Renowned Italian composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. He gained fame along with his classmate Sergio Leone for whom he created some of the most iconic scores in cinema with the Dollars Trilogy but was working with comedy auteur Luciano Salce from his earliest days in the industry and contributed to the scores of films in all genres – crime, musical, horror, thriller, drama – before he became famous with that particular variation on America’s foundation narrative, the spaghetti western, even if he occasionally worked under a pseudonym. And it is those signature themes that mark him out from almost every other composer, so embedded are they in our collective consciousness, synonymous with sparse storytelling, merciless mercenaries with no name, dangerous sand swept towns, dastardly narrow-eyed villains and stunning shootouts. He worked with every other great Italian director and western maker at the time – Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Sollima, Giulio Petroni, Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gillo Pontecorvo and Liliana Cavani to name but the obvious. His work in Hollywood exposed him to ever wider audiences and the lyrical sweep and the lustrous tones of scores to films such as The Untouchables and The Mission finally introduced him to some of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who gave him a Lifetime Honour in 2008 and ultimately awarded him an Oscar for Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. He had a classical training and played trumpet but also got involved with the avant garde which surely informed some of the unusual instrumentation in a lifetime of 500 or so scores which didn’t even represent his total output because he was a composer and songwriter in his own right. His name went before him,so transcendent is his impact in the culture. An absurdly prolific man, a true musical visionary and a keen performer to appreciative crowds, the Maestro is gone. Long live the Maestro.