Ennio Morricone

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Biography

Born: October 11, 1928; Rome, Italy  
A European who came to dominate the scoring of westerns, Ennio Morricone is a unique figure in the history of film music.

Morricone was born in Rome, the son of a jazz trumpet player, in 1928. He was a precocious musician, starting to compose at the age of six, and studied harmony and composition at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory. Post-war Italy didn't offer many opportunities for a serious composer, and Morricone worked in various jazz
Read more bands, as well as serving as a staff composer, arranger, and conductor on Italian radio and television. During the late 1950's, he landed a job as orchestrator and assistant to Nascio Nascimbene, then the leading composer in the Italian movie industry. Morricone began writing film scores in the early 1960's, but he first distinguished himself in the western field.

When U.S. studios' production of westerns slowed in the early 1960s, Italian (and Spanish) filmmakers stepped in to fill the gap, for the genre had lost none of its luster internationally. Morricone proved adept at writing memorable melodies with his first western, the Spanish-made Gringo, in 1963. His heavy style at that point emphasized the lower registers of the orchestra--cellos, basses, and brass--and often featured an orchestral "growl," a low dissonance that had been a favorite device of Dimitri Tiomkin. The song "A Gringo Like Me" closely followed the dramatic-pop western themes ("Gunfight At the O.K. Corral," "Rawhide") that Tiomkin had been writing for years with Frankie Laine in mind, with an added veneer of pseudo-operatic passion. InMorricone's second western score, Guns Don't Argue, he first hit on a distinctive style: the music emphasized melody more than beat, and had moments of flowing lyricism; it also introduced whistling and featured fairly prominent use of a guitar. That same year, Morricone was commissioned to write the music for A Fistful of Dollars, an Italian-made western by director Sergio Leone, based on Akira Kurosawa's samurai movie Yojimbo and starring Clint Eastwood.

This film, with its emphasis on violence, revenge, and duplicity and its minimal reliance on dialogue, was a new kind of western; it was hugely popular in both Europe and the U.S. Morricone's score featured whistling, flutes, electric guitars, jew's harp, and wordless choruses (and occasional choral grunts), along with the usual complement of strings, brass, and percussion, all hooked around haunting melodies. Two sequels followed, For A Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966), each directed by Leone, starring Eastwood, and featuring Morricone's music. The latter was particularly bold, featuring choirs in sweeping, wordless flourishes, closer to Wagner than Delius but with Puccini-like lyricism, depicting the action and emotional content of the script.

