Yesterday one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of film composers, Ennio Morricone, passed away at the age of 91. He had a genius for melody and his experimentation with sound gave us the peculiar yet perfect vocals in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, the synthesiser paired with strings in The Thing, and the eerie electric guitar in my favourite of his scores, Once Upon a Time in the West.
People writing about Morricone are justly including The Mission and Once Upon a Time in America as among his finest scores. But I thought I'd make a list of some of his lesser known but also astounding works.
As with Once Upon a Time in the West, his Navajo Joe score impressively weaves seemingly discordant screams with a sharp, electric guitar driven melody.
The Great Silence
The great exercise in bitter cold, Morricone offers a light touch to capture the every day truth of Klaus Kinski's villain.
Theft is No Longer a Crime
Like parts of his scores for The Thing and Allongsanfan, Morricone predates Rasputina in being able to really rock with a cello, lending a carnal impulse to this economic satire.
Finally, I leave you with this beautiful, underappreciated song he composed for Django Unchained:
Twitter Sonnet #1370
The granite holds a swirling wind for keeps.
Untidy doors would clutter jambs and knobs.
Above the buildings Locust Woman leaps.
The corn exceeds the biggest bin of cobs.
The quicker pen consists of bolts and light.
Extended time consumed the cheaper watch.
The lines of song removed the will to fight.
Defining shades reduced the mental blotch.
A signal look imputes the word to mess.
Mistaken tools were broken down the side.
Restraint prevents a foreign, errant bless.
A flimsy bag contained a soapy tide.
The pistol barrel's scream attends a glow.
A silent flute remembers rivers flow.