10 NOVEMBER IS MORRICONE'S BIRTHDAY
Click on the cake and leave a message for him
Some tissues in the nature produce nurturing substances, like the digestive system of bees or the breasts of mothers. Add the brain of Morricone to them. His music has nourished me, and kept me healthy and happy.
When I was 6 or 7 years old, the State Radio in Istanbul used to broadcast very short excerpts from some melodies when there were still a few minutes to the end-of-the-hour news. I would love those melodies. Many years later I learned that they belonged to Herb Alpert, Paul Mauriat, Frank Pourcel, Raymond Lefevre, Henry Mancini... and Ennio Morricone. Among them, Morricone had already become my favourite when I became a teenager. I bought some cassettes of him. When I was 20, I finally could afford a simple MIDI system (an Atari ST and the cheapest MIDI compatible keyboard model of Yamaha). The first tune I sequenced was one that had been haunting at the background of a very vivid childhood memory: My father was taking me to hospital for a minor illness. We were in a taxi, one of those big black DeSotos roaming on the streets of the city in those days. The distorted sound coming from the radio of the car was playing something before it was interrupted by the robotic sound announcing the 12 o'clock news. I never forgot that melody. It was this melody I sequenced. I was unable to recall many of its details. I sequenced it as I remembered it. Years later I learned that the name of the melody was The Sicilian Clan by Morricone.
And I learned how talented he was. He does not wait for the inspiration of the Muses to hit him. He is like legendary Renaissance artists who when commissioned for a work, finish it in time just like an ordinary mason without long hours of contemplation or whims, and still with an incredible artistic value. There are some composers who cannot go beyond the confines of a particular style; hearing just the first few bars of their work is enough to recognize them. Despite some distinctive common characteristics, in my opinion Morricone's work is so diverse as if it was written by two or three different composers from different traditions. Dan O'Leary recounts:
"Henri Verneuil, the director of Le Casse [The Burglars] prasied Morricone's talent for not relying on conventional means to score a film. While Morricone was recording the score for another film he was doing, he used the orchestra to record five different themes for Verneuil's film. When they could not decide from the last two, Morricone quickly solved the problem. "Do not worry," he said, "I know what to do." He deftly mixed both themes into one, with theme number one playing in counterpoint over theme number two."
Somewhere else I also read how Morricone and Sergio Leone, his long-time companion worked together in Once Upon A Time in America: Morricone was playing different versions of a melody on the piano until Leone liked one of them. This mastery and speed in composing reminds me of Haendel, Lizst and Shostakovich. Comparing any musician to Bach is too ambitious, I know; but I think Morricone is the Bach of film music.Eulogies spelled out for Bach, when taken in the context of film musics, sound as if they are for Morricone.
Some say his music is repetitive and I answer with his own words "cinema cannot allow the viewer to be distracted by new things"; some say his music is too simple, and I say it is minimalistic... He draws his music back not to overshadow the visual elements. Nevertheless, most of the time the music deserves more attention than the movie.
Now, I have a modest collection of his CDs. I consider it a duty to offer small samples from his music to the visitors of my page. Unfortunately it is neither possible for me to upload all the songs I have, nor is it legally allowed or ethical to give whole songs on the Net. And I would not want to cause a financial loss neither to him nor to his record companies. On the contrary, I would be happy if this page makes even a smallest contribution to the promotion of his music though he does not need such a help. This is not an ordinary download list, and I hope it is legally allowed as such. This is not a place where you can find general information about Morricone either. For those who want to get to know him, I would suggest a beautifulfan page which is very informative. If you are looking for an exhaustive and quick reference list of Morricone CDs you can also refer to this page or this page.
I have a personal choice of his melodies each being about 1 minute excerpts. All songs here are presented in a relatively poor quality of 'MPEG Layer-3 56 kBit/s, 24,000 Hz, Stereo' format to reduce their size and to prevent a probable commercial use (each are btw. 410-417 KB.), and they are grouped into a rather strange categorisation. This categorisation may remind some visitors, of the entries of the funny Chinese encyclopaedia narrated by Borges.Borges describes a certain Chinese Encyclopaedia, The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, in which it is written that animals are divided into:
1) Those that belong to the Emperor,
2) Embalmed ones,
3) Those that are trained,
4) Suckling pigs,
6) Fabulous ones,
7) Stray dogs,
8) Those included in the present classification,
9) Those that tremble as if they were mad,
10) Innumerable ones,
11) Those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
13) Those that have just broken a flower vase, and
14) Those that from a long way off look like flies.
