While renowned as organist, teacher and artistic director of the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Sergio di Pieri’s solo piano performance at the Art Gallery of Ballarat last week gave loyal supporters the opportunity to see him in a very different role, paying homage to one of the great film score composers, Ennio Morricone.
A program of film music is challenging in its lack of a broad narrative and development of structure as the music is designed to depict singular scenes. The first half of the program was dedicated to the western genre, with the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” taking a central role. The reduction of orchestral scores to piano presents challenges to the texture and timbre of sound and at times the chordal accompaniment overpowered the melody.
The second half of the program drew on a diverse range of Morricone’s large output, including “The Mission” and “The Legend of 1900”. The latter provided one of the highlights of the concert, largely due to its pianistic writing from a film about a pianist. This gave Di Pieri more scope to let the piano speak naturally. Despite the obvious issues of texture and form this program was right for this performer. He approached the music with grace, humility and a genuine desire to share this colourful, emotionally-charged music.