The premiere of the composition of Ennio Morricone's first Mass will be performed at the church of the Gesù on 10 June. It has been commissioned by the Society of Jesus (better known as the Jesuits) for the bicentenary of the reconstitution of the religious order in 2014 and Morricone has dedicated it to Pope Francis and to his wife.
Until now Morricone has always avoided the composition of liturgical music (on the grounds of the “banality” of Italian church music according to a recent interview with Corriere della Sera). But his links with the Jesuits go back to the composition of the film music for The Mission, the 1986 film about the Jesuit Reductions in Paraguay.
Morricone has written the sound tracks for over 500 films and television series, starting with the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. He has been nominated for an Oscar five times and in 2007 he received the Honorary Academy award for his contribution to film music.
He has also composed 100 classical pieces, and is on the board of the Accademia S. Cecilia and a member of the contemporary music association, Nuova Consonanza. He trained as a trumpeter and his great mentor was Goffredo Petrassi.
In the interview with Corriere della Sera Morricone said that Monteverdi is the main influence on this work, which is structured into the five traditional parts of the Mass, Kyrie, Gloria, Alleluia, Agnus Dei and Santus. The music has been scored without violins and woodwinds.
Giuseppe Tornatore is about to direct a docu-film about the life of Morricone who was born in 1928. Morricone has recently announced a world tour in 2016.