The Oscar-winning Italian film composer Ennio Morricone has passed away. He was 91.
Morricone scored more than 500 films, including the suspenseful spaghetti Westerns of director Sergio Leone. His scores include The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Days of Heaven (1978), The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), and The Hateful Eight (2015).
Almost obsessive repetition, slowly driving rhythm, the deep voice of the contrabassoon, and (in the final moments) a bass line which wanders like a hungry, demonic predator all add up to gradually building intensity in this excerpt from The Hateful Eight. I hear echoes of Shostakovich:
Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission is one of Morricone’s most beautiful and memorable melodies:
Here is Itzhak Perlman’s recording of the soaring love theme from the 1988 drama, Cinema Paradiso:
The 1969 Soviet/Italian film, The Red Tent, tells the story of the 1928 rescue mission following the crash of the airship, Italia, near the North Pole. Morricone’s score gives us a sense of glinting sunlight on ice and the ultimate time-altering cinematic expanse: