Forgive my delay in posting my comments on the recent Ennio Morricone concert in Adelaide but I wanted to get my thoughts clear and coherent first. As you have already heard, there were some not inconsiderable outside influences that had an impact on this concert and my take on all this is somewhat different from what has already been said.
As Gazbo has already given a breakdown of the concerts contents, I won’t repeat that again here.
Living in such a wonderful country like Australia does come with one huge disadvantage and that is the tyranny of distance. In order to travel to see a concert such as Ennio Morricone Live involves a lot of travel time and a small fortune to pay for same. It was because of this that I felt that I would never get to see my beloved Maestro perform live. So when I heard that he was coming to Australia, I wasted no time in booking a ticket. At first I was disappointed that I was unable to obtain my preferred seating (dead centre and as close to the stage as possible). My ticket ended up being 12 rows back and off to the left hand side of the stage. When I arrived at the concert, I found that I was sitting directly in front of a speaker stack. The importance of this I will return to later on.
I would have preferred that the concert was held indoors because nothing beats hearing a symphony orchestra and a 100 strong mixed choir live. Being outdoors meant that the only way to hear the concert was through amplification and speakers. Initially, I was not happy to be sitting in front of the speaker stack as I thought that I would not get a good sound mix but I quickly realised that the mix could only be in mono for a crowd so large.
Staging an outdoor concert is fraught with many difficulties and leaves one at the mercy of uncontrollable influences like the weather and extraneous noise. Thankfully, the weather could not have been more perfect! Morricone likes to incorporate the odd sound effect into his compositions but I am sure that none of the sounds that we were subjected to on the night were appropriate to the marvellous music coming from the stage. And here is where my sitting directly in front of the speaker stack come into its own – the speakers drowned out most of the sounds for me and those that it didn’t were minimised so that they had very little annoyance value for me. I am sure that many other members of the audience would have heard these various sounds louder and longer than I did and therefor would have found them far more distracting than I did.
But nothing, nothing was going to destroy my enjoyment of this concert and of course, it didn’t!
I was euphoric to be sitting in the company of such genius and hearing such glorious music.
The Adelaide Symphony orchestra were just perfect in their playing of the Maestro’s music as too were the Adelaide Festival Chorus of their singing in the various choral pieces.
I was surprised at how animated Morricone was in his conducting. In the two concert DVD’s that I have, he is very restrained and one reviewer in the U.S. made a comment of this very fact. But sitting off to the side, I could see very well his conducting and he could not have been more animated if he tried. I was also surprised by how much he looked down at the score he was conducting at the time – much more than I have seen most other conductors do (and I have seen hundreds in my years). I would have thought that he knew this music back to front (which I am sure he does) as he not only wrote it but conducts it quite often. But as Morricone himself has said, he would rather people closed their eyes and listened to the music and not watch him. But how can one not watch such a genius and not feel love and adulation for that said same genius. I certainly couldn’t!
The concert ended with four standing ovations. One at the conclusion of the concert itself and one at the end of each of the three encores. I should note that it is rare to see an orchestra and choir applaud a composer or a conductor but the Adelaide Symphony & Choir were obviously pleased with Morricone as they also joined in with the very appreciative audience in showing their satisfaction with the concert!
Minor distractions aside (for me at least) the night was definitely one that I shall remember and cherish for the rest of my life.