Ennio Morricone

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Ennio Morricone (2012) Signature of Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone (born November 10, 1928 in Rome ; † July 6, 2020 there ) was an Italian composer , conductor and Oscar winner . He also worked under the pseudonyms Dan Savio and Leo Nichols and composed the music for more than 500 films . Because he wrote the film music for numerous spaghetti westerns, his name is primarily associated with this film genre . However, he also composed music for other genres.

His film scores for the spaghetti western classic Two Glorious Scoundrels (Original: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo ), for the western epic Spiel mir das Lied von Tod , for Roland Joffé's drama Mission and for Giuseppe Tornatore's film Cinema Paradiso achieved particular fame . Morricone received the Oscar in 2007 for his life's work and another in 2016 for the music for the film The Hateful Eight .


Morricone studied trumpet and choral music at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia and received his concert diploma as a trumpeter in 1946. A year later followed a first engagement as a theater composer. In 1953 he began designing the evening program for an Italian radio station. Goffredo Petrassi was responsible for his training as a composer at the conservatory, which he graduated with a diploma in 1954 . In 1956 he married Maria Travia. In the mid-1950s he established himself in the musical avant-garde of his country with chamber music and orchestral works . In 1958 Morricone attended the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt . In the same year Morricone signed an employment contract as a music assistant at the state broadcaster Radiotelevisione Italiana , where he worked as an arranger. He also wrote arrangements for numerous recordings in the pop genre (for example for Gino Paoli and Mina ) and led the band and orchestra.

Morricone composed his first film music for Luciano Salces Il Federale in 1961 , but international success was a few years away. In 1964 he began his successful collaboration with Sergio Leone (the two had gone to the same school class) and Bernardo Bertolucci . During this time he wrote the music for Leone's films For a Fistful of Dollars , Two Glorious Scoundrels and Play Me a Song of Death . Morricone's compositions were very different from the traditional symphonic Western soundtracks from Hollywood and worked with their unusual sound elements ( Jew's harps , whistles, screams, Coyote ngeheul, owl call, bells, music boxes , whip cracking, beating on anvil etc.) stylistically and innovative. The composer was even able to record hit parade successes with some of his compositions. In the genre of the spaghetti westerns, numerous composers based themselves on the style developed by Morricone.

From the mid-1990s, Morricone composed the score for around 15 films each year. He also played from 1964 to the 1970s in the improvisation ensemble Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza initiated by Franco Evangelisti . Together with other composers, Morricone founded the IRTE.M, a research institute for musical theater, in Rome in 1984.

In more than forty years of artistic creation, Morricone wrote over 500 film scores and worked with well-known Italian and international directors. He conducted a large number of orchestras, collaborating with the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra for numerous concerts and film music recordings. With this ensemble, Morricone also gave an honorary concert on February 2, 2007 for the inauguration of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon .

In addition to film and stage music, he continued to write chamber music for soloists (guitar, piano, violin, cello) and various formations (trio, quintet, sextet, piano and instruments, vocals and instruments, choirs, etc.) as well as cantatas and masses:

  • Missa Papae Francisci (2015)
  • Partenope (an opera with a libretto by Guido Barbieri and Sandro Cappelletto) (1996)
  • Ut (1992)
  • Cantata per l'Europa (1988)
  • Cantata Frammenti di Eros (1985)
  • Gestazione (1980)
  • Requiem per un Destino (1966)
  • Sestetto (1955)

Family and personal

He met his wife Maria Travia in 1950. You lived in Italy. Another place of residence, e.g. B. near Hollywood , he never wanted. His wife supported him in his work; she wrote additional texts for his music for the film The Mission , which also contain Latin texts. They have three sons and a daughter together:

  • Marco (born 1957)
  • Alessandra (1961)
  • Andrea (1964), conductor and film composer, with whom the Father the music for Cinema Paradiso composed
  • Giovanni (1966), filmmaker based in New York

At the 2007 Honorary Oscar ceremony, Clint Eastwood gave the laudatory speech . He translated Morricone's words of thanks in Italian, as Morricone was not fluent in English. A close friendship developed from their longstanding collaboration in many films.


