Morricone marks 60 years as Hollywood’s go-to music man

ROME (AP) — Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone is back on his feet after canceling a string of concerts because of two collapsed vertebrae that raised questions about the continued prodigious output of the 87-year-old music legend.

Morricone, whose memorable scores to “The Mission,” ”Cinema Paradiso” and other films have made him one of Hollywood’s most sought-after composers, says he’s doing fine now and is ready to get back on tour to mark his 60 years in the industry.

In an interview at his home in an elegant Rome palazzo, Morricone says even after all his years, he still gets the jitters before going on stage to conduct.

“I get very nervous, because sometimes despite the good will, accidents can happen,” he said from his art-filled living room. “Even small accidents can bother me, things that the audience doesn’t even notice.”

“I rather prefer to write music, but obviously it is natural that I direct the music I wrote,” he adds.

Morricone is still basking in his second Oscar win earlier this year, for scoring Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” He previously won a lifetime achievement Academy Award in 2007.

“It is a nice satisfaction,” he said, a copy of his Hollywood Star on the coffee table. “But what is important is not to think about it.”

Morricone does put a lot of thought into what eventually goes down on paper, however.

“I used to bring some paper and leave it on the bedside table, both sheets with pentagram or blank, to write down an idea that could arise during the night,” he said. “Ideas can come by chance too, sometimes while you’re in the car. An idea arrives and that’s it.”

What’s critical, he said, is having a relationship with the director. Morricone’s most famous collaboration was with Italian director Sergio Leone, whose “Dollars” trilogy starring Clint Eastwood and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” enabled Morricone to reinvent the music for Westerns.

Of his art, he says his role is to essentially fill in the gaps.

“I don’t describe images with my music,” he said. “When there is an important movie, it’s key that the music tell what isn’t said and what you cannot see.”

A new album commemorating Morricone’s six-decade career and sampling some of his 600 works, “Morricone 60,” is being released by Decca Records in October. It contains new recordings of some Morricone’s greatest hits, performed by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

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