Gabriel’s Oboe is a piece of music that was written in 1986, by an Italian composer called Ennio Morricone. It was written for the film, “The Mission”, and it’s a gorgeous piece of music that I personally believe is one of the most beautiful Oboe compositions of the 20th Century.
Here’s a vid of it so you can have a listen before we go any further… If you love the Oboe, then I would be willing to bet that you’ll enjoy this sublime example of it’s sound and the piece of music. Turn up your volume, and enjoy.
That video is of Ennio Morricone (the composer) himself, conducting an oboist whose name is Yeon-Hee Kwak, at a performance in Munchen, Germany 2005. I love her tone, and it’s truly a breathtaking performance. It’s also a great opportunity to watch a composer conduct their own composition themselves.(Not an option with most of the great ‘Classical’ composers of course!! )
The following is the original track from the Soundtrack.
THE MISSION SOUNDTRACK:
The Mission soundtrack in it’s entirety won a BAFTA and Golden Globe following it’s release, and is just breathtakingly beautiful. There are several tracks that can stand alone as beautiful songs, but ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ is and was a hit that has been played and modified by many musicians in many different surroundings. There are also several evocative ‘incidental’ tracks (incidental is the term used for music that is meant to portray either emotion, plot and/or visual surroundings).
This next video is one with world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma playing a harmony around the original Oboe melody, one of the most sublime pieces of music I believe I’ve ever heard. Make sure you listen long enough to hear the Oboe’s entry, and the improvisation Yo Yo Ma adds to the melody. It’s truly incredible, awe-inspiring, and breath-taking musicianship. Enjoy.
About The Composer
Ennio Morricone was born on November 10th, 1928, in Rome, Italy. He is an Italian composer and conductor, and is still alive and well today, as you can see from a fairly recent YouTube video below. He is considered one of the most influential film composers since the late 1950s, and has composed and arranged scores for more than a mind blowing 500 film and TV productions.
His father was a Jazz trumpeter, and at the age of 6, Ennio had started composing his first compositions. By 9 he was learning the trumpet, and at the age of 12 in 1940, he was enrolled in a 4 year harmony course at The National Academy of St Cecilia, which he reportedly completed early.
Following this, he went on to complete a Trumpet diploma, a Diploma in Instrumentation for Band and a Diploma in Composition, concluding his studies in 1955. To earn money, he played in a Jazz band, arranged pop songs and became a top studio arranger, composing multiple songs for various well known artists.
In the early 1960’s he started to compose his first film scores, with his first big success being one for the film ‘A Fist Full of Dollars’. After this he continued to do so with immense success ever since. In the year 1968 he apparently committed to reduce his other work and then when on to write 20 film scores all in that one year!
More About the Film
The Mission was written by Robert Bolt and directed by Roland Joffé. It starred Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn, Cherie Lunghi and Liam Neeson. A truly heart-wrenching, tissue-soaking film, if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you do so somewhere where you’ll be completely comfortable bawling your eyes out.
For an in-depth film synopsis, I suggest checking out Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mission_(1986_film)
but briefly, the film is about a Jesuit priest (played by Jeremy Irons), who attempts to establish a “Mission” amongst the local Guarani people, indigenous to this area of the South American jungle. He is pitted against Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert DeNiro), a local slave trader who captures and sells the Guarani people for a living. With a gut wrenching end, the film is a work of art on several levels as well as the music.
For a peek at the scene where Father Gabriel brings out his Oboe and the Guarani’s subsequent mercy, take a look at the following vid:
These Incredible Versions available from Amazon: (scroll down to listen to more of them on YouTube) .
Purchase the Sheet Music Or The DVD…
Chris Botti’s smoooth Trumpet version
Among Ennio’s list of accolations are two Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and five Anthony Asquith Awards for Film Music by BAFTA in between 1979 to 1992. He was nominated for five Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score between 1979 and 2001, and finally, in 2007, he received the Honorary Academy Award: “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. He is only the second composer EVER to have been honored with this award!
Ice-Skating to Gabriel’s Oboe!
Apart from The Mission, some of Ennio Morricone’s other famous film scores include: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), The Thing (1982), Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America (1984), The Untouchables (1987), Cinema Paradiso (1988), Mission to Mars (2000) by Brian De Palma, Fateless (2005), and Baaria – La porta del vento (2009).
Unbelievably beautiful Guitar version by Mauro Di Domenico.
And this last video is one of the Celtic Women, singing ‘Nella Fantasy’ – a version of Gabriel’s Oboe – altered with permission by Sara _ in the 0’s. It’s not really a favourite of mine, but there are dozens of performances of these on Youtube too, and it’s a fairly frequent vocal favourite. If you find a good one, feel free to post us all a link!
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