Ennio Morricone passed away in a hospital in Rome on July 6, following a fall. The Italian composer is best-known for his film scores from Spaghetti westerns in the 1960s and ’70s. In recent years, he had both recorded and toured many times in recent years with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra (CNSO).
“These days are very sad for me and a lot of colleagues. It is very difficult to find the right words to capture everything that is swirling in my head. Memories of halls, stages, studios, that endless portion of music, 90 colleagues in front of me, and the same number of singers behind me. And above this legion, Ennio Morricone, with a clear idea, a will, creates a miracle. His music,” CNSO founder and director Jan Hasenöhrl said on Facebook.
“We were there, enjoying his presence, fearing possible dissatisfaction and humbly accepting his thanks after each concert. We think of the whole family. And certainly, we will definitely not forget,” he added.
In a separate post, CNSO said, “Cooperation with Ennio Morricone was essential, non-transferable and unrepeatable for us. We are extremely sorry and we remember [him] with respect.”
Morricone was in Prague in 2015 to record his score for Quentin Tarantino’s western film The Hateful Eight. The score won an an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
Morricone was nominated twice previously for Oscars: 1978’s Days of Heaven and 1986’s The Mission. He received an Honorary Academy Award in 2007.
The Hateful Eight score marked a return to the western genre after over 30 years. His past previous western score was for the 1981 film Buddy Goes West.
While in Prague to record the score, Morricone and Tarantino attended the last evening of the Prague Proms at Obecní dům, where some of his music was played in tribute.
Tarantino was quoted on Twitter as saying, “The King is dead, long live the King!”
— Quentin Tarantino News (@QTarantino_news) July 6, 2020
For score to The Hateful Eight, Morricone conducted the CNSO at a studio in Hostivař. Morricone and CNSO would also re-record the same soundtrack in London’s Abbey Road studio for its vinyl release.
This was not the first score he recorded here. Morricone previously conducted CNSO for the soundtrack to 2013’s The Best Offer, which was also partially shot in Prague.
He also toured with the orchestra several times, performing music from across his decades-long career. He last conducted in Prague on January 25, 2019 as part of his 90th birthday tour.
During his career, which began in the late 1950s, he arranged and composed music for over 400 films, and his work was reused in many more.
In concerts of his work, the highlights included “Ecstasy of the Gold” from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and selections from other westerns made by director Sergio Leone.
His score for Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) is one of the top five best-selling original instrumental scores, and his score for The Mission (1986) was briefly the world’s best selling score.
His music was distinctive and quite recognizable, which made it popular with audiences. Morricone has long had a strong fan base in the Czech Republic.
Czech singer Věra Špinarová famously sung a portion of Morricone’s score to Once Upon a Time in the West with Czech lyrics.