In this third installment of my irregular series looking at the early careers of iconic composers, we take a look at an additional eight scores written by the legendary Ennio Morricone between 1961 and 1967 which were not included in the first two articles. This group of reviews includes the first ever western that Morricone scored, several other spaghetti westerns from the Fistful of Dollars era, and several comedic and dramatic romance scores – one of which was for an early film by one of Europe’s most esteemed directors.



Duello Nel Texas, sometimes known as Gunfight at Red Sands, was one of the first ever spaghetti western films, and the first western movie scored by Morricone, a year before A Fistful of Dollars. It was directed by Ricardo Blasco and Mario Caiano and stars Richard Harrison as Ricardo ‘Gringo’ Martinez, the adopted son of a family of Mexican sheep farmers, who witnesses the murder of his entire family by bandits. Bent on revenge, Gringo teams up with a local lawman, Corbett (G. R. Stuart) to track down the killers – but soon discovers that not everyone in his hometown wants the killers found.

The score is anchored by an absolutely fabulous song, “A Gringo Like Me,” which has music by Morricone, lyrics by Anne Carol Danell and Tino Fornai, and is performed with golden-voiced authority by folk singer Peter Tevis under a galloping, lyrical orchestral undercurrent. It’s the first song that Morricone wrote for a western film, and set the standard for all those that followed it. The score proper is actually surprisingly conventional, much closer in tone to the western scores of Moross and Bernstein than anything Morricone would himself write. Nevertheless, conventional Morricone is still good Morricone, and there is a lot to recommend. There are numerous cues full of intense and percussion-heavy rattling action music, moments of trumpet-led introspection and beauty, some soothing and folksy guitar solos, and some pseudo-comedic honkytonk saloon music that breaks the flow but probably works in context.

“Part 7,” “Part 14,” and “Part 18” reprise the melody from the ‘Gringo Like Me’ song with good-natured rambunctiousness. “Part 4,” “Part 11,” and “Part 12” are probably the pick of the action cues, and feature some stark, insistent piano chords underneath a shrill orchestra and rapped snare percussion. The lilting guitar melody that floats through several tracks, notably “Part 2,” is sometimes transposed to a lonely harmonica, as in “Part 8,” or a bank of emotional strings, as in “Part 10”. The more reflective side of the score is also illustrated by a soulful trumpet solo that can be heard in “Part 5” and especially the superb “Part 13”. The whole thing climaxes with overt emotion in the beautiful “Part 17,” a bank of lush strings. While not as creative as any of his later iconic spaghetti western scores, Duello Nel Texas is a fascinating look at the genesis of the entire genre, and is well worth exploring for devotees interested in film music history.

The score was released on CD in 2012 by Italian label Digitmovies, with eighteen unlabeled cues, and the main title theme song has been included on several compilation album over the years. Just remember: there’s just one kind of man that you can trust – that’s a dead man, or a gringo like me!

Track Listing: 1. A Gringo Like Me (performed by Peter Tevis) (2:28), 2. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 1 (1:04), 3. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 2 (2:34), 4. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 3 (2:00), 5. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 4 (2:04), 6. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 5 (1:53), 7. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 6 (0:58), 8. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 7 (1:02), 9. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 8 (1:37), 10. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 9 (1:45), 11. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 10 (1:23), 12. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 11 (2:14), 13. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 12 (3:03), 14. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 13 (1:18), 15. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 14 (1:14), 16. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 15 (4:10), 17. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 16 (1:58), 18. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 17 (3:40), 19. Duello nel Texas, Pt. 18 (2:42), 20. A Gringo Like Me (performed by Dicky Jones) (2:49). Digitmovies DPDM-2005, 41 minutes 54 seconds.



Le Pistole Non Discutono is an Italian spaghetti western directed by Mario Caiano, starring Rod Cameron and Horst Frank. Cameron plays legendary wild west lawman Pat Garrett, who is forced to leave his own wedding to track down two ruthless bank robbers. Interestingly, this film was produced back-to-back with A Fistful of Dollars by Arrigo Pap for Jolly Film, and had a much bigger budget as Rod Cameron was a more ‘bankable’ star than Clint Eastwood at the time – of course, we all know what happened there.

