Ennio Morricone is the greatest living film composer.  He may even be the greatest film composer of all time.  “Greatest” and “of all time” are way too common occurrences on the internet, a hotbed of hyperbolic superlatives.  In this particular case, however, those are warranted.

Morricone has written hundreds of film scores across the span of his decades-long career — the exact number is difficult to pin down because for every other score he was credited for composing, there are those he ghost-wrote, gave credit to a mentee, or contributed to in some form.  Then there are the latter-day films which have used samples of his scores, let alone the countless cartoons and commercials.

Morricone has been most prolific in his native Italy but he’s composed plenty of scores for American films, and for those scattered other nations as well. There isn’t a genre left untouched by the master, from “spaghetti” Westerns to historical epics to to monster movies to sweeping romances to action thrillers to gialli to screwball comedies and beyond.  Some personal selections for highlights:  THE GOOD THE BAD & THE UGLY, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, THE BIG GUNDOWN, THE GREAT SILENCE, ORCA, WHITE DOG, and THE THING.

It’s probably no coincidence that his compositions energize so many of my favorite films, but I love his work so much I listen to it even if I haven’t seen the movies.  For example, I couldn’t tell you anything about the film it came from, but his score for THE MISSION is one of the great chill-out albums of all time.  There we go with the extreme superlatives again.

All of that is a run-up to the news that Ennio Morricone is touring the United States in early 2014!  This is an amazing opportunity to see one of the most important musicians in film history conduct an orchestra.  There are a couple catches:  There are only two concerts, one in Los Angeles and one in New York.  And the tickets, as you may have already guessed, are deep into the expensive end of the pool.

Here’s the official site, with all the ticket information.

If you can, you should.  And let us know if you do!

— JON ABRAMS (@jonnyabomb).

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