Ennio Morricone died on July 6, 2020 at the age of 91 at the University Campus Bio-Medico in Rome of the consequences of a femoral neck fracture that he suffered in a fall a few days earlier. His death attracted a lot of public attention, in which he was often referred to as the most famous composer in film history.


Ennio Morricone at the 66th Venice Film Festival 2009

With his music, Morricone made a significant contribution to the global success of the Leone Westerns, which are now cult films , such as Play Me a Song of Death . Leone once admitted that for him Morricone was more of a screenwriter than a composer, because through music he could convey something that he would otherwise have had to show. And it has been handed down from the composer:

“Film music needs space to be able to unfold. The film has to give the music time to develop. "

- Ennio Morricone


Oscars (Academy Awards)

Golden Globes

Golden Raspberry

  • 1983: nominated for Butterfly (Worst Song) It's Wrong For Me To Love You (with Carol Connors)
  • 1983: nominated for Butterfly (worst film music)
  • 1983: nominated for The Thing From Another World (Worst Film Music)


David di Donatello



Nastro d'Argento for the best film music (Nastro d'Argento / Migliore colonna sonora)

Further awards

In 2017, he was also awarded the Grand Cross , the highest level of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic , and accepted into the Legion of Honor . In 2016 he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .


Morricone at UN headquarters (2007)

Morricone has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. His compositions have been partially transferred to other genres:

Film music (selection)

Chart placements


year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
DE DE AT AT CH CH UK UK US US IT ITTemplate: chart table / maintenance / charts non-existent
1967 A Fistful of Dollars - - - - US107 (28 weeks)
Soundtrack to the movie For a handful of dollars
1968 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - - - - US4th

(52 weeks)US
Soundtrack for the film Two Glorious Scoundrels
1971 Once Upon a Time in the West DE47 (4 weeks)
- - - - -
Soundtrack to the movie Play Me a Song of Death
1972 Once Upon a Time in the West - - CH86 (1 week)
- - -
Soundtrack to the movie Play Me a Song of Death
1981 Sound giants DE5 (13 weeks)
- - - - -
This Is Ennio Morricone - - - UK23 (5 weeks)
- -
Chi Mai - - - UK29 (6 weeks)
- -
1987 The Mission - - - UK73

(4 weeks)UK
US132 (13 weeks)
IT87 (1 week)
Soundtrack for the film Mission
Chart entry in IT not until 2020
1993 Play me the song of death -
The Very Best Of
DE77 (10 weeks)
AT32 (2 weeks)
- - - -
2000 The very best of - - - UK48 (1 week)
- -
2004 Movie masterpieces - - - UK69 (1 week)
- -
2007 Platinum Collection - - - - - IT33 (4 weeks)
Chart entry in IT only in 2020
2011 Paradiso - - - UK13 (5 weeks)
- -
2016 Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" DE82 (1 week)
AT54 (2 weeks)
- - - -
Soundtrack for The Hateful Eight
Morricone 60 DE75 (2 weeks)
- CH44 (2 weeks)
UK84 (1 week)
- IT22nd

(… Where.)Template: chart table / maintenance / preliminary / 2016IT
2020 De Sergio Leone à Quentin Ternentino - - CH26 (2 weeks)
- - -

gray hatching : no chart data available for this year


year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1970 Play Me a Song of Death (Jill's Theme) DE14th

(30 weeks)DE
- CH2 (16 weeks)
- - -
1974 My name is Nobody DE44 (1 week)
- CH2 (14 weeks)
- - -
1981 Chi Mai DE23 (15 weeks)
AT4 (12 weeks)
CH2 (13 weeks)

(12 weeks)UK
- -
Theme music in the BBC series Life and Times
of David Lloyd George
, as well as in the films Maddalena (Come Maddalena) , (1971) and Der Profi (Le professionel) , (1981).


