Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ennio Morricone - Maestro

Ennio Morricone is probably the most well known film composer of the last 40 years. If he isn't he should be. Morricone has scored over 500 films (according to imdb) in every genre imaginable while incorporating classical, pop, rock, jazz, folk, electronic music, avant-garde elements and sound effects into one of the most prolific, eclectic and unique catalogs of work by any musician in the world. He also writes classical music as well.

His most famous work is, of course, the spaghetti western soundtracks he did in the 1960's, especially the famous Man With No Name trilogy directed by Sergio Leone and starring the former mayor of Carmel. No doubt his most well known single piece of music is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly main title theme featuring twangy guitar, whistling, thundering drums, percussion and a chorus of vocalists wailing away like howling coyotes. Hugo Montenegro had a big hit with a cover version of the song in the 60's. The westerns however, are just a small, but crucial part of his work.

Along with many other people I think he is brilliant as well as the best and most original film composer ever. He is still going strong heading towards 80 and even worked on Morrisey's newest album Ringleader Of The Tormentors. He doesn't appear to be a musical snob or else he just does things for the dough. But I highly doubt it. I don't think he does anything or works with anyone he doesn't want to.

Here are a couple of tunes that show the range he has. The first is probably my favorite track of his that is a slow building and powerful orchestral piece from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly called The Ecstasy Of Gold (play it loud) which works perfectly in the film. Here is the strange and quirky pop/rock tune called Magic & Ecstasy from the Exorcist 2 soundtrack. Maybe Linda Blair did the Pony to this one?

You can buy them here or here.

Or you can look for the Anthology A Fistful Of Film Music put out by Rhino Records which is now out of print. But it is really good and covers quite a bit of his music in two cd's.

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