Early yesterday morning [06-07-20] I read the breaking news that Ennio Morricone had died. Just last week I got into a discussion with someone about the great Italian film and television scorer.
Like many movie fans I was introduced to Mr Morricone's work through the "Spagetti Westerns", such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. Even as a kid I sensed these flicks were a little off-kilter. The vistas looked slightly different than what permeated the American-produced westerns, and the music too sounded off the usual beaten path -- there was no mistaking this for Ferde Grofé. I will now claim that director Sergio Leone's takes on the wild, wild west, were elevated, shot sky-high, by the underscoring.
Though Morricone lacked the musical range of some of his contemporaries, he more than made up for it by forging a unique sound.
His concert hall performances were well attended. Years ago my brother journeyed to Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and despite the anemic acoustics, he thoroughly enjoyed the performances as guided by the maestro himself.
Ennio Morricone was a special composer.
An old slang term for Western films was "horse opera". Maybe they were on to something there.
Here's a thought: if most of the musical instruments prominent in sphagetti westerns are ones that are expected to be played by a single person (harmonica, jew's harp, flute) rather than a big orchestra, does that say something about portraying alienation and lack of social and moral codes compared to big, swelling orchestral music for traditional Westerns?
Yes! I would agree with your postulation.
The Interior as Exterior. A small solo-driven ensemble best conveys that idea, I think.
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