But, no matter how absurd they are, the 20 categories I employ are indeed the ones in my mind which I follow when listening to Morricone's music. Below are some of his pieces put into these categories and sometimes paralleled among each other or with the music of other composers:
CATEGORY 1: THE SICILIAN CLAN
The Sicilian Clan may not be the best one among Morricone's works. However, as I said above, it has a special importance for me, and therefore it is a category by itself. At times, it reminds me of another composition of Morricone: Main Theme from The Most Beautiful Wife, or Man of Mystery by The Shadows. Is not there also a similarity between this piece and two Bach works Prelude in Cmn by Bach (BWV. 999) (Sequence © Pierre R. Schwob - by permission. Original from the Classical Archives, LLC) and the magnificent Preludium and Fugue (BWV. 543) (Sequence from BWV Bach MIDI -by permission)?
Writing pieces on the sequence B, A, C, H (Bb, A, C, B natural in English notation) is a joyful challenge which J. S. Bach himself started first. He has aPreludium and Fugue on it (BWV. 898). (There are doubts over whether this piece belongs to Bach, and its recordings are very rare, one famous interpretation belonging to legendary Glenn Gould). Later on, a true admirer of Bach who saved the composer from being forgotten, Schumann wrote Six Fugues on B-A-C-H (Op.60). You can download the first of these, Langsam sequenced by C. Ikenoue or the sixth fugue sequenced by P. Casulleras (MIDI sequences from the Classical Archives, LLC by permission). Lizst has a Fantasia and Fugue on the Theme B-A-C-H (courtesy of Naxos USA). Korsakoff has six variations on the same notes; you can listen to the First and Third of them sequenced by an anonymous person. Another fan of Bach, Reger followed the tradition and wrote a Fantasia and Fugue on B-A-C-H (Op.46) -I would really like to have it here. An Italian composer from the first half of the 20th century, Alfredo Casella wrote Two Ricercari on the name B-A-C-H, Op.52 composed of a Funebre and an Ostinato (courtesy of Naxos USA). A final example comes from a contemporary composer Holger Muenzer. Listen to the MIDI version of his work Zwoelftonimpressionen fuer Oboe Solo written in 1999.
Now, coming to Morricone... He took the difficult task of using this sequence in a soundtrack: The Professional from the year 1981 (not to be confused with Luc Besson's movie). Check out hisFirst Version, Second Version, Third Version and a piece he entitled The Return/On the Name of Bach (my excerpt for this last one is a cutout from the middle of the piece. This section, with its beautiful bass plucks and gentle brass lines is my favourite among the variations).
Still uncomfortable with Morricone dealing with Bach stuff? Listen to The Light from The Antichrist then.
CATEGORY 3: THOSE WITH DELICIOUS SOLOS OF WIND INSTRUMENTS
I really adore the instrumental solos Morricone writes. Especially for wind instruments...
Let us have a look at the reeds first, which Morricone seems to prefer to the others. Many of his beautiful melodies are played by instruments from the reeds family. My two favourites areHope for Freedom from Sacco and Vanzetti and Dolls-Bambole from Spasm. I should immediately add Bye Bye Colonel to them. Addio Messico from A Fistful Of Dynamite is a short but nice melody. For Love One Can Die from the movie with the same title (pay attention to the resemblance between this piece and an unused theme which has Version 1 and 2 from Once Upon A Time in America) is another typical piece; David Juna draws our attention to the similarity between this piece and the second movement -Adagio- of the Concerto for Oboe by A. Marcello (MIDI version from Classical Archives, LLC). Do not you think that The Ecstasy of Gold from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Il Vizzio D'Uccidere from For a Few Dollars More deserve more than being seen just one of the pieces from Western movies? The Secret (from the movie with the same name), The Lady Caliph from The Lady Caliph, and Main Theme from This Kind of Love are beautiful concert pieces in my eyes. Unholy Tree from The Infernal Trio depicts a curious picture with short brush strokes. You will all remember the famous Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission. Oboe playing The Wind, The Scream theme (see the Adventure/Action Themes Category below) in the Second Variation from The Professional, and in Main Theme (cutout) from The Outsider (refer to the same category)... The Outsider theme is once again played with oboe in The Outsider-For Carol at a higher pitch exhibiting the beauty of the upper tones of the scale of the instrument. After these oboe melodies let us give an ear to Giordano Bruno's Theme from Giordano Bruno. This is -if I am not mistaken- English horn, is it not? And it naturally reminds me of Tuonela's Swan by Sibelius. Of the two saxophone samples, Death Theme (cutout) from The Untouchables, and Moscow Farewell from Moscow Farewell, the first again is similar to Sibelius' 'death' theme used in Tuonela. You all are familiar with the soft clarinet melody, Lacalle's Amapola played in Once Upon A Time in America. Another clarinet melody is in Triumph Of Love from The Indifferent (is not this tune similar to Per Le Antiche Scale in the Classical Dances category)...
