Today marks the birth of one of the greatest film composers of all time. Ennio Morricone turns 83 today. Morricone is perhaps best known for his Western scores, notably including Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966).
He was nominated for the Best Music, Original Score Oscar 5 times (including for my personal favorite, his score to The Mission ), but never won. I distinctly remember when he was issued an Honorary Award at the 2007 Academy Awards “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” Well deserved!
As if being credited on the scores to over 500 films isn’t enough, Morricone has also been named as an inspiration to many more recent composers, most notably, Hans Zimmer (the best example of this is a side-by-side comparison of “Man with the Harmonica” from Once Upon a Time in the West  and “Parlay” from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ).
Although I am usually vastly partial to albums that are official film score soundtracks, I am a sucker for Yo-Yo Ma’s recording of a collection of Morricone’s work (see Amazon link to the right —>).