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 151-165 of 165 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    The Voice - Verdi, Etc / Russell Watson
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 468695 Release Date: 04/17/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Warbeck,  Midge Ure,  Alistair Gordon,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Russell Watson,  Caroline Dale,  John Savannah,  Cleopatra Higgins  ... 
    Conductor:  Nick Ingman,  William Hayward
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Session Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Metro Voices  ... 
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  • 152.
    The Voice - Verdi, Etc / Russell Watson
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 76896 Release Date: 02/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Warbeck,  Midge Ure,  Alistair Gordon,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Russell Watson,  John Savannah,  Caroline Dale,  Cleopatra Higgins  ... 
    Conductor:  Nick Ingman,  William Hayward
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Session Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Metro Voices  ... 
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  • 153.
    The Legend Of 1900 - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66767 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
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  • 154.
    Phantom Of The Opera (Argento) - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Drg   Catalog: 12620 Release Date: 09/21/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
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  • 155.
    I Salonisti Play Film Music
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 61731 Release Date: 07/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Chaplin,  Francis Lai,  James Horner,  Mikis Theodorakis  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Füri,  Lorenz Hasler,  Béla Szedlák,  Ferenc Szedlák  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Salonisti
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  • 156.
    Meninas - Piazzolla, Morricone, Gismonti, Et Al / Montreal Guitar Trio
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2211 Release Date: 05/01/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  Astor Piazzolla,  Andrew Senior,  Egberto Gismonti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montréal Guitar Trio
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  • 157.
    Cinema Serenade / Perlman, Williams, Pittsburgh So
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 63005 Release Date: 07/29/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luis Enriquez Bacalov,  Ennio Morricone,  John Williams,  Luiz Bonfá  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  John Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 158.
    John Williams Plays The Movies
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 63000 Release Date: 04/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bob Telson,  Luis Enriquez Bacalov,  John Williams,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Brendan Power,  John Williams,  Kenneth Sillito,  Nicole Tibbels  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Fontaine,  Nick Ingman,  Christopher Gunning,  Steve Gray  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 159.
    I Solisti Italiani On Cinema - Walton, Morricone, Et Al
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 18004 Release Date: 11/19/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Bernard Herrmann,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Ennio Morricone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Italiani
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  • 160.
    Cinematic Piano / Michael Chertock
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80357 Release Date: 06/28/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Barry,  Erik Satie,  Christopher Young,  Francis Lai  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chertock
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  • 161.
    Richard Stoltzman - Dreams
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61936 Release Date: 01/18/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Clapton,  Paul McCartney,  Stevie Wonder,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Stoltzman,  Jeremy Wall,  Dave Samuels,  Eddie Gomez
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  • 162.
    The Mission - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 86001 Release Date: 06/29/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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