Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ennio Morricone @ Radio City Music Hall

This past weekend Greta and I had the honor and privilege of attending Ennio Morricone's only concert in the United States at Radio City Music Hall.

Radio City Music Hall is a palace of a venue, making the whole evening feel like some grand event out of the 1920's or 30's. Even more so when Morricone's 200 piece orchestra/choir took the stage and opened up with the bombastic brass of  "The Untouchables' Theme".

I don't think I've ever felt a more perfect synergy between location and music than that first song. I could almost see De Niro's Capone sitting in there with us. It was a truly fitting selection to begin the concert.

Morricone divided the night into 5 thematic segments. The highlights being his gangster film scores, his Spaghetti Westerns, and a section of his lesser known work.

Morricone's genius was on display all night, but it was when he focused on his less well-known work that his crazy gift really came out to play. Morricone is a master at mixing music styles and eras to create dissonant atmosphere that shouldn't work but somehow does. At one point there were modern synthesizers, a choir, and traditional strings all competing over a funky 70's bass guitar-line - all working on different themes within a piece - that under Morricone's hand worked like magic.

I found the whole concert to be one of the most emotionally engaging performances I've ever seen. Not only is Morricone's music beautiful in a live setting, but it is also inspiring.

Watching all of those disparate elements work under Morricone's writing and direction - I kept finding myself astonished by the fact that all of this genius and creativity comes from inside the tiny head I was watching bop along on stage.

I found that fact extremely inspirational. Not just in music but in all creative endeavors. Ennio Morricone, who has written over 400 film scores, is a human being just like the rest of us. And yet there he was conducting 200 people who were playing brilliant music he had written. With imagination and dedication anything is possible.

For a few minutes of shaky cell-phone footage of the concert go here (at least it sounds decent)!

Originally posted on February 7, 2007 on Myspace.

For my wife and me, this was one of the most magical, special events in our lives and a wonderful moment in our relationship. In 2011 we had our first child, Oliver Ennio Darpino.

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