Ennio Morricone: The Ecstasy of Gold
Ennio Morricone composed his highly popular soundtrack for the 1966 Western film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and by 1968 the album was a big hit in the charts. Regarded as Morricone’s most successful film soundtrack, The Ecstasy of Gold is one of the composer’s most famous tunes. Originally sung with frequent collaborator, Edda Dell’Orso, the theme has been used by a number of musicians for different purposes.
The Ecstasy of Gold is heard whilst Tuco, played by Eli Wallach, is searching non-stop in a cemetery for the legendary grave that holds $200,000 of gold coins. The theme opens with a scalic figure repeated by the piano which sets the scene. A lone cor anglais enters with the main theme, which i s used as the basis for the entire piece. As the voice enters to shadow the cor anglais, Morricone adds more accompanying instruments, including a pulsating snare drum that drives the theme forwards.
As the music builds in intensity, so does the soaring voice on top. Morricone adds the trumpets playing a counter-theme, which leads to full brass interpretation of the tune. The music is dramatic and quintessential Morricone, both in style and in presentation. After a final rousing play of the theme, The Ecstasy of Gold ends suddenly.
Ⓒ Alex Burns