  • Jean Lhassa: Homage to Maitre Ennio Morricone. Limited edition of 500 copies. Editions du Center d'Art d'Ixelles, 1986.
  • Sergio Miceli: Morricone - The music, the cinema. Edition Filmwerkstatt, 2000, ISBN 3-930524-03-1 .
  • Christiane Hausmann: Between avant-garde and commerce - the compositions of Ennio Morricone. Wolke Verlag, Hofheim 2008, ISBN 978-3-936000-68-9 .
  • Ennio Morricone in Venice. Live at Piazza San Marco. DVD and book. Icestorm Entertainment GmbH / ARS Latina, 2008.
  • Toni Hildebrandt: Ennio Morricone and Giuseppe Tornatore. The music, the cinema. Grin Verlag, Regensburg 2007.
  • Wolfgang Sandner: Play me the song by Morricone. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. November 8, 2008, Z3.
  • Peter Moormann (ed.): Classics of film music. Reclam-Verlag, Ditzingen 2009.
  • Guido Heldt , Tarek Krohn , Peter Moormann: Ennio Morricone. Edition text and criticism, München 2014, ISBN 978-3-86916-274-4 .
  • Lorenzo Sorbo: The Dramatic Functions of Italian Spaghetti Western Soundtracks: A Comparison between Ennio Morricone and Francesco De Masi. In: Sebastian Stoppe: Film in Concert. Film Scores and their Relation to Classical Concert Music . VWH Verlag, Glückstadt, Germany 2014, ISBN 978-3-86488-060-5 . Pp. 161-174.
  • Ennio Morricone - The master of film music. Photo book with 4 audio CDs. edel Germany, 2013, ISBN 978-3-943573-02-2 .
  • Interview. In: Die Zeit , No. 9/2007

Web links

Commons : Ennio Morricone  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Interview with Ennio Morricone. In: Marc Hairapetian: “Conservative directors would have fled from me screaming!” - Ennio Morricone wrote great film scores for Sergio Leone, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Quentin Tarantino. Now he's 90. Time to visit Rome at home. , in Die Zeit , November 10, 2018
  2. Interview with Helmut Lachenmann on van.atavist.com. February 26, 2016.
  3. youtube.com
  4. csosoundsandstories.org: Ennio Morricone, a chameleon of modern music
  5. Ennio Morricone morto nella notte a Roma: aveva 91 anni, si era rotto il femore. Celebrati funerali privati ​​con famiglia e Tornatore. In: Il Messaggero . Retrieved July 6, 2020 (Italian).
  6. a b c Michael Hanisch: Felt Reality - A Perfectionist: the composer Ennio Morricone in Film-Dienst 23/2003 p. 46 f. At the age of 75.
  7. ^ Awards for Ennio Morricone. imdb.com, accessed December 4, 2014 .
  8. ^ University of Music and Theater Munich ( Memento from April 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  9. ascap.com
  10. Ennio Morricone receives European Film Award Focus Online, October 28, 2013.
  11. Announcement about the award of medals , accessed on May 3, 2019.
  12. Princess of Asturias Prize 2020
  13. ^ Ennio Morricone | Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved September 24, 2019 .
  14. Zammerumaskil, Roma
  15. ^ Fondazione Italiani ( Memento of July 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  16. The Quentin Tarantino Archives January 15, 2013: Django Unchained complete soundtrack list with movie references. Retrieved January 19, 2013
  17. giovannimanfredini.com
  18. ^ Ennio Morricone Official Website.
  19. a b Chart sources: DE AT CH UK US
  20. a b Gold / Platinum databases: UK US
  21. ^ Günter Ehnert: Hit balance sheet - German chart singles 1956-1980 . 1st edition. Verlag popular music-literature, Norderstedt 2000, ISBN 3-922542-24-7 , p. 445 .