Cellist Yo-Yo Ma collaborates with the acclaimed film composer Ennio Morricone on the new Sony Classical recording Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone that will be the label’s first release in the new DualDisc format, a two-sided disc made up of a CD on one side and DVD on the other. Featuring original cello and orchestra arrangements by Morricone of his most popular themes from such films as The Mission , Cinema Paradiso , Once Upon a Time in America , The Good, the Bad and the Ugly , The Untouchables and many more, the recording immediately hit No. 1 on Billboard ‘s Classical chart in its original CD-only release in September. Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone will be released as a DualDisc in early 2005.
In addition to a full album on the CD side, the DVD side provides the full album in enhanced sound (such as Surround Sound and/or DVD-Audio or LPCM stereo), and also includes a wide range of special features such as music videos, interviews, photo galleries, web links, concert footage and lyrics. In addition to the audio recording of Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone , the album’s DualDisc release will feature the four short student films inspired by the recording, as well as exclusive footage from the recording sessions.
The four short student films, based on specific tracks from the recording, were made as part of a special program at the University of Southern California film school, in conjunction with its music school, to showcase the importance of music in filmmaking. The student filmmakers participated in a competition to select the best treatments, with the winning selections receiving funding from Sony Classical. The program will culminate in a special concert event at the Los Angeles campus of the school on November 5 with a performance of the music, accompanied by the projection of the winning films, and a symposium – with the participation of Ma, Morricone's son Andrea (who is also a film composer), the USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra and the student filmmakers.
Ma will also join Ennio Morricone in Rome on November 16 for a second concert performance with the Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta, with the composer conducting, which will launch the recording in Europe .
The genesis for this recording began during the Academy Awards in 2001, when Ma was performing the Academy Award-winning score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the Oscar telecast, and met Morricone, who was also in attendance for his Oscar-nominated score Malèna . Their initial encounter ultimately resulted in Morricone reimagining many of his most famous melodies in new orchestral treatments that feature the cello.
Morricone’s richly varied and unique style first caught international attention in the films of the late Sergio Leone, beginning with the popular “spaghetti westerns” of the 1960s. The Leone suite on the new recording includes themes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West , as well as three themes (Main Theme, Deborah’s Theme and Cockey’s Song) from Once Upon a Time in America . From the films of Giuseppe Tornatore come themes from Cinema Paradiso (Main Theme and Love Theme), The Legend of 1900 , Malèna and A Pure Formality .
Morricone’s Oscar-nominated score for Roland Joffé’s The Mission is represented by “Gabriel’s Oboe” and “The Falls.” His scores for Brian DePalma are represented by the Friendship Theme from The Untouchables and the Main Theme from Casualties of War . The recording also includes two melodies (“Nocturne” and “The Dinner”) from Morricone’s score for The Lady Caliph for Italian director Alberto Bevilacqua, and themes from two historical TV miniseries, Marco Polo and Moses .
A native of Rome , Ennio Morricone is one of the most prolific and admired composers working in film today, with literally hundreds of titles to his credit. He has worked with virtually every major international director of the last half-century, and his credits include – in addition to the films featured on this recording – Bugsy , In the Line of Fire , State of Grace , Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! , Days of Heaven , A Fistful of Dollars , For a Few Dollars More , 1900 , Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion , Sacco and Vanzetti and many more.
A five-time Oscar nominee and the winner of a Grammy and two Golden Globes, Morricone has won BAFTA’s Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music five times, and he is an eight-time winner of the Nastro D’Argento Award and a six-time winner of the David di Donatello Award, the leading film awards in his native Italy. Morricone has also received lifetime achievement awards from ASCAP, the Venice Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review.
An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Yo-Yo Ma recently won his 15th Grammy for Obrigado Brazil , his best-selling Sony Classical release that celebrates the music of Brazil . The success of that recording and a subsequent international tour inspired a sequel disc, released earlier this year, entitled Yo-Yo Ma Obrigado Brazil Live in Concert . Ma’s most recent release, Vivaldi’s Cello , is his first recording of the music of Baroque master Antonion Vivaldi, with Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.
Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone in its DualDisc release will be featured on Sony Classical’s Web site at www.sonyclassical.com and on Yo-Yo Ma’s artist domain at www.Yo-YoMa.com .