Film Symphony Orchestra – Tour HENKO – Valencia – November 2023 [Concert Summary]

The Film Symphony Orchestra – FSO under the baton of Constantino Martínez Orts, started in September in Madrid its tour for 2023/2024: HENKO (read more).


Our colleague and collaborator Frederic Torres attended the concert on November 11 in Valencia and leaves us this detailed article for SoundTrackFest.



Since the Film Symphony Orchestra recovered its activity after the obligatory hiatus caused by the pandemic, its director and founder, Constantino Martínez-Orts, had the happy idea of baptizing with a name-concept the new tours of his orchestra, always with programs made up of themes and suites belonging to film music. Thus, Fénix-Phoenix (symbol of rebirth – read more) was followed last year by Krypton (Superman’s native planet, since the tour was dedicated to “Heroes and Superheroes” – read more), and this year the key word chosen was “Henko“, which is more of a concept than a name, since it is a Japanese name that defines “a change from within and without return“, in the words of the FSO’s own website, “a forward movement without turning back in order to achieve transformative changes that make us a better version of ourselves“.


With this idea in mind, Martínez-Orts puts together a varied program, in the best tradition of the house, in which together with some current hits (such as the overture to John Williams’ Obi-Wan on television) are interspersed others of his own taste (Apollo 13, The Cider House Rules, The Rock, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, etc.), sprinkled with some immortal classics (Captain Blood, the love theme from Spartacus, a suite from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, another from The Godfather, Part II), and the occasional off-program surprise. More or less what the FSO tour proposes every year, but with a sort of common denominator that may be so broad that it fits everything, but that undoubtedly offers enough concreteness for the public, always massive at FSO concerts (they once again hung the Sold out sign), to recognize by a single word (whatever it is) the new FSO show.

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


Because that is what the public is going to see, a musical spectacle that is combined with an impressive display of lights and colors, which may be more or less to the liking of the followers of concert halls, but that Martínez-Orts has managed to consecrate as a trademark of the house. No one is fooled in this sense. In spite of having been active for more than a decade, since the first tour with music by John Williams took place back in 2012, the orchestra is characterized by its youth and therefore perhaps it can be blamed for a certain inexperience, but there is no doubt that it also means vitality and an essential willingness to perform around seventy concerts a year, some of them in double session, as was the case of the one on November 11, 2023, in the second show of the day, at 21:00 hours (and that practically took us to the edge of the next day, finishing close to midnight), after the one held in the afternoon, at 17:00 hours. With these premises in mind, the reader can get an idea of the energy required to undertake such a project, especially when the person in charge has recently become the father of twins (to whom we once again congratulate on such a happy circumstance) and has no guarantee of rest at the end of his long working day.


The concert program was as follows:


  • SKYFALL – Skyfall – Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth



  • CAPTAIN BLOOD – Overture – Erich Wolfgang Korngold
  • SPARTACO – Love Theme – Alex North
  • APOLLO 13 – Suite – James Horner
  • THE GODFATHER II – Suite – Nino Rota
  • THE ROCK – Suite – Hans Zimmer, Nick Glennie-Smith & Harry Gregson-Williams
  • STAR TREK – Suite – Alexander Courage, Jerry Goldsmith, Leonard Rosenman, Cliff Eidelman & Michael Giacchino



  • BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S – Overture – Henry Mancini
  • THE CIDER HOUSE RULES – Suite – Rachel Portman
  • SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET – Suite – John Williams
  • MULAN – Suite – Jerry Goldsmith
  • ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN- Suite – John Powell
  • POCAHONTAS – Colors in the Wind – Alan Menken
  • OBI-WAN KENOBI – Suite – John Williams
  • INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM – End Credits – John Williams



  • SUPER MARIO BROS – Koji Kondo
  • STAR WARS IV – A NEW HOPE – Cantina Band – John Williams


In this sense, and without any didactic/divulgative introductory prologue of those that characterize Martínez-Orts in his commendable didactic work when presenting each of the musical interpretations (contextualized perhaps too much with respect to the Oscar awards), the concert began with the song from the film of the Bond franchise, Skyfall (2012), which in the original was sung by the British Adele (and for which the film won an Oscar), and which here was interpreted by the vocalist Anaís Sancruz. A spectacular and unexpected beginning, since it was not included in the program. The powerful voice of the singer, along with the amplification of the orchestra (the best way to hear the music in the Palacio de Congresos, which is not designed for symphonic concerts), plus the play of lights that came into action from that first moment, impacted the expectant audience that applauded wildly at the end of the song and the beginning of the concert.

