Saturday October 1st, 2016.
THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON.
THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA PRESENTS.
JOHN WILLIAMS 2016.
A TRIBUTE TO THE WORLDS LEADING FILM COMPOSER.
ROBERT ZIEGLER Conductor.
Presented by Tommy Pearson.
Leader/Solo Violin, Tamas Andras.
This was a concert I was really looking forward to and the demand was so great they had a matinee performance as well as the evening concert. I was pleased to see that the massive and imposing Royal Albert Hall was filled to capacity in both performances, even the gallery with standing only was packed and it was also great to see a lot of youngsters there as in teenagers and Uni students all of whom seemed to know what they liked by their reaction to the performances by the RPO. I would not say that the programme was anything I would not have expected, so no surprises like TOWERING INFERNO or POSEIDEN ADVENTURE, but the themes that we love and adore such as SUPERMAN which opened the concert wonderfully, the RPO acquitting themselves marvellously in their rendition of the Main theme from the first movie in the franchise with the man of steel being played by the sadly missed Christopher Reeve. HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHERS STONE was next in the running order, the mystical and magical sound created by John Williams being purveyed to perfection by the RPO under the more than able baton of Mr Ziegler. From its quiet and almost enchantingly beautiful opening to its more pronounced and windswept aura HEDWIGS THEME resounded around the great hall and left the audience spellbound and mesmerised.
Tommy Pearson introduced sections of the concert and a very good job he did too, I felt that he spoke to the audience as fellow soundtrack collectors and interacted with them affectively, raising a few laughs and a number of grimaces which were responses to a few lame but entertaining one liners, even inviting them to tweet him with their thoughts on the night, dedications, etc. I have to say felt sorry for the young lady who had come along expecting to see Pharrel Williams, but as Tommy said I think we have heard better tunes tonight, much to the amusement of the crowd. Jaws was third in the running order, with Williams now iconic low and menacing strings setting the scene for a theme that still terrifies and puts people off going in the water, the orchestra performing an arrangement of the famous theme which delighted the assembled audience and drew a long and deservedly loud reaction from the crowd.
HOME ALONE came next and as Mr Pearson reminded us John or Johnny Williams was known for scoring comedy movies during his early career before becoming attached to nearly every blockbuster ever released, SOMEWHERE IN MY MEMORY was giving an airing by the RPO the arrangement being more of an easy listening version than the original within the film, but it still hit the spot and whilst listening to it memories of that madcap and highly amusing movie came flooding back. INDIANA JONES THE RAIDERS MARCH came next, and this I have to say was simply superb, the audience thought so too much applause and whistles for the RPO on this one. SCHINDLERS LIST MAIN THEME was also met with much applause as we heard the solo violin part of the theme performed by the RPO’S leader Tamas Andras, who should be given a special mention for his highly emotive and flawless performance. For the next piece we moved a little more up to date to the chaotic and mud filled battle scenes of WAR HORSE, the cue being performed was the subtle and beautiful THE REUNION, which has always reminded me of the style and sound of Vaughn Williams. The last performance before the intermission was from ET THE EXTRA TERRESTIAL the orchestra throwing themselves into ADVENTURES ON EARTH which again as soon as heard conjured up images of that icon last twenty minutes of the movie, with the BMX chase, leading to ET being taken to his spaceship so he can at last go home. I think this was the highlight of the first half of the concert, the famous ET theme echoing around the Albert Hall and drawing wild applause and shouts of delight from the crowd.
FLIGHT TO NEVERLAND from HOOK opened part two, and then an absolute treat FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, which was like an OVERTURE including a number of the popular songs as arranged by Williams for the movie version of the musical, these ended in the music that acted as the main credits music or main title for the movie, again Tamas Andras took the lead and again mesmerised the audience with his wonderful performance, the RPO literally propelled themselves into the piece giving it a marvellous rendition to the absolute delight of the full hall. The PROLOGUE from JFK was next, a downbeat but at the same time inspiring piece, with snares building the tension and leading into a glowing trumpet solo by the RPO’S principal trumpet player James Fountain. 1976 THRU TO 1977 was a busy time for John Williams it was in this year he scored the first STAR WARS movie for George Lucas and also the alien epic CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND for Steven Spielberg, and it is CETK that we went to next, I was hoping for the end section of the score to be performed as I had heard it earlier in the year performed by The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, but sadly the RPO chose to perform a more commercial arrangement of the theme, and although tis was also very good, I have to admit to being a little disappointed. From space and aliens, we returned to earth but an earth that had via the wonders of DNA wizardry been able to bring back dinosaurs to life in JURASSIC PARK, released in 1993 it was like most Spielberg movies a box office hit and Williams score became a classic almost overnight. Next we came right up to date, with STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS, from this score the RPO performed REYS’THEME and MARCH OF THE RESITANCE. We then returned to a galaxy far far away, with STAR WARS the original movie. PRICESS LEIAS THEME has never sounded so emotive, romantic and lush, with the familiar STAR WARS THEME being the last item on the programme bringing the concert to a thundering end with the whole Albert Hall on its feet. So was there an encore, yes there was, THE IMPERIAL MARCH thundered out from the stage and resounded around the hall, the delight and pleasure upon the faces of the crowd was evident even in the dimmed lighting. A resounding and undoubted success a great concert, well put together and performed to a high standard by the ever polished and flawless ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, with their conductor Mr Robert Ziegler. Concerts of film music are few and far between I hope that there will be more in the future and they are of this high standard and as entertaining.