Zamfir with his panflute playing Cockeye's Song in Once Upon A Time in America... Another great panflute tune which -as far as I know- has not been used in any movie is Baroque Intermezzo with its exotic dulcimer chords. Listen once again the melody of Gabriel's Oboe in Vita Nostra in The Mission, but this time from the panflute.
Whistle too has an important function in his music: for example the famous Main Theme from For a Few Dollars More or Titoli from A Fistful of Dollars... Cowboys who travel with minimum paraphernalia usually carry no musical instrument, and the sound of whistle also fits very much the idea of solitude. Can you stop yourself from accompanying the tunes Il Pinguino from Companeros or Farewell to Cheyenne (cutout) from Once upon a Time in the West? They Say It's Wrong from Un Bellissimo Novembre -I am grateful to Laurent Perret for his help in identifying the movie's name-, and Dopo L'Esplosione from A Fistful of Dynamite are other tunes of the same type. Fear over the City from Fear over the City, and Main Theme from Fun Is Beautiful are non-Western examples (sorry, because of the low quality of my .wav file, the whistle sound comes with a kind of flanger effect in this piece). The whistle tune in Mucchio Selvaggio from My Name Is Nobody leads to Wagner's Valkyrie theme.
To remain between us, I do not like the sound of the flute much. Well... I have a convincing supporter like Mozart. But, my taste has changed a bit after listening Morricone's pieces with flute. I have ten examples here: Poem of a Woman from the movie with the same title, Per le Antiche Scale which we referred above, Main Title from Before The Revolution, Forse Basta from Around the World with the Lovers of Peynet, Main Theme from Stay As You Are, Lullaby in Blue from The Cat O'Nine Tails, Mia Cara Nonnina from Red, White Green, and Theme for a Woman Alone from The Serpent (Morricone seems to prefer mellow flute passages for feminine themes)... Which instrument, do you think, Morricone would use to depict a family atmosphere? Listen to Ness and His Family from The Untouchables to find out. Last but not least, Brasiliana from Il Vizietto (the flute part is not a solo, but I think it is lovely)... It is somewhere between Herb Alpert's doubled trumpet sound and Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Does not the sound of recorder in Main Theme from My Name is Nobody, A Friend from Blood on the Streets, or Working Problems from The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man justify the name 'flauto dolce' given to the instrument? A Fist Goes West has a few good recorder melodies: Estasi Del Miracolo, Dal Sarto (one of my favourites) and Solo Il Piccolone which are variations on the same theme. By the way, is it a recorder or an ocarina at the beginning of Baci Dopo il Tramonto from La Venexiana? I could not decide again whether it is a sopranino recorder or an ocarina in Tepepa E Price from Blood and Guns? But it is most probably an ocarina playing in Main Title (cutout) of What Am I Doing in the Middle of the Revolution, is it not?
Who can forget the 'lagrimoso' type of harmonica line coupled beautifully with horn arpeggios in Man with a Harmonica from Once upon a Time in the West again, or the harmonica in Main Theme (cutout) of Who Saw Him Die? By the way, are not this section of Man With Harmonica and this cutout from Se Sei Qualcuno E' Colpa Mia from My Name is Nobody similar? With its weak harmonica line, I think, in The Man with The Matches from The Untouchables, Morricone is making fun of his own legendary Man with Harmonica piece. Two light and cosy harmonica tunes are heard in Buona Fortuna Jack from My Name is Nobody and La Messicana from Companeros...
Is not the sound of bassoon beautiful as ever in Main Theme (cutout) of This Kind of Love? In Scherzi A Parte from A Fistful Of Dynamite, a flageolet (or a buzzer ?) a bassoon and recorder (or an ocarina?) take over the melody in turn. This cutout from I Figli Morti from A Fistful Of Dynamite starts with bassoon and goes on with whistle. Is it a bassoon or an oboe playing in A Natassia from Stay As You Are?
