on at-least 3 songs you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary. Put this at-least 5 songs in at-least 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
The good the bad and the ugly
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