The inimitable Peter Tevis returns to perform the title song “Lonesome Billy,” a downbeat lament for the life of a gunfighter, made all the more poignant by the silky bass in the singer’s voice. The rest of the score is built around variations on the main theme, “Le Pistole Non Discutono,” a determined melody for trumpets underpinned by acoustic guitars and hoofbeat percussion, which often swells with dark brass nobility and string-led fortitude. There are numerous variations throughout the score, including a couple of lovely versions for solo guitar, a somewhat dissonant variation including chaotically stark combination of pianos and harmonica and thrumming bass guitars (“#2”), and a fun arrangement for regional folk instruments and a Spanish soprano vocalist in the “Version Cantina Messicana”.

The two other main recurring ideas are “Gli Indiani,” recurring insistent explosions of percussion, stabbing pianos, and low horn clusters which give the score a sense of danger and underscore most of the film’s action sequences, and “La Ragazza e Lo Scheriffo,” a more bouncy and playful melody for assorted woodwinds that stands at odds with the rest of the score, but is a ton of fun.

There’s a lot of ‘what if’ about Le Pistole Non Discutono – what if this film had been more successful than A Fistful of Dollars, as was expected? Would this score have been more famous today? Film and music history are filled with stories like this, of chance and missed opportunity. Whatever the case may be, and despite its obscurity these days, Le Pistole Non Discutono is a great early entry into the spaghetti western genre, with a lovely lilting main theme and some bold, energetic, enjoyable action music.

The score for Le Pistole Non Discutono has been released a couple of times; as a standalone limited edition album by GDM Music in 2010, and as part of a double-feature coupled with score for L’Avventuriero in 2015. The main ‘Lonesome Billy’ song and related main theme can also be found on several of the many Morricone western compilations released over the years.

Track Listing: 1. Lonesome Billy (performed by Peter Tevis) (1:52), 2. Le Pistole Non Discutono (2:35), 3. Gli Indiani (2:15), 4. Le Pistole Non Discutono (Tema Chitarra) (2:04), 5. Le Pistole Non Discutono (#2) (4:41), 6. La Ragazza e Lo Scheriffo (1:10), 7. Le Pistole Non Discutono (Tema Chitarra #2) (2:01), 8. Le Pistole Non Discutono (#3) (1:07), 9. Gli Indiani (#2) (3:40), 10. Le Pistole Non Discutono (Cantina Messicana) (1:46), 11. Le Pistole Non Discutono (#4) (2:20), 12. Gli Indiani (#3) (4:21), 13. Le Pistole Non Discutono (Tema Chitarra #3) (3:02), 14. Le Pistole Non Discutono (#5) (2:03), 15. Lonesome Billy (Stereo Mix) (1:52), 16. Gli Indiani (Stereo Mix) (2:14), 17. Le Pistole Non Discutono (Stereo Mix) (2:32). GDM Music GDM-4138, 40 minutes 59 seconds.



Prima Della Rivoluzione – Before the Revolution – is an Italian neo-realist romantic drama film, directed by the great Bernardo Bertolucci in what was one of his first theatrical films. It stars Adriana Asti and Francesco Barilli as two young lovers, Gina and Fabrizio, and charts the course of their relationship against the political and social upheaval that gripped much of Europe at the time. It explores themes of civil rights, socialist political ideologies, and religion, and is strongly inspired by the French New Wave cinema of directors like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut.

The score for Prima Della Rivoluzione is subdued and introspective and quite serious, and is built around layered banks of strings which often play against each other in unusual ways. The title track, “Prima Della Rivoluzione,” is highly classical in nature, and just gorgeous. Meanwhile, the romance between Gina and Fabrizio is captured by some lovely, elegant writing for strings and woodwinds in “E Dopo,” and this style of writing continues on into later cues such as “Sognare O Non Sognare,” where the woodwinds are paired with florid acoustic guitars.

