Review Summary: "Instead of talking, he plays. And when he better play, he talks."Once Upon A Time In The West
(C'Era Una Volta Il West) is one of those film classics that is inextricably linked to the music. As usual, Sergio Leone worked with Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack for his westerns. And again it is a very successful marriage. The highly visual music that he composes here makes you experience the film all over again. He regularly pulls all the stops open, and sometimes he keeps it very sober, but the tension that must arise from the film is always amplified by the music. That music usually also stands on its own and features leitmotifs that relate to each of the main characters of the film, like a Wagnerian Opera.
Throughout the course of these 13 tracks, Morricone successfully captures the desolate expanse of the west world, using a variety of different themes and variations. Above all, the title track is just perfect: the most splendid kitsch, complete with violins, choral singing, and when the solo voice begins to hum the melody - that's one of the most beautiful moments here. But the other tracks are amazing too, of course, starting with the leitmotif harmonica solo, which is epic and dramatic, always fitting the scenes. Tracks like 'As a Judgment' incorporate a fuzz-guitar for dramatic effect, while 'A Farewell to Cheyenne' includes whistling and a clip-clop rhythm. There's also some more ambient and dark tracks like "The Transgression" and two "Tabern" tracks, which really captures that slow deadly atmosphere. Finally, there's "Finale", a simply stunning masterwork that grows bigger and bigger with wordless vocals by Italian singer Edda Dell'Orso.
All in all, Once Upon A Time In The West
is exciting, emotional and captivating. The soundtrack definitely works without the film, in fact, its musical depth is only really noticeable without the opulent flood of images. How Ennio Morricone manages to translate the vastness of the prairie into music is just wonderful. The haunting music contributes to the film's grandeur and, like the music for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
, is considered one of Morricone's greatest compositions.