Tributes paid to ‘iconic’ film composer Ennio Morricone

Tributes have been paid to Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who created The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’s main theme, following his death aged 91.

The Oscar-winning composer, known as the Maestro, died in a Rome hospital early on Monday of complications after he broke his leg in a fall, his lawyer Giorgio Assumma said.

Fellow composer Hans Zimmer spoke of Morricone’s influence during an appearance on BBC Breakfast.

He said: “Ennio was an icon and icons just don’t go away, icons are forever.

“It really has taken me by surprise as he was still touring. I saw him about a year ago. He seemed strong. He was conducting at the O2.”

He added: “He was a major influence on me. The first movie I ever saw was Once Upon A Time In The West. I heard the music and saw those images and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do’.”

Zimmer said Morricone’s music was “always outstanding, and done with great emotional fortitude and great intellectual thought”.

Film director Edgar Wright paid tribute on Twitter, posting a series of themes written by Morricone.

He said: “Where to even begin with iconic composer Ennio Morricone?

“He could make an average movie into a must see, a good movie into art, and a great movie into legend.

“He hasn’t been off my stereo my entire life. What a legacy of work he leaves behind.”

Film composer Daniel Pemberton, whose recent credits include Yesterday and Motherless Brooklyn, also paid tribute.

He wrote: “The way he mixed experimental sound, heartbreaking melodies and raw emotion into everything he did made him, for me, the greatest film composer EVER and a huge influence on my work.”

Dance music duo Orbital, who were among the early electronic acts inspired by Morricone’s scores, described him as a “great influence” and “one of the best film composers of all time”.

New Order frontman Bernard Sumner called Morricone one of his “musical heroes” in a post on his group’s Twitter page.

He said: “I saw with great sadness that one of my musical heroes, Ennio Morricone has passed away today. His music introduced me to albums and the first album I ever bought was one of his. He made beautiful emotional music and was the master of melody.”

French electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre said on Twitter: “Ennio Morricone a unique sound magnificent melodies, a major influence & constant source of inspiration: Love and respect.”

Various groups from the worlds of music and film, including Film4, the British Film Institute and the Royal Philharmonic Society, also paid tribute.

A message on the Twitter account of Film4 said Morricone’s spaghetti western scores left an “indelible mark on film history”.

During a career that spanned decades and earned him a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2007, Morricone collaborated with some of the most renowned directors in the world.

He took the best original score Oscar for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in 2016.

It is perhaps his work with Italian film-maker Sergio Leone – who was a school-mate of Morricone’s – that is the most instantly recognisable.

The Dollars trilogy of so-called spaghetti westerns from the 1960s were massively influential and made Clint Eastwood an international film star.

In total, Morricone produced more than 400 original scores for feature films.