My best working-to music are the film scores of Ennio Morricone. You may know his sound from the Sergio Leone Italian westerns – A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, etc. – but you probably don’t know that he’s done almost five hundred film scores, songs, albums of background music, television tracks, arrangements, orchestrations, canonical and ecclesiastical works, full orchestra pieces for modern classicism, incidental music and whatall. His ‘sound’ ranges from the dramatic exuberance of, say, The Big Gundown, a 1967 Lee Van Cleef oater, to the exquisite loneliness of Terry Malick’s film Days of Heaven, for which work he was nominated for an Oscar. Morricone is my best companion when I’m deep in the world of what I’m writing.

—Harlan Ellison, 1981


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