Maestro Ennio Morricone

In Memoriam: Ennio Morricone (1928-2020)

Maestro Morricone—who passed on July 6 in Rome, the city of which he was a lifelong resident—was one of the most unique and prolific of film score composers. Having written music for some 500 films, and having worked with an extraordinary array of talented directors, his music could range from lush, symphonic tracks, to minimalist, throbbing electronic pieces, and also to the very quirkily orchestrated, offbeat, but highly memorable, works that became a bit of a signature for him—particularly for the Italian made Westerns such as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Morricone typically wrote scores simply by reading the screenplays, sitting at his desk and jotting down the notes directly from his vivid aural imagination. His fine musical thinking graced films by such notable directors as Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Terrence Malick, Roland Joffé, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson, Mike Nichols, John Carpenter, and Quentin Tarantino. His score for Tarentino’s 2015 Western, The Hateful Eight, won Morricone’s first competitive Academy Award, though he had been nominated five times previously and was given an honorary Academy Award in February 2007, “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.”

I’m certain his polymorphic music has touched everyone who enjoys the cinematic arts. He has earned his place in the pantheon of greatest film composers and will delight people for as long as film continues to be appreciated.

Hail Maestro Morricone!

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore