The End of An Era (Film Friday)

 

Since it’s Film Friday today, I’d normally come up with a film from my list of favourites for the occassion.

But not today.

Today I’m going to write about one of the world’s best composers of film music, Ennio Morricone, who died on Monday 6 July 2020 at the age of 91.

 

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Morricone at 2012 Cannes Film Festical (photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Ennio Morricone was an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor, and trumpet player who wrote music in a wide range of styles and composed over 400 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to present all 500 of them to you, only a mere three. And I hope that you’ll add to the list in your comments!)

His score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history

From 1960 to 1975, Morricone gained international fame for composing music for Westerns and—with an estimated 10 million copies sold—Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the best-selling scores worldwide.

In 2016 he received his only competitive Academy Award for his score to Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight, at the time becoming the oldest person ever to win a competitive Oscar.

His work influenced many artists from film scoring to other styles and genres, including  two of my favourite bands – MUSE and Radiohead – as well as the German film score composer Hans Zimmer.

 

If you have read any of my previous Film Friday posts, you know how important the film score generally is to me – in my mind, film and music have to go hand in hand in order to achieve that the viewer feels fully immersed in the world that she or he chose to live in for approx. 90 minutes.

 

 

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Because you can’t seperate the two – Ennio Morricone and western – the first score is from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, which I have watched about a hundred times when I was a kid. (See, even back then I had exceptionally good taste. 😉 Hands up who thinks Clint Eastwood is the coolest guy ever! 🙌)

I’m sparing you a film review here, because I assume that you have at least once in your life watched this film – and if not: do it!!

Because budget strictures limited Morricone’s access to a full orchestra, he used gunshots, cracking whips, whistle, voices, jew’s harp, trumpets, and the new Fender electric guitar, instead of orchestral arrangements of Western standards à la John Ford. Morricone used his special effects to punctuate and comically tweak the action—cluing in the audience to the taciturn man’s ironic stance.

Have a listen here:

 

 

Another iconic film score in this genre is of course Once Upon A Time in the West.

 

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I think the music speaks for itself:

 

 

 

Last but not least, the following score which I think is possibly one of the most beautiful ever composed in human history.

I get goosebumps up and down every time I listen to it. It’s the score The Mission, a 1986 British period drama film about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th-century South America. The film was directed by Roland Joffé and written by Robert Bolt, the film stars Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn, Cherie Lunghi, and Liam Neeson.

 

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The soundtrack has been composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced by Ennio Morricone. The work combines liturgical chorales, native drumming, and Spanish-influenced guitars, often in the same track, in an attempt to capture the varying cultures depicted in the film

 

I beg you – listen to the whole piece. I know it’s long(ish), but you won’t regret it! I promise.

 

 

 

 

42 thoughts on “The End of An Era (Film Friday)

  1. What beautiful music he played, I agree that the soundtrack is just as important. I’ve found a few tunes from watching movies and TV. One of my favs is from the Sopranos – episode 6. (I may have told you before) the soundtrack is a tune from Xzibit -Paparazzi (instrumental) Never has a piece of music gone with a scene so well. I loved it and had to watch it over. 🙂 xx

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  2. I saw another post about this amazing artist too. The music track to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is so memorable because of its absolute perfection. Thanks for sharing a reminder of this remarkable man’s work, Sarah. Like you, I always notice the music accompanying a film. 😀

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  3. Thanks for this post, Sarah! I was unaware of Moricone’s contribution to film and didn’t realize he was responsible for so much wonderful music. The world has lost a huge talent.

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  4. Sarah, how wonderful that you’ve written this heartfelt tribute to Ennio Morricone, a great composer. How wonderful to see the harmonica player in the “West” performance. Such a humble instrument to speak of so much about the human spirit. And the performance of the music for The Mission – brought back all the emotions I felt for the movie, which left me in tears. Such rapacious destruction in the name of conquest. Morricone’s musical contributions to these movies and others create a dimension that can’t be felt any other way.

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  5. I could have written this, “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, which I have watched about a hundred times when I was a kid. (See, even back then I had exceptionally good taste. 😉 Hands up who thinks Clint Eastwood is the coolest guy ever! 🙌)”

    It was one of the few things that brought the whole family together in front of the TV.

