Ennio Morricone: Gabriel’s Oboe


Ennio Morricone’s work Gabriel’s Oboe is chiefly known for being the main theme of the 1986 film The Mission. The film is a period drama about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in South America. The film starred big names such as Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Cherie Lunghi and Liam Neeson. However, one of the most treasured aspects of the film was it’s iconic soundtrack. 

There have been an array of different versions of the theme arranged for different instruments, with classical stars such as Yo-Yo Ma and Holly Gornik creating their own versions. However, the original oboe and orchestra arrangement remains the most unforgettable.


The Music

Both lyrical and stately in style Gabriel’s Oboe captures a really intriguing atmosphere. Only around two minutes in length, the lyricism shown by Morricone through both the soloist and accompanying parts is why the music is still so popular today. The soaring oboe melody sits delicately on top of rich strings that support the melody into fruition. Morricone’s harmonic language is also interesting as the rich sonorous strings fizz underneath the soloist. 


Final Thoughts

For the score Morricone won both a Bafta and Golden Globe. Gabriel’s Oboe has gone into history as one of the most unforgettable oboe melodies ever written. The stateliness of the music makes it one of the most popular wedding arrival pieces. A real classic. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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