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Master of Film Music: Morricone turns 90


A farewell tour, a book and one last soundtrack: The legendary film music composer Ennio Morricone celebrates his 90th birthday today, but does not allow himself any respite. Next week, the Roman „Maestro“, as the composer calls himself in interviews, will be launching his last tour under the motto „The Farewell Tour“. With this he wants to celebrate his farewell to the concert stages of the world.The conductor, who began composing at the age of six, has been writing music for more than 500 films in recent decades. For his achievements Morricone received more than 70 awards – including in 2007 the Oscar for his life’s work. Yet, Morricone does not seem to care about prices. He wrote in his memoir „Life Notes“: „Success can be satisfying, but the music must always be pure and correct, never just a vehicle to be recognized.“

World famous soundtracks

Many of his soundtracks are known all over the world – especially the harmonica tune from the western classic „Play me the song of death“ from the year 1969. But also almost 50 years later, the native Roman has not had enough of the music yet. He is currently working on the music of Giuseppe Tornatore’s new movie. In 2000, Morricone had won the Golden Globe for Best Soundtrack for the soundtrack of Tornatore’s Legend of the Ocean Pianist.

Innovator of film music

The sound worlds to the films Sergio Leones justified Morricone’s reputation as an innovator of film music. In addition to classical orchestral sounds, he put on various sound effects, such as coyote howl. Nevertheless, he never wanted to reduce himself to the genre. After all, make the about 30 set by Morricone spaghetti Westerners only a fraction of his extensive work.

Morricone was convinced that film music is not always underpainting. Director and screenwriter make decisions. But that does not mean that the composer is „a slave“. „Harmonica or oboe can even be the main actor,“ said the composer. Nevertheless, the „Maestro“ does not only want to be called a film composer, as he also worked on chamber music pieces for soloists and ensembles in different castings.

Despite his 90 years, the high workload prepare him no problems, as composing relax. He was still a bit nervous before appearances, he admitted recently. Because he can endure mistakes badly.