“Vivere O Non Vivere” gives the woodwinds a renaissance lilt via the inclusion of a harpsichord, and this continues in into the elaborate and gilded “Tu Vedrai,” which juxtaposes the lyrical strings of the main theme against Bach-like keyboards, and becomes quite breathlessly beautiful as it develops over almost eight minutes.

The score for Prima Della Rivoluzione has been released several times over the years; by RCA Records in combination with the score for Un Uomo a Metà in 1997, and as a 300-copy limited edition by GDM Music in combination with the score for I Basilichi in 2014. The title theme has also been included on several Morricone compilations over the years

Track Listing: 1. Prima Della Rivoluzione (1:46), 2. E Dopo? (2:29), 3. Vivere O Non Vivere (3:41), 4. Tu Vedrai (7:57), 5. Sognare O Non Sognare (5:46). GDM Music 4333, 21 minutes 34 seconds.



Un Fiume di Dollari, known in English as The Hills Run Red, is a spaghetti western directed by Carlo Lizzani. The film stars Thomas Hunter as Brewster, a rebel Texan fighter in the American Civil War heading towards Mexico with a cache of stolen American gold. When he is captured by soldiers just short of his goal, he trusts his partner Seagull (Nando Gazzolo) to finish the job, get the money across the border, and use his half to help his wife and son. Five years later, having been released from prison, Brewster finally returns home, only to find that he has been double-crossed by Seagull and his family gone Vowing revenge, he teams up with a drifter named Getz (Dan Duryea), and sets off in pursuit of Seagull.

The main title theme, “The Hills Run Red,” is a stridently heroic march for brass and strings augmented by the dulcet tones of soprano Edda dell’Orso and a male voice choir, and its recapitulations and variations in “The Fury of Fire,” “The River of Dollars,” “Vindication,” and the conclusive “Un Fiume di Dollari” are score highlights. There is suspense music a-plenty too, with the familiar nervous agitato strings, muted horns, and impatient snare drum licks anchoring cues like “Fifteen Miles to Prison” and the sometimes quite dissonant “Blind Obsession”. Elsewhere there is some wistful music for glockenspiel, harp and strings in “Dreams Into Dust,” which gives Brewster’s longing for home a poignant twist; the soft focus pop arrangements of the same ideas in “Memories of Rebecca” and “The Girl With the Golden Hair” are of their time.

The soundtrack also includes two original songs, “Home to My Love” and “Quel Giorno Verrà,” both of which are performed by Gino, and neither of which I care for; there is also some lively Mexican source music in cues such as “Fiesta del Sol,” which is authentic and features some ripe trumpet solos, some down-home Americana in “Ecstasy of Strings,” and ragtime/honkytonk saloon pianos in “Five Card Draw,” the latter of which unfortunately verge on the annoying.

Un Fiume di Dollari fits squarely within the familiar Morricone spaghetti western sound that he perfected during the period, and although it’s certainly not as influential or creative as his more well-known efforts, it will satisfy the curiosity of genre fans. The score for Un Fiume di Dollari was never properly released until 2008, when it was included in the massive 12-CD ‘MGM Soundtrack Treasury’ box set released by Film Score Monthly. The score was then re-issued as a standalone soundtrack (featuring identical content) by Spanish label Quartet Records in 2010, and this is the version being reviewed here.

Track Listing: 1. Home to My Love (performed by Gino) (1:42), 2. The Hills Run Red (1:41), 3. Fifteen Miles to Prison (1:39), 4. Fiesta Del Sol (0:57), 5. Dreams Into Dust (2:03), 6. Ecstasy of Strings (1:18), 7. Memories of Rebecca (2:24), 8. The Fury of Fire (1:01), 9. The River of Dollars (1:54), 10. Five Card Draw (2:39), 11. The Girl With The Golden Hair (1:43), 12. Doing Time (1:29), 13. Blind Obsession (2:56), 14. Vindication (1:27), 15. Home to My Love (performed by Gino) (2:51), 16. Un Fiume Di Dollari (2:16), 17. Quel Giorno Verrà (performed by Gino) (2:12). Quartet Records QRSCE-007, 31 minutes 13 seconds.



