The Greatest Composer Blog Project
Designed to acquaint those who are unfamiliar with the work of a brilliant man, this profile will highlight the life, career, and inimitable music of one of the greatest composers of all time. His work is internationally recognizable, even to those who have never heard mention of his name. My aim with this profile is to shed light on a brilliant man, an amazing career, and some of the most hauntingly beautiful music ever created. This is a profile on the man–the genius–the legend: Ennio Morricone.
Ennio Morricone was born November 10, 1928 in Rome, Italy to Mario and Libera Morricone. Young Ennio was exposed to music from the very beginning of his life, being born to a well-respected trumpet player. His talents were discovered very early in his life, having written his first compositions at the age of six. Upon discovering Ennio’s remarkable gift, his father became his first instructor, teaching him to read music and play a variety of instruments. Ennio was attracted most to the trumpet, like his father, and entered the National Academy of Santa Cecilia to take trumpet lessons at the age of nine.
In 1940, at the age of twelve, Ennio formally entered the conservatory as a student to begin study for the four year harmony program. He studied trumpet, as well as choral music, music direction, and composition. The exact time it took Ennio to complete the program is disputed, but the highest estimate is two years, half the usual length of time to complete the program. His instructor was Goffredo Petrassi, who influenced Ennio greatly. Many of his concert pieces were dedicated to Petrassi. Ennio finished his formal education in 1954.
Since completing his education, Ennio has created a phenomenal career spanning over sixty years. Morricone’s work can be recognized in any country in the world, with an astounding influence reaching all across the globe. Many of Hollywood’s most memorable film scores were composed by Morricone. His greatest recognition comes from composing the scores for “Spaghetti Westerns,” produced by Sergio Leone. The most notable titles of Morricone’s Western scores include A Fistful of Dollars; For a Few Dollars More; Once Upon a Time in the West; and–perhaps his most memorable–The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
Apart from Westerns, Morricone partnered with European directors to create the scores for films of every genre–from thriller to comedy–cementing his place among the most versatile film composers of all time. Some of his most beautiful and memorable scores were for non-Western films. The greatest of these being The Mission, Once Upon a Time in America, and Cinema Paradiso. Other notable scores also written by Morricone include The Untouchables and In The Line of Fire. In the last decade, Morricone’s work has been extensively reused, most notably by director Quentin Tarantino for his films Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained.
This profile is by no means extensive, as I have barely skimmed the surface of this great man’s achievements. I haven’t even discussed his concert pieces and television work, all of which is equally impressive. As far as his personal life is concerned, Ennio married Maria Travia in 1956, who has written lyrics for many of her husband’s pieces. Together the pair have four children: Marco, Alessandra, Andrea (also a conductor and film composer), and Giovanni (a filmmaker). Before sharing some of his music and links to some Ennio Morricone resources, here is a list of facts about the Maestro:
- Morricone was offered a villa by a Hollywood Studio in effort to get him to move to the United States–Morricone has always refused.
- Nominated five times for the Academy Award, but did not receive one until 2007 when he was awarded the Honorary Oscar for his achievements.
- Has long-time associations with director Sergio Leone and actor/director Clint Eastwood (who translated his 2007 Oscar acceptance speech into English).
- Known for frequently using the female voice as an instrument in his pieces.
Some of the greatest of Ennio Morricone’s musical Achievements:
Some Ennio Morricone Resources:
Ennio Morricone Accepts Honorary Oscar (he is absolutely adorable and beautiful)
End of Profile…
ALSO! Don’t Forget about Martha Long’s US Radio Interview February 26! Click here for details! US Martha fans don’t want to miss this! By the way, Martha is a HUGE Morricone fan, proving she has impeccable taste. She may be a bigger fan than I am! (In fact, I KNOW she is!)
As I said, this is by no means a comprehensive profile. There is so much more about Maestro Morricone to learn. Any and all readers feel free to add any comments/videos/resources in the comments below. May this blog transport you to a world of haunting beauty and peace. Happy Listening!