Incidental Music

Incidental Music: def. (noun)- music used in a film as a background to create or enhance a particular atmosphere, otherwise known as a score

Friday, March 8, 2013

Morricone: The March Composer of the Month

Hey everyone! Our composer of the month for March is the legend-wait for it-ary Ennio Morricone, arguably the most prolific film composer of all time! Since the beginning of his career, he's scored over 500 films! That's crazy! He's responsible for the music from timeless and iconic movies such as The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly and The Untouchables, and he's a giant in the composing world-many composers working in Hollywood today cite him as one of the people who influenced them in their own journey to work in the film industry. Let's all take a few minutes and learn about this awesome guy!

Ennio Morricone was born in Rome on November 10, 1928. His father was a trumpet player and taught him to read music and play instruments from a very young age. Morricone started writing his own music when he was only 6 years old, and when he was 9,  he entered the National Academy of Santa Cecilia to study trumpet. At the age of 12, he began to study at a music conservatory and proceeded to complete four years worth of course work in about a year. He also has degrees in both Trumpet Performance and Composition. Basically, Morricone is a musical prodigy.

By 1947, Morricone was working as composer for theatre music. In the 1950s, he began to score for radio shows and television as well, and his career as a film music composer started in 1961 with the film Il Federale directed by Luciano Salce. He rose to fame after his many collaborations with director Sergio Leone. These were good, ol' fashioned American Westerns-A Fistful Of Dollars (1964), For A Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (1966), Once Upon A Time In The West (1968), A Fistful Of Dynamite (1971), and My Name is Nobody (1973). Don't those just sound like cowboy movies? :) After his work with Leone made him popular, the rest, as we say, is history.

I'm pretty sure Morricone has composed for every single film genre known to man-everything from comedies (Bulworth, La Cage aux Follesto romances (Days of Heaven) to horror (The Thing) to science fiction (Mission to Mars). All in all, he's worked in Hollywood and in the European film industry for 52 years. Yep, that's right. He's 84 right now and still composing for film and television, although he hasn't worked on an American film since 2002. Morricone has won two Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and  five BAFTAs. He has also been nominated for five Oscars, but shockingly has never actually won! Thankfully, the Academy recognized that this was an issue so they gave him the Academy Honorary Award in 2007 for his contributions to the film music world.  Personally, I think he's amazing. The sheer number of scores he's composed astounds me. My favorite Morricone work is his score for The Mission. The main theme has such a beautiful and haunting oboe melody, and I love the fact that he uses a harpsichord. Such an under used instrument these days. 

Let's all take a moment today to celebrate Mr. Morricone for his work. All of his music is on Spotify so go listen! He definitely has a distinct style-he likes to use the strings a lot, and I also notice a lot of woodwinds, timpani, snare, and xylophone. Comment below and let me know what you think of his music! I'll be back next week with the first round of reviews for March :)  Have a wonderful day!

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