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Ennio Morricone in Belfast 23/10/2008

Posted by lmd64 in Lmd64.
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Last Friday, I took the train up to Belfast to go to the Waterfront. An impressive venue, it must be said, all space-age and floating platform structures that look like a tastefully done version of the Star Wars democracy room from the Phantom Menace, albeit with much better acoustics.

Ennio Morricone, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, is one of my personal heroes. Much of his work is instantaneously recognisable the world over, from the pounding marching drums and whistling motif of his western movie soundtracks, to the heartbreakingly stirring and triumphant yet plaintive theme to The Mission. It’s highly unlikely that you’ve never heard anything composed by the man, ubiquitious should be his middle name. Just a month short of 80 years old, he’s created the musical atmosphere for over 500 films (yes, I  know that’s almost verbatim taken from the wikipedia page, and your point is?)

On stage, there were roughly 200 people playing, singing and (obviously) conducting, an incredible feat in itself, including a 100-strong choir and a soprano whose name I didn’t quite catch at the start, but who was a totally captivating presence on stage.
The concert was broken up into various sections, playing for 20-15 minutes at a time, touching upon various eras from his selection of ouvres, yes, the western themes were played, yes, The Mission was visited, but joy of joys! He also played several numbers from the earlier Italian films he was involved in (I highly recommend the two albums below)

I didn’t take that many photos, the night was far too memorable to be spending the whole time fumbling around with a camera and trying not to get caught with it. The highlight of the concert were many, including hearing the piano intro to “Metti, Una Sera a Cena” coming in, with all the jazzy brushed drums and the glockenspiel and marimba flourishes, absolutely fantastic. Cinema Paradiso had me weepy-eyed, and the final performance of “Here’s To You, Niccola and Bart”, with not a single idle performer onstage (seriously, they were ALL playing/singing it) was a triumphant ending to a wonderful night.
 

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