Included was a tribute to the late John Barry.
This was the first such concert that I have been to, featuring movie themes anyway. This was only my second visit to Manchester’s beautiful Bridgewater Hall as well, the last being in December 2005. This event was hosted by Virginia McKenna and conductor Paul Bateman worked his baton to the music or Elmer Bernstein’s Great Escape, to John Williams’ Star Wars, though played at a much faster tempo than I’m familiar with and I got the impression that they had to make up some time.
The show finished with an encore performance of Superman, which was defiantly one of the highlights of the evening as Star Wars is somewhat overrated, or at least overplayed in my opinion but that’s not suggest that it is in any way poor or not one of my favourites. One of the weakest performances of the night though was my favourite, Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator, which proved the argument that Zimmer’s synth or sampled heavy pieces are not best served by a live orchestra, but it was still decent enough and a pleasure to be sure, as was the seldom given acknowledgement that Zimmer actually composed the music for The Lion King and not just Elton John!
But one of the personal highlights for me was to actually hear Miklos Rozsa’s Ben Hur performed live. It was and is still magnificent as it was it recreated by Bateman.
All in all, this was a great evening and a rare chance for me to hear some of the films greatest themes played live by a more than competent orchestra, though the small-scale and some of the limitations of performing live, music that is often scored in the lab or studio had it draw backs, but this was an experience that I would love to have again.