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FEATURES Ennio Morricone, a personal memory

By Alan David Baumann*

Children of artists never abandon the strong bond with the parents, although psychologically the umbilical cord must be severed. On the one hand the artwork helps, on the other its constant presence can mean a sort of perennial “devotion” or “subjection”. I can imagine what is going on in Alessandra, Andrea, Giovanni and Marco Morricone’s mind today.

Ennio’s death means the loss of another shred of my personal story. He was a long though not daily presence, a story of friendship crowned by music and art.

I talked to him on the phone just before the Covid emergency, to ask him if he wanted to accept the position of “honorary member” in the Eva Fischer Foundation that I was about to set up and that I had to postpone for a few months for what happened. He immediately replied “Yes, of course”, adding that “working for cultural dissemination in Eva’s memory would have been something important for everyone”.

Ennio and my mother Eva met in the second half of the 1950s. They lived in the same building at the end of the ancient district of Trastevere, in via Mattia Montecchi. Eva and her mother lived on the fifth floor, while Ennio, Maria, and then the firstborn Marco, were on the fourth floor.

In the large entrance, as it was common then, Ennio positioned his piano. He had not yet achieved success and spent most of the day studying and writing the first compositions.

Back then phones hung on the wall and Ennio placed his close, near the piano. My mother didn’t have a phone and had given her neighbor’s number to friends. For this reason, Ennio had to stop playing more than once, to answer, leave the apartment, take a flight of stairs and knock on the door of the neighbor above. She would go downstairs, perhaps sit next to him on the piano and answer the phone. Knowing my mother, I doubt that it was quick calls … Poor Ennio! However, from there a splendid friendship was born. Morricone also began to fall in love with art and began a very remarkable collection.

Roberto Fischer, Eva’s brother, told me about when he, Morricone, Piero Angela and his chess friend Stefano Tatai, went to Chianciano Terme to challenge the champion Kasparov “simultaneously”. Ennio was a passionate chess player and a devoted lover of his favorite football team: Roma.

I remember Maria and Ennio at my bar mitzvah in 1977. I was thrilled with the dedications on a couple of LPs. Around 1991 I asked him to write the presentation for an exhibition of Eva. He replied that there was only one way for him to “write” and after less than a year the exchange “To Eva Fischer painter” was born, which paintings by Eva based on the contemporary music of the master (whom he called “favorite”) and a cd with 12 tracks inspired by the painter’s works. This was Ennio’s writing for his friend Eva. Music and colors combined.

It is true that by the infinite number of soundtracks, songs, advertisements he composed, Ennio will always remain present, but I will miss his reserved attitude, probably the result of adolescent shyness. I will miss his answering the phone. I know what it means to stop an artist while he is “producing”, creating…
A big hug to Maria and the boys. Thanks Ennio!

(In the image, the Maestro takes part in an exhibition-concert during the European Day of Jewish Culture in 2002)

*Translation curated by Pagine Ebraiche staff.