It’s no wonder that the LSO’s “Embrace the Silver Screen” concert has been the talk of the town. This uplifting and exciting concert, under the direction of Richard Prior, had power and punch that just made you say, “Oh, Wow!” Composer, John Williams has scored well over 100 films and this concert was a celebration of his work. The lobby was buzzing with a diverse crowd of all ages. How terrific to see this level of enthusiasm spanning generations. For many it was truly a family affair and a great introduction to live orchestral music.
Opening the season with a packed house and the traditional National Anthem was a rousing way to begin the series and a great way for the audience to connect and participate. The evening’s entertainment burst into the air directly, with the March from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I could see joy and excitement in the audience. With its infectious rhythm, it made you want to keep time. Even the strings had percussive sections. It was obvious we were going to be taken on a terrific adventure.
Next was the beautiful theme from Jurassic Park. Lead brightly by woodwind and brass instruments, these tones were followed by string phrases with lovely, flowing long bows. The piece had a monumental feel, and the composition was like a deep breath upon arriving at a mountain top view. The LSO has always excelled in dynamic ability and here too, they did a top-notch performance.
The Jaws movie provided two selections in this concert. Of course, the shark theme with its recurring anticipatory rhythm sequences with grabbing bass notes was larger than life. Out to Sea/ The Shark Cage Fugue had a totally different sound, to offset the dark violence in the main theme. The counterpoint melodies within it were very fitting.
I don’t think Maestro Prior got his wand at Ollivander’s shop, but the performance throughout a suite of four Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone themes was magical. Approval was apparent from the audience with smiles and nods as the music began. Without a doubt, there is so much more that can be heard in music when performed live. A good example is in Hedwig’s Theme, where the underlying wind phrases in the strings subliminally register as just wind, but are actually crazy runs of notes that are unbelievable to watch. Nimbus 2000 featured the woodwinds, which was a great treat and really gave the piece character. Music can really transport you, especially with a Nimbus 2000!
The theme from Schindler’s List was first after intermission and featured Concertmaster Lorna Wood, on violin. This was a very hauntingly emotional melody from an important movie and was played beautifully. Like each of these themes, it really captures the essence of the moment it describes.
Rounding out the evening were five selections from Star Wars. Dr. Prior had commented at one point in his introductions that all of this music was quite demanding for every single section of the orchestra. He also reminisced that it was with Star Wars that we met him for the first time three years ago when he was guest conductor. The Star Wars Suite for Orchestra was a great culmination to the evening. With great power, “wow” moments, ethereal sections and gripping percussion, Star Wars was out of this world good. The standing ovation and whoops from the audience confirmed a super season opener. Bravo, to the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. Well done.
Here are a few photos during the standing ovation, recognizing some of the soloists.
Here is an impromptu slideshow from the concert.