A few evenings ago, wandering through the TV channels on my TV set, I came across the cult western film ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, directed by Sergio Leone in 1966. I had already seen it but, almost as if by magic, I was taken in by the captivating notes of the wonderful soundtrack. I then had access, for the umpteenth time and through the front door, to the world of the Old West, an American decade of the late 19th century that inspired so many writers and filmmakers that it became a magical epic.
My thoughts thus went to the author of the soundtrack, Maestro Ennio Morricone, one of the Italian excellences known and recognised in every corner of the world, who sadly passed away last year. While I was wandering in the West with my mind, among gunshots, howls and whistles that perfectly complemented the adventurous melodies, I remembered the interview granted to me in 2017 by the Maestro and the related article I wrote, which I am honoured to repropose to the readers of celebreMagazine World.
How could one fail to feel great emotion when interviewing the greatest Italian musician of our time? And, mind you, I stress Italian because of his nationality, not because of the extent of his fame which, by now, has spread from the East to the West… Ennio Morricone: composer, conductor, trumpeter, arranger and much more. The general public knows him mainly for his soundtracks, which have given a musical echo to highly successful films, but his production is so extensive that it covers several sectors (I would mention, choosing with difficulty from his many activities, a professor at the Accademia di s. Cecilia, conductor, soundtrack composer, pop music hits such as ‘Sapore di sale’ or ‘Se telefonando’, and classical music…). The same difficulty in choosing between the awards he has won, two Oscars, three Grammy Awards, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement…
Attention, thoughtfulness and respect, were the Master’s first words when I asked him about the secret of his success: attention is the willingness to grasp the aspects of life and not the sterile study of any teaching. Every activity that concerns us, whether as participant or observer, offers us stimuli that can be transposed into art, whatever it may be. As chance would have it, Maestro Morricone took an interest in music, but it was only thanks to his attention and tenacious willpower that he was able to achieve such high goals. The next adjective, thoughtfulness, expresses his irrepressible desire to transcribe his experience on the staff, with that intense passion that characterises all his work and arouses emotions in anyone who listens to it. Respect, “Maestro” points out, is the intellectual honesty that allows the public to recognise his signature on his pieces. And it is also the esteem and trust towards all those with whom he collaborates, whatever their function, from the microphone operator to the director, from the costume designer to the soloist.
What is music for the Maestro? It is an art that stands out from all others because it can neither be touched nor seen and, in a romantic flourish, he says that music is in the air, almost “we breathe it”. Sounds become oxygen molecules necessary for our life, we cannot do without them. It is no coincidence that the title of his autobiography, published in 2016 (Mondadori Editore) and written in collaboration with Alessandro De Rosa, is “Inseguendo quel suono” (Pursuing that sound).
And those oxygen molecules are processed by the brain and transformed into molecules of thought. Maestro Morricone then sets out in a few words his theory on the need that drives him, and would drive us, to make music: it is a mechanistic need, a necessity of our brain that only initially disregards the heart, giving satisfaction to compositional ideal. Then, once the score is finished, listening to the sounds involves the emotion and feeling of the composer, the performer and the listener.
And, at last, the heart breathes in the notes, taking them from the air…
Article edit by Roberto Castellucci