The Mission Soundtrack:
The Most Powerful Music of the Last 21 Years?

by Brian Vaszily, founder of

If you seek hope, peace, beauty, and clarity -- especially during a time of apparent confusion, ugliness, strife or hopelessness – there are few things I recommend as much as music. And there is absolutely no music I recommend more than this:

The Mission Soundtrack by the great film score composer Ennio Morricone.

If you appreciate music and how it can move through you like nothing else can (aside from possibly nature itself), how it can transform you so completely, do your heart and soul a favor and let them experience this uplifting masterpiece.

The late Italian Ennio Morricone, who composed more than 300 motion picture scores over his 45-year career including the soundtracks for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Bugsy and Cinema Paradiso, and who received an Honorary Award for his lifetime of work at the Academy Awards in February 2007, composed this 47-minute score for the 1986 film, The Mission.

That film, about the physical, emotional and spiritual experiences of a Spanish Jesuit missionary in eighteenth century South America that stars Jeremy Irons, Robert De Niro, and Liam Neeson, was excellent and is definitely worth watching. But in its power, beauty, and timelessness, The Mission Soundtrack-- which many consider Morricone’s crowning achievement to date, and which itself was nominated for an Academy Award in 1986 -- far transcends the movie it supported.

In fact, if you have not yet seen The Mission, don’t see it yet. First order yourself a copy of The Mission Soundtrack and listen to it. Don’t merely have it on in the background but truly listen to it – inevitably, you’ll find yourself listening to it again and again, whether in the solace of your home, auto, office or iPod – and let the music make itself your own.

Like only the immortal music can, the soundtrack’s Spanish guitars, chorales, native drumming, solo oboe and other perfectly woven sounds, and its softly recurring themes, will plumb to the depths of you and gently pull forth the hope, peace, beauty and clarity that, though they may be hidden, are already yours. Every time. This is the type of music through which you endlessly discover, forgive, love and glimpse the greater glory in everything.

Only after you have made it your own, then, watch the movie and experience how director Roland Joffe and Ennio Morricone so artfully create just the right emotions in scene and characters with it. Of course, even if you’ve seen The Mission already, the soundtrack is so powerful that it will soon transcend the excellent film and become a soundtrack to your own being anyway.

I, for instance, have had a copy of the soundtrack since 1986 – first in cassette form, then when that wore away a replacement in CD form – and in the past twenty-one years it is the one “album” I have listened to the most … more than U2’s The Joshua Tree, more than The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, more even than Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Bach’s Goldberg Variations (though I am not saying Ennio can compare to these two composer’s overall mastery.)

The reason?

With a positive force that few other works of art can match, it moved me then, and then, and then too, and it still moves me now. In its strange and wonderful mixture of sorrowful and uplifting sounds, it moves me when things feel bad to a bigger and beautiful place. And it moves me when things feel good to an even better place.

Will it be that profound for you? Well, that’s hard to say for sure as music is such a subjective thing, but that said I still think so. This one, The Mission Soundtrack, feels about as universal as it gets.


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