Although Ennio Morricone’s name is synonymous with film soundtracks, there’s much more to his career than that. This includes over 100 classical pieces that Ennio wrote between 1946 and the late-fifties. After that, Ennio worked at RCA as an arranger. He arranged over 500 songs, and worked with everyone from Chet Baker to Paul Anka. During that period, Ennio began to work as a composer.

Initially, Ennio Morricone began writing music for radio, and then television. He also wrote for variety of pop and jazz artists. Just like has work as an arranger, Ennio was soon working with a wide variety of artists. Then in the evenings, Ennio played with a jazz band. Ennio Morricone lived and breathed music. Despite that, he changed direction in 1959.

This was when he took his first tentative steps into the world of soundtracks. Ennio Morricone soundtrack debut came in 1959, when he wrote the soundtrack to The Death of A Friend in. This was the first of over 500 film soundtracks that Ennio Morricone would write. This it seemed, was what Ennio was born to do.

Five years later, and Ennio Morricone made a breakthrough as a film composer when. He had been asked by his childhood friend to write the soundtrack to his Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars. When it was released in 1964, and launched the career of Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone. They further cemented their relationship with the followup For A Few Dollars More in 1965. Then in 1966 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was released. This classic lifted the profile of Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone. They returned for one more Spagetti Western, Once Upon A Time In the West in 1968.  By then, Ennio Morricone was well on his way to becoming a household. His fruitful partnership with Sergio Leone would continue for three decades. However, Ennio Morricone’s career as a composer has spanned seven decades. 

During that period, Ennio Morricone has never been one to shirk a challenge. The Maestro has written scores to everything from big-budget blockbusters right through to art-house films. His soundtracks have sold over fifty-million copies and he’s won awards worldwide. That’s why the eight-eight year old composer is without doubt, the most prolific and best respected film composers of the twentieth century. His music is documented and celebrated on the latest edition in Ace Records’ Songwriter series.

Twenty-one of The Maestro’s compositions feature on the recently released compilation Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone. It’s features some of The Maestro’s best known compositions. They’ve been recorded by the likes of Milva, Mina, Amii Stewart, Dino, Catherine Speak, Romina Arena, Romina Arena, John Baez, Jackie Lynton, Scott Walker, Pet Shop Boys and Gérard Depardieu. Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone is an eclectic introduction to one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century

Opening Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone is Milva’s Chi Mai. This is an oft-covered composition. Carlo Nistri wrote the lyrics and Ennio Morricone wrote the music. Chi Mai featured on Milva’s 1972 album Dedicato A Milva Da Ennio Morricone. It was released on the Ricordi label. and was arranged and produced by Ennio Morricone. It’s a truly beautiful orchestrated ballad. Especially with Maestro using swathes of the lushest strings to compliment Milva’s tender, elegiac vocal.

Mina’s career began in 1959, and she went on to release seventy singles and 110 albums. They sold seventy-six million copies. That’s no surprise; given the quality of Mina’s 1966 single Se Telefonando. It was released on the Rifi label in 1966, and that same year, featured on the album Studio Uno 66. One of the highlights is Se Telefonando, an impassioned power ballad. It showcases the vocal prowess of Mina.

By 1990, a new chapter in Amii Stewart’s career was about to unfold. Her disco days were long behind her, as she began recording an album with Ennio Morricone. It became Pearls-Amii Stewart Sings Ennio Morricone, and featured Hurry To Me. It had featured in the film Metti Una Sera A Cena. A combination of  Amii Stewart’s tender, soulful and heartfelt vocal and The Maestro’s lush, meandering orchestrated arrangement proves a potent and successful combination. This resulted in a truly beautiful ballad. 

In 1964, just as Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack career was about to flourish, he cowrote, arranged and produced Catherine Spaak’s single Questi Vent Anni Miei. It also featured on her sophomore album Noi siamo i giovani. It was released on the Dischi Ricordi S.p.A. label. One of the highlights of the album was, without doubt, the chanson ballad Questi Vent Anni Miei.

Although Italian actress Lisa Gastoni would go on to star in over sixty films, in 1965 she embarked upon a musical career. Her debut single was Una Stanza Vuota, which was released on the Arc label in 1965. It’s a heart wrenching wistful, cinematic ballad. Despite its quality, Una Stanza Vuota, which was produced by The Maestro, was Lisa Gastoni’s only single. She decided to concentrate on her acting career. This worked out, and she enjoyed a successful career. However, Una Stanza Vuota is a reminder of what might have been?

