Italian Maestro Ennio Morricone Dies at 91 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020  

Italian Maestro Ennio Morricone Dies at 91

The King of the Spaghetti Western Passed On July 6, 2020

Jul 06, 2020
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Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning, genre spanning, Italian composer has died. He was 91. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he died Monday morning (July 6) from complications after breaking his femur last week. 

From horror to comedy, to drama, Ennio Morricone has soundtracked the scenes of just about everything and anything. His claim to fame, however, is his Spaghetti Western scores. His work with Sergio Leone (his childhood classmate!) and Clint Eastwood in the 1960s—of which he was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly—paved the way for his future collaborations with Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Brian De Palma, among many others.

Music came pretty easy to Morricone. His father was a trumpet player; so he followed suit. After enrolling in the National Academy of St Cecilia and refining his trumpet technique under the guidance of Umberto Semproni, he became composing music at the age of just six. 

Once he turned 12, Morricone officially entered the conservatory, studying composition, trumpet and choral music. He completed the four-year program in just six months in 1954.  

From then on Morricone ghost wrote for films—with credit going under already acclaimed composers—arranged for RCA Victor, and was a studio musician for jazz musicians.

Finally, in 1961 he scored his first feature film: Luciano Salce’s Il federale. After that he reunited with classmate Sergio Leone for a number of iconic films: 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), and Duck, You Sucker! (1971). But he wasn’t done just yet. Thirteen years later, Morricone and Leone teamed up for yet another classic film: the gangster flick Once Upon a Time in America, starring Robert de Niro and James Woods.

In total, Morricone scored over 500 films. Along with his work with Leone, he scored John Carpenter’s The Thing, and his last film project, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Morricone was nominated six times for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, winning once with 2016’s The Hateful Eight. Along with that he won an honorary Academy Award in 2007 for his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music,” and was nominated seven times for the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television. For this category he won once with 1988’s The Untouchables.

The composer also, well, composed, his own obituary, scheduled to be released upon the announcement of his death. “I, Ennio Morricone, am dead,” it reads. “I am announcing it this way to all my close friends and even to those who have been a bit distant, I say goodbye with much love. It is impossible to name you all.” He goes on to say goodbye to various friends and family members, before addressing his wife, Maria: “My life partner,” he writes, “I would like to renew the extraordinary love that held us together and I am sorry to abandon our love. The most painful farewell is to you.”

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