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Ennio Morricone will be missed

The Italian film music composer passed away in Rome but has left a huge legacy

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This blog would not be complete without a special mention to the work and legacy of Ennio Morricone, who died this week aged 91. The Italian composer was the single reason why I compose music for TV, film and video. The world has recognised his importance to film music and how influential he was to composers from all genres and the internet is rightly full of tributes to the Maestro.

However for me, it's more personal. I have that weird sense of loss, even though I didn't know him,  I felt I did as I have championed his music all my life.

He is the reason why I am so passionate about film music and most of my record collection are original film soundtracks. I have been collecting his music all my life. He scored over 500 films and i only have 120, so there's so much more to discover.

This love affair with Ennio started early. Aged 14 I fell under his spell. It was my neighbour who introduced me to his music. Mr Hill was a Somerset cowboy, complete with impressive sideburns, cowboy boots and a stetson and obviously loved westerns. One evening he and his wife invited my parents over for a drink. I reluctantly tagged along as I probably couldn't be trusted in charge of the house. It was a time where children should be seen and not heard so I sat mute listening to adult matter being discussed. My attention waned and drifted to the sound coming out of Mr Hill's gramophone. It was low volume to assist conversation, but what I could hear I loved. I recognised parts of this amazing music as Mr Hill would often play his records as very high volume and the sounds would permeate our thin walls much to my Dad's annoyance. I had never heard anything like this before. I heard men whistling, whips cracking, choirs soaring, electric guitars twanking and then the emotional overkill in those lush gorgeous orchestral passages that hit me hard and made me weep. This music could transport you to different lands, exotic lands so faraway from my reality which was a small council house in Bettws Newport. Mr Hill could see that my attention was now fixed on this music and pulled out the sleeve and in his West Country accent explained. There was the close up of Clint Eastwood, cigar at the side of the mouth, with his pancho about to gun down three banditos. This was the soundtrack to A Fistful of Dollars. I had to save up and buy this record. I did and couldn't stop playing it and so started a lifetime musical journey.

So thank you Mr Hill for this introduction into the work of Ennio Morricone. I spent most of my teenage years tracking down rare Italian film soundtracks mostly imported by a specialist store in Fulham. Expensive yes, but so worth it. And educational ( my parents liked this bit ), as the sleeve notes and tracklisting were in Italian, I learnt italian, well track title Italian. As my peers at the time were getting lost in the countless glam rock bands topping the charts, I would stand apart in my tastes by digging an Italian film composer. Not cool  and I discovered girls weren't very interested in my obsession either. In their eyes Ennio was up against The Bay City Rollers, and the tartan boys would have the edge. I could see in their eyes they were thinking ' this guys odd'. So I kept my obsession quiet, reserved for listening in my bedroom.

I remember once bringing his glorious music out into the public. On a coach trip to Ostend, I sat at the back of the coach with my parents, but armed with a small battery operated cassette player and proceded to play the soundtrack to Once Upon A Time in The West. We arrived at our hotel and my parents befriended the couple who had sat in front of us on the coach. One evening over drinks we discussed the trip and the couple said ' Wasn't it a lovely smooth trip but we didn't like that funeral music that was playing'. I kept quiet and decided to keep Ennio to myself, as my private obsession.

Now of course, funny thing is everyone is talking about Ennio. Ennio Morricone is now cool!! Well to me I always knew he was.

 

 

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