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


Next, we went in a more classical direction, continuing with a suite from Captain Blood (1935), by the Austro-Hungarian Erich Wolfgang Korngold, whom the FSO conductor rightly remembered as one of the greatest exponents of the generation of the golden age of Hollywood (winner of two Oscars, and not three, as Martínez-Orts commented, in a small mistake of no great importance). This was followed by the melodic and well-known love theme of Spartacus (1960), composed by the great Alex North (to whom I dedicated a book, ‘Alex North. El Viajero Impenitente, 2016’), and who the director vindicated by exposing some characteristics of his style, more contemporary and avant-garde than the one that dominated in Hollywood in those years when the music of Miklós Rózsa and his monumental Ben-Hur triumphed. Thus, Martinez-Orts well exposed the interest in North’s psychological introspection, contrasting it with the epic grandeur of the Hollywood paplums, although the love theme shone more for its melodicism than for any modern technique.


The orchestra entered fully into the subject with the suite dedicated to Apollo 13 (1994), by the late James Horner, of which a suite was offered and in which the “Americana” character of his music stood out, to which Carlos Conejero‘s trumpet solo contributed in a remarkable way, executed with solvency and brilliance. The director again summoned a new classic, in this case The Godfather, Part II (1974), by Nino Rota, explaining the reason for the presentation of the second part and not the first, the main reason given being the Oscar obtained by this score, after the Italian composer had been disqualified (for self-plagiarism) from the race for the prized statuettes a couple of years earlier when he worked for the first installment, due to the stubbornness of its director, Francis Ford Coppola, in using a theme from an old film by Rota, entitled Fortunella (1958). A suite in which the love theme was heard in the form of a waltz, a metaphor for the deaths carried out concentrically around the film’s protagonist.

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


Then, another leap was made to tackle The Rock (1996), a work signed by Hans Zimmer and some of his disciples, such as Harry Gregson-Williams, and Nick Glennie-Smith, although the latter was finally fired from the production, even disappearing from the film credits. Zimmer’s imprint was evident, as Martínez-Orts pointed out, with constant evocations of later successful works such as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise or Gladiator, as well as the collective methodology that has always characterized the so-called “Zimmer factory”, also explained by the director. The result was a protean suite provided with an epic percussion in which, as has been said, the audience could already glimpse harmonies and forms used later in other works by the controversial Teutonic artist.


Almost at the edge of the first part, came a trekkie suite composed of several titles of the franchise, both film and television, that began with the famous theme composed by the (usually) orchestrator Alexander Courage (acting as composer and creating one of the most iconic themes in the history of the medium), back in the mid-sixties, to continue with the central theme of the series Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001), by Jerry Goldsmith (another of the saga’s regulars), to continue with The Voyage Home – Mission save the Earth (1986), title with which the fourth film of the original saga was released in Spain, with music by Leonard Rosenman, recognizable by its characteristic metal pyramids, to continue with Star Trek VI: That Undiscovered Country (1991), by the then beginner Cliff Eidelman, which closed with dignity the saga of the first six films with the original crew of the Enterprise, before introducing the brilliant and dramatic theme composed by Michael Giacchino for the reboot perpetrated by J. J. Abrams in 2009, titled simply and plainly, Star Trek. The light effects here looked great accompanying the execution, perhaps a little too ephemeral, of this whole web of trekkie themes.

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


Finally, and to conclude this first part, the music composed by the Scotsman Patrick Doyle for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), which was the fourth installment of this famous franchise, was extensively approached by means of a suite, in which the theme of Hedwig composed by Williams is present, but with certain distortions that prelude dark aspects, and in which the ethnic touches (Irish and Bulgarian) of the respective teams in competition were also present, as well as the anthem composed by Doyle for the film.


