Ennio Morricone - Royal Albert Hall, London

When gifted composers reach the twilight years of their life you often have to pounce on any opportunity you get to see them perform, and Ennio Morricone, easily one of the world’s greatest ever film music composers alongside Hermann, Williams, Tiomkin, Jarre and Steiner graced his presence tonight in the Royal Albert Hall in honour of his seventy-fifth birthday.

Morricone’s work has already cemented himself deep inside the foundations of cinematic legend, with beautiful compositions as varied as they are majestic. His most famous body of work, for Leone’s and more specifically the Dollars trilogy, is instantly recognisable the world other and Hugh Montenegro even took the main theme for The Good, The Bad And The Ugly to the top of the UK chart in 1968. Even though westerns launched Morricone’s popularity, it was other diverse works, particularly in the nineteen eighties, such as Once Upon The Time In America, Cinema Paradiso, The Untouchables and most importantly The Mission that strengthened his legendary status in cinema score.

Tonight’s one-off London concerto is divided into two parts which are themselves split into two sections. Those who were lucky enough to arrive at the Albert Hall early were also treated to a documentary on Morricone’s history in cinema. The first section of the concerto was split into Life And Legend which dealt with multi-generational films such as Cinema Paradiso and Once Upon A Time In America, and The Modernity Of Myth In Sergio Leone’s Cinema which focuses on the western collaborations and even throws in segments of A Fistful Of Dynamite.

After the interval, Social Cinema contained segued portions of many of Morricone’s most intense works, such as Battle Of Algiers, Sacco And Vanzetti and Casualties Of War. The final section, Tragic, Epic and Lyrical Cinema featured Il Deserto dei Tartari, Richard III and closed with The Mission.

Tonight, combining the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra with the Crouch End Festival Chrous proved a masterstroke, with Morricone’s conducting ferociously and ever-watchfully over his enduring musical legacy. The Untouchables was a surprise choice to open with, but it aggressively causes the audience to sit transfixed by the musical proceedings. The only thing missing, albeit debatably, would be a cinema screen behind the orchestra featuring silent footage of his films Morricone was referencing, which would further corroborate the genius of his work. No matter, because by the time The Ecstasy Of Gold is performed you find yourself vividly imagining the faces of Eastwood, Van Cleef and Wallach.

Lasting approximately two hours, the event is over fairly quickly, and you realise how extensive Morricone’s repertoire actually is when you note the omissions from tonight’s set, but this merely propagates the man’s iconic status amongst cinema old and modern. At least during the many encores the audience had the chance to wish Mr Morricone a happy birthday, and hear The Ecstasy Of Gold yet again, and considering the many celebrities gazing from the expensive seats, this was clearly a night to remember.

The Set

Life And Legend
The Untouchables
Once Upon A Time In America
The Legend Of 1900
Cinema Paradiso
Canone Inverso
La Tenda Rossa

The Modernity Of Myth In Sergio Leone’s Cinema
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Once Upon A Time In The West
A Fistful Of Dynamite
The Ecstasy Of Gold

Social Cinema
La Luz Prodigiosa
Battle Of Algiers
Sacco And Vanzetti
Indagine Su Un Cittadine Al Di Sopra Di Ogni Sospetto
Sostiene Pereira
La Classe Operaia Va In Paradiso
Casualties Of War
Queimada – Abolisson

Tragic, Epic And Lyrical Cinema
Il Deserto Dei Tartari
Richard III
Il Deserto Dei Tartari (Reprise)
The Mission

Last updated: 19/04/2018 15:02:51

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