Composers Ennio Morricone Photo By Olivier Strecker Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Published on January 18th, 2010 | by Yellow Magpie


Ennio Morricone: The Greatest Composer The World Has Ever Known

Ennio Morricone Photo By Olivier Strecker Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Some of us have different concepts that we use to describe the experience of listening to music. We choose to use intellectual equations and formulas to ascertain the perfect musical score. The sumptuous blend of bass, treble and rhythm all working together to give us something unique, something remarkable, something unmatched. Ennio Morricone is a master of using the right notes at the right time.

Ennio Morricone Photo By Georges Biard Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Ennio Morricone Photo By Georges Biard Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

There are those amongst us who offer the view that music is an intellectual pursuit, a governance of finely honed mastery which has arisen out of a complete understanding of the inner workings of musical composition. While this may appear to be true, ultimately it is false.
Music is a simple concept that betrays our humanity. For if music is one thing, it is this – emotion. Music is the raw power and passion that can strip a grown man bare and reduce him to joyous weeping. Those who really understand music truly know that music is not comprehension, there is nothing to be gained from understanding. Music is an experience.

Ennio Morricone: Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)

Formulists may cite the intricacies of Mozart, the power of Rachmaninoff and the romanticism of Tchaikovsky and each position their chosen representative for the crown of ‘Greatest Composer’. However, they would all be wrong. For amongst these great pantheons of melody-makers rests someone living amidst us who we are all familiar with on some level.

Ennio Morricone is the greatest composer the world has ever known. While music can use many subtleties to produce its effects, there should be no subtleties in how it affects. Music should hit you with the emotional impact of a juggernaut. Anything less is failure. If music doesn’t affect your heartstrings then what you are experiencing is but a pale shadow, an imitation masquerading as an art form. The greatest of music leaves you gasping for breath as your stomach is left pounding for more. An ordinary act made extraordinary.

Chi Mai from Le Professional (1981)

Cinema is sometimes wrongly looked down upon as a lesser art form, if there can be such a thing, and this is completely unjustified. If those who we have currently selected for our pantheon of great composers were still alive undoubtedly all of them would have some involvement with cinema. To not do so in the modern age would be redolent of pride and vanity.

Born to Mario and Libera Morricone in Rome, on November 10, 1928, young Ennio began his formal music education at the National Academy of Santa Cecilia. As his father was a jazz trumpeter, it was natural for Ennio to take up the trumpet and while in Santa Cecilia he studied composition, choral direction and musical composition under the choral tutelage of Goffredo Petrassi.

Ennio Morricone In 2007 Photo By Jake Setlak

Ennio Morricone In 2007 Photo By Jake Setlak

Given great encouragement by his parents, Ennio showed natural precociousness. Adding credence to this fact, according to Wikipedia, is that at the age of 12 Ennio was enrolled in a four year harmony programme which, some say, he completed in only six months. Meanwhile World War Two was in full rage. It was this backdrop of war and torment that would inspire much of the composer’s works.

Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

1953 was the year in which Ennio made his first musical arrangement for a series of evening radio shows. His relationship with film, the medium that the name Morricone is synonymous with, started in 1961 when he scored his first feature ‘Il Federale’. However, it was to be Sergio Leone’s operatic westerns which would make Ennio world-renowned. Films such as A Fistfull of Dollars (1964), For A Few Dollars More (1965), and the The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) followed.

One of the most prolific composers of all time, Ennio Morricone has gone on to score well over 400 films. Although he is remembered for scoring Westerns, these amount to less than 10 per cent of his total opus. A percentage which continues to shrink as he continually works on new compositions. Here are just a selection of his memorable scores. It is recommended that you use suitable speakers or headphones.

The Mission (1986)

The Untouchables (1987)

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Mission To Mars (2000)

Malena (2000)

Further Reading

Check out Yellow Magpie’s Ennio Morricone Quotes: The Maestro’s Thoughts to find out what the man thinks about Hollywood, the film industry and his fellow composers.

You can obtain Ennio Morricone’s works, The Very Best of Ennio Morricone, from Amazon. For more information on the composer visit his website.
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access The Very Best of Ennio Morricone.
For those who live in Canada, you can obtain The Very Best of Ennio Morricone from here.
For Germany: The Very Best of Ennio Morricone.
For France: The Very Best of Ennio Morricone.

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