Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Ennio Morricone, The Platinum Collection

As most people know, Ennio Morricone is one of the most widely praised and admired composers of film scores of all time.  He first came to the attention of many American morriconemovie watchers with his score for Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” which starred Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in the title roles.  The main theme of “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” featuring the whistling of Alessandro Alessandroni is thought to be one of the two or three most recognizable movie themes ever written.  The more than 400 film and TV scores that Morricone composed and arranged include “The Mission”, “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Once Upon a Time in the West”, “For a Fistful of Dollars”, “For a Few Dollars More”, “Cinema Paradiso”, and “La Cage Aux Folles” .  Music from all of these films and more is included on “The Platinum Collection”. 

It’s remarkable how the musical signature that is often used to evoke the romanticized historical American west is the sound of Morricone’s film scores for the “spaghetti Westerns” directed by Segio Leone and others such as Clint Eastwood’s dollars trilogy and “Once Upon a Time in the West”.  Alt country and indie rock groups who write songs that are sometimes described as “widescreen” such as Calexico are usually riffing on Morricone’s ideas. 

“The Platinum Collection” is a three CD set that includes 60 tracks taken from Morricone’s film scores.  All of his well known themes are here and the collection often includes more than one theme from a film.  In particular, three tracks from Morricone’s award-winning score for “The Mission” are included (“The Mission”, “Gabriel’s Oboe” and “The Falls”).  The material is not arranged chronologically or by film so that listeners who want to hear just the tracks from a particular movie will have to jump around over the three CDs to do so.  This can be a royal pain in the ass but it has the benefit of encouraging you to play each of the three CDs.  Familiar themes appear on each disc and you will discover many other tracks from films you may not be familiar with that you enjoy as much as the ones you know.  Listeners who only want the music from one or two films can buy the individual soundtracks.

As far as I now, “The Platinum Collection” is only available in the US as an import on a German label.  The copy I have only includes a brief listing of tracks with copyright info by way of written material.  And it’s in Italian which I don’t read.  No matter, though, the music speaks for itself.

When you think about it, “speaking for itself”, is a good characteristic for film music to have because many times the music in a film must speak for a character, a time, a place, or a situation by conveying complex emotional information in a brief yet memorable way.  Morricone is a master at this and many of the tracks on “The Platinum Collection” speak eloquently indeed.  There’s a reason why Morricone is so widely admired and that reason is on full display across these three discs. 

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09/30/2007 Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews, soundtracks | | 1 Comment