Finally, brass solos: Notice the similarity between Main Theme from A Fistfull of Dollars, and L'Ultima Tromba from A Fist Goes West (in Passagio Dal Male Al Bene from the same movie the same melody is played with oboe this time). I was a bit disappointed to become aware of the resemblance between A Fistful of Dollars theme (from the year 1964) and the Rio Bravo theme (from the year 1959) by Dimitri Tiomkin. In The Trio (cutout) from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the climax is a brass solo. You probably remember La Resa dei Conti (cutout) from For a Few Dollars More. Restless from Il Grande Silenzio thanks to Didier Thunus for his help in identifying the movie's name- and Tepepa from Blood and Guns are characteristic tunes different from the mainstream Spaghetti Western melodies, whereas Main Theme from The Hellbenders is rather usual. Main Theme from Private Pictures of a Lady is a non-Western example. Would you like a trumpet howling in The Howl and the City from Wolf? A beautiful solo after a lovely wind ensemble is in Main Theme (cutout) from Who Saw Him Die. Come un Miracolo from Force G is like Fausto Papetti's sax melodies. Main Theme from La Donna Della Domenica is a typical melody. A funky arrangement H.S.M. and The Outsider-For Carol (cutout) from The Outsider (refer to Adventure/Action themes for the original Outsider theme)... And the horn in Bullets Don't Argue from the movie with the same name -thanks to Didier Thunus for his help in identifying the movie... Is it not a daring attempt to start a piece with a tuba solo like a Hoffnung musical caricature and then turn it to a John Williams type of melody?: Victorious from The Untouchables... There is the Fuer Elise theme hidden in Before the Vision (cutout) from The Devil in the Brain.
Most of the Western trumpet melodies of Morricone are written and played in 'Mariachi' style. For this genre in general, you can refer to this site, and for mariachi trumpet in particular, refer to this page dedicated to one of its most famous players.
STRAVINSKY TYPE OF MELODIES
If you want me to name one composer -except Bach of course- who has had the greatest influence on Morricone, I would choose Stravinsky. It is true that Stravinsky himself is known as a musician whose compositions are too diverse to be put into the confines of a single style. Here, I have two specific works of Stravinsky in mind: The Rite of Spring and The Firebird. One can trace the elements of this influence in many works of Morricone. For example, Waiting at the Border (cutout) from The Untouchables, and especially Terrorists! (cutout) from The Human Factor remind me of The Rite Of Spring by Stravinsky. Linciaggio from Malèna and Fuga Del Presente from the CD entitled De Sa A Su Xelu show that Stravinsky's influence on Morricone goes on. But I think, this effect is nowhere else more manifest than it is in Wolf and its -what I consider- sister soundtrack Disclosure. Almost every piece in these two can be an evidence. For instance, just listen to Chase from Wolf. With the curious trills of the strings, the characteristic use of the woodwind ensemble and the incremental procession of the whole melody, the first part of Preparation and Victory (cutout) from Disclosure, and the first cutout and the second cutout from the piece entitled Virtual Reality from the same movie can be other examples. Sometimes the similarity between the two soundtracks becomes disturbing, as it is exemplified by the case of the synthesizer arpeggios embedded into the Stravinsky texture in both the the third cutout from Virtual Reality from Disclosure and A Shock for Laura from Wolf.
Morricone does admit the influence of Stravinsky frankly, and in our part, then, noticing this influence should not be taken to mean a big discovery. Once, critics pointed out the striking similarity of the chorale theme of the last movement of the first symphony of Brahms to the famous “Ode to Joy” of the finale of the ninth symphony of Beethoven. It is said that, when chided about this, Brahms would snarl something to the effect that, “So what? Any fool can hear that!”
TYPE OF MELODIES
These melodies probably do not mean that Morricone was influenced by Alan Parsons; it is rather an overlapping of styles: Frantic from Frantic, and Like Maddalena from Maddalena... Is not the beginning of the second similar to Mamma Gamma by Alan Parsons.
PAUL MAURIAT TYPE OF MELODIES
The general atmosphere in Main Theme from Spanish Steps, and in A Friend (cutout) from Blood on the Streets reminds me Paul Mauriat's music. Preparation and Victory (cutout) from Disclosure is composed of two distinct halves. It starts with the usual Stravinsky mood in the first half and then turns to a Paul Mauriat piece in the second -for the first half of this piece refer to the Stravinsky category above.
