Ennio Morricone, Cinema Paradiso

Keith Phipps

By Keith Phipps

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Cinema Paradiso

Ennio Morricone

By the '80s, Ennio Morricone had, by his own admission, already composed more film scores than he could remember. But that didn't prevent him from turning out some of his most memorable work. Morricone's music for Giuseppe Tornatore's sentimental 1989 favorite Cinema Paradiso stands alongside the grandiose religious themes of The Mission and the melancholy nostalgia of Once Upon a Time in America as one of his best efforts of the decade. Like the film, Morricone's unapologetically romantic work weaves bits of adult sophistication into passages that capture the unfiltered emotions of childhood. Most tracks offer variations on the memorable title theme, none more impressively than "From American Sex Appeal to the First Fellini," which marches through a quick history of film music from the silent age to the '50s. In another move appropriate for a coming-of-age story, Morricone turns the soundtrack into a family affair, bringing in son Andrea Morricone to compose the sweeping "Love Theme."