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My personal all-time favorite soundtrack !!
on 18 August 2008
I was driving through the Utah desert years ago and popped this CD in. I chose to play it because, well... I played it because it was t h e perfect soundtrack to a solo drive through every western I've ever seen or heard. Morricone is, of course, one of the great composers. From "The Mission" to "Cinema Paradiso", his music haunts and stays with you long after the credits roll.
"Once Upon a Time in the West" was a brilliant movie. From the insanely haunting title track to the soft beauty of "A Dimly Lit Room", this soundtrack will touch you. Listen to "Death Rattle" and you'll imagine yourself standing in the middle of the desert with the hot sun beating down on you - waiting for something bad to happen. Your mind will play tricks on you. Is that... is that a mirage off in the distance or.. are they coming for you? Can you feel it all around you - the smell of death?
One of the best soundtracks.
Ennio Morricone creates a masterful fistful of music for what is my favorite western of all time, Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. Moving from awesome beauty (the opening title track) to the dramatic (Man With A Harmonica) to the gently comical (Cheyenne's theme and Bad Orchestra), Morricone raises the score to heights few are ever are lucky enough to acheive, yet he never goes over the top - something a few of this maestro's other scores could be labeled as being. An essential for Morricone or Leone fans.
This is one of the most underrated soundtracks of all time. A haunting, ethereal work of genius, just like the movie from which it's taken. Anyone who has seen Once Upon a Time in the West is invariably struck by the music, which mirrors the perfection of the film. For anyone who loves movie soundtracks and appreciates sheer brilliance, this is a must have for your collection.
Yes, Sergio Leone was a brilliant director and innovator. However, this is another case where Maestro Morricone elevates the film with his gorgeous and equally innovative music. If "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," brought attention and notoriety to the budding Maestro, the score for "Once Upon A Time In The West" certainly elevated his stature as a musical force to be reckoned with, and thankfully, to be heard from again and again. The Maestro used several elements here to great effect, yes, creating a separate theme for each of the principal characters--who can ever disconnect the harmonica theme from Charles Bronson? And Edda Dell'Orso's wordless vocals have never been more sublime or used to better effect. Essential Morricone. My only complaint is with the packaging to this edition and others. This magnificent score deserves deluxe packaging, booklet and notes, along with the full number of tracks.
As with all soundtracks by Ennio Morricone such as THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY and A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is simply masterful.
The hallmark of any Morricone soundtrack is his use of the human voice as a non-vocal instrument. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is no exception.
This soundtrack is a terrific addition to any classic soundtrack collection. And it matters little whether you are a fan of the movie or not or whether you are a fan of westerns or not. The musical quality of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST stands on its own.
he wordless vocal sung by Morricone regular Edda del Orso defies description. I've listened to this score while lamenting my singularity in the Tucson desert, and heard it performed live by the Gran Caffe Orchestra in the Piazza San Marco in Venice under a full moon in October, and few experiences in life compare to the intensity and beauty of the latter. Sometimes I find Morricone morose and repetitive, but ONCE stands out from the bunch, alongside the unpublished LA VOGLIA MATTA (1962) and CHI MAI. There are many treatments of the main theme that invite repeated listening, but it is the final track that will send chills down your spine and make you believe in the heart, if not heaven.
I first saw "Once Upon a time in the West" as a graduate student in West Germany, where it was named "Spiel Mir das Lied vom Tod"--"Play me the song of death". Its German title was somehow more appropriate than the American, but when I returned to the states, I had to get this incomparable Western (approached only by "Stagecoach" in my opinion) and watch it over and over again. The music, from "Man with the Harmonica" and "Cheyenne's theme" to "Jill's America", captures the Old Southwest as no other American soundtrack. The best place to listen to it is, in fact, driving across the barren landscapes of the American southwest, as other writers have noted. One has to add it Ennio Morricone's other great spaghetti western soundtracks, and regard Morricone himself as one of the great modern composers. The greatest irony lies in the fact that it took two Italians, director Sergio Leone and composer Ennio Morricone, to move beyond the artificiality and stereotypes of Hollywood to capture the essence of the Old West as a place of haunting romance, violence, and characters of deep moral ambivalence. Morricone's music uses instrumentals to capture that otherwise unspeakable element of our Western heritage. This is the kind of music that one can listen to all day on a long drive and never get tired of hearing it.