Westerns comprised only a tiny part of Morricone's output, but they created a lasting demand for his work. He scored as many as eight or nine movies in a year, from offbeat westerns such as Two Mules For Sister Sara to modern crime dramas like Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, from controversial experiments like Pasolini's Salo to mainstream efforts like Brian DePalma's The Untouchables. Since the mid-1960's, Morricone's work has appeared in as many as 250 movies. He's received Academy Award nominations for his music in Terence Mallick's Days of Heaven (1978) and Roland Joffe's The Mission (1986). In the 1980's, his music received long-delayed recognition from outside the film music community when New York-based avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn used it as the basis for performances and recordings by jazz chamber ensemble, doing for Morricone what Miles Davis had previously done for Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, and Victor Young, among others. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 167 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Escape to Paradise - The Hollywood Album / Daniel Hope
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002145302 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Miklós Rózsa,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Hanns Eisler  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Hope,  Maria Todtenhaupt,  Sting,  Jacques Ammon  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Shelley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra,  Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin Quartet,  Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin Quintet
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  • 2.
    Fat Man & Little Boy [limited Edition]
    Label: La-la Land Records   Catalog: 1196 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
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  • 3.
    Essential Ennio Morricone
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002063802 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  Andrea Morricone
    Performer:  Dulce Pontes,  Sissel,  Charlotte Kinder,  David Garrett  ... 
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone,  Derek Wadsworth,  Ettore Stratta,  Nic Raine  ... 
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  • 4.
    Label: Futura   Catalog: 1223399 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Justin Hayward,  Franz Schubert,  Zucchero,  Guy Garvey  ... 
    Performer:  Emily Pailthorpe,  Danny Kirsch,  Ben Robbins,  Keith Beauvais  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Hussey,  John Lubbock
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  • 5.
    Play It Again: Classic Sound Of Hollywood
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303384 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Waxman,  Dimitri Tiomkin,  Daniele Amfitheatrof,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt,  Maurice Jarre,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Elmer Bernstein  ... 
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  • 6.
    Music For Van Dyck - Chansons And Madrigals From The 16th & The 20th C. / Ring Around Quartet
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802171 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Clément Janequin,  Ennio Morricone,  Josquin Des Préz,  Orlando de Lassus  ... 
    Performer:  Silvio [Bass Vocal] Papini
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  • 7.
    Blanc / Angele Dubeau, La Pieta
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 28737 Release Date: 03/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Garry Schyman,  Osvaldo Golijov,  Adrian Munsey,  Marjan Mozetich  ... 
    Performer:  Angčle Dubeau
    Conductor:  Angčle Dubeau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pieta
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  • 8.
    Cinema Verismo / Mak Grgic
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81447 Release Date: 03/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Pietro Mascagni,  Ennio Morricone,  Vangelis  ... 
    Performer:  Mak Grgic
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  • 9.
    Aria: Music for Saxophone & Organ
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1046 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Geirr Tveitt,  Ennio Morricone,  Oskar Lindberg,  David Bratlie  ... 
    Performer:  Vegard Landaas,  Anders Eidsten Dahl
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  • 10.
    Bassoon Works / Paolo Carlini
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 920001 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giorgio Gaslini,  Enrico Pieranunzi,  Luis de Pablo,  Marco Betta  ... 
    Performer:  Paolo Carlini,  Matteo Fossi,  Enrico Pieranunzi
    Conductor:  Francesco Lanzillotta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toscana Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Martynas
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001992402 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gerardo Matos Rodríguez,  Carlos Gardel  ... 
    Performer:  Martynas
    Conductor:  Péter Pejtsik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian Studio Orchestra
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  • 12.
    One Chance [original Soundtrack]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301047 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ennio Morricone,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Neal Cooper,  Paul Potts,  Jan Bengtson,  Per Magnusson  ... 
    Conductor:  David Snell,  Gavin Greenaway,  Henrik Janson,  Ulf Janson  ... 
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  • 13.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1104380 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  John Newton,  César Franck,  Ludovico Einaudi,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Il Divo,  The Priests,  Einaudi,  Jonathan & Charlotte  ... 
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  • 14.
    The Golden Age Of Hollywood
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 24 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Maurice Jarre,  Elmer Bernstein,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Howard McGill,  Mike Allen,  Kyle Horch
    Conductor:  David Firman
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  • 15.
    Love In Portofino
    Label: Verve   Catalog: 001926500 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ferdinando "Fred" Buscagl,  Ennio Morricone,  Carson C. Parks,  Salvatore d' Esposito  ... 
    Performer:  Ludovico Vagnone,  Andrea Bocelli,  John Robinson,  Juan Carlos Albelo  ... 
    Conductor:  Giacomo Loprieno,  William Ross
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  • 16.
    Amore / Joseph Calleja
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001921802 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Consuelo Velazquez,  Francesco Sartori,  Lucio Dalla  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Calleja,  Ksenija Sidorova,  Nicola Benedetti,  Charles Mutter
    Conductor:  Steven Mercurio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
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  • 17.
    The Grandmaster [scores]
    Label: Lakeshore   Catalog: 343392 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Shigeru Umebayashi,  Traditional,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Ennio Morricone
    Performer:  Bruno Martinez,  Nathaniel Méchaly
    Conductor:  Olivier Holtz
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  • 18.
    Aria Cantilena / Harjanne, Finnish Radio String Quintett
    Label: Pilfink Records   Catalog: 107 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Jouko Harjanne
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Radio String Quintett
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  • 19.
    God Makes A Path / The First Baptist Church In America
    Label: Fbcia   Catalog: 375 Release Date: 06/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  None,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Randall Thompson,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Martorella,  Pastor Dan Ivins,  Arturo Delmoni,  Stephen Unruh  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Martorella
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Choir of The First Baptist Church of America
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  • 20.
    Morricone: Lemma / Parisi, Noferini, Rota, Quartetto Noferini
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33876 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  Andrea Morricone
    Performer:  Gabriele Rota,  Rocco Parisi,  Andrea Noferini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Noferini String Quartet
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  • 21.
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 1139364 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  John T. Williams,  Howard Shore,  Vangelis  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Doherty,  Mark Ayres,  Sally Herbert,  Roger Woodward  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Summerbell,  Zubin Mehta,  Nic Raine,  Paul Bateman  ... 
    On sale! $75.99
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  • 22.
    The World Of The Oboe
    Label: Oboe Classics   Catalog: 2026 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Napoléon Coste,  Robert Schumann,  Pam Wedgewood,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Marios Argiros,  Dimitris Dekavallas,  Jeremy Polmear,  Diana Ambache  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (Membe
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 23.
    Label: Phantom Imports (Italy)   Catalog: 8015552 Release Date: 03/22/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Quincy Jones,  Carlos Gardel,  Michel Legrand,  Luis Enriquez Bacalov  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Ingolf Wunder 300
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001793002 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Raoul Koczalski  ... 
    Performer:  Ingolf Wunder
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  • 25.
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 33782 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Giordani,  Giacomo Puccini,  Enya,  James Horner  ... 
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