Written by: Charlotte Bredael
As reported by NME, Legendary composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91.
The Italian composer, who is best known for scoring The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, died in Rome last week following complications from a fall, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Morricone, who scored more than 500 films, is widely regarded as one of cinema’s greatest composers and won a long-overdue Oscar for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in 2015.
He also received nominations 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).
Affectionally known as “The Maestro,” Morricone was handed an honorary Oscar by Clint Eastwood in 2007, with the Academy hailing his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”.
He also picked up 11 David di Donatello Awards, the highest film honor in Italy.
But in a career spanning over 50 years, it was Morricone’s collaboration with Sergio Leone on the ‘Dollars’ trilogy that arguably spawned his best known work – the iconic theme to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
Leone, who died in 1989, previously said of Morricone’s work: “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. I’ve had him write the music before shooting, really as a part of the screenplay itself.”
His influence also extended far beyond cinema, with Muse previously hailing Morricone as one of their biggest influences. Since 2008, all performances of the band’s track ‘Knights of Cydonia’ have begun with bassist Chris Wolstenholme playing a harmonica solo of ‘Man With a Harmonica’ from Once Upon a Time in the West.
Similarly, Metallica have used ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ as their introductory music since 1984 and recorded an instrumental metal cover for a 2007 tribute album to Morricone.
Paying tribute, director Edgar Wright wrote: “Where to even begin with iconic composer Ennio Morricone? He could make an average movie into a must see, a good movie into art, and a great movie into legend. He hasn’t been off my stereo my entire life. What a legacy of work he leaves behind. RIP.”
New Order‘s Bernard Sumner has also paid tribute to Morricone, calling him “one of my musical heroes,” adding: “His music introduced me to albums and the first album I ever bought was one of his. He made beautiful emotional music and was the master of melody.”
Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, meanwhile, labelled him “the greatest ever film composer”.
He was also hailed as an “icon” by fellow composer Hans Zimmer, while the singer Nadine Shah added: “Goodnight Ennio Morricone, maker of magic!!”