Ennio Morricone

Morricone Kill: Spaghetti Western Magic from the Maestro

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The music that Ennio Morricone composed for so-called spaghetti Western movies is probably the best known, and some of the best, of the work he produced during his long and distinguished career. Morricone Kill: Spaghetti Western Music from the Maestro focuses on recordings from the soundtracks to somewhat lesser-known films he scored in this genre, though there are selections from a couple of the more renowned of such movies (Duck You Sucker [A Fistful of Dynamite] and The Big Gundown). Too, the material is taken from a slightly later era (1967-1973) than the mid-'60s years that saw Morricone's most celebrated activity in the medium. Though many of his trademarks -- the sad, melodramatic horn fanfares, the ghostly whistling, the twangy guitar, the martial percussion, the gloomy organ, the wordless vocals -- are present, it's rather more subdued and atmospheric than his most exciting spaghetti Western output. That's not to say it's dull or subpar, only that it's not quite as arresting on the whole as the material (usually from a slightly earlier vintage) compiled onto the anthology The Legendary Italian Westerns: The Film Composers Series, Vol. 2, which remains the best such Morricone collection. So it's not recommended as the first place to investigate his spaghetti Western soundtracks, but if you are already well into appreciation of that stuff, you won't be disappointed by Morricone Kill. It's more subtle and longer on background ambience than attention-getting drama, though there are some tracks (particularly at the end of the disc) that are excitingly eerie on their own terms, such as "Muchio Selvaggio" (from My Name Is Nobody) and "Ricciolo" and "L'Arena" (both from A Professional Gun).

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