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Elton John/Ennio Morricone - Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 23/6/2016...26/6/2016

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 23 / 8 / 2016

Elton John/Ennio Morricone - Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 23/6/2016...26/6/2016


Nick Dent-Robinson enjoys this year's sedate Nocturne Festival at Blenheim Palace, which saw excellent performances from Elton John and 87-year old composer and conductor Ennio Morricone who appeared with a 200-piece orchestra

While a hundred thousand fans were braving the mud at this year's Glastonbury, another rather more sedate music festival was taking place in the grand surroundings of Oxfordshire's Blenheim Palace. This was the Nocturne Festival, held in the Great Court of the Woodstock stately home. There are no boggy fields, tatty tents, greasy burgers or scrumpy cider stalls here – just perfectly landscaped gardens, splendid architecture with oodles of smoked salmon and lots of champagne. The music on offer was no less classy than the rarefied setting. Opening with world-famous contemporary composer Ennio Morricone, the programme continued with, amongst others, the Corrs and tThe Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing Bond film music presented by former Bond girl, Fiona Fullerton. And then, on Sunday, the festival culminated with rock superstar Elton John. Before his appearance Elton John said, “This concert will give me an opportunity to thank the British audiences who have been so loyal and faithful to me over nearly five decades. I intend to tour less now and concentrate more on smaller and more intimate venues. The simple truth is that I want to be with my family more. I have come to realise how very precious the time ahead is. My sons are growing up so quickly and I want to be there with them to enjoy their young years.” In his live appearances Elton now performs favourite songs from his whole music career as well as music from his 33rd studio album, 'Wonderful Crazy Night'. He continued, “I vividly recall my first show in Oxford, when I was touring back in 1972. The great Linda Lewis was supporting me. I was last in Oxford about ten years ago. It has been too long and I am delighted to be returning, especially in the fabulous surroundings of Blenheim Palace. It should be a great concert, a real party!” Ennio Morricone has written more than 500 film scores over his seven decade career. These include memorable themes for 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly', 'The Untouchables', 'Cinema Paradiso', 'Frantic', 'The Mission' and Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight', for which he won an Oscar earlier this year. The 87 year-old Italian has also penned 150 classical works. At Blenheim he conducted a 200-strong orchestra and choir. Talking just before the event, he said, “I have been looking forward to this so much. I love Oxford and Blenheim Palace is the most magnificent location. Though when I am on stage conducting I never think about where I am. I just concentrate on doing my best for the audience. Composing is hard work but conducting a big orchestra at a live concert is physically more exhausting...it is like you are playing a giant instrument, the orchestra, and you just have to get everything possible out of it to deliver a wonderful concert for your audience. I am sure people will enjoy our performance.” Judging from the ecstatic reaction of the audience afterwards, Ennio, Elton and the rest achieved all they were aiming to. There is already a strong lobby to try to ensure the Nocturne event becomes a definite fixture on the festival calendar in every future year.

Also at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

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Elton John/Ennio Morricone - Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 23/6/2016...26/6/2016

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