    Now, Once Upon a Time in the West, I haven’t seen. I downloaded after a friend told me it was his favorite movie but never got to it, so thanks for the reminder. Also, The Mission! Listening to the music now…the movie something I’m surprised I never saw because I had such a huge crush on Aidan Quinn 😛 More homework!

    Great post, Sarah! Agree, music makes a movie, and Morricone is a legend. I mean, between him and Hans Zimmer, there aren’t many well-known composers. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lani!
      Aidan Quinn, eh? 😉 Totally understandable. 😁 Also Jeremy Iron’s part of the cast – that voice!! 😀
      I’d only add John Williams to that list of composers who have had such an impression on film history.
      Have fun doing your homework! 😉 xoxo

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  6. A wonderful post Sarah. You already know that I am also a huge admirer of Morricone and his loss is very sad. If he had been retired for 20 years it would have still been hard, but the fact that he was still composing Oscar winning scores so recently makes one wonder if he had more to give.
    Eastwood is so cool. I once read an interview with Judi Dench in which she said the only time she was ever star-struck was meeting Eastwood on the set of a movie he directed her in.
    The Good the Bad and the Ugly is one of my favourite movies too! Impossible to separate from its score just as Jaws cannot be separated from John Williams’ score.
    I confess I have never seen The Mission…

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    • Thank you, Darren! I kept thinking of you and what you thought of it while writing my post. 😄
      I agree, it’s a very sad loss. There are not many people with that kind of energy to keep creating up into high age.
      Hehe! I didn’t know that about Judi Dench, it’s hard imagining ‘M’ being starstruck by anyone. 😉 He’s really one of a kind! He doesn’t even have to talk just look and everything’s said. And I also love his work as a director!!
      Not seen The Mission?! I’d say you have some homework then. 😉

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      • Yeah, the Judi Dench interview was a hoot, as you would expect. She said that she was sitting on the set waiting for him to arrive and heard his voice say ‘Judi?’ And turned round, looked a long way up into those blue eyes and suddenly turned into a girly teenager! Hard to imagine indeed.😂.
        I promise to watch The Mission!

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  7. I didn’t know his name either but on Thursday the radion station I usually listen to , ABC Classic, played a lot of his music all day and the presenters talked about how he’d had to create the music for The Good The Bad and the Ugly with practically no money. Turned out to be an advantage didn’t it?

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      • It’s a classical music station and they often feature a composer or musician on the anniversary of their birth or death but I think changed their plans that day so they could honor his music.

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  8. I agree that Morricone was one of the greatest film composers and a really sad loss. I saw The Mission probably when it was first released, and despite having some of my favourite actors, though it was a bit incoherent. The music though, is wonderful and haunting and I can listen to it again and again.

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    • Same here to be honest- I like the music better than the film even though Jeremy Irons is part of the cast! 😁 (love his voice!)
      It’s a sad loss indeed but at least his legacy will carry on to inspire other artists for generations!

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  9. Thank you for sharing Sarah. I didn’t know Ennio Moricone’s name but of course I remember the score from The Mission. I haven’t seen The Good Bad Ugly yet but I’ll add it to the list (behind Gone with the Wind 😬) Music really is so important when watching TV or a film. I had so many CDs of soundtracks from favorite movied when I was younger.

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    • I still have all my movie soundtracks on CD!! 😀 And listen to them quite often like yesterday when I was listening to ‘A Knight’s Tale’ while baking. 😄
      Oh, The Good the bad and the ugly is definitely a must see! Glad you put it on your list!

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    • I think you’re not alone with this, Kerry. Mostly it’s geeks like Darren and me who know these kind of stuff. 😉
      All is well here, thank you! Weird times still but almost all restrictions are lifted now. Hoping for the vaccination! And how are you? xxx

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      • I am also hoping for the vaccination. We are at red alert in Houston with few beds available. The virus seems to have mutated in recent weeks to be more transmissible and we opened Texas too quickly.

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  10. All beautiful selections. I saw “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as a kid. The musical score is still is favorite of mine. I’ve never seen “The Mission” and, as recommended I have the score playing in the background and will do so to the end.

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    • So glad I wasn’t the only kid in love with this film!! 😀 And thanks for listening to the Mission score, I really appreciate it and think you’ll enjoy it even if you haven’t seen the movie.

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  11. The Mission–whew! The last 2 minutes…oh my gosh! I loved watching the intensity of the percussionists, but the entire performance was outstanding. Yes, definitely stay for the entire thing–it is so worth it.

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