In popular terms, when one thinks of composer Ennio Morricone, the first thing that they're likely to think of is "spaghetti westerns"--namely the scores he composed for director Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy of the 1960s. Morricone's output, of course, is much bigger than that now. But one of the best scores he ever did for any film, western or otherwise, was the one he composed for Leone's 1969 western epic ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. And like the film itself, Morricone's music has gained a foothold as one of the very best film scores ever composed for a western.
Amazingly, Morricone composed the film score by reading the screenplay by Leone and Sergio Donati, and doing this before a single frame of film was exposed by Leone himself. This meant that Leone could choreograph the main characters' movements in the film. Thus, you get certain sound elements weaving throughout the score--a lush, haunting score (with a wordless female voice) for Claudia Cardinale's frontier widow character; a stinging electric guitar for the ruthless railroad killer portrayed by Henry Fonda; a jaunty banjo for Cheyenne, the outlaw portrayed by Jason Robards; and an ominous, tuneless harmonica for Charles Bronson's character.
One element that is strangely never mentioned when it comes to Morricone's scores for either this film or the "Dollars" trilogy is how attracted he is to minor keys. The themes attached to the Bronson, Robards, and Fonda characters are all in the key of A Minor (the famous "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly" is in D Minor). It is this penchant that Morricone has for the minor keys in his composing that gives his western scores the ominous and deadly charge they have.
before director Sergio Leone shot his 2 hour, 47 minute western masterpiece, 'Once Upon A Time In The West', he commissioned composer Ennio Morricone to write and record the soundtrack for the actors and crew of his new film so they would all be in a certain emotional frame of mind when they performed... it is highly unusual for a film director to create the soundtrack for his film first, but a brilliant move also because the musical themes help connect the characters together from the very beginning, when you watch the film.
this brilliant, older film is the story of five interconnected characters, set at a transitional time in American history with the building of the transamerican railroad through a sleepy, widespread Arizona town: an ex-prostitute making a new life for herself, a monsterous, land-grabbing gunslinger, a cheap-but-shrewd opportunist, a quiet, mysterious avenger and The Old West itself; composer Morricone nails each player down with the insight of a psychologist and heart of an intimate lover as he lays open wide these larger-than-life characters for display with his thirteen brief, pointed tracks.
the soundtrack itself is only 38 minutes, 22 seconds, but highly memorable and one you will probably play over and over again. i recommend you buy the film also, and watch it a few times to further appreciate this masterfully written and performed soundtrack music; this way you can personally connect each character with their respective tracks.
it will probably bring tears to your eyes and chills down your spine...
By most accounts, Ennio Morricone's score for "Once Upon a Time in the West" was written before filming started and used as inspiration by director Sergio Leone. With inspiration like this, how could the film be anything but the classic it is? Just as the film is Leone's masterpiece, this score is the highlight of Morricone's vast output. A brilliant, inspired, and inspiring work, quite possibly the most hauntingly beautiful music ever composed for film. (And, for the record, neither the film nor the score were even nominated for an Academy Award.)
This is the ultimate in western music. I was 14 in 1969 (born 1955) when I saw this movie, and it haunted me (in the best way) for many years. I finally discovered the soundtrack at an obscure music store and grabbed it! This is one of my favorite albums of any kind of music of all time. I listen to it a lot, and never get tired of it....Morricone captured the true essence of the "wild west" better than any other media ever could, and still does. I took this with me when we went to see Monument Valley for the first time, and just as we drove to the point of first viewing, it was so perfect. I couldn't live without this album! I was haunted by this music since I was 14, and still am. There is nothing like it, nothing better. If you like the "spaghetti westerns", add this one to your collection. You will love it.
The brilliant score of "Once Upon a Time in the West" exudes an eerie emotional ether representing the struggle between the human heart and the human mind; between nature in the untamed West and the conquering rationalism of the railroad; between the land-loving Mexican and the wealth-seeking white man; between the native gunfighter and the civilized businessman; between the primitive and the modern, but most of all, between romance and reason.
This score made "Once Upon a Time in the West" one of the greatest films ever made, a treatise on human nature.
It is incredible. THe main theme is so beautiful, so lyrical, and the themes for Fonda, Bronson and Robbards are also superb. 'Bad orchestra' is basically background music, not so interesting, but the rest is marvellous. Essential.