Pops Orchestra perform film favourites
TONY COOPER The Norwich Pops Orchestra goes from strength to strength and they're back at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, on Sunday, February 19, at 3pm, for what promises to be another thrilling concert, sharing the platform with members of the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Chorus.
The Norwich Pops Orchestra goes from strength to strength and they're back at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, on Sunday, February 19, at 3pm, for what promises to be another thrilling concert, sharing the platform with members of the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Chorus. As usual, exuberant conductor Geoff Davidson will direct proceedings.
Featuring music from stage and screen, the programme will revive memories of the greatest movies. Whether it's Julie Andrews running up that hill in The Sound of Music or the Jets and the Sharks getting ready to rumble in West Side Story, Norwich Pops will provide the soundtrack.
They will also transport you to the Wild West with their rendition of the theme tune to The Big Country by Jerome Moross. Inspired, perhaps, by Dvorak's New World symphony, the score truly captures the essence and soul of the untamed West as few other scores do.
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But if you want an operatic rollercoaster of a ride, then Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries should do the trick while Sibelius' Finlandia should calm the mood and stir the senses. And there's more, with waltzes from Richard Rodney Bennett (Murder on the Orient Express) and Shostakovich (Eyes Wide Shut). Hopefully, these pieces will soothe a furrowed brow!
And if epics are to your liking, then your luck's in. Lord of the Rings must be the epic cinematic masterpiece of modern times and Howard Shore's impressive score - from which Norwich Pops will play the suite from The Fellowship of the Ring - needs no introduction.
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Neither does the moment Elliot takes off on his bicycle with ET on the handlebars, and The Flying Theme from this great movie, probably the single-most effective piece of film music ever written, is one of the reasons John Williams is considered to be the finest film composer working today. The score is certainly one of his best and it is a perfect marriage of music and film. The film and score feed off each other and Williams won practically every award possible for it, making up for the cold shoulder he received the previous year for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
And quieting things down a bit will be the music chosen for Barry Lyndon, Handel's Sarabande, a wonderful recreation of an 18th-century world used for the opening and closing theme of this popular film.
There are, however, few occasions when a film has so many fabulous pieces of music as The Sound of Music, one of the most popular films of the 20th century. The score almost feels like an album of greatest hits from that century. Starting with the title track, it's impossible not to be transported to the first scene with Julie Andrews spreading her arms at the top of a mountain in the Austrian Alps. After that it's downhill and “muzak” all the way: Sixteen Going on Seventeen, My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi and So Long, Farewell. The list goes on all the way to the intimate and melancholic Edelweis. But, remember, this isn't a Sound of Music sing-a-long show, so don't turn up dressed as a runaway nun or a nasty Nazi.
The N&N Operatic Society Chorus gets another opportunity to show off its vocal skills by performing a medley from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, which includes such memorable numbers as I Feel Pretty, Maria, Tonight and One Hand, One Heart, not forgetting, of course, America!
And the theme tune from Born Free by John Barry, a family classic starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, is also included in this rich and varied programme. A classic film, it tells the tale of how Kenya game-warden George Adamson and his wife Joy (on whose book the film is based) adopted and raised three orphaned lion cubs, taking a particular shine to the one called Elsa before helping her return to the wild. It's a well-known film and so is John Barry's Oscar-winning title song.
With a concert by the Norwich Pops you'll not escape the concert hall without them giving you that extra little bit of fizz. That's the business they're in! Your guess is as good as mine but it could be a rendering of Borodin's Polovtsian Dances used for that great Broadway show Kismet. It provided the big hit of 1953 - Stranger in Paradise.
Tickets £13 (£12), £11 (£10), £9 (£8), half price for children, available from Prelude Records, St Giles' Street, Norwich, 01603 628319.