A Few Words With Ennio Morricone

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Today at the Cannes Film Festival, attendees marked the 50th anniversary of the spaghetti western at a special screening of A Fistful of Dollars, the Sergio Leone classic that kick-started the genre. Leone's vision of the American West remains singular — and it's impossible to imagine without the iconic music of Ennio Morricone.

Morricone's music is inseperable from the emotional texture of an astonishingly diverse number of films: The Battle of Algiers, The Mission, The Thing, Cinema Paradiso and so many others. He's a fixture of the cultural landscape now, but as a young composer, Morricone was a radical. Long before the spaghetti westerns, he was working modern American sounds into his experimental ensemble, Il Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza — Il Gruppo for short.

Speaking from his house in Rome, the 85-year-old Morricone recently told NPR's Arun Rath that Il Gruppo's approach began as a joke: a collection of friends spoofing on the work of one of their contemporaries, John Cage. To learn how the gag evolved into an identity — and hear Morricone's best impression of the coyote howl from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly -- listen to their conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Source: NPR


More in:

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About All Things Considered

The day’s biggest stories, plus commentary, arts and life, music and entertainment, the quirky and the mainstream.


Supported by