Ennio Morricone placed his acclaimed oeuvre in a modest perspective:
”The notion that I am a composer who writes a lot of things is true on one hand and not true on the other hand. Maybe my time is better organized than many other people’s.
But compared to classical composers like Bach, Frescobaldi, or Mozart, I would define myself as unemployed.”
Morricone left this world on July 6, at 91 years old. He composed thousands of hours of music for hundreds of films. He created so many original, indelible moments in such a broad variety of genres for so long without repeating himself or compromising his creativity.
Morricone composed over 400 scores for films and television, as well as over 100 symphonic works. His score to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) is one of the most influential soundtracks in history and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. He was a favorite choice for scoring of American directors Don Siegel, Mike Nichols, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson, Oliver Stone, Warren Beatty, John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino.
His credits include over 70 award-winning films, all Sergio Leone‘s films since A Fistful Of Dollars (1964), all Giuseppe Tornatore‘s films since Cinema Paradiso (1988), The Battle Of Algiers (1966), 1900 (1976), Exorcist II (1977), Days Of Heaven (1978), major films in French cinema, in particular the comedy trilogy La Cage Aux Folles I, II, III (1975-1979) and Le Professionnel (1988), plus Hollywood movies The Thing (1982), Once Upon A Time In America (1984), The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Bugsy (1991), Disclosure (1994), In The Line Of Fire (1994), Bulworth (1998), Ripley’s Game (2008) and The Hateful Eight (2015).
Morricone’s professional career began in 1950 as an arranger for jazz and pop artists. He helped compose hits for pop artists including Paul Anka, whose Ogni Volta (Every Time) sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. He collaborated with Pet Shop Boys, k.d. lang, Andrea Bocelli, and Sting.
Starting in 1954, he did arrangements and ghostwriting scores for other composers. His first credited film score was for Luciano Salce‘s Il Federale (1961) and his final film score was for The Correspondence, an English-language Italian film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore in 2016.
In 2007, he received a special Academy Award “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” He was nominated for a six Oscars, and in 2016, but received his only competitive Academy Award for his score to Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, becoming the oldest person ever to win a competitive Oscar. His other achievements include three Grammy Awards, three Golden Globes, six BAFTAs, and ten David di Donatello Awards.
Morricone’s work with director Sergio Leone brought him worldwide chart success. His score for The Good, The Bad And The Ugly sold more than 2 million copies, and the soundtrack to Once Upon A Time In The West, his fourth collaboration with Leone, sold 10 million copies worldwide. It remains one of the top five best-selling instrumental scores. Morricone has sold more than 70 million records worldwide.
Morricone was more than one of the greatest soundtrack composers, he was one of the planet’s great composers, period.