A month ago, on June 5th, we announced the good news of the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts being granted to the legendary composers Ennio Morricone and John Williams (read more).
However, yesterday, Monday, July 6th, we woke up with the sad news of the death of Maestro Ennio Morricone in Rome at 91 (read more).
Today we bring you a brief tribute written by the pianist and composer Pablo Laspra, Director of the “Oviedo FilmMusic Live!” festival, for the Asturian newspaper La Nueva España.
This article has been published in today’s edition, Tuesday, July 7th, and Pablo Laspra wanted to share it in a special collaboration with SoundTrackFest.
Yesterday, all film music lovers woke up to some bitter and unexpected news: the death of composer Ennio Morricone, which left more than 400 compositions for film and television orphaned.
The maestro, who ungratefully and inexplicably only received two Oscars (an honorary one in 2006, and another for the movie The Hateful Eight, in 2015), was a reserved man, cautious in his dealings, parsimonious in words, and with a distant character that, in a certain way, he had developed not because of an excess of ego and arrogance (traits he never showed, despite being a consecrated and sublime composer), but because of the personal and musical difficulties he had to live through in his childhood. Mistreated by his classmates at the conservatory and living hardly in an Italy plagued by fascists and Nazis, he forged a rough and compartmentalized character in order to overcome all this and get ahead, working first as an arranger and orchestrator in RAI’s TV programs (he was also sometimes ‘ghost-composer’ of movies that were later signed by other contemporary composers such as Mario Nascimbene or Alessandro Cicognini), and later worked in the RCA record company.
In spite of everything, he was able to take on all these jobs, some of which were for films of little or no success, just to ensure a salary and a meal on the table. That’s why, after starting to work with director Sergio Leone, he began to create iconic melodies in the history of cinema. The fact is that the maestro was a filmmaker in its purest form: he knew how to work and was highly versatile, innovating, and delivered good ideas that became great contributions to international cinema.
The maestro said that it was Leone himself who “demanded” from him some memorable melodies, that could be easily sung by the audience and which Morricone outlined on the piano in sessions with the director, to later apply to them that careful and measured orchestration: an extremely wise choice of instruments, which generated a correct dialogue between them, with beautiful thematic motifs, and with the great contribution (a trademark of the house) of the incorporation of the whistled melodies as another instrument.
Although Morricone always expressed that he considered all these western scores to be among his worst, such as those composed for “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” or “A Fistful of Dollars”, they have remained in everyone’s memory and will continue to do so, because Ennio Morricone won’t die completely as long as his great art, his music, continues to be played by all of us. And its quality, will guarantee that we keep playing it. Farewell, Maestro.
Article by Pablo Laspra Ferrero
Pictures by Gorka Oteiza