Last week began the program of cultural activities dedicated to the Princess of Asturias Awards 2020, where legendary composers Ennio Morricone and John Williams are honored, with several special thematic concerts (read more).
On Friday, October 9, the concert ‘Morricone Pop’ took place, based on some of the themes composed or arranged by Ennio Morricone for pop music artists in the 1960s and 1970s.
Today we bring you a special article written by the composer Pablo Laspra, Director of the “Oviedo FilmMusic Live!” festival, for the Asturian newspaper La Nueva España, that he shares with all of us in a collaboration with SoundTrackFest.
Last Friday night, the first of the concerts for this year’s Princess of Asturias Awards took place, at a particularly difficult time in the cultural world. After a well-developed access dynamic managed by the staff of the Foundation, the event began with a few words about the security measures of the venue by the organizational team. They also thanked the extraordinary reception that had all the events of this year, especially the concerts, being sold out in less than 15 minutes from being available to the public.
After a masterful video created by the versatile Italian artist Rino Stefano Tagliafierro in which we could see scenes from almost all the films that Morricone scored, began what we could call a wonderful show of music, light, and color.
The orchestra in charge of bringing this event to a successful conclusion was captained by the multidisciplinary musician Miguel Herrero, who at the beginning and end of the event thanked the organization for having a group of musicians from the region. The 8 musicians alternated several times to perform the solo vocal parts in various themes, while changing instrumentation. It is also curious the formation of instruments chosen: guitar, bass, euphonium, saxophone… although many instruments were replaced with digital samplers launched from the keyboards. Thanks to this we could listen to that characteristic female voice with vibrato from the song “The ecstasy of Gold” from the film “The good, the bad and the ugly”, which really meant the true triumphal ecstasy of this well fitted and adapted medley of songs that opened the concert. Bravo also for the great trumpet solos of Maestro Herrero.
After this curious mix of “popular” songs from Leone’s dollar trilogy, the maestro’s true pop came; we should not forget that although Morricone will be remembered in history as one of the best composers of film music, his contribution to Italian commercial dance music, especially in the 60s and 70s, has been great.
The powerful and well-managed voice of Sandra Lusquiños brought the female vocal part to the event, achieving several ovations from the audience who enjoyed all the songs, even starting to accompany some of them with clapping. Ballads, rock, samba… each song was an explosion of brilliant harmonies and modulations, more complex than usual for pop, which clearly highlighted Morricone‘s extraordinary talent for adapting to any musical environment.
Special mention should also be made of the graphics projected on the stage, which accompanied each theme and which, thanks to different iconographic motifs, were very well adapted to the musical themes played.
In short, a vibrant and well-executed evening. Bravo for the organization, for opening with such a well-profiled musical event.
Article and pictures by Pablo Laspra Ferrero
Composer and director of FilmMusic Live!