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Ennio Morricone

Composers

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 1-20 of 20 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    Morricone: Paradiso / Hayley Westenra
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001599802 Release Date: 10/04/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Performer:  Hayley Westenra
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonietta Di Roma
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  • 5.
    Label: Medusa   Catalog: 1322 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Performer:  Renato Guttuso,  Serafino La Camera,  Vincenzo Castellana,  Antonio Gargano  ... 
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
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  • 6.
    Essential Relaxing Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27930 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Cécile Ousset,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alberto Lysy,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Simon Rattle  ... 
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  • 7.
    Yo-Yo Ma - 30 Years Outside the Box
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752307 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 90
    Composer:  Sandeep Das,  Traditional,  Kayhan Kalhor,  Zhou Long  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gramley,  Kim Dong-Won,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark Suter  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya,  John T. Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Qi Lin  ... 
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  • 8.
    Relax - The World's Most Beautiful Music - Music For The Soul - 36 Tracks
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17279 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Karl Jenkins,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Sabine Meyer,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Paul Beniston,  Hugh Bean  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Vonk,  Alberto Lysy,  Karl Jenkins,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Weimar,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Camerata Lysy  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 9.
    Peace Notes - Live In Venice / Ennio Morricone
    Label: Industrial Ent (Dvd)   Catalog: 400136 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Fateless - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 60331 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Performer:  Lisa Gerrard
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 11.
    Symphony for Richard III / Ennio Morricone, Nello Salza
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60086 Release Date: 03/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Performer:  Nello Salza
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Musical Academy Orchestra
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  • 12.
    100 Best Relaxing Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15606 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Andrei Gavrilov,  Europa Galante,  Fabio Biondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alberto Lysy,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Erno Olah  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale,  Quartet of London,  Scottish Ensemble  ... 
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  • 13.
    Appassionato / Yo-yo Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 702668 Release Date: 01/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  César Franck,  George Gershwin,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  John T. Williams,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Kathryn Stott,  Jeffrey Kahane  ... 
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman,  Eugene Ormandy,  Ennio Morricone,  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 14.
    Best Film Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70900 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  André Saint-Clivier,  Wayne Marshall,  Maria Tipo,  Andrei Gavrilov  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Sir David Willcocks,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 15.
    Yo-yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 676225 Release Date: 01/03/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Gilda Butta
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    The Essential Yo-Yo Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 93927 Release Date: 08/16/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Antonín Dvorák,  Johannes Brahms,  Joseph Brackett  ... 
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Kathryn Stott,  Nilson Matta,  Rosa Passos  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Ennio Morricone,  Chen Xieyang,  Tan Dun  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra,  Claude Bolling Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    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
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    Romantic Nights / Bocelli, Pavarotti, Domingo, Lanza, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63473 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Testa,,  Schoener,,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Jussi Björling,  Placido Domingo,  Andrea Bocelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Jonel Perlea,  Fernando Previtali,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 19.
    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
    CD: $13.99
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