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February 1, 2007

TT: Composer with a harmonica

As promised, my profile of Ennio Morricone is in this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

If film music is the invisible art form, then Ennio Morricone is one of its least visible giants. To be sure, no one familiar with Mr. Morricone's work is in the slightest doubt of his immense stature. He has scored more than 400 movies since 1959, many of which, like "The Untouchables" and "In the Line of Fire," were box-office smashes. The long list of his famous fans ranges from Yo-Yo Ma and Renée Fleming to Pat Metheny and Bruce Springsteen. Mention his name to Mark Morris, the iconoclastic choreographer whose eclectic musical interests are a byword in the world of modern dance, and the response is both prompt and fervent: "Oh, God, don't you just love him? I love him."

But Mr. Morricone, like most film composers, is not nearly so well known in America as is his music. The wailing harmonicas and twangy electric guitars with which he accompanied the "spaghetti Westerns" of Sergio Leone remain instantly recognizable four decades after those still-controversial films were made—yet you will not find his name anywhere on the cover of the DVD version of Mr. Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West," the 1972 film for which he wrote one of his most innovative scores….

No free link. If you want to read more, pick up a copy of today’s Journal, or go here to subscribe to the Online Journal, which will give you immediate access to my piece. (If you’re already a subscriber, you’ll find it here.)

Posted February 1, 2007 12:00 PM

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