Italian composer Ennio Morricone dies at 91

He has signed some of the most memorable soundtracks in the history of cinema. Unforgettable are his songs for the father of the "Spaghetti western", Sergio Leone, in that "Trilogy of the Dollar"
Ennio Morricone, one of the world's best-known and most prolific film composers, has died in Rome, the Italian media reported on 6 July 2020

AFP/ TIZIANA FABI  -   Ennio Morricone, one of the world's best-known and most prolific film composers, has died in Rome, the Italian media reported on 6 July 2020

Italian composer Ennio Morricone died on Monday at the age of 91 in a clinic in Rome from the complications of a fall suffered in recent days, according to local media reports.

Morricone (Rome, 1928) died during the night at the Campuos Biomedico clinic in the capital after suffering a fractured femur from a fall a few days ago.

One of his four children, Marco Morricone, explained to Efe that the funeral would be "strictly private". In a statement released to the media, the family assures that they intend to respect "the feeling of humility that has always inspired the acts of their existence. The musician "has conserved until the last moment a complete lucidity and great dignity" and has been able to say goodbye to his wife, Maria, who has always accompanied him .

El compositor de música italiano Ennio Morricone
AFP/FILOPPO MONTEFORTE - Italian music composer Ennio Morricone

The maestro had been awarded with the Princess of Asturias Prize for the Arts 2020 together with another of the great composers, the American John Williams. Morricone has signed some of the most memorable soundtracks in the history of cinema. Unforgettable are his songs for the father of the "Spaghetti western", Sergio Leone, in that "Trilogy of the Dollar" starring Clint Eastwood: "Per un pugno di dollari" (1964), "Per qualche dollaro in più" (1965) and "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo" (1966).

Among his hundreds of creations, the one he made for "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" (1988) by his friend Giuseppe Tornatore, "The mission" (1986) and "Novecento" (1976) by Bernardo Bertolucci stand out.

In 2006, Morricone crowned her outstanding career with an honorary Oscar. And a decade later, in 2016, he won it for the soundtrack he created for the western "The Hateful Eight" (2015) by Quentin Tarantino, a composition that would earn him other awards such as a Golden Globe or the British Academy's Bafta. 

A legend devoted to the cinema

He began as a composer of symphonic and chamber music, extended his activity to light music and worked as an arranger for singers such as Gianni Morandi and Jimmy Fontana. His first incursion into the world of cinema, to which he would remain forever linked, took place in 1961 with the band of the film "Il federale" by Luciano Salcio and he would end up forging a close collaboration with other filmmakers such as Marco Bellocchio or Bernardo Bertolucci.

His great success came with the father of the "spaghetti western", Sergio Leone, with whom he was a schoolmate in Rome. For him, he composed the dramatic bands of the "Dollar Trilogy", spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood: "Per un pugno di dollari" (1964), "Per qualche dollaro in più" (1965) and "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo" (1966).

En esta foto de archivo del 12 de julio de 2009, el compositor italiano Ennio Morricone, dirige con la Orquesta Sinfónica de Budapest - Gyor, interpretando sus mejores temas de cine junto con el Coro de la Ópera de Macedonia, en la víspera de la apertura del 49º Festival de Verano de Ohrid
AP/BORIS GRDANOSKI - In this archive photo from July 12, 2009, Italian composer Ennio Morricone, conducts with the Budapest-Gyor Symphony Orchestra, performing his best film themes together with the Macedonian Opera Choir, on the eve of the opening of the 49th Ohrid Summer Festival

Already established as one of the most prestigious composers in the history of cinema, he worked with other directors such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lina Wertmuller, Roman Polanski, Oliver Stone and Pedro Almodóvar in "Attame" (1990).

On his shelves are dozens of awards, including three Grammy's, four Golden Globes and a Golden Lion from Venice, establishing him as one of the great composers in the history of cinema.

His compositions are based on two great pillars Johann Sebastian Bach and Igor Stravinski: "They are the two determining poles", the master acknowledged in an interview with his other great friend, Giuseppe Tornatore. But if there is a secret in his scores it is the role of silence: "Silence is music, at least as much as sounds, perhaps more. If you want to get into the heart of my music, look through the gaps, through the pauses", he recommended.

In January 2019, at the age of 90, Morricone announced that he would stop composing and during that year he offered a series of concerts to remember the songs that made him famous. In Rome he performed at the imposing Baths of Caracalla.

En esta foto de archivo tomada el 25 de febrero de 2007 el actor y director de cine Clint Eastwood traduce el discurso de aceptación del compositor Ennio Morricone, receptor del premio honorífico, en la 79ª edición de los Premios de la Academia en Hollywood
AFP/GABRIEL BOUYS - In this archive photo taken on 25 February 2007, actor and film director Clint Eastwood translates the acceptance speech of composer Ennio Morricone, who received the honorary award, at the 79th Academy Awards in Hollywood

Morricone leaves as a legacy an unforgettable career of which he has only regretted one thing, as he confessed in the mentioned book: not to dedicate more time to his wife, Maria, with whom he had four children and who accompanied him in his last moments.

The composer is one of the great emblems of the capital, which he also loved on the football field, always following Rome. He spent his childhood in the picturesque Trastevere district, lived in his penthouse in Ara Coeli, in the central and busy Piazza Venezia, and in recent years moved to the more peaceful EUR district. It was in his hometown that he discovered his love of music thanks to his father, who was also a musician. Thus, began a career that was often marked by creative crises arising from the rush of the film industry, as he himself acknowledged.

But he never lost that passion, even in the worst moments. He never stopped loving composition and orchestras. "When I was very young, I told my wife: 'when I'm 40 I'll be done with cinema' but I kept going. After 40 I said 'when I'm 50 I'll quit' but it wasn't like that. Obviously, I continued with 60, 70, 80 years... I've always said that I'd stop writing for the cinema when I was 90. And even now I don't know what I'll do," he said in his book.