Everyone has heard by now about Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar. It’s the biggest internet news since that blue/black, gold/white dress that sent everyone into a panic. But another big name has waited quite awhile to receive his own oscar. While Ennio Morricone did receive an honorary oscar in 2007 for his contributions to the musical and cinematic community, he had yet to win one for a specific compostion he had done, UNTIL this past academy awards when he won for best soundtrack of the marvelous movie, The Hateful Eight directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Morricone is a composer of many kinds of genres, however, he started off working in the so called Spaghetti Western genre. For those who don’t know what Spaghetti Western is, it is a class of western movies produced and directed by Italians in Italy. The term was first coined by American movie critics after Sergio Leone made his mark on the cinematic culture with masterpieces such as A Fistful Od Dollars and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Morricone started in music around the age of 12, studying at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. He was first nominated for an oscar in 1979, and was nominated several more times until 2007.
Quentin Tarantino has always been a big fan of the Italian music legend, and has used Morricone’s compositions in several of his other movies, such as Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, and in both Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. However, Morricone had never actually written an original soundtrack for Tarantino, confirming the general reputation of master Quentin amongst the movie estabilishment (“he is like that beautiful but yet awkward woman everyone likes very much but nobody actually has the courage to approach”, a critic once said). That until the director convinced Morricone to compose the soundtrack for The Hateful Eight. But Morricone, having accepted the job just two weeks before starting to work on another soundtrack, actually made use of a some scraps from the soundtrack of John Carpenter’s masterpiece The Thing which he wrote originally in 1982.
While Morricone has a worked in a wide range of genres and some of his pieces are extremely well-known, here are a selection of some lesser known compositions of his.
Similar to the superfamous theme from Once Upon A Time In America (see below), this delicate oboe piece from the movie The Mission (directed by Roland Joffé, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons) sounds delicate, intriguing and heartfelt, perfectly matching the atmosphere of the scene, in which father Gabriel and the Guarani tribesmen get to know each other through music.
The theme from the underestimated Moscow Farewell by italian director Mauro Bolognini, this track perfectly introduces the cold and rarefied scenario of Moscow under the communist regime.
Composed for the carachter of Deborah Gelly, played by Jennifer Connelly and Elizabeth McGovern, this theme doesn’t fail to outline the tragic profile of the woman, using a nostalgic and mellow refrai.
This track was composed for the movie Diabolik, inspired by the classic comic series, and borrows stylistic features from the coeval poliziottesco genre while preserving the original Morricone sound, based on a catchy and somehow obsessive melody.
From the movie with the same title directed by Alberto Bevilacqua, this dreaming suite pictures perfectly the intriguing traits of the movie’s main carachter, played by an outstanding Romy Schneider.
Do you agree with our list? Would you like to add some more titles? Post your own two cents in the comment section!