“Ennio”: Morricone, genius possessed by music

“Ennio”: Morricone, genius possessed by music


What is genius? There is probably no obvious answer, if not a simple answer, to this question. We bet, however, that the long documentary (more than 2h30) by Giuseppe Tornatore on Ennio Morricone will not solve this enigma, but will confront the viewer with an almost superhuman dimension of artistic activity. This is what could define, perhaps superficially, the art of the man who was one of the greatest musicians of the second half of the 20th century.e century.

For this, it was perhaps necessary to adopt a simple, anonymous form, that of a portrait made up of various testimonies, of film extracts used in a didactic way in the service of a biographical journey deployed in the strict chronology of existence. of the master. But what makes the backbone of the film is a long and precise interview with Morricone himself, which runs throughout the film and which is supported by the interventions of the many artists called upon to describe their collaboration with him, to evoke the man and his art. And what is striking is the incredible alertness, the expression of an intact memory, the precision of the enunciation, when it is a question of recalling the conditions and the ideas which engendered such and such a such a composition that has become immortal.

Taste for experimentation

The film recalls the youth and childhood of the man who followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming, like him, a trumpeter, a member of an orchestra that accompanied various artists in the music hall (which was one of the breeding grounds for many actors in Italy) . The desire to study composition, the taste for contemporary music and experimentation defined the man who, moreover, wrote numerous arrangements for television and for popular songs. This was, on the other side of the Alps, this inimitable form, trivial and brilliant at the same time. Italian popular music was also an inexhaustible melting pot, from which emerged many composers for the cinema, and Morricone’s journey will have been similar to that of several musicians, about which, perhaps, the Tornatore film, not very concerned to contextualize the course of the master, passes a little carelessly.

He moves away from the melody to invent a kind of dissonant jazz, as in the first titles of Dario Argento

The collaborations with the directors are the subject of many anecdotes, starting with those of the reunion with the one who was his classmate, Sergio Leone. The music he wrote for the westerns of this one is qualified, because of the use of little-used instruments such as the electric guitar and the recourse to whistling and the human voice, of ” Culture shock “. Morricone recalls, with unfeigned pleasure, the way in which he himself recycled his own arrangements for the song, reusing them under the nose of the filmmakers who commissioned music from him. He remembers many brilliant intuitions which took part in the creation of unique pieces, forever giving a musical color to the film.

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