Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Music of Ron Goodwin

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Goodwin: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/ Pete Harrison (conductor), The Pavilion, Bournemouth 28.5.2016. (IL)

Goodwin: The Trap (The London Marathon Theme); Monte Carlo or Bust; Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines; Where Eagles Dare; 633 Squadron; Operation Crossbow; Drake 400; Miss Marple Theme; Lancelot & Guinevere; plus Ron Goodwin’s arrangements of: Four James Bond Movie themes; Five Disney Animated Classics; Caravan; The Girl from Corsica; South Rampart Street Parade; and Four Songs of Frank Sinatra.

Ron Goodwin (1925-2003) had a special rapport with the Bournemouth SO and with Bournemouth audiences. For 32 years, ending in December 2002, shortly before his death, just a few weeks later, he conducted a series of light-hearted Christmas shows with the orchestra. This relaxed Gala concert, given in aid of the BSO Benevolent Fund, was moved from the orchestra’s usual venue – the Poole Lighthouse – to the more relaxed surroundings of the Bournemouth Pavilion theatre. It was quite an occasion; the ladies of the orchestra were resplendent in full length evening dresses.

Pete Harrison led exhilarating performances with the orchestra playing to their usual meticulously high standard as if they were performing Bach or Bartók.

Goodwin was born in Plymouth. For the Drake 400 Commemorative Festival in 1979, the City commissioned him to compose a special piece in celebration. This was Drake 400 first performed by the Bournemouth SO, conducted by Ron, at Plymouth in 1980. At this concert the BSO played two movements: ‘March – Plymouth Sound’ and ‘The Eddystone Seascape’ – the latter being stirring stuff, and highly evocative of the sea in all its moods.

Of possibly more interest to the men in the audience were the war film scores. Outstanding of these was Goodwin’s music for Where Eagles Dare which had a curious inspiration. The director wanted music at the beginning but not so much as to drown out the noise of the ‘German’ aeroplane shown right at the outset. Goodwin’s response was to use one, then two, then three snare drums to tremendously dramatic effect before the plane flew out of view and the thrilling main theme burst through.

Back in 1966 Ron Goodwin was asked to score an Oliver Reed film called The Trap. For a sequence in which Reed vigorously paddles his canoe through rapids the music needed to be specifically rhythmic to emphasise that hectic paddling. Goodwin came up with the answer and later his music was used as The London Marathon Theme.  Music in lighter vein with amusing instrumental effects was heard for Monte Carlo or Bust and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines; plus the Miss Marple Theme (for the Margaret Rutherford ‘Marple’ films) which combines a sort of genteel gavotte pastiche with a less refined 1960s accented rhythm section.

Among Ron Goodwin’s arrangements included in the programme were: music from four James Bond movies – You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger; a Disney selection that embrace music from Snow White, Pinocchio Bambi, Song of the South and The Jungle Book. The orchestra really let rip and let their hair down for the jazzy South Rampart Street Parade. Finally to end the concert on a more romantic note, four arrangements of Frank Sinatra classics were played: ‘Come Fly With Me’, ‘Strangers in the Night’, ‘New York, New York’ and ‘My Way’

This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for a very worthy cause.

Ian Lace


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