A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Growing up listening to the enchanting music of Morricone it was my fervent hope that one day I would get to meet the Maestro himself. As I was randomly browsing through the internet about 2 months back a pop-up came on my screen which stated that there would be a Morricone concert on the 22nd of December at Antwerps Sportpaleis. All was decided then and there I would finally get a chance to meet my idol. So it was that I set out for Antwerp on a cold and windy afternoon on December 22nd to listen to the Maestro play some of his magical compositions.
The concert was to start by 20:30 hours and by the time it was around 20:25 a quite burly Belgian man came on the stage and make some passionate announcements in Dutch, in what I assume were praises about Morricone’s work. He finished off by saying let’s welcome IL Maestro to the stage and finally my wait would come to an end, for there he was, the maestro himself. One would assume that concert had come to an astoundingly successful end even before it began if one were to judge the applause Morricone received before he started to conduct his music!
I could not help but feel a glint of envy as the Italian girl who was sitting next to me proudly announced that Morricone was from her home town of Rome. Morricone began with a piece from ‘Once upon a time in America’ and then moved on to the main theme from ‘The Untouchables’. As the Maestro started off with the main theme from ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’ the whole concert hall gave him a standing applause yet again, such is the legend of the man. Images of Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach facing off each other flashed through my mind as Morricone conducted ‘The Ecstasy of gold’ before an audience of 18,000! I often had to pinch myself to make sure I am really no more than 30 feet from the Academy award winner and wizard with the Baton.
I felt as if I was in a trance as he conducted the theme song from Cinema Paradiso, which happens to be my favorite movie of all time in no small part thanks to the back ground score by the Maestro. Morricone finished off with his masterpiece Gabriel’s Oboe from ‘The Mission’ and once this was over the entire crowd was on their feet for a good 15 minutes just applauding IL Maestro! The non-stop applause led the maestro to come back to the stage, and to our sheer pleasure, to conduct ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ once again. Once the concert was done I had this overwhelming sense of joy and an ethereal and surreal feeling of having listened to some of the most epic music of all time. I was a thoroughly contended man for I just witnessed one of the world’s most versatile, prolific and influential artists!
Below you can find the recording which I made of Morricone conducting ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’. Note that the two people screaming the most after the piece is done is myself and my Italian neighbor!