Bournemouth SO celebrates Screen Heroes and Legends

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Williams, Rózsa, Jarre, Tan Dun, E. Bernstein, Zimmer, Barry, Pouldouris, Horner, Edelmann, Djawadi, Tyler, Barton: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Pete Harrison (conductor), Lighthouse, Poole, 11.3.2017. (IL)

John Williams – Summon the Heroes (for 1996 Atlanta Olympics), Lincoln (‘The People’s House’), Hook (‘The Return to Neverland’), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (‘Hedwig’s Theme’), Raiders of the Lost Ark (Main Theme)
Rozsa – El Cid (Overture and Love Theme)
Jarre – Doctor Zhivago (Main Theme) Tan Dun – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (‘The Eternal Vow’)
Elmer BernsteinThe Magnificent Seven (Main Theme)
Zimmer The Da Vinci Code (‘Chevaliers de Sangreal’), King Arthur (‘Tell Me Now [What You See]’)
BarryRobin and Marion (‘John Bursts In/The End’)
PouldourisConan the Barbarian (‘Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom/The Wifeing/The Orgy’)
HornerTroy (‘Remember’)
Edelmann – Dragonheart
Djawadi – Game of Thrones (Main Theme/’Mhysa’)
TylerLego Marvel’s Avengers
BartonTitanfall 2 (‘Trust Me’)

This latest Pete Harrison/BSO film music concert trod a somewhat different path, exploring some welcome new ground. With the exception of Miklós Roza, Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1930s-1950s was not represented: nothing by Korngold, Steiner, Waxman, Tiomkin et al., or even Bernard Herrmann. Instead we had inclusions of newer genres, such as music for a top TV series and a video game, as well as current movie scores and favourites of more recent decades. Unusually, the choice of John Williams’s film music avoided the sci-fi genre in favour of a more “old-fashioned” variety of fantasy.

As customary with Pete Harrison’s film music concerts, he lightly and urbanely introduced most of the items. He sketched in detail from his vast storehouse of film music knowledge, slipping just once or twice in his recalls.

One might have regarded this concert as an extended concerto for orchestra. There were opportunities for so many individual players to show off their virtuosity. Consider, for example, the principal cello Jesper Svedberg in his solo in Tan Dun’s exotic music for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The talented timpanist Kiyomi Seed made an especially memorable contribution—with wooden finely-pointed sticks—to Basil Pouldouris’s thrilling and colourful score for Conan the Barbarian. I could mention so many more fine solo contributions from each section of the orchestra.

The concert began and ended with pieces by John Williams. It opened with the stirring heroic brass fanfares for Summon the Heroes, and ending with the highly popular music that symbolised the dashing heroics of Indiana Jones, first heard in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In between there were the rather self-derivative materials for Hook and the Harry Potter excursions. More impressive was the Aaron Copland-like music for Lincoln, “The People’s House”.

Space does not permit mention of every item in the concert. I must, however, note the sumptuous, romantic reading of Maurice Jarre’s unforgettable Doctor Zhivago score and Rózsa’s swaggering, vital, Spanish-rhythmic music for the El Cid Overture, followed by the lush, sweeping romantic music for the film’s love scene. At the opposite end of the dramatic scale, I was impressed by the sheer devilish ferocity and brutality of Stephen Barton’s music for the video game Titanfall 2. Hans Zimmer’s music, when it is good, is very good. I was moved by the Parsifal-like music for his “Chevaliers de Sangreal” episode of The Da Vinci Code score. Finally I have to mention the inclusion, to the audience’s delight, of Ramin Djawadi’s title music for the TV series, Game of Thrones, utterly mesmerising and compelling.

Ian Lace

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