The legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone, whose work with director Sergio Leone helped popularize the Spaghetti Western style, has died. He was 91.
Hollywood Reporter reports:
The Italian composer, who scored more than 500 films — seven for his countryman Leone after they had met as kids in elementary school — died in Rome following complications from a fall last week in which he broke his femur.
A native and lifelong resident of Rome whose first instrument was the trumpet, Morricone won his Oscar for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015) and also was nominated for his original scores for Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978), Roland Joffe’s The Mission (1986), Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987), Barry Levinson’s Bugsy (1991) and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena (2000).
Known as “The Maestro,” he also received an honorary Oscar in 2007 (presented by Clint Eastwood) for his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music,” and he collected 11 David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s highest film honors.
Morricone’s ripe, pulsating sounds enriched Leone’s low-budget shoot-’em-ups A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) — those three starred Eastwood — Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) and Duck, You Sucker (1971).
“The music is indispensable, because my films could practically be silent movies, the dialogue counts for relatively little, and so the music underlines actions and feelings more than the dialogue,” Leone, who died in 1989, once said. “I’ve had him write the music before shooting, really as a part of the screenplay itself.”
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While accepting a Golden Globe for The Hateful Eight in 2016, Quentin Tarantino said, "As far I am concerned, [he] is my favorite composer – and when I say ‘favorite composer,’ I don’t mean ‘movie composer,’ that ghetto, I’m talking about Mozart … Beethoven … Schubert."
Metallica (who famously have used Morricone's music as intro music at their shows since 1983), Massive Attack, Bon Iver, Edgar Wright, Hans Zimmer, El-P, Chance the Rapper, and many others have paid tribute.
"Your career was legendary, your compositions were timeless. Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983," wrote Metallica.
Rest in peace, Ennio. Music and film scores wouldn't be the same without you.