Remembering Ennio Morricone

(Image courtesy of Sven-Sebastien Sajak)

Programme Leader for Music Composition for Film & TV and Sound for Film & TV Ben Philcox pays tribute to the legendary Ennio Morricone.

On Monday we were hit with the tragic news that Ennio Morricone, the Oscar and Grammy-winning film composer has died. In honour of the cinematic great, we asked Ben Philcox to share his thoughts on a Morricone soundtrack that really made an impact.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Ennio Morricone (1966)


“The main opening theme contains the hook that everyone knows, key threads of which can be heard sprinkled throughout the score and this motif is nothing short of iconic. Chances are you’ve heard it before, and it is very likely that you’ve heard this music used as pastiche in other film and television programs. But the genius of the score lies in the other musical sculptures that can be found later in the soundtrack.

“There is mournfulness and genuine beauty in tracks like ‘The Strong’, harshness and tension in ‘The Desert’, sadness and nostalgia in ‘The Story of a Soldier’. The score climaxes with some of the most memorable musical compositions in cinema history…‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ and ‘The Trio’. Listen to these pieces on their own and they take you to a world of their own. Listen to these pieces in the context of the film and they wholeheartedly drive the narrative, guiding you by the hand or the scruff of your neck to the inevitable finale.

“This is an example of a score that is so integral to the film that without it The Good The Bad and The Ugly would have probably just been 'The Quite Good, The Quite Bad and the Quite Ugly'. This score is a showpiece to why and how films need scores. It’s seminal.”

Listen to the full soundtrack on Spotify here.

Find out more about Ben and his work as a producer, composer, band member and sound designer here.

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