Ennio Morricone | The Auditorium, Rome | 30 October, 2007

Getting across Rome on a moped to reach the Auditorium on Tuesday evening was a question of picking the right moment and dodging the torrential rain which had been pouring all day. Amazingly, we managed to get there AND back without getting drenched but only just in time. In fact, an impressively noisy and quite spectacular electric storm broke over the Parco della Musica shortly after we arrived, accompanied by another downpour making the lead-coated insect-like roofs on Renzo Piano's buildings gleam and steam like space pods in a sci-fi movie.

This dramatically cinematographic setting seemed very fitting, somehow, for a wonderful concert by the Orchestra and Choir of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia directed by the maestro of film scores, Ennio Morricone, and in particular, his ambitious 2002 piece Voci dal silenzio (for vocal recital, recorded voice, chorus and orchestra); both exhilarating and at times, deeply unsettling, it was composed initially as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks and subsequently dedicated to the victims of all the massacres throughout history.

After a short interval, Morricone returned to the stage to conduct a series of suites with excerpts from some of his hundreds of film scores, pieces he has tagged applied music as opposed to the absolute music of his concert pieces.

1st suite – Per le antiche scale, from the 1975 movie by Marco Bolognini;
Bugsy, directed by Barry Levinson, 1991;
H2S by Roberto Faenza, 1969.

2nd suite – City of Joy, from the 1992 movie by Roland JoffĂ©;
Nostromo, from the TV series directed by Alastair Reid, 1996.

3rd suite – The new composition Sicilo e altri frammenti, inspired by the ancient Greek Epitaffio di Sicilo, thought to be one of earliest ever examples of musical notation.

4th suite – The Mission, once again directed by Roland JoffĂ© in 1986.

The concert ended to rapturous applause after the extraordinary crescendo of the Mission suite. The maestro was called back several times for encores which included the song that has been playing in my head ever since – Here's to You (aka The Ballad of Nick & Bart) dedicated to the memory of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti from the film Sacco e Vanzetti.