Ennio Morricone

The great composer Ennio Morricone died

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Born in Rome in 1928, the musician became known in the early 1960s, especially when composing sheet music for Sergio Leone's films.

Italian composer Ennio Morricone, the man with 500 film scores, died at the age of 91. "He died at dawn on July 6 with the comfort of faith," lawyer and family friend Giorgio Assumma said in a statement, quoted in the Italian media. He remained "completely lucid and highly dignified until the last moment," the statement said.

The Italian teacher died in a Roman clinic after a fall. The femur broke a few days ago.

The tribute of the Italian political class has been unanimous. "We will remember forever and with infinite recognition the artistic genius of Master Ennio Morricone. It made us dream, it moved us and it made us think, writing unforgettable notes that will remain forever in the history of music and cinema ", reacted Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Twitter.

"Ennio Morricone, the emperor of music in film, a harmonica, rhythms, melodies, unexpected instruments, trills, 3 easy-to-remember notes, the generosity of his scores," Gilles Jacob, former director of the Cannes Film Festival, reacted on Twitter.

Trumpeter training

Born in Rome in 1928, a trumpet player trained like his father, graduated in composition and directing, Ennio Morricone was originally assigned to contemporary music and participated in the improvisation group Nuova Consonanza. However, in the absence of success, in the late 1950s it became a career as a variety arranger for television and radio.

Finding music for mediocre and poor Italian films, he wanted to renew them and impose a more "American" style. In 1961 he composed his first soundtrack for the film Il Federale (Mission ultra-secrète en France) by Luciano Salce before Sergio Leone, whom he had known since childhood for having attended the same university, chose him, pushed by his producers , to write the soundtrack of For a Fistful of Dollars (1964). The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) follows, Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).

Refusing to go into exile in Hollywood

Some 500 scores are attributed to him, in all genres (comedies, police, horror, eroticism, etc.) and for directors as diverse as Dario Argento, Mauro Bolognini, Giuseppe Tornatore, Brian de Palma, John Huston, John Boorman, Terrence Malick , Bernardo Bertolucci.

One of his biggest regrets was that he had not worked with Stanley Kubrick. "He called me for the A Clockwork Orange soundtrack and I said yes. He didn't want to come to Rome, he didn't like the plane. And then he called [Sergio] Leone, who said he was busy with him. He never called again. "he said in 2007.

His unique style, recognizable among thousands, an atypical mix of heady melodies and unusual arrangements using the most diverse whistles, percussions and real noises, had led him to the top of the most sought-after film music composers, in Italy, Europe and Hollywood. , where he had refused to go into exile, preferring to stay in Rome, his hometown.

A studio had offered him a villa in California, an offer he had rejected. "All my friends are there, as well as a lot of directors who love me and appreciate my work. Rome is my home," he explained.

Not just spaghetti westerns

In 2006, he explained to Le Monde how he composed: "Situations vary, especially as I am encouraged by very different genres of cinema. They usually give me the film a month before editing. My music is usually better when I can't see the images."

However, he refused to be narrowed down to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and other spaghetti westerns. "My production of westerns is perhaps 7.5 to 8% of everything I've done," said the "Maestro" in 2007 in an interview with Reuters.

He particularly burned four songs with Chet Baker in 1962 on the Chet is Back album and wrote the song Here’s to You (1971) sung by Joan Baez for the movie Sacco and Vanzetti. In 2014, speaking of his work at Le Monde, he voluntarily called it "Baroque", unlike what he called "absolute, free and serious music". He said that he considered film music to be "an applied and restricted art aimed at an audience of medium culture".

In 2015, he composed the soundtrack for the movie Les Euit Salopards by Quentin Tarantino, which earned him his first Oscar at age 87. In 2007, during the 79th Academy Awards, Hollywood awarded him an honorary Oscar for his career.

Image: Gonzalo Tello

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