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5 of iconic composer Ennio Morricone’s most beautiful film scores

by Erin Lindsay
06th Jul 2020

The famed composer passed away aged 91

We’re all missing the cinema experience right now. The popcorn, the ads, the escape from the outside world to nestle in with a great movie, is something we all take for granted. Great filmmakers understand the importance of great cinema, and how every factor of a film makes an impact – not least, the music.

A great cinematic score can sometimes long outlast even the movie itself. When we think of some of the most iconic movies of all time, it’s often a song, or a score, that sticks in our brains along with it. Great composers create the soundtracks to the onscreen stories we love – and today, the world lost one of the very best.

Famed Italian composer Ennio Morricone passed away aged 91, after suspected complications following a fall at his home in Rome last week. Morricone created the scores to over 400 films, and was famed for composing the music of director Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western films, like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West.

Morricone won an Oscar in 2016 for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, as well as an honorary Oscar in 2007, presented by actor Clint Eastwood. Morricone had toured his work around the world for a number of years, playing several concerts here in Ireland.

To honour Morricone’s legacy, we’ve spent the day listening to some of his most famous works. Here are just five of our favourites.

Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso is a 1988 Italian drama set in Sicily, that follows Toto, an affectionately-named eight-year-old with a love of the silver screen in his local cinema. The movie’s score is one of Morricone’s most famous.

Once Upon a Time in the West

Just one of Morricone’s collaborations with director Sergio Leone, the score to Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the best-selling original instrumental scores in the world today.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Probably one of the most instantly recognisable pieces of music of all time, Morricone’s score for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly became a worldwide success upon its release. The film was one of three in a trilogy from director Sergio Leone, and he often had Morricone create some of the movies’ music before the film was made – some scenes in these films are quite long, because Leone wanted the music to be heard in its entirety.

The Mission

Morricone’s score for The Mission is one of his most emotive, and earned him his second Oscar nomination. He lost out to Herbie Hancock for Round Midnight, in what was a surprising decision by the Academy to many. Morricone later admitted in an interview with the Guardian that he believed he should have won that year, calling it a ‘theft’.

The Hateful Eight

Morricone finally received an Oscar in 2016 for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Tarantino had been using Morricone’s music in his films for decades, and had wanted him to write the entire score for Inglourious Basterds, but Morricone was unable to due to a scheduling conflict. Morricone’s win in 2016 made him the oldest person at the time to ever win a competitive Oscar.

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