Ennio Morricone Sundays

Soundtrack review: The good, the bad and the ugly (Ennio Morricone – 1966)

 

“The good, the bad and the ugly” is one of the most beautiful and incredible film music scores ever written. It is hard for me to talk about it because there are barely any words fit to match the grandeur and beauty of Ennio Morricone’s opera. This composition is as satisfying and enjoyable as a carefree afternoon nap in the summer of your childhood. The music is as rewarding as your grandparent’s love and the gratitude you will feel after hearing it is unmatched…

When I listen to tracks like “The strong” or “The end of a spy” I get misty eyed because the wave of emotions that takes me over is almost unbearable. These melancholic brass driven themes touch a place inside me that very few musical compositions can. I cannot say why or how it all started…I don’t when or where this was placed inside me but when this amazingly beautiful piece starts I am sent right back to my early childhood summers at my grandparent’s and to the afternoons when I would impatiently wait for the hour when we would go into the park. Those sunny and bright afternoons are among the most special in my life and somehow Morricone is connected to them…Could it be the sensitivity of his music…? Is it the imagery of the movies? Did the tenderness and intensity of some themes match my own feelings? I don’t know. I’ll leave this as just one of those things I can enjoy without explaining. The nostalgia shot I get from Morricone’s music goes deeper than that of any other composer. Edda del Orso’s mesmerizing and divine voice which provides the haunting wordless backgrounds of many of the Maestro’s scores is one of the most intimate sounds for me. I am glad that Morricone’s true heir as the best composer in the world, Hans Zimmer, has found his own similar muse in Lisa Gerrard.

The harmonica that blesses many of the cues is a sweet lullaby that guides you to the depths of this score. “The sundown” is an immense and tender theme that you would have heard in Tarantino movies as well. I think every movie should have this cue on its score.

And then there’s “The ecstasy of gold”. Meet the most goose bumps inducing film music cue ever written. Edda del Orso drives an arrow straight through your hearts and then tickles your spines. Be careful when you listen to this theme…You think you’ve heard great buildup cues? Yes, you might have…but there’s buildup and then there’s “The ecstasy of gold”. This is how true ecstasy feels. I never did drugs but I imagine the rush I feel during this cue and the way it crawls in and takes me over from inside is similar. Even non film music fans will feel this track because it’s the instrumental piece that has started Metallica concerts for over 20 years simply because it provides such a charge of energy and emotion. Listen to “The ecstasy of gold” when you need a boost of motivation and inspiration, before you start a difficult and hard project. You will fly afterwards.

You would think that such a climax would be enough to end this composition. Think again…you still have the 7 minute long suite “The trio” to listen to and take in. “The good, the bad and the ugly” is a collection of treasures which are out of this Earth. You have to believe is a larger force when you hear this music. Each track is a masterpiece and each motif stirs up strong feelings inside me. There’s more emotion in this hour of music than one care bare. This score exposes you heart and leaves it unprotected. You feel everything tenfold and you are aware of things you didn’t even know existed. In the vast and rich world of art I think this score has its place among the most precious creations. And what do you know…This is only my third favorite Morricone score…

Cue rating: 97 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 50 / 58

Album excellence: 86%

Highlights:

Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (Titoli)

Il Tramonto

Sentenza –

Fuga A Cavallo –

Il Forte

Inseguimento –

Il Deserto

La Carrozza Dei Fantasmi

La Missione San Antonio –

Padre Ramirez –

Marcetta

La Storia Di Un Soldato

Il Treno Militare –

Fine Di Una Spia –

Marcetta Senza Speranza

Morte Di Un Soldato

L’Estasi Del oro

Il triello

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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