10 November: Ennio Morricone was born on this day in 1928

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s lifelong vexation was that he had soared to fame with Sherlock Holmes, though he would have preferred to achieve worldwide literary fame as the author of historical novels. His frustration reached such a point that he even decided to kill his famous detective off – though he revived him in the next story he wrote. In a slightly similar way, we have reason to think that the words “spaghetti” and “western” will always feature in the first few lines of any biography on Ennio Morricone .

In a career spanning forty years, the Italian composer wrote over four hundred soundtracks, though he didn’t win the Oscar thanks to those for Sergio Leone’s films but, instead, for Quentin Tarantino’s 2016 movie “The Hateful Eight”. If we delve further into his biography, we discover that Morricone used to be a jazz trumpet player and that he studied with composer Goffredo Petrassi. When he was young, in Rome, he became involved in the highbrow musical avant-garde and was one of the founders of the “Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza”. Another musical career, as it were, that he will perhaps now have the time to indulge.

We like to imagine him at work in his studio on Piazza Venezia, his secret hatch, a hideaway behind two doors. If one had been able to espy him in his bolthole, one would have seen him writing his music by hand. His score awaits him: we’re sure it’ll be smooth sailing for Ennio Morricone, wherever he is.

Name Day:
St Leo the Great