Come Imparai ad Amare le Donne – also known as How I Learned To Love Women – is an Italian romantic comedy directed by Luciano Salce, one of Morricone’s most frequent early collaborators. The film stars Michèle Mercier, Nadja Tiller, Elsa Martinelli, Anita Ekberg and Sandra Milo as five different women who encounter the young and enthusiastic Roberto (Robert Hoffmann) and teach him the ways of the world in terms of love, romance, and lots and lots of sex.

Morricone’s scores for sex comedies are so different from anything else he wrote; they were rooted into that 1960s Euro-pop sound, which blended sultry vibrato-heavy strings with languid electric guitar licks, brushed jazzy percussion ideas, moody woodwinds, Hammond organs, and faraway vocals, some of which mimic breathy orgasm noises. Much of the score’s melodic content is based on variations around the melody of the opening song, “Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso,” which is dream-like and ethereal and blends electric guitars and what sounds like sampled whale song. Several subsequent cues – notably “La Diva” and “La Donna Gattina,” plus the various alternate versions of the main theme – follow this same trend, encompassing a series of lounge pop and jazz instrumentals.

One or two cues does stand out for their originality and uniqueness. “La Donna Romantica,” as the name suggests, is much more straightforwardly romantic, and is a lovely, slow duet for piano and strings that can stand with some of his best love themes from the period. “Pizzicato” is, as the name suggests, a somewhat abstract piece for pizzicato strings accompanied by harpsichords and fluttering woodwinds. Meanwhile, several mid-album cues – “Alta Moda,” “Alla Corte di Luigi XVI,” and “La Duchessa” –embrace a highly classical 17th century sound, offering Bach-like arrangements of strings, woodwinds, and brass.

Morricone’s comedy writing is an acquired taste; it was so idiosyncratic, you could never predict what sort of approach he was going to take from movie to movie, and if often varied wildly in tone, even within the same score. Come Imparai ad Amare le Donne is a score like that – but if you’re in the mood of something completely off the beaten path, this might fit the bill. The score for Come Imparai ad Amare le Donne has been released several times over the years, both on vinyl and CD, but my personal recommendation for the best presentation of the music is the one released by GDM Music in 2016, which offers the clearest sound quality.

Track Listing: 1. Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso (2:30), 2. La Diva (2:51), 3. La Donna Gattina (1:41), 4. La Donna Romantica (6:12), 5. Pizzicato (1:32), 6. Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso (#2) (3:03), 7. Alta Moda (7:46), 8. Alla Corte Di Luigi XVI (2:49), 9. La Duchessa (1:39), 10. Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso (#3 – Titoli Di Testa) (2:30), 11. La Diva (#2) (2:45), 12. La Donna Gattina (#2) (2:50), 13. Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso (#4) (2:02), 14. Pizzicato (#2) (1:48), 15. La Diva (#3) (4:32), 16. La Donna Romantica (#2) (2:07), 17. La Duchessa (#2) (1:59), 18. Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso (#5 – Finale) (3:02), 19. Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso (#6 – Mix Stereo) (Bonus Track) (2:29). GDM Music GDM-4406, 54 minutes 53 seconds.



Il Giardino Delle Delizie is an introspective Italian drama written and directed by Silvano Agosti. It stars Maurice Ronet as a man named Carlo, unhappily married to Carla (Evelyn Stewart), who begins to question his life, his relationships, and the ethical and moral and ramifications over the course of a surreal night with his wife; as the night progresses he struggles with the decision over whether to stay with Carla, or leave her for his mistress (Lea Massari). It’s all very Italian, and never gained much of an international reputation.

The first score cue on the album is vastly different from what follows it: the opening “Adonai” is a driving piece of orchestral rock music led by a heavy electric guitar riff, modern percussion, a screaming trumpet, and an incongruous but brilliantly-incorporated harpsichord. The whole thing is topped off by yelping vocals performed by I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni. It’s quite brilliant. “Nel Profondo dell’Eros,” on the other hand, is an eerie exploration of shimmering tones for strings and light electronics, which often descend in to abstract and chaos that is quite difficult to describe, other than is feels like the sound of an orchestra tuning up, but more organized.

