Ennio Morricone

Morricone 2001

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Although he is best known to American audiences for his action-packed spaghetti western soundtracks, Ennio Morricone also has a special gift for creating the kind of delicate, sweet instrumentals used in light dramas and romantic comedies. This area of his musical legacy is explored on Morricone 2001, a lilting collection of instrumentals that shows this spaghetti western auteur also had a knack for easy listening. Morricone fans will enjoy this album because it devotes a lot of time to showing off one of the composer's specialties: creating haunting yet sweet melodies highlighted by the use of a solo, wordless female vocal. Good examples of this style include "La Bambola," a piano-led tune flavored with a childlike "la-la" vocal, and "Dal Mare," a spare, haunting instrumental that uses piano and strings to back up a mournful soprano vocal. There are also some purely instrumental slow numbers; highlights in this vein include "Chi Mai," which highlights its shivery string lines with the backing of a soft, jazzy rhythm section, and "Come Maddalena," a haunting, flute-led instrumental fleshed out with an atmospheric string arrangement. To keep things interesting, some up-tempo instrumentals are also thrown in: "Belinda May" is a lovely bossa nova instrumental that contrasts an ethereal melody with an insistent beat and "Nadine" is a danceable keyboard instrumental with some wild organ solos. This collection works better than its predecessor, Morricone 2000, because its concentration on one style of music lends it a coherency and consistency that its more eclectic predecessor lacked. In short, Morricone 2001 succeeds both as a solid collection of one style of Morricone's work and also as a consistent album of easy listening instrumentals.

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