Legendary composer Ennio Morricone has died aged 91

He composed scores for over 500 films across his lengthy career.

Ennio Morricone

Image: Pier Marco Tacca / Getty

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Legendary Italian film composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Morricone died in Rome, following complications following a fall last week.

Morricone leaves behind an incredibly prolific legacy, having scored over 500 films. He was best known for his work with the director Sergio Leone on his spaghetti-western classics such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West. The main theme of the former, especially, has become almost synonymous with the music of westerns. More recent scores include compositions for Christian Carion’s Come What May, Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Correspondence and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Morricone’s recognisable approach to scoring spaghetti westerns mainly originated from budget constraints. Unable to make use of grand orchestration, his scores instead relied on clean, reverb-soaked electric guitars, whistling and sound effects such as whip cracks and gunshots. The resulting sound would prove to be the perfect pairing to Leone’s films, with Morricone scoring most of his works.

Morricone also received Oscar nominations for his scores for Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, Roland Joffe’s The Mission, Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, Barry Levinson’s Bugsy and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena. In 2007, Morricone received an honorary Oscar, celebrating his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. The award was presented to Morricone by Clint Eastwood.

When asked to define his style in a 1984 interview with Scraps From The Loft, Morricone described it as “the unconscious sum of all the things I love”.

“From the music I love to people, things, experiences from childhood,” he said. “The sum of all this is combined with study and guidance of my maestro and the condensed technique acquired from certain composers.”

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