Once Brahms praised J. Strauss II as the most musical of all the brains ever existed. What do you think he would say if he could listen to Polka Prima and Valzer Per... La Buona Societa from L'eredita' Ferramonti and J&S Waltz (that mocks the introduction of the Voices of Spring by Strauss) from La Banda J&S-Cronaca Criminale Del Far West? If I am not mistaken, To the People of Parma from This Kind of Love is a Gavotte. Notice the similarity between this piece and Bach's Gavotte from Suite No.6 in D for Unaccompanied Cello (BWV. 1012) sequenced by D. Grossman. Is it not also very similar to Respighi's Balletto detto 'Il Conte Orlando from Ancient Airs and Dances (courtesy of Naxos USA). Banquet from Hamlet is a Renaissance dance. Classical Theme (another favourite of mine) from The Outsider is like a pop version of a Wiener waltz. Marinella from The Burglars, Rage and Tarantella from Allonsanfan -I am grateful to Roger Hammonds for his help in identifying the movie's name- and La Libertad from The Mercenary -I am grateful to Mark Eakes for his help in identifying the movie's name- are typical Italian dances with their tambourines. Castles in Scotland from Matrimonio Con Vizieto and Down the Ancient Staircase from the movie with the same title are serene dances. Does not the second one remind the Gymnopedies of Eric Satie?
8: HONKY TONKS,
THE 20s' SALOON MUSIC
Would not the habitues of a saloon where such an orchestra like the one in the Bad Orchestra plays come with bow-ties as if they are coming to listen to a concert (this tune is from Once Upon A Time in The West). Prima Dei Pugni from A Fist Goes West is another jolly melody. Lontano from God with Us is not honky tonk exactly except that the piano used in it is (it sounds like that as the piano sound is coupled with glockenspiel, a gamelan or a similar instrument. Notice the similarity between Lantano and Song of Nostalgia (cutout) from Who Saw Him Die. Do you think the twenties, the whole decade has ever seen such brilliant New Orleans tunes like Prohibition Dirge (I skipped a few seconds' intro from the beginning), Friends or Speakeasy from Once Upon A Time In America? Rag in Frantumi (much different from Debussy's Golywog's Cakewalk or Joplin's rags -if I am not mistaken this piece was not used in any movie). Daughter To the Edge from The Burglars is again an embodiment of fun. Could any other composer dare to use the honky tonk sound in such a dramatic piece like Al Capone from The Untouchables? See how lovely the change of the Main Theme of Cinema Paradiso (see the Romantic Themes below) into a completely different form in From American Sex Appeal To The First Fellini (cutout) is.
MUSIC BOXES, CELESTAS,
It was earlier than one would expect that these 'toys' attracted the attention of composers who wrote 'serious' music. A few times, Mozart was commissioned to write little melodies for music boxes, and Tchaikovsky wrote the famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy for celesta which he first saw in a music shop and fell in love with.
For Morricone, the innocent tintinnabulation of little metal blocks renders the one end of a contrast or an anti-climax the other end of which is constituted by brutal sounds. Can you forget the famous evocative melody of the music box in La Resa dei Conti from For a Few Dollars More (refer to the brass solos above)? Is it a celesta playing in the temporary version of the Poverty theme in Once upon a Time in America? Amusing Diversion from The Heart of a Mother is a simple yet suprising melody. Suite I - 4 Mosche di Grigio from Four Flies on Grey Velvet is relatively darker. Similarly, the soft melody in Machine Gun Lullaby from The Untouchables makes a contrast with occasional out-of-tone string notes. Remember Dal Sarto from A Fist Goes West which we referred in the context of recorder. Morricone used the same sound in First Youth from Cinema Paradiso. Who else can tell as many things as Morricone can with a routine chordal progression and a string layer as in Main Theme from The Toy?
CATEGORY 10: VOCALISES
At times, the following pieces remind me of Rachmaninoff's Vocalise or Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasilieras. Clear and soft voices are heard in these melodies of Morricone by Edda Dell'Orso,Joan Baez, Catherine Spaak, Astrud Gilberto, or members of Cantori Moderni (a group of vocalists who performed in many Morricone movies) all of whom worked with Morricone; if you can help me in sorting out whose voices these are, I would be grateful. For example, Main Theme (cutout) from Once Upon A Time In The West, The Ecstasy of Gold from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (refer to the oboe solos above), Main Theme (cutout) from A Fistful Of Dynamite, Catalepsis from Paralyzed -I am grateful to Roger Hammonds for his help in identifying the movie's name-, Main Theme from Children Who Are Asking Why, Lullaby for Adulterers from A Mother's Heart, Dal Mare (cutout) from The Secret, and Women at the River from The Lady Caliph... The End Credits theme from The Children Who Are Asking Why evidences how meticulous Morricone is even for the last seconds of a movie.
Marches impart an important dramatical element to the movies lucky enough to be scored by Morricone: Marcia and Marcia Without Hope from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, the grotesque Marcia Degli Accattoni from A Fistful Of Dynamite, March in F from Rise Up, Spy, and March of McGregor from Seven Guns For The McGregors -I am grateful to Roger Hammonds for his help in identifying the movie's name- are just a few examples. Un Salotto Borghese from Fun Is Beautiful and Marcetta Popolare from Red, White and Green are march caricatures.
