You may or may not be familiar with this significant week in the film music calender, so I just wanted to let you know about a major event that takes place in Birmingham (England) next week. This is the first of its kind for the UK and will hopefully prove successful for years to come.
Are you sitting comfortably? The highly impressive list of events is as follows, but first some bullet points:
The Soundtrack to your Summer 2011
Special film screenings of classic movies in Empire and Electric cinemas
Performance of newly discovered, rare silent movie music
Stephen Barton, Orchestrator of music by Sir Anthony Hopkins, talks about working with Hopkins on his latest music compositions
Composer Alex Heffes (wrote the film score for The Rite) in conversation
Sir Anthony Hopkins live on stage with the CBSO
UK jazz legend Guy Barker on stage with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra
Monday 18 July: Special screening of The King’s Speech
Empire Great Park, 7.00pm
An opportunity to see this Oscar-winning film again on the big screen, and then hear some of Alexandre Desplat's BAFTA winning score played live by the CBSO the following evening.
Tuesday 19 July: From the Oldest Movies to the Newest
Festival launch and one-off Silent Movie concert
Foyer, Symphony Hall, 6.15pm
To mark the opening of the Festival, CBSO pianist Ben Dawson will play a number of pieces of music for silent movies, from a unique collection recently uncovered by staff at Birmingham Central Library preparing for their move to the new Library of Birmingham. CBSO Chief Executive Stephen Maddock will welcome guests including CEO of Birmingham Library Brian Gambles and Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport Ivan Lewis.
CBSO in Concert - 21st Century Soundtracks
Symphony Hall, 7.30pm
The CBSO performs award-winning music from major film scores of the last ten years including: -
- A suite from Pride and Prejudice by Dario Marianelli
- the cue 'Goodbye (It's a bit awkward)' from Paul by David Arnold
- the cue 'Jack Sparrow' from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest; the first time the original music by Hans Zimmer has been performed in concert (existing versions are arrangements by others).
When I chatted with Tommy recently, he told me that Hans seemed surprised to be asked as shockingly nobody had ever requested him to arrange his music for the concert hall.
Other music includes Lord of the Rings, Love Actually, There Will Be Blood, Harry Potter (Williams) and more.
Thursday 21 July: Classic Movies and Iconic Jazz
Special Double Bill screening of Bullitt and Dirty Harry at the
Electric Cinema, 12noon (Bullitt), 5.00pm (Dirty Harry)
Two film classics not to be missed on a big screen.
National Youth Jazz Orchestra in Concert: Jazz in Film Live
Town Hall, 7.30pm
One of the finest big bands in the world, NYJO plays the best jazz–influenced scores featuring themes and arrangements from Bullitt, Dirty Harry, Austin Powers, Touch of Evil, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and more. UK jazz legend Guy Barker directs the band in a brand new arrangement of his movie-inspired piece, 'Sounds in Black and White'.
Friday 22 July: John Williams Blockbusters
Special film screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark
at the Empire Great Park cinema, 2.00pm
A chance to see this all-time Spielberg classic in a new digital print! I, for one, can't wait! The Map Room, Desert Chase and Miracle of the Ark on a big screen? Yes please!
Michael Seal, CBSO Associate Conductor in conversation
Symphony Hall, 6.15pm
A unique opportunity to hear the CBSO’s Associate Conductor Michael Seal talk about his experience of conducting the music of today’s most popular living composer, John Williams. FSMO subscribers may recall the feature I produced with both Michael and Tommy, showcasing Michael's very thorough and precise readings of film music. He will always go direct to the source material as heard in the film, and studies the same meticulously before taking to the podium with the orchestra. In short, he is one of the best conductors of film music and really knows how to capture Williams' unique style in the concert hall.
CBSO in Concert - John Williams Blockbusters
Symphony Hall, 7.30pm
For many, this will be the main event (no offence Sir Hopkins!) Some of the best film music ever written on full symphonic display: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Schindler's List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars, Jaws, ET and many more.
Saturday 23 July – Sir Anthony Hopkins in Concert
Alex Heffes (Composer of the score for The Rite) and Stephen Barton (Orchestrator of music by Sir Anthony Hopkins) in conversation
Symphony Hall, 6.15pm
With his score from The Rite featuring later in the evening by the CBSO, Alex Heffes will talk about the soundtrack he wrote for this recent Hopkins movie. And a unique insight from Stephen Barton about working with Sir Anthony Hopkins, and how he has created orchestrations for some of Hopkins’ music to be played in the main concert by the CBSO.
Sir Anthony Hopkins in Concert with the CBSO
Symphony Hall, 7.30pm
The Festival ends in style with a very special performance of music and conversation with one of the world’s greatest living screen actors. The CBSO will perform:
• The UK premiere of several of Hopkins’ most stirring original scores, including music from his own movies August and Slipstream
• Concert premieres of music from Titus, The Rite and Thor
• Music from Silence of the Lambs, Remains of the Day and Shadowlands. The latter of which is a favourite!
• Plus a brand new piece written specially for the CBSO
During the concert, he will be onstage talking about his music and creative process with Festival Artistic Advisor and presenter Tommy Pearson, so we will be guaranteed some wonderful stories, anecdotes and genuine 'for one night only' entertainment.
In recent interviews, Sir Anthony Hopkins said, “I am immensely happy to be working with the CBSO to bring my compositions to the UK for the first time. There are themes and passages in these pieces that have been several decades in the making, and to bring them all vividly to life with one of the great symphony orchestras of the world is absolutely thrilling."
On that note, last but certainly not least:
A special film screening of Silence of the Lambs Empire Great Park (in digital screen), 11.15pm
This will prove a fitting finale and a welcome theatrical setting, having heard some of Howard Shore's music literally just moments before.
For more information about the Film Music Festival and to book tickets please visit www.cbso.co.uk/filmfestival and I hope to see you there! A full multi-media review will be published in a forthcoming issue of FSM Online, for those that can't make the trip from overseas.
By the way, Birmingham's Symphony Hall is widely recognised as one of the finest in the world. Film music does sound particularly good at this venue as you will experience next week.
- Tim Burden