It was almost worth attending the concert just for the orchestra’s dazzling early performance of the Star Wars opening theme composed by American John Williams.
But there was plenty more on offer to the crowd that packed the Festival Theatre on Friday night.
The theme from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (also by Williams) was serene and impressive, with spectacular speed runs from the ASO’s strings; Hanz Zimmer’s Inception time theme was haunting and tidal; and the Lawrence of Arabia overture (Maurice Jarre) was at different times expansive, delicate and brash.
It was impossible not to be moved by the love theme from The Godfather (Nino Rota), and scenes from the Lord of the Rings were playing involuntarily in my head during the playful and homely medley from Howard Shore’s magnificent Fellowship of the Ring symphonic suite.
Wisely, rather than vision from the films – which might have proved distracting – the background was a colour fade and some relevant shapes.
Australian film review royalty Margaret Pomeranz guided the audience through the sequence of film scores endearingly and with passion, delving briefly into their significance in the history of western cinema. She was brought regularly to tears by the orchestra’s performance.
Conductor Guy Noble also delivered his usual gamut of surprisingly funny dad-jokes in between the baton-waving.
As can be the wont of any symphony orchestra intent on a perfect – or perfectionist – interpretation of sheet music, the ASO’s performance was sometimes, especially in the Fellowship medley, a bit stilted and not quite what audiences heard in the cinema. And more than once, the flute and piccolo let out shrill screams that were just too loud.
But these were minor caveats on a wonderful, hugely enjoyable performance.
What a shame it was for one night only. I hope you were there.
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