Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. Arguably the most influential movie composer who ever lived, his music is familiar to audiences around the world. Morricone passed away on Monday in Rome, city of his birth, where he'd lived all his life. Cause of death is reported as complications arising from a fall and broken femur. His collaborations with some of the true greats of cinema echo through the ages. Rising to prominence with Sergio Leone – with whom he went to school – he added the iconic twangs, whistles and harmonicas to the director's "Dollars trilogy" (1964-66).
"Added" is probably the wrong word – for Leone, his friend's compositions were an essential part of creating the film. The Guardian notes, "he once remarked that part of the reason Sergio Leone's westerns were so slow was that certain scenes were extended in order to accommodate his soundtrack, a luxury that seems almost unthinkable in today's film industry." In some cases the music was finished before a frame was shot.
Morricone disliked the term "spaghetti western", feeling there was more to his career. No arguing about that – his work moved viewers from the Old West to classic gangster battles in the big cities. His final collaboration with Leone was 1984 crime saga Once Upon A Time In America, which he regarded as his best. Three years later his score accompanied Eliot Ness's pursuit of Al Capone in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987). Robert De Niro starred in both movies, as well Morricone-scored historical drama The Mission (1986), directed by Roland Joffé.
Ennio Morricone in 2012 (Photo by Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Redferns via Getty Images)
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On March 13, 2020 Shabaka & The Ancestors made their Impulse! debut with the band's sophomore album 'We Are Sent Here By History.' Their breakout 2016 album, Wisdom of Elders, established Shabaka & The Ancestors as a sudden force in spiritual jazz. But where that record warned of impending societal collapse, this one unfolds within it. Shabaka refers to the album as a "meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning." On the lead single "Go My Heart, Go To Heaven," Siyabonga pays homage to his father's favorite church song. The word "hamba" (or "go") is repeated, and within the context of this track, it's "about the point where one gives in and wants out of this world," Siyabonga says. "But in times of darkness is a call to the light and the heart."
"We Are Sent Here by History" melds saxophone, trumpet, drums, percussion, bass, and piano notes to evoke images of South Africa's traditions and culture.
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Spike Lee's very new joint is an anguished, more funny, violent argument with and about the whole American history, also with an unforgettable performance from Delroy Lindo at its heart. Spike Lee's career can also be described as a lover's quarrel with American movies and with America, too. As he has demonstrated his mastery of established genres, he has also now reinvented them, pointing out the blind spots and filling the gap.
His all critiques of Hollywood's long history of ignoring and distorting, the black lives have altered the way we look at the movies. His all attempts to expand the frame and also correct the record have now changed the course of the cultural mainstream.
He said ‘I am tempted to say that with ‘Da Bloods', which debuts on Friday, Lee has done it again. But, when as he ever repeated himself? This whole long, anguished, funny, violent excursion into a hidden chamber of the nation's heart of the darkness is not like anything else, even if it all may put you in mind of a lot of other things. In all its anger, its humour and its exuberance in the emotional richness of the central performances and also of Terence Blanchard's score'.
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Sally Potter's The Roads Not Taken premiered at this year's Berlin Film Festival and stars Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Salma Hayek and Laura Linney. The film now has got a release date and opens in UK and Ireland cinemas from 11th September. It was released in the US in April through Bleeker Street through on-demand services. Universal will release in the UK. You can watch a trailer for the film below.
THE ROADS NOT TAKEN follows 24 turbulent hours in the life of father and daughter Leo (Bardem) and Molly (Fanning) as she grapples with the challenges of dealing with her father's chaotic mental state. But as they weave their way around New York City, their ordinary but stressful day takes on a hallucinatory and epic quality, for Leo is seamlessly flowing in and out of two other parallel lives – a passionate marriage with his childhood sweetheart Dolores (Hayek) in Mexico a life of solitude on a remote Greek island, where a chance encounter with two young tourists unmasks some uncomfortable truths….
The film weaves a rich, cinematic tapestry as Leo's parallel lives – visible only to him – gradually unravel in moments of tragedy, happiness, regret and humour. It is only Molly who eventually begins to understand his secret selves.
