On Friday 6th March, my parents, boyfriend and I enjoyed an evening of classical music courtesy of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). This wasn’t an evening of Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky or Bach, though. Instead, it was an evening of Williams, Zimmer and A R Rahman.
CBSO Friday Night Classics: 21st Century Blockbusters
Among the classical music I’ve seen performed live, I’ve been fortunate to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra perform the full The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring score. This was a fantastic experience, and I remember getting goose-bumps during certain pivotal parts, when I knew exactly what was happening on screen in that moment.
Instead of music from just the one film, our evening with the CBSO featured extracts from a variety of films from the last 15 years. These films included War Horse, Avatar, Slumdog Millionaire, Love Actually, and How to Train Your Dragon.
There were three pieces that stood out in particular for me. Firstly, due to the sheer power of it, the battle scene from Gladiator. Listening to the score and that piece in particular on a CD is impressive enough, but hearing it live by a 75-piece orchestra in a purpose-built hall with brilliant acoustics is on a different level.
Second was the main theme from Star Trek into Darkness. Due to his recent passing, the compere dedicated the performance to Leonard Nimoy, which was a very nice touch, and it was wonderful to hear the beloved elements of the TV show’s theme combine with original melodies created for the new film.
Finally, out of the selection of Harry Potter pieces, the theme for the Knight Bus was very memorable, simply because it used such a variety of instruments that I’d never seen before let alone heard. This piece belonged to the percussion department, and while at times it sounded quite disjointed, it felt like the department was showing off its capabilities, saying: “There’s a lot more to us than just the drums!”