Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Film Music of John Williams: 80th Birthday Celebration Review

Wonderful, an absolutely wonderful evening. To hear many familiar & loved theme tunes, along with some unknown, played out live was a fantastic experience.

The show started with my up-most favorite theme tune, Star Wars. To hear this memorable piece of music played in front of me and to be able to see the instruments played was so exciting, I could almost picture the open credits of the film.

The next music was not by Williams but Bernard Herrmann with the theme to Citizen Kane. Quite bizarre as this film has just been delivered to me by Lovefilm. I have heard the music before watching the film.

The Lord of The Rings blockbuster The Two Towers, another film I have not seen was next. I tried to read the book as a child and that was enough to put me off the series for life!.

The next theme was a chance to check if it was safe to go into the sea, that's right, it was Jaws. I always find myself looking around for a shark when I hear the opening bars of the music :-)

At this point I had decided that I really have missed out on some classic film music. Close Encounters was next in two parts, the theme and the music towards the end of the film, which I have been told involves a "spaceship".

Time for the Witches to take to the stage now with music from The Witches of Eastwick and the Dance of The Witches. And yes, this is another film i have not yet seen but I have added to my Lovefilm list.

Another blockbuster was next, a popular TV series from the 1960's that has spawned multiple films though the decades, given us fearless warriors like the Klingon's, the Borg Collective and boldly gone where no man has gone before. It was of course Star Trek.

We next went for a fly through the buildings of Manhattan as Superman takes Lois Lane on a trip. This was concluded with the theme tune. This also concluded the first half of the performance.

At the start of the second half we were introduced to a piece of music that Williams wrote for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Magic wands were waved and owl feather ruffled next as Hedwig's Theme from the First Harry Potter film was played. I have read the book but will admit to only watching the first four films.

Another of my all time favorite films was next and another unforgettable tune, Raiders of The Lost Ark.

It was then time to find yourself an eye patch and parrot as we took to the high seas in the 2nd of the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise. Can't say these films have ever appealed to me so this was yet another piece of music that I had never heard before.

"Hymn to the Fallen" from Saving Private Ryan was next and also the final piece of music that I was yet to hear.

Jurassic Park, Schindler's List & E.T concluded the performance.

During the concert my mind kept wandering back to the same thought, John Williams certainly knows how to capture the heart & meaning of a film or scene and put it into music. When the film called for a more serious note you can feel this in the music. Equally so, when the film was about adventure, i.e Raiders of the Lost Ark the music is upbeat and you feel a part of film.

On the advert used for this concert Williams is described as "the greatest living composer". After the two hours plus I spent listening to a catalogue I cannot disagree with this statement.

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