Friday, July 14, 2006

It has nothing to do with spaghetti!

The Guardian has an article about Grand Master Film Composer Ennio Morricone, who comes off as a bit of a sonuvabitch. But then, this is to be expected as he is also a trumpeter. He felt A Fistful of Dollars was his worst score, but I disagree. I want to hear his Grand Slam:
The soundtrack for this 1967 caper movie starring Janet Leigh and Klaus Kinski sees Morricone playing his own instrument, the trumpet, on a solo on the title track. Alongside his signature wordless vocals and moody atmospherics, he manages to find space for bossa nova and samba tunes, making this one of his most eclectic works.


Peter (the other) said...

I can imagine some colorful problems, eating spaghetti and blowing trumpets.

I have often noticed a ferocious distancing created by those that suffer from, what I call, Wizard of Oz syndrome. This includes many talented people, and especially film composers.

If you do what you do, and you have great acclaim and money paid, but you are not really sure of just what you did or how it worked, even after over 400 films, you don't relish people asking you how it works (opting for the "suffering fools" act). People call you "Maestro" and come to you for wisdom, when all that you do is light the same candles, recite the same incantation, turn around three times quickly, write the same music the way you always write it, and hope it works again. You will notice in the statistics of the scores, even of the best composers, good-good-bad, good-good-bad, but usually even worse (think of it like baseball, even .250 is a good hitter). People like John Williams learn to keep their exposure to chance down, by working with only a few who have big enough budgets to do things over until it is reasonably good enough to impress audiences by pumping advertising money.

If people called you "Maestro" and considered you a genius (outside of your family), when you knew that your actual grasp was serendipitous at best, you might be ferocious too.

Now, does a flatter noodle, like a fettucini, get more of a rasp... ? :-)

Peter (the other) said...

I was inspired, by this post, to do a Klaus Kinski, Ennio Morricone Bad Boy-DoubleTroubleDoubleFeature. Grand Slam (67) and The Great Silence (68). Grand Slam's trumpet led main title sounds like a Burt Bacharach tune played by The Tijuana Brass. A blowsy but warm performance would be my description. A much better and more interesting score would beThe Great Silence. A gamalan inspired atmospheric triumph.

John Salmon said...

I'm sure Morricone is a fine trumpeter, but I'd rather look at Janet Leigh than listen to him play the trumpet.