Ennio Morricone is a film composer who has has scored over 400 films, some of the more famouser ones are “The Mission” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”.
“The Mission” is the first film score I ever listened to. I was introduced to it by a researcher at MIT. He worked on computer generated music in a dungeon beneath the MIT Media Lab, outfitted with Unix workstations and a pair of Bosendorfer grand pianos.
One day he played the score from “The Mission”, asking what I thought of it, and wondering how he might replicate a full orchestral sound on the computer (technology has come a long way since then, nowadays they can fake an orchestra about as well as they can fake sugar).
Anyway, hearing Morricone’s music that day turned me on to film scoring for the first time.
Now there’s a new tribute album called “We All Love Ennio Morricone”, which the NY Times article covers. Metallica is contributing a cover of “The Ecstasy of Gold” from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Metallica has used the original version of the track to open their concerts for over 20 years. Which leads us to this priceless quote:
“To me his music is just absolutely inspirational, corny as that may sound,” said James Hetfield, Metallica’s singer and guitarist. “He has taken so many risks, and his music is not polished whatsoever. It’s very rude and blatant. All of a sudden a Mexican horn will come blasting through and just take over the melody. It’s just so raw, really raw, and it feels real, unpolished. You hear mistakes in it, and that’s just great — if they are mistakes. Who knows? There’s so much character in it, and I appreciate that in such a polished world of soundtracks.”
That is some seriously high praise. And a reminder that it’s not always good to be overly polished.