Friday, May 29, 2009

Morricone promises "most beautiful music"

By Nancy T. Lu

"Fifty percent of a moviegoer’s experience consists of looking while another 50 percent consists of listening,” pointed out visiting film music composer Ennio Morricone. “This Sunday, however, the concert program will be 100 percent music without images to explain the scores.”

Morricone – whom Mario Palma, director of Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office, Italian Trade Section, called “Italy’s art ambassador” – will personally conduct his repertoire of movie soundtracks during his first Taiwan concert at the Taipei Arena on May 31. He promised to treat his listeners to only “the most beautiful music.”

The 81-year-old Italian musician said during the press conference at the Landis Taipei Hotel that he would get the Gyoer Philharmonic Orchestra to play all his important film music, including soundtracks for movies directed by Serge Leone (“A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More” and “Once Upon a Time in America”), Brian de Palma (“The Untouchables”) and Giuseppe Tornatore (“The Legend of 1900").

Even music written for a very violent film banned in Italy will be played. Roberto Faenza’s movie "H2S" can no longer be found in the market. Only the music remains in existence. Morricone claimed to have used “a light but sarcastic approach” in writing the music. “Tick, tock, tick, tock….” could be heard in the end.

The program this Sunday will highlight, for example, the composer’s attempt to bring in the “animal feeling,” using music. Special sound effect introduced in “For a Few Dollars More” and well-remembered by his fans, clearly a departure from traditional music, will be heard. Music with social commentary and cultural significance like the score from “Battle of Algiers” will be played.

Morricone has collaborated with many famous international directors with great success over the years. But the road has been paved with difficulties because “not all of the directors showed a good and legitimate background in music.”

“I am compelled to come up with something under constraints posed by the movie and the director,” remarked Morricone yesterday. “Communication is a continuing process. I tend to initiate something though and not simply react, arriving at a satisfactory result while keeping my dignity intact during an unnecessarily ideal communication.”

Morricone revealed: “I may look angry often but deep inside, I am happy.” Indeed he must be to be able to keep churning out such beautiful and touching music of different genres.

Morricone’s son was said to have co-signed the music for “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso.” The older Morricone clarified that Andrea Morricone could be credited only for the love theme.

“My son had just graduated from the music conservatory and I wanted to help him get started in his career,” Morricone recalled. “And so I submitted the music I wrote along with my son’s work, which was inserted without Tornatore’s knowledge. Tornatore chose some of my music and even a bit of my son’s music for the final soundtrack. But I must say I took charge of the whole movie score.”

Asked if he still remembers all of his rather prodigious output, over 400 works in all, he replied: “I have been through many stages of development. I would rather forget my past works and just keep moving forward.”

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