The second part began after the usual interpretation of ten brief fragments of more or less known scores in order to proceed to the traditional drawing of a trip to Hollywood for two people among those who won the musical pool, after which Martínez-Orts offered an overture from Henry Mancini arranged by himself, on his Oscar-winning score for Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), the film starring Audrey Hepburn and that marked a before and after in the genre of sophisticated comedy. A very typical arrangement of the time in which, curiously, Mancini (one of the main promoters of the record market) opens and concludes the musical development with an excess of epic (designed for the audience of the time), which contrasts with the melodic subtlety of his song, the also Oscar-winning “Moon River”, on which a dramatic and intimate score is structured.


This was followed by the opportunity to listen to one of Martínez-Orts’ most personal bets, as was the choice of the beautiful score by the British Rachel Portman for The Cider House Rules (1999), the first woman to win an Oscar for her work in Emma in 1996, as recalled by Martínez-Orts, who also commented that it was a score that excited him personally and that was not recognized by the Hollywood Academy, in a clear injustice. In any case, it was one of the great moments of the evening, in which at that point the least important thing was whether or not it was included in the concept wielded around the word “Henko” at the beginning of the concert. The piano, played by Bauti Carmena, carried the melodic weight of the work of a composer not very prodigal in action or science-fiction films, more inclined and prone to drama and romantic comedy.

From here on, with the exception of Seven Years in Tibet (1997), one of the few scores that the FSO had not tackled in its previous tours dedicated to John Williams, and which also did not have an Oscar nomination (but did not win at the Golden Globes), characterized by the solo performance of cellist Rocío Fuentes, in her difficult role of emulating the great Yo-Yo Ma, who played the original piece for the film (and its subsequent recording edition), and who gave her all to make it sound as good as possible, is when it was perceived a certain tiredness among the members of the FSO accompanying her, given that undertaking two concerts of this magnitude on the same day is a complicated matter for those who have to carry out the performance.

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


In any case, the audience continued to react positively and gladly accepted the suites and songs dedicated to animated films that followed, such as Jerry Goldsmith’s Mulan (1998), which featured a timely performance by Sancruz, who also interpreted, in Spanish, “Colors of the Wind”, Alan Menken’s Oscar-winning song for Pocahontas (1995), after the FSO had performed Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006), from the animated film specialist John Powell, whom Martínez-Orts praised and even suggested as one of the possible successors to John Williams. Of this one, precisely, was the star theme of the night, the one the composer wrote last year, 2022, for the Obi-Wan series, another of the few important characters of the Star Wars saga that lacked a leiv-motiv. Martínez-Orts made his arrangement and concluded it with the saga’s central fanfare.


As a conclusion to the concert, he also turned to the American composer to interpret the final credits of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), the second film of the character’s pentalogy, which in addition to the march of the “Slave Children”, the exotic theme dedicated to “Short Round“, and the love theme for the relationship between Indy and Willie, opened and closed, as it could not be otherwise, with the popular march of the central theme.

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


And despite the late hour, Martínez-Orts offered as an encore a brief suite of music from the well-known game Super Mario Bros, by the Japanese composer Kôji Kondô, who hit the mark with his fusion of orchestral, Latin, and jazz music. A surprising culmination to a concert that, as always, closed festively with Williams’ “Cantina Band“, which has become a distinctive emblem of the FSO. And once again, no Spanish composer was represented in the program (NOTE: shortly we will publish a very interesting interview with the FSO CEO, which provides more information on this subject).

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


After the usual photo session in the hall of the Palacio de Congresos, to which the conductor and the costumed volunteers, whose act of presence is consubstantial to the FSO concerts, are always willing and patient, the evening came to an end, with Constantino Martínez-Orts confessing to being tired, but happy and content with the public’s reception, which is why they will repeat the program in Valencia next February 4, 2024, although this time it will be in the reopened Palau de la Música, where conductor and orchestra made their voyage popular.

Film Symphony Orchestra - Tour HENKO - Valencia - November 2023 [Concert Summary]


Article and pictures by Frederic Torres