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 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 9:20 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Apparently I am not the only one who felt the power of Saturday night's performance, which I believe was the best they have done (see my review above). Besides the response of everyone I talked to, here is the first official review:

From facebook:

Dailybreeze Music Reviews

Golden State Pops pays tribute to Elmer Bernstein

By Kari Sayers

Posted: 02/18/14, 3:54 PM PST |

To mark its 10th anniversary as the resident orchestra of the beautifully restored art-deco Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, the Golden State Pops Orchestra devoted Saturday’s concert entirely to the music of film composer Elmer Bernstein (no relation to Leonard).

Under the baton of Maestro Steven Allen Fox, who founded the professional symphonic pops orchestra in 2002, the players provided enthusiastic audience members with a great evening of passionate and dramatic works, including two encores – the National Geographic theme song and music from the 1963 movie “The Great Escape.”

The concert opened with a rousing rendition of the quintessential Western theme from “The Magnificent Seven,” replete with the clip-clopping of horses, evoking images of Yul Brynner and other stars riding into the Mexican village to rescue the town from bandits. The familiar soundtrack was a favorite of this reviewer and was a great choice for an overture.

The signature tune was repeated with some twists later in the program as the theme for “Three Amigos,” a silly 1986 spoof based on “The Magnificent Seven” starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short, and directed by John Landis, who later took the stage to reminisce about working with Bernstein and reminded the audience that movies were never silent but always involved music.

Casually elegant in gray slacks and a sport coat, Peter Bernstein, the son of the elder Bernstein who died in 2004, was also on hand to talk about his father and conduct less-known works he had arranged into an interesting medley. He returned after intermission to conduct a Comedy Suite, which included music from “Animal House,” also directed by Landis.

Lyrical strains of the love themes in the short symphonic piece in four movements from the 1960 Wall Street drama “From the Terrace,” with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, offered up a contrast to the Wild West. Jazzy strains from “Walk on the Wild Side” included the concert’s most memorable moment with a trumpet solo by Blake Martin, who played with the orchestra for the first time and hopefully not the last.

Another favorite was the beautiful theme from “To Kill a Mockingbird” with Jonathan Hughes’ simple piano solo opening, indicating that the dark drama was told from a child’s perspective. The low-register winds and frightening brass conjured up images of the menacing lynch mob, and Bear McCreary — Elmer Bernstein’s student and protégé — played the unusual accordion part.

Maestro Fox, in a white dinner jacket over black tuxedo pants, exuded passion for both the music and his players with the pensive and often dissonant notes from the 2002 drama “Far from Heaven,” about the 1950’s housewife whose husband has an affair with another man and her scandalous close friendship with her black gardener.

The grand and majestic music from “The Ten Commandments,” depicting Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea and the Israelites marching across to freedom with Yul Brynner as King Rameses and slavery in Egypt, concluded the concert. No doubt the music by our big movie composers such as Elmer Bernstein will live on just like the big opera composers Verdi, Puccini and Wagner’s music from a different era does.

 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

A compadre on this board captured Richard Kraft great remembrance:

 Posted:   Feb 20, 2014 - 8:41 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Bear McCreary captured some of the rehearsal!

 Posted:   Feb 25, 2014 - 6:03 PM   
 By:   bagby   (Member)

GSPO just posted on Facebook a bit ago that the March 15th concert, a tribute to the music of 20th Century Fox, has been cancelled. They report it's due to expected financial support from 21st Century Fox has not and is not coming through.

"The Golden State Pops Orchestra has experienced great artistic successes, such as the February tribute concert to film music composer Elmer Bernstein.

"However, expected support from the 20th Century Fox Film Corporation has not been granted as hoped for our upcoming March 15th concert. The GSPO, and orchestras all over the United States, face financial challenges. The GSPO is not immune from these national trends: Patron attendance was lower than expected for the February concert, and local business sponsorships have fallen this season. We need to act quickly and decisively to safeguard the financial future of the GSPO.

"Therefore, the GSPO has regretfully decided to cancel its March 15, 2014 performance. GSPO staff will contact each patron who already holds a ticket to the concert, and will offer either a ticket transfer to a future performance or a refund.

"What can you do to help? Please make a contribution now – We have only until March 15 to meet our matching goal of $15,000!

"We hope to see you (and all of your friends) at the Warner Grand in San Pedro on May 10, for a performance of Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" in concert by the Golden State Pops Orchestra, featuring Broadway veteran Norman Large and YouTube sensation Sarah Horn! Tickets and information at"

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