Composers Datebook

Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone (1928 - 2020) Gabriel’s Oboe, fr “The Mission” Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; Ennio Morricone, cond. Sony 57872

Composers Datebook for November 10, 2020


November 10, 2020


Today’s date marks the birthdate in 1928 of the Italian composer Ennio Morricone, famous for more than 400 scores he wrote for films and TV.

If you’re a fan, you already know that he wrote the music for a series of “Spaghetti Western” movies like the 1964 classic “A Fistful of Dollars,” starring Clint Eastwood as a taciturn, sun-burnt, cigar-chomping gunman.

If you’re an oboist, you’ve probably played Morricone’s haunting “Gabriel’s Oboe” at weddings or funerals. It's a melody originally heard in his soundtrack to a 1986 film titled “The Mission.”

But in a 2006 interview for DAZED magazine, Morricone revealed some things even his fans might not have known: he collected bars of hotel soap as a hobby. And if he hadn’t become a composer, would have liked to have been a professional chess player.

He also offered a bit of wise advice when asked about scores that were NOT successes: “A long time ago I really loved a film that I was working on and I became too involved. That was kind of unbalanced. It made me realize that you can’t love things too much if you want them to work.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Ennio Morricone (1928 - 2020) Gabriel’s Oboe, fr “The Mission” Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; Ennio Morricone, cond. Sony 57872

On This Day


  • 1668 - French composer, organist and harpsichordist François Couperin ("Le Grand"), in Paris;

  • 1873 - French composer and conductor Henri Rabaud, in Paris;

  • 1928 - Italian film music composer Ennio Morricone, in Rome;


  • 1726 - Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 98 ("Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" II) performed on the 21st Sunday after Trinity as part of Bach's third annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1725/27);

  • 1733 - Handel: opera "Semiramide" in London at the King's Theater in the Haymarket (see Julian date: Oct. 30);

  • 1739 - Handel completes in London his Concerto Grosso in A, Op. 6, no. 11 (see Julian date: Oct. 30);

  • 1862 - Verdi: opera "La Forza del destino" (The Force of Destiny) in St. Petersburg at the Grand Imperial Theater;

  • 1872 - Bizet: suite, "L'Arlèsienne," in Paris, at a Pasdeloup concert;;

  • 1896 - Dvorák: String Quartet No. 12 in Ab, Op. 105, in Vienna;

  • 1910 - Elgar: Violin Concerto, at Queen's Hall, London, during a concert of the Philharmonic Society of London with the composer conducting, and Fritz Kreisler the soloist;

  • 1932 - Bernard Wagenaar: Symphony No. 2, Arturo Toscanini conducting the New York Philharmonic;

  • 1957 - Copland: incidental music for "The World of Nick Adams" (after stories by Ernest Hemingway), for a live CBS television dramatization;

  • 1994 - Stephen Albert: Symphony No. 2, by the New York Philharmonic, with Hugh Wolff conducting;


  • 1595 - Lute virtuoso and composer John Dowland pens a letter from Nuremberg to Robert Cecil (a member of Queen Elisabeth the First’s Privy Council), warning of a plot against the Protestant Queen he discovered among some expatriate English Catholics in Italy; In the long, defensively autobiographical letter, Dowland protests his own loyalty, despite admitting his previous Catholic leanings;

  • 1888 - Fritz Kreisler, age 13, makes his New York City debut in recital at Old Steinway Hall;

  • 1900 - Russian pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch makes his Carnegie Hall debut in New York City during his first American tour; In 1909 he married contralto Clara Clemens, the daughter of the American writer Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain (see also listing for Nov. 16);

  • 1909 - Gustav Mahler conducts the New York Philharmonic from the keyboard of a Steinway piano (whose action had been altered to imitate a harpsichord) in his symphonic arrangement of movements from Bach’s Orchestral Suites during the first of a series of “historical” concerts surveying music from the Baroque Age to the present day.