Most of Morricone's pieces contain a humour element anyway. Yet, this is more obvious in some pieces like Main Theme from The Cat, Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion from the movie with the same title, Dancing Today With The 'Friends Of Cantoni' from The Tragedy of A Ridiculous Man, and Slalom from Slalom. Main Theme from Three Columns on Front Page taken outside its context in the movie has a humoresque air with the glissando effects though some people may consider it a bit eerie. A Caccia di Lei from La Notte E Il Momento reminds me of Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Joyous Adventures or the promenade atmosphere of Gershwin's An American in Paris. The Main Theme (cutout) from H2S reminds me of the works of the modern English composers paying homage to the English baroque masters. Autostrada from Red, White and Green is a piece which reminds of Herb Alpert or James Last melodies. Main Theme again from Red, White and Green is a very typical piece. Western? from Le Ruffian is a Western caricature. Anche Se Volessi Lavorare Che Faccio from Even If I Wanted To Work What Would I Do? uses belching effect like Marcia Degli Accattoni mentioned above. Valzer Stonato from La Dame Aux Camelias is a humorous waltz which sounds as if it is played by the mechanical organ of a carousel. Contrasts make humour: Grandino E Piccolone and Sfida All Ultima Forchetta from A Fist Goes West... Baletto Degli Specchi from My Name Is Nobody is a parade of funny sound effects, -as far as I can hear- including a theremin, cowbells and other crazy utensils.
(I am grateful to Michael Caletka for suggesting me to open up this category). The term 'giallo' refers to genre of cult movies produced mainly in Italy during the second half of the '60s and the '70s, though examples of giallo films were produced elsewhere (for example in the USA) and in later years as well. In giallos, the continuous feelings of horror and suspense are reinforced with such typical elements like and amorality, violence and sadism, fetishism, and use of drugs.
The Ennio Morricone-Dario Argento collaboration in the famous 'Animal Trilogy', The Bird with The Crystal Plumage (1969), The Cat O'Nine Tails (1970), and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) which constituted some of the best examples of giallo cinema discontinued for more than twenty years until the legendary duo came together for The Stendhal Syndrome (1995) The Phantom of the Opera (1998) in the same genre this time in a more refined fashion though. In between, Morricone had some escapedes with other directors such as Luigi Bazzoni, Enzo Castellari, Lucio Fulci, Paolo Cavara and Aldo Lado in giallo projects in the first half of the '70s -whereas Argento flirted with the Italian rock group Goblin.
I have already referred to some examples from the trilogy throughout the text. The others I present here, use almost the same fearful breathing and the nervous vocal line belonging -if I am not mistaken- to Edda Dell'Orso. The similarity among them is a bit disappointing: the Title Track from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (another heartbeat effect is used in A Heart Beats in Space from Mission to Mars but the latter is used in a relatively more optimistic atmosphere that reminds me of the Morning Song from Grieg's Peer Gynt), 1970 (cutout) from The Cat O'Nine Tails, with its unconventional use of string instruments, and the Suite (cutout) from Four Flies on Grey Velvet.
The same breathing/moaning effect went on, however with new inventions. For example, Fear and Assault from The Fifth Cord by Bazzoni has two intermingled melodies one joyful and the other fearful. Dolls of Glass (cutout) from The Short Night of the Dolls of Glass by Lado is another example.
Screams in the Emptiness from the Cold Eyes of Fear by Castellari has some jazz influences with the improvisations by the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.
Is it not interesting to hear the pieces Morricone wrote in Bossanova form? He has excellent command on this form too. Serene Melancholy from The Monster reminds me of two of Jobim's works: She is a Carioca (in terms of the general atmosphere) and One Note Samba (melodically) -Jobim's songs are played by Cariocas de Rio. Can you hear the small melody from Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue that starts in 22nd second in Morricone's piece?. L'Alibi from the movie L'Alibi is a gentle Bossa. Portrait of an Author from The Invisible Woman, Main Theme (cutout) from Private Pictures of a Lady which we referred above, and Non Rimane Piu' Nessuno from The Bird With Crystal Plumage (or shall we consider this rhythm Cha Cha?) are other examples.
Italians have contributed to Argentinean culture much. And it seems that they still do: La Gabbia Dei Matti from Il Vizietto, Ballami from Eat It (which is one of the very disparate variations of the main theme of the movie), and Tango Grottesco from Stark System... Is not the last one similar to Orgia from Malèna? It is said that Chopin's waltzes are not to dance to. So are the peculiar tangos of Morricone.