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Violinist Niv Ashkenazi plays one of a handful of restored violins that survived the Holocaust, and his debut recording, "Violins of Hope" (Albany Records) is a document of the perseverance of the instruments' original owners. Mr. Ashkenazi, along with pianist and fellow Juillard student, pianist Matthew Graybil, breathe life into music that, in some cases, was written and played in the camps on these very violins. The styles and moods of the music is of wonderful variety: heartfelt, melodious, modern, and sometimes humorous. The recording ensures that the story, the very lives of these human beings, will never be forgotten.
Niv Ashkenazi' discusses 'Violins of Hope' with All Classical Portland. LISTEN
Cellist Inbal Segev recorded music by Lucas Richman with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Now she has a new cd on the Avie label with the London Philharmonic conducted by Marin Alsop with Anna Clyne's Dance and the Elgar Cello Concerto. She talks about Anna Clyne and creating the new music and her work with other women composers and the great classic by Elgar. Topics include what she is doing during the pandemic in New York, a commissioning project and much more in this interview with 89.3WQED: Pittsburgh -Jim Cunningham.
With artists stuck at home these days struggling to make sense of a radically new normal, many are turning to the one thing you can do when everything else is on hold: create. We've had a wonderful smorgasbord of new songs and videos coming out over the past three months – but so far, few artists have tried to create work about the pandemic, and some of the efforts I've seen to date have felt a bit forced.
Let's face it, it's very hard to process something when you're still wildly in the thick of it. But Sultans of String strike just the right chord with this video for their song "I'm Free" featuring Waleed Abdulhamid from their latest album Refuge. The concept is simple and the format well-broken-in: they asked friends and fans all over the world to hold up signs showing what they miss most during lockdown.
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Sony Music Masterworks today releases Not Our First Goat Rodeo, the long-awaited follow-up album to the GRAMMY Award-winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile.
In the fall of 1968, a sixteen-year old high school student named Danny Scher had a dream to invite legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk and his all-star quartet to perform a concert at his local high school in Palo Alto, CA.
Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette has decided to release her stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" ahead of schedule as it says as much about the history of American racism and the state of the country today.
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.
Whether he realises it or not (he definitely doesn't), Hans Zimmer has scored the past five years of my life. Going to university and now working as a writer means I've spent thousands of hours listening to instrumental music while I write. When I had final exams I would catch the bus into uni and sit in the library for 12 hours while completing two hours' worth of work. On those days, I'd listen to ‘Time – 10 Hours‘ all the way through. When I was pulling an all-nighter and didn't want to risk dozing off mid-sentence, I'd listen to the Frost/Nixon soundtrack to keep the pressure on and make me tense up with nerves. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best choice.
On the few occasions I have tried to go for decent runs in the past five years, I make sure to listen to ‘What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World' from the Man of Steel soundtrack. An incredible lifting number that's the perfect length (5:27) for me to warm up, run, sprint, and cool down before the final note is played.
Zimmer isn't all about pounding drums and a blasting organ, though. When I'm walking to work or just want something nice to listen to while cleaning my bedroom, I might throw on something from The Holiday or Driving Miss Daisy.
It's truly impossible to get through all of Zimmer's incredible work – from The Lion King to Gladiator to the Dark Knight trilogy – but I'm trying. At this moment I'm listening to ‘Journey To The Line' from The Thin Red Line, which many (including Hans himself) believe to be perhaps his greatest work. And it's easy to see why. When The Thin Red Line was released in 1999, its soundtrack began the trend of booming, vibrating scores that have since been heard in almost every movie with any sort of action or drama. I would encourage you to listen to ‘Journey To The Line' while reading this interview. It's an unedited transcript because, despite English being his second language and many attempts to say that he's not verbally articulate, Hans Zimmer is incredibly eloquent and everything he said was great.
Sony Classical is delighted to announce a key new recording event: a brand-new album performed by stellar musicians of the day that showcases some of Hollywood's greatest ever movie themes, written by one of the world's most innovative musical talents and leading film composer of our time – Hans Zimmer. This vivid collection of back-to-back blockbuster hits brings together for the first time Zimmer's unmistakeable movie themes, re-imagined and in arrangements especially written for some of our top musicians including superstar pianist, Lang Lang; cello wizards, 2CELLOS and Tina Guo; outstanding violinists, Maxim Vengerov and Lindsey Stirling; Classic BRIT Award-winning saxophonist, Amy Dickson; internet sensations, The Piano Guys and with stupendous vocals by Leona Lewis.
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