Author of hundreds of film scores and Oscar-winning double, famous Italian maestro Ennio Morricone, renowned for the soundtracks of spaghetti westerns, died in Rome at dawn on Monday.
The composer died at the age of 91 in a clinic in the Italian capital where he was hospitalized after a fall that caused a fractured femur.
Morricone had created more than 500 musics for the cinema, with melodies as legendary as that of the film “The good, the bad and the ugly” (1966).
His most memorable composition will no doubt remain the haunting harmonica air played by Charles Bronson in “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968).
Ennio Morricone “died at dawn with the comfort of faith,” said a statement from lawyer and family friend Giorgio Assumma.
“He remained fully lucid and of great dignity until the last moment,” the statement said.
The death of one of the most famous Italians in the world has provoked many reactions.
“We will remember forever and with infinite gratitude the artistic genius of Maestro Ennio Morricone. It made us dream, it moved us and made us think, writing unforgettable notes that will remain forever in the history of music and cinema, “replied Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Twitter.
“Farewell maestro and thank you for the emotions you have given us”, commented on Twitter Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health.
The tribute of the Italian political class was unanimous, from the left to the extreme right, and a deputy immediately proposed to give his name to a street in Rome.
“Ennio Morricone the emperor of music in the cinema, a harmonica, rhythms, melodies, unexpected instruments, trills, 3 notes easy to remember, the lavishness of his scores”, reacted on Twitter Gilles Jacob, former director of the festival of Cannes cinema.
“So sad for the disappearance of the immense Ennio Morricone. The little Toto from Cinéma Paradiso and all the composer’s lovers are upset today, “said French violinist Renaud Capuçon.
For this demanding musician, concerts were also important to fully appreciate his compositions.
“Because in the cinema, you can’t listen to the music carefully, there are the dialogues, the noises, the special effects, all that distracts the public. However, music must be listened to and concerts allow the public to listen to my music, only my music, “he explained to AFP in 2017 in the studio he set up in his large Roman apartment.
From the age of six, Ennio Morricone, born November 10, 1928 in Rome, began to compose. At the age of ten, he enrolled in the trumpet course of the prestigious National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome.
He also studies composition, orchestration, organ and is introduced to serial music.
After having started with “serious” music, he began in 1961 at the age of 33 in the cinema with “Mission ultra-secrète” by Luciano Salce.
The celebrity arrives with “For a handful of dollars” (1964) by Sergio Leone. His fruitful collaboration with the master of the spaghetti western brings him an international reputation.
But Morricone is not confined to the western. This Roman composes soundtracks for period films such as “1900” or “Vatel”, comedies such as “La cage aux folles” and sets committed films to music: “Sacco and Vanzetti” (“Here’s to You” sung by Joan Baez), “The working class goes to paradise” or “The battle of Algiers”.