Film Symphony Orchestra – HENKO – Bilbao – June 2024 – Concert Summary

The Film Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of its conductor Constantino Martínez Orts, brought its show HENKO to the Palacio Euskalduna – Euskalduna Jauregia in Bilbao, Spain, on Saturday, June 15, 2024 (read more).


Our colleague and collaborator Felipe Múgica was present at the concert and brings us a special article as an exclusive for SoundTrackFest.

Film Symphony Orchestra - HENKO - Bilbao - June 2024 - Concert Summary


The FSO in Bilbao - by Felipe Múgica

After an absence in Bilbao of several years, aggravated by the pandemic, the FSO has now offered a concert in the Biscayan capital for three consecutive years (Henko, Krypton, Fénix), as usual, on the stage of the Eukalduna Palace. On this occasion, as part of its Henko tour, a Japanese term that the head of the initiative, Constantino Martínez-Orts, defines as “moving forward without turning back, in achieving transformative changes that turn us into a better version of ourselves“.


It is striking to me to observe how, within the staunchest community of film music fans, there is a certain contempt for the concerts offered by the Film Symphony Orchestra. Either because they consider that the interpretations are not up to the level of the material represented, or because of their concessions to commercialism and to a mass audience generally alien to this type of music, or because of the excessive prominence that the conductor of the orchestra grants himself…


Regarding the former, and giving my opinion on the concert I attended last June 15, I can only say that the orchestra’s interpretations were of an excellent level. The orchestra has already had many years of experience, practice and concerts and, moreover, it could be added that, Bilbao being one of the last capitals of the tour, the performers carry with them a material that has been more than practiced, rehearsed, and perfected.

Film Symphony Orchestra - HENKO - Bilbao - June 2024 - Concert Summary


Regarding the latter, we must not forget that this is a private initiative and like any company or business, its goal is to make money to survive and that can only be achieved by trying to approach an audience as large as possible. In spite of this, it is praiseworthy that such a classic piece was interpreted and (surely) ignored by the younger audience as Captain Blood by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.


And on the third point, it is true that the verbosity of Constantino Martínez-Orts grows in many moments and extends perhaps too much, but it is to be appreciated his will to bring closer to the public mostly foreign to this type of music the names of the composers authors of the themes, their styles, and contexts in which they arose. And, in addition, it cannot be denied and is highly perceptible, that our director transpires love for film music and how he tries to transmit that enthusiasm to his audience.

Film Symphony Orchestra - HENKO - Bilbao - June 2024 - Concert Summary


In what was the concert on Saturday June 15 in Bilbao I will not elaborate too much. The selection of musical themes was mainly of great Hollywood hits from different periods, from different composers (with abundant presence of John Williams, which is always a commercial hook) and all of them from soundtracks of great quality.

Film Symphony Orchestra - HENKO - Bilbao - June 2024 - Concert Summary


This year, the orchestra’s performance was complemented by the grateful presence of a vocal interpreter in the figure of Blanca Valido, a mezzo-soprano from the Canary Islands who performed in songs such as Skyfall or Pocahontas, with an excellent result. In the repertoire we could not miss the usual every year contest of “recognize the OST”, with a draw for a trip to Hollywood among the winners, again granting a hook for the mass audience.


The evaluation of the concert as a whole is of a high grade (good musical selection, good interpretations…) and, to put a “but”, the interpretation of Apollo XIII was somewhat lame without the presence of a female soloist voice. Even, for the purists of what should be a concert of orchestral music, this year the lighting effects and scenic apparatus were reduced, leaving all this in a discreet plane that did not steal the attention of the audience.

Film Symphony Orchestra - HENKO - Bilbao - June 2024 - Concert Summary


To close the article, the program:


  • Skyfall

Part I

  • El capitán Blood
  • Espartaco
  • Apolo 13
  • El padrino II
  • Mulan
  • La roca
  • Ice Age 2: el deshielo
  • Harry Potter y el cáliz de fuego

Part II

  • Desayuno con diamantes
  • Las normas de la casa de la sidra
  • Siete años en el Tibet
  • Star Trek suite
  • Pocahontas
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Indiana Jones y el templo maldito

There were also a couple of encores: Super Mario Bros theme and the Star Wars canteen theme.


As a final reflection, apart from the concert, listening to so many memorable themes from so many different eras and composers, and comparing it with the mediocrity that is currently composed in Hollywood, one misses better times in the world of soundtracks…

Film Symphony Orchestra - HENKO - Bilbao - June 2024 - Concert Summary - Felipe Múgica


Article by Felipe Múgica

Pictures by FSO