My notes on Ennio Morricone were
first published in early 2015, and are redacted here to mark his death on 06 July 2020
IT was a little upsetting to see, from very close quarters, how frail and unwell Ennio Morricone appeared to be (since I first met him in Belfast in October 2008) on
the night he brought the 86-piece Czech National Symphony Orchestra (and three Hungarian choirs comprising 75 voices) to play his Life in Music Concert in Dublin (3 Arena, February 07, 2015), postponed by eight weeks because he had been ill.
He’s 86 and, this February/March alone, he is giving 21 of these arena concerts across Europe, with a further five in the summer months; global
popularity clearly comes with a heavy health toll attached.
I’ve been an unquestioning fan since 1964 and have always appreciated
the space given to Morricone’s music by most of the film directors with whom he has worked for 55 years: it is that which defines his legacy and his insistence that all sound can belong to the realm of music, which of course is one definition of the
sonic arts, at which he excels.
If Beethoven was alive today wouldn’t this be his music – simple themes in complex arrangements,
outside-the-box instrumentation, concrete sounds, symphonic loading, and the voice as an instrument of the orchestra?
That latter feature
of Morricone’s music was finely exemplified at the 3 Arena concert by Swedish soprano Susanna Rigacci’s wordless vocals in the main theme from Once Upon a Time in the West, a clear highlight of the evening for the capacity audience.