Review: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Plays Summer Pops Music From The Movies
At Claudelands Arena, Hamilton
It’s funny how music can tip you over the edge.
Conductor Hamish McKeich and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra did it time and again tonight when they performed composer John Williams’s many film scores.
Williams’ theme from Jurassic Park is full of awe and wonder for the massive prehistoric creatures mankind has brought back from extinction in Steven Spielberg’s film. The expert way they played it just had the emotions welling up inside.
Later Williams’ Adventures on Earth from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, another Spielberg classic, heightened the emotions further as I was flooded with memories of how a misunderstanding led to a harmless alien fleeing men in black on a flying bicycle. I was 10 when that film came out, and it’s as magic now as it was then.
Williams’ theme from Schindler’s List was heart stopping, as vivid images of Nazi inhumanity was contrasted in my mind with the compassion of a man who risked his own life to save others. Is it a true story, my son asked. He found it incredible.
The concert was supposed to end with Music from the Star Wars Saga.
Over 25 minutes we heard the thrills and spills of the Main Title from A New Hope, the revelatory Luke and Leia from Return of the Jedi, the funerary Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back, the impish Yoda’s Theme from the same, and the celebratory Throne Room and End Title.
I couldn’t stop beaming as the soundtrack of my childhood was performed live, just like it was in the movies, on vinyl, cassette, CD and MP3. But better! Not one note was out of place, or moment was out of time. My son couldn’t stop smiling, either, as he aped McKeich with his hands.
A standing ovation saw McKeich return to the stage for an encore with the Mission: Impossible Theme.
It was a night of movie magic that the NZSO did proud. Little wonder Sir Peter Jackson and the BBC have turned to it over the years.
Other composers and films celebrated included: Bill Conti (Rocky), Vangelis (Chariots of Fire), Max Steiner (Casablanca), J. Strauss (The Blue Danube from 2001: A Space Odyssey), Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future) and Danny Elfman (Spider-Man). Was that Stan Lee in a cameo, disguised as celloist Roger Brown?
The next big thing is the Star Wars Film Concert in Wellington on March 10 and 11 as part of the NZ Festival.
“As an absolute treat for New Zealand fans, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will perform the Oscar-winning music of Star Wars: A New Hope in a live screening of the original film,’ the NZSo says. “Arguably the greatest film score of all time, this performance will whisk you away to another galaxy. A once-in-a lifetime opportunity.”