Hans Zimmer pays tribute to Ennio Morricone: “He taught me that the simplest, purest and honest melody is the hardest”

"The first note I ever heard of his grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me go"

Hans Zimmer has paid tribute to fellow composer Ennio Morricone, whose death at the age of 91 was announced earlier today (July 6).

Morricone, who scored over 500 films, most famously Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns including The Good The Bad And The Ugly, died last week following complications from a fall.

Writing on Twitter, Inception, Gladiator and The Lion King composer Zimmer paid homage to Morricone and posted a picture of the two of them together.

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“The first note I ever heard of his grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me go,” Zimmer wrote. “I never decided to become a film composer. Ennio and Sergio Leone did that for me, letting me experience their magic.

“Ennio taught me that the simplest, purest and honest melody is the hardest to write. That it’s not supposed to be easy, that it’s a profound mission we are on that we must take seriously and humbly when we write music. And that our job is to be the director’s best friend and inspire him. A good conductor breathes with the orchestra as one.”

He concluded: “Whenever you hear his pieces now, you will still hear his breath… you might not see him… but you will always hear him…”

Zimmer also discussed Morricone during an appearance on BBC Breakfast on Monday (June 6). “Ennio was an icon and icons don’t go away,” he said.

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“And it wasnt just the music he wrote for Spaghetti Westerns, think about The Mission, think about Once Upon A Time In America, what beautiful music that truly was. He was one of a kind, he never stopped speaking Italian, he never bothered to learn English.”

Zimmer continued: “I was a huge fan, obviously, he was a major influence on me, the first movie I ever saw was Once Upon A Time In The West, and I heard that music and I saw those images and I went that’s what I want do.

“I met him a few times afterwards. He was quite a strict taskmaster actually, because one of the things that was vitally important to him was that music would always have quality. We all have done this, worked on not such great movies, but his music was always outstanding, and done with great emotional fortitude and great intellectual thought.”

Morricone’s death sparked tributes from across the worlds of music and film, with the likes of Portishead, New Order and Edgar Wright paying homage to the composer.

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