ADVENTURE / ACTION THEMES
This is my favourite category. And my favourites within this category are: Main Theme of To Forget Palermo, The Wind, The Scream (cutout) from The Professional (with its Main Titles Movie Version), Main Theme from The Outsider (and its another version, The Drugs and the Boy), and Main Theme from The Burglars. Other typical adenture / action themes by Morricone are Final Pursuit (alternate version) from The Cat O'Nine Tails, which is an insistent bass pattern (maybe the precursor of the Drum-n-Bass music), Night of Day from A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (a nice funk), Main Theme from A Time to Kill (a romantic theme used interestingly to signify an increasing tension). Main Theme and Night Search from Without Apparent Motive have typical Morricone guitar effects. With Energy and Decision from Disclosure brings together the familiar insistent bass layer coupled with piano arpeggios and a Stravinksy woodwind ensemble. The Untouchables has two lovely action themes: On the Rooftops and The Strength of the Righteous (being slightly different versions). Other works in this category are Unholy Tree from The Infernal Trio (the guitar effects are heard again), Coincidenze and L'Ultimo Treno della Notte (in this piece he uses the sound effect of a train) from Murder On The Last Train, Rodeo (cutout) from The Burglars, (which is also a romantic piece), Main Theme from Violent City (another favourite of mine), Main Theme from Almost Human (a similar piece to Violent City), Time Of Work (cutout) from The Working Class Goes To Heaven (a combination of the guitar effect and the routine bass), Main Theme from Reprisal (the insistent bass is replaced by strings here), Metafora Finale and Placcagio from The Cat O'Nine Tails (again a routine pattern of slap bass and snare drums), Main Theme from Four Flies On Grey Velvet (an example of the rock/vanguard music of the early 70s -the movie was shot in 1971), and Cinema On Fire from Cinema Paradiso which becomes a kind of Brucknerian piece towards the end.
THE THREE VOCAL PIECES FROM THE OUTSIDER
The movie Outsider has three interesting songs successfully emulating the ones at the background of American movies. I am amazed at how dexterously the problem of prosody has been solved by Morricone; because I know that his English is not so good. Did not Haendel, with his inadequate English, show the same proficiency while he wrote many vocal pieces including the Messiah?
Silent of Love from Il Grande Silenzio -thanks to Julian Braithwaite and Didier Thunus for their help in identifying the movie's name-, Soon from Machine Gun MacCain -I am grateful to George Anastasiadis for his help in identifying the movie-, Main Theme from This Kind Of Love , and I Remember Rosa from Le Ruffian are mellow tunes that do not require much to say. Main Theme from For Love One Can Die to which we have already referred above deserves mentioning again here. Chi Mai from Maddalena from 1971 is very famous among Morricone's works. This is a minimalist piece which still has a great expression. Didier Thunus informs us that Morricone wrote another arrangement of Chi Mai in 1977 which was used in 1978 in a BBC documentary called The Life and Times of Lloyd George, and became a hit in the UK. That's where Jean Paul Belmondo heard it, and asked from Morricone the permission to use it for his movie The Professional shot in 1981. This version of Chi Mai in The Professional is slightly different, more rhythmic and less syncopathic than the one in Maddalena. Didier adds that today almost all Morricone compilations have a version of Chi Mai which is as long as 5:05 min.s due to an artificial expansion. The piece also has a pan flute version which was not used in any movie. Main Theme from Two Seasons of Life and Main Theme from Cinema Paradiso are very soft and emotional melodies. Dedicace from The Woman Banker can easily be taken as a movement of a sonata for violin and piano. Childhood and Manhood and Toto and Alfredo from Cinema Paradiso are nice violin variations of the main theme of the movie which we have just mentioned. Sevgliarsi, Ahi Che Fatica (itself 42sec.s) from Divine Nymph reminds me of Kreisler tunes. Main Theme from Farewell to Moscow is another romantic violin melody.Theme for a Woman Alone from The Serpent which we referred above and Main Theme from The Resenter are worth mentioning too. In Deep In My Eyes from Menage All'Italiana the cello (or viola?) is 'chanting' if the term fits. Romanza Quartiere from The Neighbourhood and Main Theme from For Love lean heavily on the mellow effect of the strings. Main Theme from Spasm, In Church from Grand Slam and To Die And Live from Disobedience are three other gentle tunes played by the strings. Women at the River from The Lady Caliph which we referred above is a nice combination of vocal parts, strings and wind instruments. A Far Away Italy from A Time To Kill is a sober tune which has an incredible dramatic character. Main Theme of Who Saw Him Die which we referred above twice is one of the most beautiful tunes of Morricone in my opinion. Alfonsina delle Camelie from La Dame Aux Camelias is a delicious keyboard melody. Lovingly Playful from The Woman Banker is a theme, as its name implies, which I could not decide whether to include here in this category or in the category of Playful Pieces above. The Love Theme from The Burglars (from the year 1971) seems to have been used in The Outsider from the year 1983 as a melody entitled Hypertension - Part 1. For Love Only from People To Respect and Come Un Madrigale (cutout) from Four Flies On Grey Velvet are less pretentious melodies. The following six themes are more powerful and easy to remember: The Encounter from The Master And Margherita, Main Theme (Version III) from Metello, Anguish And Pursuit from The Greek (with its beautiful strings), The Adventurer from The Rover, Main Theme from What Have You Done To Solange? and Lovers Beyond The Tomb (Version III) from Nightmare Castle. You Will See Me Return (Instrumental Version) from the movie with the same name is established on a pentatonic scale 'B-E-F#-A-G' to give the impression of Far Eastern tunes.
