YORK—The facts are indisputable: Ennio Morricone is one of
the most inventive and original composers ever to write for
film. Prolific, too, when one considers his more than 400
scores for film and television since he began some 46 years
has, in recent years, made numerous concert appearances,
performing live versions of his most popular film compositions
– although never in America until now. Friday, February
2, in a private concert at the United Nations, and Saturday,
February 3, at Radio City Music Hall, he made his U.S. concert
debut, conducting the 100-piece Rome Sinfonietta Orchestra
and a 100-voice choir (including the Canticum Novum Singers,
the New York Virtuoso Singers and the University of Buffalo
timing couldn't have been better: Morricone will receive
an honorary Academy Award on Feb. 25 "for his magnificent
and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music."
(It's hard to believe that he has only been nominated five
times for the Oscar – for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The
Untouchables, Bugsy and Malena – and never won.)
event was held in the General Assembly Hall at the United
Nations complex. An estimated 1,600 delegates, diplomats
and UN staff members attended the event, which was not open
to the public, although members of the press were allowed.
Preceding the music were 45 minutes of remarks by UN officials
and a handful of celebrities.
UN's new Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said that he had
just returned from an 11-day, nine-country trip just hours
earlier but, he said, "this was one concert I could
not miss." And, because Morricone's music was "full
of drama," he quipped that the maestro's scores could
serve as "the soundtrack for my first few weeks in
Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) was the first
of the celebrities to speak, addressing "my dear and
esteemed Ennio" before discussing one of several UN
"millenium development goals" eradicating poverty
around the world. West African singer Angelique Kidjo talked
about "creating a better world for children";
guitarist Pat Metheny discussed the "greed, ignorance
and neglect" that had brought about global climate
change; and Lou Reed interrupted his own talk about the
importance of readily available drinking water to issue
a plea for the U.S. to "get out of Iraq!"
UN representative Marcello Spatafora introduced Morricone
as a "master of the universal language of music,"
citing his innovative spirit. He explained that the program's
first piece, Voci dal Silenzio ("Voices From the Silence"),
was written in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks but
was intended to give voice "to all those innocent victims
of violence, especially in forgotten or unknown tragedies."
ovation greeted Morricone, who bowed but did not speak.
Voci dal Silenzio, a 28-minute cantata for orchestra, choir,
voice and prerecorded sounds, harks back to Morricone's
long-held penchant for the musical avant-garde: eerie string
and woodwind figures suggesting the cries of the victims;
recorded voices of children, native chants and drums; complex,
dissonant sounds of battle; moods that range from dramatic
to melancholy; and, interestingly, a theme from The Mission
near the end of the piece, perhaps suggesting the role of
music in overcoming the world's evils.
also conducted a 13-minute medley of scores that accompanied
two of his most powerful political films: Casualties of
War, the Brian DePalma film about Vietnam War atrocities,
and Burn!, Gillo Pontecorvo's film about European colonialism
in a 19th-century Caribbean nation. The latter, the choral
"Abolicao," was especially exciting with its five
percussionists playing Latin rhythms.
remainder of the concert was a virtual dress rehearsal for
the next evening's performance. Morricone conducted a medley
of themes including The Sicilian Clan and Maddalena, then
a suite from The Mission. As an encore, he conducted his
medley of music from Sergio Leone westerns.(here)
composer and conductor Ennio Morricone performed a concert
this evening at the United Nations entitled “Message for Peace”
in support of the Organization’s global work.
concert, held in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters
in New York, featured a 170-piece symphony orchestra and
polyphonic choir performing pieces based on original scores
which were composed, orchestrated and conducted by Mr. Morricone.
included the composition “Voci dal Silenzio” (“Voices from
Silences”) which he wrote after the events of 11 September
2001 and is in memory of victims of all massacres throughout
Morricone, who is set to receive an Honorary Academy Award
this month to celebrate his many contributions to cinematic
music, dedicated tonight’s performance to all UN staff.
Ban paid tribute to Mr. Morricone and his musicians “for
recognizing the valiant work carried out by our men and
women around the world – for peace, for human rights, for
the environment, for the Millennium Development Goals.”
These targets, known as MDGs, were agreed to at a 2000 UN
Summit and aim to slash a host of global ills such as poverty
and illiteracy by the year 2015.
Morricone, all of us working on these formidable tasks deeply
appreciate this gesture of solidarity,” the Secretary-General
prolific career, Mr. Morricone has scored over 450 movies
and television programmes. He is a five-time Oscar nominee
for the music he composed for “Days of Heaven,” “The Mission,”
“The Untouchables,” “Bugsy” and “Malena.”
helped to define the spaghetti western genre, having collaborated
with famed Italian film director Sergio Leone on such movies
as “A Fistful of Dollars.” Other well-known Morricone scores
include “Nuevo Cinema Paradiso,” “Once Upon a Time in America”
and “The Legend of 1900,” for which he won a Golden Globe
Ban praised Mr. Morricone’s drama-filled compositions which
have “been used to tell stories about people with big dreams,”
but has also showed us “the good, the bad and the ugly,”
borrowing the title of one of Mr. Morricone’s most famous
other words, your music could serve as the soundtrack for
my first few weeks in office!” joked Mr. Ban, whose tenure
as Secretary-General began on 1 January.(here)