Concerts of film music are sadly in the UK a rare thing, so when I saw one advertised and in my home town I booked the tickets. The programme was HEROES AND ALIENS – EPIC GALACTIC SOUNDTRACKS, The orchestra THE BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA under the baton of conductor, Pete Harrison. I must admit I had seen the BSO before and in Brighton and funnily enough at the same venue THE DOME this was way back though with Ron Goodwin at the helm, playing all his film music themes and lots of pieces from his more easy listening repertoire. This must have been in the 1970,s I am thinking 1976 or around that period and Ron never came back sadly.
The programme consisted of the music of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Giacchino, Ron Grainer, Murray Gold, Stu Phillips and James Horner. The concert opened with the Main title from STAR WARS a performance that was greeted with lots of applause from the near capacity audience mixed in were a few whoops of excitement and delight from the younger members attending. I think the conductor was a little taken aback by the reaction of the audience, but this was a well deserved response because the BSO had just played one of the most iconic movie themes and played it well in fact I would say perfect as I found it hard to differentiate between their live performance and the one on my compact discs of the soundtracks of the STAR WARS movies.
After the applause died away the conductor spoke to the audience welcoming them and talking a little about STAR WARS and John Williams, which led him to the introduction of the next piece LOST IN SPACE the theme from the 1960,s hit TV series which has itself in more recent years become something of a cult series along the same lines as STAR TREK etc. The orchestra launched into John Williams or Johnny Williams quirky and infectious titles theme for the programme and although short lived it still hit the spot with the audience, the older members obviously remembering their childhood days watching the Space family Robinson and their various adventures in deep space as they attempted to find their way home, accompanied or should I say hampered by the erroneous Dr Smith who caused more trouble than all of the family combined. Also on board was a robot who became the star of the series for many the partnership between Dr Smith and the robot was magic, even though the Dr did think he was a BUBBLE HEADED BOOBIE at times. Williams music for the series was perfect it supported and underlined wonderfully the hapless Dr Smith as well as creating a dramatic and memorable soundtrack that is now to this day instantly recognisable to fans of the series.
The mood of the music shifted for the next performance which was taken from James Horner’s magnificent score for APOLLO 13, haunting and humbling in its sound and style, a lone trumpet opened the proceedings in a flawless rendition of Horner’s melancholy but at the same time martial motif, underlined by snare drums and then joined by strings in a slow and proud sounding piece that is I suppose the epitome of everything American or what America holds dear.
The concert continued with such gems as CLOSE ENCOUNTERS which was not only stunning as a composition but as a performance by the BSO. Lets remember this is not an easy score to perform, William‘s created a modern sounding work for Spielberg’s UFO masterpiece which was at times complex. We were also treated to more John Williams in the form of E.T with the orchestra taking on the lengthy composition ADVENTURES ON EARTH in which they again acquitted themselves marvellously.
Sitting listening to the pulsating and fast paced piece with the familiar sounding central theme rising its head every so often instantly took me back to watching the movie and seeing the chase at the end of the movies where bikes and boys vs. Cops in a desperate pursuit to save E.T. ATTACK OF THE CLONES was also represented in the programme with the beautiful love theme ACROSS THE STARS. Jerry Goldsmith’s scary end titles for ALIEN made an appearance too, and I have to say this was as close to the original as I have heard. Goldsmith was also represented with a suite of music from STAR TREK-NEMESIS, which ended with the composers rousing central theme which he created for the STAR TREK movies. We went back to the small screen with great renditions of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA by Stu Phillips and also a performance of the Ron Grainer penned DR WHO theme which had been arranged by Murray Gold. Then there was ARMAGEDDON by former rock artist Trevor Rabin which I have to tell you got everyone sitting up listening. Composer Michael Giacchino too was represented with two compositions from his STAR TREK score, HELLA BAR TALK and ENTERPRISING YOUNG MEN, which was powerful and moving. The music of the late James Horner also returned in the driving and hard hitting WAR from AVATAR and music from his ALIENS soundtrack. This was in my opinion a great concert and one which I will not forget in a long while, a word to the Brighton Dome More film music please….The concert came to an end but the audience wanted more, and the B. S.O. obliged with SUPERMAN. To the B.S.O and their wonderful conductor Pete Harrison, BRAVO BRAVO ….. Come back soon……..