Ennio Morricone

So prolific is his catalogue and so conspicuous is his movie music, Ennio Morricone deserves an entire encyclopedia on his own. But for now, here are four essential albums to get you acquainted with one of the acknowledged masters of contemporary film music who has scored literally hundreds of films over his lengthy career.

artist:
Ennio Morricone

country of origin:
Italy

style(s):
Soundtrack, jazz, pop, blues, classical, ambient, orchestral

decades active:
60's - 10's

essential releases:

  • The Mission [soundtrack] (1986, Virgin)
  • Film Music volume 1 (1987, Virgin)
  • Film Music volume 2 (1987, Virgin)
  • The Ennio Morricone Anthology (1995, Rhino)

Reviewed by Mike G

So prolific is his catalogue and so conspicuous is his movie music, Ennio Morricone deserves an entire encyclopedia on his own. But for now, here are four essential albums to get you acquainted with one of the acknowledged masters of contemporary film music who has scored literally hundreds of films over his lengthy career

The Italian-born artist has been composing soundtracks for movies in Europe, the USA and UK since the 1960’s and his output is so large that even Rhino's painstakingly complied 2-CD set The Ennio Morricone Anthology (1995) doesn't demonstrate his full creative range. Still, this release combined with the two compilations from Virgin Records released in the 1980's are probably as close as you'll get to an accurate overview of his legacy and they certainly showcase his striking versatility.

His music evokes everything from heartfelt nostalgia (“Deborah’s Theme”) to the haunting desolation of Sergio Leone’s mythical West (“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”) and takes in elements of folk, pop, jazz and world music. Though Morricone uses a large array of individual instruments, he seems to be a classical composer at heart and orchestrations appear regularly throughout his work. At least one of his original soundtrack albums that should be heard in its entirety is The Mission (1986) with its lush, breathtaking choral and orchestral arrangements combined with elements of South American music courtesy of the group Incantation.

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