My long-time favorite cinematic composer, Ennio Morricone will be receiving the Life-Time Achievement Award at the Oscars in March. I just caught Cinema Paradiso and The Battle of Algiers on Turner Classic Movies yesterday, both scored by Morricone. Others include most of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns (I wrote a paper in Willie Varelas’s films class a UTEP on Leone’s movies)(which in turn were used in Kill Bill No. 1 and No. 2)(especially “Silhouette of Doom” and the main title from The Good the Bad and the Ugly), The Mission (especially “On Earth as it is in Heaven,” “Vita Nostra,” and “Gabriel’s Oboe”), Casualties of War, The Untouchables (especially the main theme and Sean Connery’s death theme), 1900, Two Mules for Sister Sara, In the Line of Fire, The Thing, Once Upon of Time in America (especially “Deborah’s Theme” and his use to the classic song “Amapola”), Malena, and much more.
It should be noted that the theme from The Mission in Gabriel’s Oboe has become one of the opera pop standards: “Nella Fantasia,” first performed by Sarah Brightman, but in my opinion the best rendition is by Russell Watson for the male voice and Chloe Agnew for female voice. I think Agnew’s father is the oboist on the original soundtrack.
In an interview with on NPR, the interviewer hinted how “The West” has become so signified with the music of this “Italian” composer. Check out “Morricone Recognized for Impact on Movie Music.” Also check out “This Time, Morricone Is an Oscar Lock” also on NPR. Also, “Appreciating the Music of Ennio Morricone”
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I also highly recommend Yo-Yo Ma’s 2006 recording: Yo-Yo Ma Playes Morricone.
Also, Turner Classic Movies will be running a three-week perspective on Ennio Morricone Tribute at the Film Forum: a 26-film, 3-week retrospective in February (Feb. 2-22). A schedule is available at the above link.