Nowadays, Romina Arena  is regarded as the Queen of Popera. She first met Ennio Morricone when she was just thirteen. He advised Romina Arena to study music. She took his advice, and studied music. Eighteen years laters, and the pair were reunited and worked together. This was the start of a successful partnership, and in 2012 Ennio Morricone and Romina Arena collaborated on an album, Morricone Uncovered. It features Il Tempo Sa, where Romina Arena shows why she’s regarded as the Queen of Popera.

Hayley Westenra was only thirteen when she self-released her debut album Walking In The Air. Eleven years and nine albums later, the New Zealand soprano and songwriter was about work with Ennio Morricone. He arranged and produced fourteen songs, including Amália Por Amore. This beautiful ballad is the perfect showcase for Hayley Westenra’s vocal. It’s one of the highlights of the resultant album, Paradiso. It was released on Decca in 2011, and features a truly talented vocalist who hopefully, we’ll be hearing more about.

Patty Pravo originally recorded Un Treno In Più in 1975. However, the song lay unreleased until 2005. By then, Patty Pravo’s popularity had soared. She was second most successful female singer in Italy behind Mina. Given her widespread appeal and popularly Patty Pravo was compiling a career retrospective, Canzoni Stupende. One of the songs that featured on Canzoni Stupende was Un Treno In Più, a beautiful hidden gem, that shows why Patty Pravo is one of Italy’s most successful recording artists.

Edda Dell’orso’s career has spanned over fifty years. During that period, she’s worked with Ennio Morricone on numerous occasions.  This includes on A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West which was released in 1971. That year, Edda Dell’orso released Veruschka as a single on on General Music. It was arranged and produced by The Maestro. He provides an orchestrated arrangement while Edda Dell’orso adds an ethereal and haunting vocal. It’s absolutely spellbinding.

Joan Baez and Ennio Morricone collaborated in 1971 for the soundtrack to a docudrama. This included Here’s To You which Joan Baez wrote the lyrics to. Ennio Morricone wrote the music, arranged and produced Here’s To You. It shows a very different side to Joan Baez, than her early days as folk singer in Greenwich Village.

In 1972, Scott Walker released his album first album in two years, The Moviegoer. It was released on Philips and comprised  songs from Scott Walker’s favourite films. Among them, was The Ballad Of Sacco And Vanzetti. It’s from the Ennio Morricone soundtrack Sacco And Vanzetti. Producer John Franz and Scott Walker’s cover stays true to the original, and is akin to a homage to The Maestro.

Gérard Depardieu’s Ricordare closes Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone, and lends its name to the compilation. It’s taken from the soundtrack to the 1992 film Une Pura Formalita. Ricordare is performed by Gérard Depardieu who played a starring role in the film. He delivers a thoughtful, almost melancholy vocal. This proves the perfect way to close Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone.

For anyone new to the music of The Maestro, Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone is a perfect starting point. It features twenty-one songs recorded between the sixties and 2012. They were recorded by artists from America, Britain, France, Italy and New Zealand. Among them are Milva, Mina, Amii Stewart, Dino, Catherine Speak, Romina Arena, Romina Arena, John Baez, Jackie Lynton, Scott Walker, Pet Shop Boys and Gérard Depardieu. Most of the songs were arranged and produced by Ennio Morriocone, and are part of the long and illustrious career of the man they call The Maestro.

His career is celebrated on Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone, which was recently released by Ace Records as part of their Songwriter series. This is a very welcome addition to the series. That comes as no surprise. 

Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone features The Maestro in his prime. He was a truly prolific composer, who wrote the soundtrack to over 500 films. They range from low budget and art house films to blockbusters. That is only part of the story. The man they call The Maestro, also wrote the soundtrack to countless television series’ and documentaries. The twenty-one tracks on tracks Ricordare: The Songs Of Ennio Morricone are the perfect introduction to the seven decade of The Maestro, who is without doubt, one of the most important and success soundtrack 



















1 Comment

  1. verian

    I saw Morricone this year in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, it was breathtaking, a real lifetime memory to treasure.

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