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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Influences and inspirations Part 7 - (Ennio Morricone)

I couldn't imagine compiling a list of musicians who have influenced and inspired me without including the brilliantly original and unique film composer Ennio Morricone. No other composer in my opinion has put a more personal signature to movie scores as Morricone has. When I hear a score of his I automatically know it's him. That's pretty unusual. Usually the first rule of film scoring is that the music should not distract the audience from what's happening on screen. The music has to almost be ambiguous sometimes. It is meant to enhance and sometimes direct but never distract. Composers will put their own stamp on the music but not too much in fear of making it more about themselves as composers than the scene. We hear John Williams or Bernard Herrmann or Max Steiner or Howard Shore and we know it's them but not as obviously as we can pick out Ennio Morricone, but he makes it work. He's not afraid to add instruments and noises to his scores that have absolutely nothing to do with the scene or the time frame of the movie.

His score to Sergio Leone's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" is full of chants, vocalizing themes, and even surf guitar. I know for a fact that Leo Fender hadn't created the Stratocaster back in the cowboy era of the 1850's to 1880's. It's a brilliant score and works so well with the film. The sound track to the movie was actually inducted into the Grammy hall of fame in 2009.




The score to Brian DePalma's "The Untouchables" is a brilliantly crafted score which portrays Prohibition era Chicago perfectly. The score also has the Ennio Morricone flute and haunting harmonica used in many of his movies which is definitely a personal signature and works so well.




The score to "The Mission", Roland Joffe's beautiful yet achingly painful look at the missionaries in South America during the Spanish Portuguese war of 1776/1777, is in my opinion one of the most beautiful crafted scores ever written. It is haunting, beautiful, sad, majestic, compassionate and definitely Morricone.


I have to include the score to a great film by Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore called "Cinema Paradiso". Again this score accompany's the dramatic arc of the film perfectly but after one note you know it's Ennio Morricone.





There are far too many films that have had the luxury of being scored by Ennio Morricone to include in this post but they are all worth watching and of course listening to.

Ennio Morricone was finally awarded an Oscar for Best Original Score for Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight"in 2016. Hard to believe that it's taken this long to award one of cinema's most original music craftsman. He did receive an Honorary Academy Award for his achievements in the field in 2007.


That's all for now,
SB