I’m not an expert when it comes to music, or composing. But, I do know a thing or two about film – which would be expected, when my website is called Joe Blogs Film. There are thousands of factors that go into making a good or great film, and composing is up there with acting, directing and writing as the make-or-breaks. A film with a bad score is doomed, but a film with a world-class score has the potential to go down as one of the greatest in history. This is what happened with more than a few films that Ennio Morricone was involved with.
A frequent collaborator of the legendary director Sergio Leone, Morricone rose to prominence within the Western genre, and expanded in time to cover Drama, Action, Horror, and even Shakespeare, with Hamlet (1990).
Tributes have being pouring in for the late composer, and he recieved praise this week from other musical icons, most notably from Hans Zimmer, who cited Morricone as one of the main composers that influenced him to follow that career path. Additionally, Morricone was that much of a Hollywood icon, that in 2007, an album was released called We all Love Ennio Morricone, with covers of his most popular compositions from artists including Celine Dion, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Andrea Bocelli and Quincy Jones. So, who am I in comparison to these musical greats? Joe Blogs. Literally. So, instead of writing a touching tribute to an icon that I, like other film buffs, absolutely adore, I’m just going to list a few of my favourite songs of his below.
The Ecstacy of Gold – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Although The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is most famous for it’s iconic opening theme – you know, the one in literally every stand-off spoof ever – this song is nothing other than absolutely beautiful, and displays the sheer talent that Morricone had.
Gabriel’s Theme – The Mission (1986)
You may have heard this song in “study” soundtracks, meditation soundtracks, or covered by Yo-Yo Ma. This piece is stunning, so utterly serene and calming, and it speaks volumes that this score was nominated for an Academy Award.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Shamefully, this is the only film on the list that I haven’t seen, and I don’t have a good excuse as to why. I suppose when I finally do, this theme that I have embedded into my memory will enhance my experience tenfold.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Can you see that there was a theme here, once upon a time? This Sergio Leone classic comes in at nearly four hours running-time. It’s a long watch, and the music seems to evolve alongside the protagonist, David “Noodles” Aaronson (Robert De Niro), creating a strangely immersive experience.
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Main Theme (1966)
Did you really think I was going to miss this one out?
Rest in Peace, Maestro.