ALGIERS: July 10, 2020: Italian composer Ennio Morricone, one of the most famous and prolific authors of film music, has died at the age of 91.
Born in Rome in 1928, Ennio Morricone began composing at the age of six. At the age of ten, he enrolled in the trumpet course at the prestigious Académie Nationale Sainte-Cécile in Rome, where he was noticed by the great professor Goffredo Petrassi. He also studied composition, orchestration, organ, and was introduced to serial music.
A fruitful collaboration with Sergio Leone
After having started with “serious” music, he began in 1961 at the age of 33 in the cinema with “Ultra-secret Mission” by Luciano Salce. Finding Italian film music to be mediocre and cutesy, he wanted to renew them and impose a more “American” style.
Fame arrives with “For a Fistful of Dollars” (1964) by Sergio Leone. His successful collaboration with the master of the spaghetti western brought him an international reputation (“Once Upon a Time in the West”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, “Once Upon a Time in America”).
In the end, more than 500 soundtracks among which, those of the films of the Italian director, great films with success like “The Incorruptibles”, “Cinema Paradiso”, “Outrage”, the films with Belmondo (“The Sicilian clan” and “The Professional”) or the three films of “La Cage aux folles”.
But Ennio Morricone has also composed countless scores for B-movies, horror movies, and even a few erotic babes. One of his favorite genres in the 60s and 70s was giallo. Very bloody thrillers where the composer unleashes himself in the strange sounds of distorted children’s rhymes carried by scary choirs as in “Who Saw Him Die” directed by Aldo Lado in 1972.
A man of control, the Italian composer has always been keen to orchestrate, conduct and record his scores himself in his Roman studio, which he hardly ever left.
Ennio Moriconne and Algeria Of course in Algeria, he is best known for having composed with the director and also a musician, the soundtrack of the “Battle of Algiers”. Music which strongly reinforced the power of the film by giving it a purely revolutionary cachet. The BOF album will even be marketed in the United States and will be a great success. The rhythmic piece with drums showing the dissension of the French paratroopers remains the most used, in the reports which evoke the battle of Algiers. The American cinésate Quentin Tarantino, fan of Ennio Moriconne, had registered this moceau in his film “inglourious basterds” and in 2016, Moriconne composed the music for the film “Les Huit Salopards” directed by Quentin Tarantino and won at the age of 87 and finally the Oscar for best film music in Hollywood. In 2007, he had already received from Clint Eastwood an honorary Oscar “in recognition of his magnificent and manifold contributions to the art of film music”. Unlike Pentecorvo and his family, Ennio Moriconne has never visited Algeria. A project to honor him was proposed at the beginning of 2019, by the Algerian film library to invite him to Algeria and honor him, as was the case for Costa Gavras a few months earlier. This project was initiated following the Italian composer’s visit to the Cinémathèque française on the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to Segio Leone. But the Mestro’s very advanced age of over 90 was an obstacle to his coming. To pay tribute to him, the Algerian film library has gathered several reports and documentaries on the great musician here is a virtual program assembled in this direction, produced by the BBC, ARTE and the RTS (Swiss Radio and Television)