Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning and hugely celebrated composer, has passed away at the age of 91.
Morricone, the famed Italian composer, orchestrator and conductor, died in the early hours of Monday morning. It was confirmed that he passed away Rome clinic, a location he was transported to taken following a fall that resulted in a hip fracture.
News of Morricone’s death was confirmed by his lawyer, Giorgio Asumma, who alerted told Italian news agency ANSA.
Morricone, who has scored no fewer than 500 films during his prolific and highly impressive career, built his reputation by working alongside his iconic countryman Sergio Leone on a number of the director’s pioneering spaghetti western films.
It was in 1966, when working alongside Leone on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, that Morricone would establish himself as one of the all-time greats. His score for the western is still widely considered to be greatest of all time and remains the ever-present example of the perfect collaboration between director and composer.
“The music is indispensable, because my films could practically be silent movies, the dialogue counts for relatively little, and so the music underlines actions and feelings more than the dialogue,” Leone once said. “I’ve had him write the music before shooting, really as a part of the screenplay itself.”
Away from his work with Leone, Morricone’s efforts have been the focus of over 70 award-winning cinematic pictures. Fearlessly proud of his country and always insisting to speak Italian and forge his work from Rome, Morricone went on to work with some of the most iconic names in the film industry such as Gillo Pontecorvo, Terence Malick, Roman Polanski, Brian De Palma, John Carpenter and, famously, Quentin Tarantino.
Morricone is credited in helping Tarantino establish his supremely impressive career, the duo working alongside each other in some capacity on films such as Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained —even if the director was just borrowing songs on occasion. However, given Tarantino’s admiration for Leone, he was finally able to establish a full collaboration with Morricone in 2015 with his project Hateful Eight.
The Italian composer reflected on working with Tarantino as “perfect” before adding that “he gave me no cues, no guidelines.
“I wrote the score without Quentin Tarantino knowing anything about it, then he came to Prague when I recorded it and was very pleased,” he added. “So the collaboration was based on trust and a great freedom for me.”
Famously referred to as ‘The Maestro’, Morricone received an honorary Oscar in 2007 for his commitment to cinema.
Alongside cinematic work, Morricone also composed music for hit television shows such as The Simpsons and The Sopranos, as well as completing over 100 classical works.