I have spent the last twenty years of my life looking for a particular piece of music I heard in my childhood. It’s beautiful beyond words: a lonely, wooden flute repeating four notes in a rising crescendo, peaking as an orchestra of violins takes over to create one of the prettiest noises you’ll ever hear on planet Earth.
The nameless tune has been with me for as long as I can remember and has been impossible to find. Ever try going up to somebody and saying, “Name this tune!” and seeing their blank face as you hum it? Occasionally I’d hear it on a BBC trailer (they use it at least once a year) but I’ve never been able to track down the name.
All I knew was that the music conjured up images of jungles in my head and that it was definitely the theme to a film or a TV show. I spent at least a decade thinking it was the theme from Life On Earth, until I watched it last year and discovered it wasn’t. I can still remember my disappointment, knowing my quest was going to have to continue.
Last week, inspired to find it one more time, I spent an hour wandering around iTunes, clicking on various film and TV themes and being disappointed over and over. Finding a random piece of music with no name? Impossible. My mission to find the home of those four rising notes was hopeless.
Until last night, when I decided to watch Roland Joffe’s The Mission for the first time since my childhood. Four minutes in… and there it was! Playing over the jungles of South America was that incredible melody that had haunted me for two decades! At last I knew who composed it (Ennio Morricone) and, needless to say, I downloaded it from iTunes within minutes and keep getting chills as I play it over and over again. [NB: If you want to hear it yourself, look for the soundtrack to The Mission on iTunes and download the song named “Falls”.]
There are two things that disturb me now: one, that I spent twenty years on a mission to find something from The Mission… And two, now that the quest is over, I don’t have anything else to hunt for.
But at least I have something to listen to while I don’t.