Ennio Morricone has passed

This is almost an insult, to post this short little thing in response to the passing of Ennio Morricone. I’m merely doing this to call attention to his range, to his influence, and yes, because it’s fun posting something moving & beautiful.

I wanted to show three different samples. In each case, yes yes, the music is interesting.

The first one really has little relationship to a sequence of film, because it’s not a score so much as an overture, to a film & to a whole style we’d see developed later in the films that followed. Yes this is the beginning of the collaboration between Morricone & Sergio Leone.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) may not be a great film, but the best thing about it is its score. We’re in the presence of something symbolic, or dare I suggest, symbolist. The violence & the machismo is powerfully invoked from the first note, in a gradual inexorable crescendo.

I recently wrote about the use of the wordless chorus but somehow forgot this example, a most intriguing exception to the usual rule in the choice to have the chorus be so male.

The second one is from The Mission (1986) the film most people think of when they mention Morricone. But as you watch this sequence notice how the drama and the music are so perfectly linked.  You almost don’t notice the music because it’s so organic.

And to finish, this is really two for the price of one. This tiny little sequence from The Untouchables (1987) has two very different moods. The first is the sort of thing we hear in several Morricone scores, the mournful melody that might represent goodness or humanity as a consolation for the horror of the story.  In this case it’s a melody associated with Sean Connery’s character, remembered in this lovely bit of nostalgia, on an intimate & personal scale.

And then we suddenly segue into exit music, suggesting something triumphant & grand. If the first mournful melody didn’t give you the shivers, this one surely will.

He may be gone but the music is still there to explore, more than 400 films with some of the greatest directors of the last century.


This entry was posted in Cinema, video & DVDs, Music and musicology, Personal ruminations & essays and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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