The title track “Il Giardino Delle Delizie (Primo)” features the ghostly tones of soprano Edda dell’Orso against a bank of eerie strings, while the subsequent “Il Giardino Delle Delizie (Secondo)” contines down the same path, sans vocals. The conclusive “Peccato Originale” is perhaps the most abstract piece of all: faraway vocals, string figures, and unusual processed sound effects fade in and out of the cue over the course of more than several minutes, testing the patience of the listener.

Il Giardino Delle Delizie is an odd duck of a score, which starts out with a maniacally upbeat rock track, but then settles down into a series of unusual tonal explorations which, unfortunately, only dedicated devotees of Morricone’s work will feel the need to check out. The soundtrack for Il Giardino Delle Delizie is an elusive one; although the main title theme does crop up on one or two of the more comprehensive Morricone collections, the complete work has never been released. The best bet for collectors appears to be this 2004 release from GDM Records, which pairs just over 15 minutes of score from this film with selections from the 1987 film Quartiere and the 1995 film L’Uomo Proiettile.

Track Listing: 1. Adonai (3:10), 2. Nel Profondo dell’Eros (1:06), 3. Il Giardino Delle Delizie (Primo) (5:38), 4. Il Giardino Delle Delizie (Secondo) (2:33), 5. Peccato Originale (4:26). GDM Records, 16 minutes 51 seconds.



I Crudeli, released in English as The Hellbenders, is an influential spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci, with whom Morricone collaborated on Navajo Joe, Il Mercenario, Il Grande Silenzio, and Vamos a Matar Compañeros, among others. The film stars Joseph Cotten as Colonel Jonas, the former leader of a notoriously vicious platoon in the recently-defeated Confederate Army, who finds a hoard of Union gold and – with the help of his greedy and villainous sons – plans to use it to revive the Confederacy.

The main title theme, “I Crudeli,” is an effortlessly cool theme for a lazy, jazzy trumpet over rattling metallic percussion, which gradually picks up an undercurrent of soothing voices and, eventually, an urgent piano rhythm. It sounds more like something Lalo Schifrin might have written for an urban crime thriller than a civil war-era revenge movie, but Morricone was never one to make the obvious choice. The theme anchors several additional cues, with variations that range from a downbeat acoustic guitar version in “The Widow” to the more impressive statements in the score’s finale.

The action and suspense music, in cues like “Prima dell’Assalto,” “La Conguira,” “Dopo la Congiura,” “Attesa del Nulla,” and others, tends to be tight and sparse and edgy, making use of rattling tick-tock percussion, staccato guitar licks, and jittery piano chords that emerge from the low end of the keyboard. Elsewhere, the various versions of the solemn “Un Monumento” all feature a typically iconic trumpet solo and, often, a soaring soprano solo vocal, but these are among the few melodic high points of a score which mostly seems to favor the creation of a relentlessly uneasy mood than impressing the listener with recurring bold themes or moments of notable beauty.

The somewhat restrained, sparse, and nervous sound that permeates the score for I Crudeli does make it difficult to appreciate, but Morricone certainly captures the tone of darkness and immortality that permeates the film with his music, and that’s certainly worth something. The score for I Crudeli has been released several times over the years, both as a standalone album, and as part double-feature released combined with the score for Revolver, among others. My personal recommendation – and the score being reviewed here – is the 2017 release from Dagored Records, which includes the score as a standalone album, and includes additional music and outtakes not featured on other releases.

Track Listing: 1. I Crudeli (2:38), 2. Prima Dell’Assalto (1:58), 3. Un Monumento (2:33), 4. Minacciosamente Lontano (2:43), 5. La Congiura (3:37), 6. Dopo La Congiura (2:00), 7. I Crudeli 2° (1:20), 8. Attesa Del Nulla (4:03), 9. Monumento 2° (2:20), 10. Seconda Congiura (2:15), 11. I Crudeli (The Widow) (2:06), 12. La Congiura (#2) (2:49), 13. Un Monumento (#2) (1:56), 14. I Crudeli (#2) (1:50), 15. La Congiura (#3) (3:12), 16. I Crudeli (#3) (2:26), 17. Un Monumento (#3) (1:55). Dagored RED-176, 41 minutes 00 seconds.



