Solidarity Movement Anniversary: Ennio Morricone Concert at Gdansk Shipyards

IMG_0224August 30, 2009

I enter the shipyards as the sun is setting for the memorial Solidarity concert of film music by composer Ennio Morricone, who is conducting the concert with a full orchestra and choir. It is a relatively young crowd, and I learn later that it numbered 20,000. As we wait, video screens project theme clips: stop action cartoons of punchouts: one between John Lennon and Joseph Stalin, a second between Superman and Chairman Mao. One clip shows a woman running freely down the beach, followed by a graphic of the Solidarity victory sign.

Lech Walesa appears on stage to  introduce the concert. He speaks of the meanings of the anniversary occasion, which is Solidarity’s 29th birthday, referencing the rebirth of freedom and the return to Europe. Cameras flash from the crowd; the audience listens respectfully, though I wonder whether the smiling smirk on one nearby participant’s face is related to Poles’ embarrassment of Walesa’s working-class Polish grammar. He receives respectful applause, but it is not the burst of overwhelming enthusiasm for a local and international legend. The greater applause is for Morricone, who enters the stage and receives the birthday cake with sparklers. The music begins. The performance spans films from the 1960s to the present, with the theme of one of the Westerns and two selections from The Mission receiving the greatest recognition as they began. The Morricone characteristic wall of orchestral and choral sound and the haunting solo soprano seem fitting for the marking of the occasion. The concert receives three encores before the crowd begins to make its way back through the famous Gate #2 to their destinations.

Morricone Concert Scene

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