I really like the choral part of Baci Dopo il Tramonto (cutout) from La Venexiana. Requiem (cutout) from Pasolini is a beautiful variation of a theme repeated all over the movie. You will surely remember Moses Theme from Moses The Lawgiver. Ave Maria Guarani and Te Deum Guarani (this piece itself is less than one minute) from The Mission will once again demonstrate Morricone's mastery. Amusing Diversion from The Heart of a Mother which we referred above has a canonical women's chorus that reminds of Bulgarian women choruses. The chorus in Companeros from Companeros is not classical but lovely. Violenza in Attesa from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is slightly psychedelic and very original. Do not you think that Alleluja Del Buon Raccolto from A Fist Goes West is a mischievous caricature of Haendel's masterpiece? A similar Hallelujah chorus, however very short, is followed by a long harp passage at the beginning of the Suite from Four Flies on Grey Velvet. For sometime, Morricone thought that his score for The Smile of the Great Temptress was his biggest achivement. Listen to Lauda Sion (cutout) from the movie and see how the seeds of River (cutout) from The Mission started to thrive as early as 1973.
Morricone is Roman by birth. According to Pasquale Santomartino, a TV program from the early 1960s with the name Tiempe d'ammore (Time of Love) of which Morricone was the musical arranger brought the Master in contact with Neapolitan songs for the first time. He transcribed the celebrated melodies of Tagliaferri, Di Capua, Gambardella, De Leva, Lama and De Curtis. Shortly after this program, Morricone produced two albums of songs with the singer Miranda Martino. He did not have much room for maneuver in these songs to demonstrate his mastery as the compositions belong to other people. Yet, we still hear some interesting examples especially in the short instrumental introductory parts. 'E Spingole Frangese with its introduction as well as its general atmosphere sounds like a piece from Mozart's Magic Flute. 'O Paese D' 'O Sole has a kitsch string ensemble in the beginning mocking classical pieces. Scetate is in fact the famous Scetate from Moses The Lawgiver (in the first Scetate, lyrics start at the 40th second). Maria Mari' with its harp and glockenspiel sounds at the far back is very dramatical. We hear Morricone 'utensil' sounds in Lili' Kangy and 'A Frangesa. The introduction of Nini' Tirabuscio' is broken into two small contrasting melodies -a characteristic of Morricone's works- the second of which reminds me of Prima dei Pugni which we mentioned under the Honky Tonks category above. Hear again the honky tonk this time at the beginning of the famous Torna a Surriento. The romantic L'addio starts with typical unpretentious Morricone piano chords followed by horns, proceeds with the familiar oboe line, then woodwinds, then strings... and leaves a delicious after-taste behind.
|-- For their useful recommendations on my page I am grateful to Cenk Kiral , Michael Caletka , Roger Hammonds , Mark Eakes, George Anastasiadis, Julian Braithwaite, Laurent Perret, David Juna, and Didier Thunus.
|-- Visual elements are credited in my Main Page.
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|: Another informative article which also has a few references to Morricone
|: To those for whom Morricone means Western
|: The R. Jones Trumpet Page - Many Great Links
|: A site for this neglected family -With rare MIDIs
|: The strange world of Theremins
|: The Organ Web Ring
|: John Sankey: Harpsichordist to the Internet
|: An online music course to polish up your knowledge of music theory
|: A tune haunts your mind, but you cannot remember its name? You do not even have to know the notes.
|: See how much information you can retrieve without even leaving your couch.
|: Hundreds of links for every musician and music lover
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Copyright: © Armagan Emre Cakir
19 September 2002