Another legend has passed. Ennio Morricone, the prolific film composer behind now-iconic scores for films including The Mission and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, has died at age 91.
Morricone passed in a clinic in Rome early Monday morning, per Variety. The composer’s lawyer, Giorgio Asumma, told Italian outlet ANSA that Morricone was at the clinic following a fall which caused a hip fracture. In the immediate wake of Morricone’s passing, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted out his condolences, writing, “We will always remember, with infinite gratitude, the artistic genius of the Maestro #EnnioMorricone. It made us dream, feel excited, reflect, writing memorable notes that will remain indelible in the history of music and cinema.”
It is hard to overstate the profound and everlasting impact of Morricone’s contributions to cinema. With more than 500 scores for film and television to his name, Morricone is believed to hold the record for the most scores in Western cinema. Among those scores are some which have gone on to impact and shape genres for decades, like his score for Sergio Leone‘s (a childhood schoolmate of Morricone’s who became a close collaborator in adulthood) spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly starring Clint Eastwood. Even if you have never Leone’s 1966 feature, you know the main theme because you have no doubt heard it re-purposed in other movies, TV shows, and even commercials over the years.
With such a quantity of work to his name and an unparalleled influence in cinema, it should come as no surprise Morricone was also honored for his work later in life. The Italian composer won the 2016 Oscar for Best Original Music Score for his work on Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight. The win came after five previous nominations for Best Original Score for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Malèna.
To listen to a work of Morricone’s is to be transported — an essential result, especially when it comes to watching a movie. There is a sense of grandeur, drama, and romance to the Rome-born composer’s work which sweeps through you as you listen. The music of Morricone is singular, his creative voice unmatched and unlike anything you will hear to date. There is plenty to say about the life Morricone lived, going through the twists and turns of fate which led him to become the world-famous composer he is today. Instead of taking you through those highlights (which you can read on a number of other sites), I’d like to let Morricone’s music do all of the talking.
Here is the main theme from The Mission, with Morricone conducting.