“Sergio Leone Suite: Deborah’s Theme from Once Upon a Time in America” by Ennio Morricone, Played by Ennio Morricone, Yo-Yo Ma & Roma Sinfonietta
As many of you know, I have a very broad array in musical tastes and stylings. Today, I bring you one from my “inner emotional being” side, of the classical score variety; the album “Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone (Remastered)”.
There are so many things to love about this entire album, but let’s touch on a few of the highlights from this one song in particular that are most engaging to me.
To start, this slow-moving, emotional epic is littered all the way through with the sweeping, smooth strings of the Master, Yo-Yo Ma. I have been a huge Ma fan since I was old enough to know who he was, and he has spent many, many years gliding across the strings of his beautiful Cello, pulling my heart and soul back and forth, up and down the emotional spectrum.
“All the things I love about life outside music have to do with people, and playing the cello allows me to fulfill all those interests through music.” – Yo-Yo Ma
Ma brings emotion to life, and that is the thing I love the most about his art. As you listen to this song, you can find a familiar comfort akin to whatever emotion you are feeling at the time. Sad? The slow, sweeping vibrato of the strings can speak to your ailing heart and pull out the tears that allow you to heal. Thoughtful and reflective? The calm resonance of the pass from one note to another as it combines with the anticipation of the next stanza, can create an endorphin-like surge through your conscious that can get the creative juices flowing. Happy and Joyful? Listen to this song while you’re happy and there you will find reasons to dance on every note as it gleefully glides on the wings of your joy-center, leaving you hopeful for a better tomorrow and a thankful heart for today (but only if you look for it).
However, my favorite and most infuriating part of the song, is the end. The song, often just like life, ends on a cliffhanger… unfinished. It, almost triumphantly, brings you to the precipice of emotional closure as it smoothly sails on the winds of the final F#, E, to long E-Flat, signaling a sense of impending resolution and the steep edge of a declaration of finality… and then… it just… stays there. The song ends and you are left, depending on your current mood and mental state, with a sense of peaceful hope in the future to come to make your own resolve, or a listless wonderment that leaves you lost, almost frustrated by the lack of a downstroke of determination to complete the journey on which this classical epic has taken you.
And for that, to Morricone (and to Ma for his most detailed and poetic representation of Morricone’s work), I say, “I hate you and somehow love you, simultaneously.” A fitting sentiment for the voyage that is this great, classical score.