Maestro: Ennio Morricone’s life in music

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Claudio Zonta SJ

 Claudio Zonta SJ
 Giovanni Arledler, SJ / Music / 20 October 2020


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A few years ago we dedicated an essay to the Missa Papae Francisci,[1] which Ennio Morricone, overcoming some hesitation, had composed and dedicated to Pope Francis. At the time we thought we had penned a definitive tribute to the Roman composer. He appreciated it so much that he confided in us some important observations about the music for the film The Mission and other masterpieces of many genres.

However, his sudden death, and his choice of no public funeral so as “not to disturb anyone” calls for further recognition, along with what has been said and done for him around the world. Recently the City of Rome dedicated to him the entire area of the Parco della Musica, recognizing him as an all-round composer who, in a period as culturally complex as that of recent decades, achieved significant results in different musical genres. It is not often remembered that, in addition to the 500 soundtracks for films and television series, Morricone also composed occasional music, arrangements for songs, and about 100 scores of classical music.

Studies and training

Ennio Morricone was born in Rome on November 10, 1928, to parents originally from Arpino (Frosinone). At elementary school he was in class with Sergio Leone, and then at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia he met many other people with whom, in addition to friendship, he shared musical thoughts and professional commitment.

He graduated in trumpet, in instrumentation for band and also studied choral music and choir conducting. But it was the course and specialization in composition that influenced him most, opening up the great expressive spaces of music and leading him to venerate Maestro Goffredo Petrassi, a great cultural personality with memorable human qualities who went down in history as one of the few unforgettable composers of the second half of the 20th century.

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