Best Albums of 2020: Ennio Morricone ‘Morricone Segreto’

Morricone Segreto (Cam Sugar/Decca)

As a teenager I was almost turned off film music maestro Ennio Morricone for life when certain family friends chose to play his pretty orchestral/choral score for the Hollywood film The Mission non-stop in their household for eternity. A good score, but almost ruined for me by over-exposure. Fortunately, I hadn’t quite turned my back when I discovered, around the same time, the films of Dario Argento, Mario Bava and other cult European directors from the 60’s and 70’s, for who Morricone wrote music of a completely different kind. Exotic, eclectic, atmospheric stuff that bridged avant-garde, world music, classical, psychedelic rock, bachelor pad music, pop, jazz and blues. Ennio Segreto (“secret” in Italian) captures 27 examples – including seven never released before – from 100’s of now-obscure soundtracks he did in these freewheeling and otherworldly styles, and it’s more interesting than much of the later orchestral music he wrote for American films. Ennio Segreto spans his most creative period, even if it doesn’t capture all the highlights, which no single album could anyway. I’m chuffed that this was the first album released after Morricone’s recent death at age 91, beating the inevitable cash-in compilations of more familiar fare like his Sergio Leone scores and, of course, the freaking Mission. If you enjoy this, make sure you also hear An Ennio Morricone Dario Argento Trilogy (1995), an album of highlights from his scores for the Italian director’s early cult thrillers.

Best Albums of 2020 Reviews Index

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