Matchless is a broad Italian comedy directed by Alberto Lattuada, which spoofs a number of genres including sci-fi movies and spy films. The film stars Patrick O’Neal as Perry ‘Matchless’ Liston, a secret agent who possesses a ring that makes him invisible for a short time, once every 10 hours. He is in pursuit of an evil criminal mastermind but, at the same time, must evade an enemy agent who also wants the ring. The film co-stars Ira Furstenberg, Henry Silva, and Donald Pleasance poking fun at his own Blofeld role; Morricone co-wrote the score with composer Gino Marinuzzi Jr., and the whole thing was conducted by Piero Piccioni.

As a parody of two of the most iconic genres of the decade, the score is clearly rooted in the musical stylistics of the movies it is parodying, but the dials are all turned up to 11, resulting in a score which drowns in overkill, but is still superbly entertaining if you can get in the right headspace. Morricone’s contribution to the score begins with the “Titoli,” which is an unusual piece of spacey orchestral electronic dissonance underpinned by sultry jazz grooves and vocals, which open the album on an unusual note. The subsequent “Una Dolce Corsa” is a swooning, pseudo-romantic piece for sweeping strings, rock percussion, and Edda dell’Orso’s elevated vocals, intermittently interrupted by a jazzy John Barry-style roaring trumpet that is clearly intended to evoke the espionage cool of James Bond.

“Suspense” is a thunderous explosion of rampaging percussion, throbbing brass, and clamoring vocals, and is intensely energetic, like a chaotic dance piece on psychedelic drugs. This stylistic continues on into “La Danza Delle Trombe,” which adds a Hammond organ and an electric guitar into the same frenzied mix. Later, “Un Pensiero Incantevole” is a sultry, dreamy romance piece for lilting strings, come-hither vocals, and jazzy brushed snares that is typical of the era; the subsequent cue is an arrangement of the same melody for guitar. Finally, “Una Vita Felice” is a sunny, optimistic rock instrumental, which seemingly re-purposes the ‘wa-wa-wa’ vocals from The Good the Bad and the Ugly in a very different setting.

Marinuzzi’s tracks are less impressive that Morricone’s (natch), but still contain some moments worth highlighting. “Un Sogno Ricorrente” is a festival of chipper pizzicato and swooning strings. “Notturno” is a more languid arrangement of the same string theme. “Marcetta Divertente” and “Una Filastrocca Di Note” are pieces of comedy fluff, “Brivido Gelido” is brass-led suspense music, and “Tema Scartato” is a groovy finger-snapping dance band piece. This is the first music I have heard from Marinuzzi, and on this evidence it’s worth seeking out other things he has written.

Morricone’s genre-bending scores have always been something of an acquired taste, but they have always been encapsulations of the European sound that dominated films like this at the time. It’s a mixed bag of music that leaps from frantic dance music to swooning romance at a pace that will make your head spin, but anyone who appreciated the then-contemporary sounds of that era will enjoy it. The score for Matchless has been released on LP and CD a couple of times over the years, but my personal recommendation – and the score being reviewed here – is the 2011 release from Italian label Legend Records.

Track Listing: 1. Titoli (2:31), 2. Un Sogno Ricorrente (1:36), 3. Una Dolce Corsa (1:37), 4. Notturno (2:33), 5. Suspense (3:13), 6. Marcetta Divertente (1:16), 7. La Danza Delle Trombe (3:25), 8. Una Filastrocca Di Note (1:05), 9. Un Pensiero Incantevole (1:49), 10. Brivido Gelido (1:46), 11. Un Pensiero Incantevole (Per Chitarra) (1:48), 12. Una Vita Felice (2:26), 13. Tema Scartato (2:48), 14. Una Vita Felice (#2) (2:24), 15. Ho Paura (1:18), 16. Titoli Di Coda (2:58). Legend CD-41DLX, 34 minutes 07 seconds.

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