LANSDOWNE

SYMPHONY

ORCHESTRA

Ennio Morricone Gabriel's Oboe Program Notes

Born  in  1928,  the  Italian  composer  Ennio  Morricone  has  composed  hundreds  of  film  scores  since  transitioning  from  a  jazz  trumpet  career  in  the  1940s.  Some  notable  scores  include  Cinema  Paradiso,  Bertolucci’s  1900,  Franco  Zeferilli’s  Hamlet  (with  Mel  Gibson),  Warren  Beatty’s  Bulworth,  and  In  the  Line  of  Fire  with  Clint  Eastwood  and  John  Malkovich.  The  Mission  was  a  1986  film  starring  Jeremy  Irons  and  Robert  De  Niro,  scored  by  Morricone.  With  a  background  of  the  conflict  between  European  conquest  in  1700s  South  America,  the  young  priest  Father  Gabriel  (Irons)  is  sent  to  replace  the  recently  martyred  missionary,  the  denouement  of  which  was  being  thrown,  tied  to  a  crucifix,  over  a  massive  waterfall.  In  the  jungle,  perilously  surrounded  by  hidden  warriors,  Father  Gabriel  begins  to  play  the  oboe  he  has  brought  with  him.  Haltingly  at  first,  a  musical  theme  emerges,  and  now  known  to  concert  audiences  as  ͞Gabriel’s  Oboe.͟  Despite  Father  Gabriel’s  gentle  ͞hearts  and  minds͟  approach  to  the  tribe,  the  film  is  ultimately  a  tragedy.  Commercially  speaking,  The  Mission  was  not  exceptionally  successful,  but  it  has  continued  to  resonate,  and  its  score  was  widely  recognized  -  it  was  nominated  for  an  Oscar  and  awarded  a  BAFTA  award  for  Best  Film  Music  in  1987.  Morricone’s  output  also  includes  music  for  the  concert  hall,  including  chamber  music  -  it  is  possible  to  see  the  two  sides  of  the  output  informing  each  other.  (Groves  Encyclopedia  writes  of  The  Mission  as  a  ͞most  impressive  application  of  [Morricone’s]  modular  technique...  single  modules,  more  extended  and  clearly  defined  than  before,  interact  dialectically,  assuming  very  clear  stylistic  functions.͟)