The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, dedicated to symphonic film music, performed its inaugural concert at the UCLA Royce Hall on Thursday, May 18th. Conducted by the president and artistic director of the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra Society, famed composer John Scott, the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra aims to place the best of symphonic film music alongside the accepted symphonic repertoire in major concert halls. This concert series celebrates and gives proper recognition to great composers o symphonic film music.
Whether the music was composed 100 years ago or 1 year ago, film's most essential factor, the music, was recreated to form a dazzling musical kaleidoscope. The concert featured pieces from modern films like Memoirs of a Geisha and even antiquated classics like King's Row. The musicians played with a passion and fervor that breathed life into the legacy of film and music through their live performance.
During the finale piece of the first half of the concert, Around the World in 80 Days, each individual instrumental section of the symphony was showcased. The theme is thrown about between various musicians, and creates a mini concerto for the orchestra. The objectified beauty of the oboes, strings, percussion, and other instruments swept the audience away in this musical tour of the globe. The intoxicating music invoked images of far away countries, cultures, and customs. Thus, the stage became a screen upon which each audience member was privy to see the film unfold before their very eyes.
The sweet symphonic sound reverberated through the concert hall, filling every space from the linoleum floors to the high, vaulted ceilings adorned with murals and intricate carvings. Befitting the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra Society philanthropic interests that extends to the musical education of children, the ancient words, "Education is using the tools that civilization has found indispensable" that are carved into the proscenium framed the symphony and their mission. Currently, the society is developing activities involving interaction between schools, the orchestra, and a variety of multimedia projects to help students explore and understand the concept and value of music. In addition to their educational goals for children, the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra Society seeks to educate their audiences on the legendary film music that is part of our cinematic history.
The world-renowned composer, John Scott, spoke candidly with the audience, laughing lightheartedly at his opening night jitters, which sometimes caused him to forget the name of the subsequent piece. This playful banter allowed the audience to relax, get comfortable, and simply enjoy the music. Mr. Scott discussed each piece with tenderness and deference. It was aptly apparent that Mr. Scott was humbled and in awe of the music written by his musical forefathers.
The finale piece was the haunting and moving love theme from the 1972 film Antony and Cleopatra, which not only stars but was a labor of love for director Charelton Heston. This climactic closing, not only featured a choir but also 3 guest artists, Samantha Eggar, Alan Mandell, and Michael York, and even the film itself on a screen that hung down from the rafters of the set. A whimsical, nostalgic look swept across John Scott's face as he lovingly introduced the evening's finale. After all, he wrote the film's original musical score. Antony and Cleopatra was especially pertinent for the inaugural concert since Charelton Heston's wife and son were in the audience. While a montage of scenes from the film were shown upon the screen, the artists read key moments of dialogue from the script of the Shakespearean play, the choir hummed choral harmonies, and the orchestra tirelessly played the sweeping symphonic musical movements. The stage was literally transformed to a living film.
The world-class Hollywood Symphony Orchestra is the only orchestra dedicated to symphonic film music. These wonderfully talented musicians provide the world with a wonderful opportunity to hear the exquisite work of classic and contemporary film composers. The symphonic music that motivates film and elevates it to sublime heights played by the hands and hearts of the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra created a truly enchanted experience.
For more information of the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra Society, click here.