On Friday, November 8, 2019, the Film Symphony Orchestra (FSO) conducted by Constantino Mantínez-Orts, visited the Kursaal Auditorium of Donostia-San Sebastián (Basque Country, Spain), during its 2019-2020 tour entitled ‘The Best Film Music in Concert’ (read more about it).
Carmen Ruiz, a regular collaborator in SoundTrackFest, attended the concert, and leaves us this complete and interesting summary.
The Film Symphony Orchestra has returned for a 2019/20 Tour, and is doing it in a big way, as usual: with surprises and a variety of pieces, sounds, and styles for all tastes. The adventure is guaranteed and the two hours of good music too.
The Kursaal Auditorium in Donostia-San Sebastian is gradually filled. We are occupying our seats and we wait impatiently for the musicians to come out and start the concert, while we review an interesting program and anticipate what will come. The concert begins with the fanfare of “Kings Row” by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The orchestra goes strong from the beginning and captivates a committed audience. It is a good start for what we still have to see. Or, better said, listen.
Next comes “The riddle solved” by Bruce Broughton, a theme belonging to the final credits of “Young Sherlock Holmes”. It sounds cheerful and dynamic. One of those pieces with a classic style like the ones we used to have before.
A suite of “The King’s Speech” is played next, where Alexandre Desplat offers one of the most peaceful and poetic moments of the night. It is a melodic piece for piano and orchestra, simple and elegant, performed with exquisite taste and welcomed by the public.
James Horner gives us one of the highlights of the concert, one of the most requested pieces through social networks and one of the most applauded: the main theme of “Willow”. Epic medieval adventures, fantasy, and a tender touch. Heroic notes, easily recognizable to any movie fan, that are a true delight.
And then we get to the dinosaurs of “Jurassic World” with Michael Giacchino, who had the complex task to “inherit” the score from John Williams’. After so many movies in the saga, I find it difficult to innovate in that soundtrack because there are reminiscences of previous music. Even though, great work by Giacchino and outstanding performance of the orchestra.
From the dinosaurs, we go to the theme “The Adventures of Han” by John Williams, a fresh and dynamic scherzo that accompanies Han Solo in the film. The good thing is that the music of maestro Williams is sublime and it is rare that he disappoints. It is a safe bet. But… John Williams again? Anyway, the piece is nice and leaves us with a good sensation.
A suite of “Aladdin”, by Alan Menken, cheers up little children and I would say that also the adults. We enjoy the most significant themes of the movie that follow each other in a whirlwind of cheerful, fun, and playful notes that get big applause.
Expectation. The orchestra is going to play “The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone. And they introduce us to the soprano who is going to sing: Gloria Novoa. We know how well the orchestra plays, but the inclusion of a voice in the concert is new. And we want to hear it. The orchestra begins to play and when Gloria’s voice is heard, there is also silence in the area where I am sitting. Completely wonderful. Her voice fills the auditorium and no one can take his/her eyes off her. It is simply perfect.
After an intermission of about twenty minutes comes the second part, which begins with the main theme of “North and South” by Bill Conti, also the composer of other series such as “Dynasty” and “Falcon Crest” (to which the orchestra makes a reference, by the way). The piece is sober and very, very beautiful.
The next theme is a suite of “Amélie” by Yann Tiersen. With the performance comes an instrument not very frequent in symphony orchestras: the accordion, played by Ignacio Herrero. A colorful and cheerful delight.
Then comes one of my most anticipated pieces: the suite from “How to train your dragon” by John Powell. Splendid, energetic, with Viking and Celtic feeling, and a magnificent performance by the orchestra.
John Williams returns. This time with a vocal theme that Gloria Novoa sings: “For Always” from the movie “A.I. Artificial intelligence”. Although she had enchanted us in “The Ecstasy of Gold”, now she captivates us completely.
“Interstellar” suite by Hans Zimmer. I think the mere title speaks for itself. Impressive, loud, and sweeping. The sound of the organ, accompanied by the entire orchestra, gets inside and overwhelms you. Fascinating and overwhelming.
The concert ends with “Main on End” by Alan Silvestri (from the movie “Avengers: Endgame”), a suite of “Pirates of the Caribbean”, by Klaus Badelt, and another from “Back to the Future”, again by Alan Silvestri. The three full of strength and big sound.
Of course, we couldn’t miss the encores. The first is “Mambo” from “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein and the usual “Cantina Band” from “Star Wars” composed by John Williams as a farewell.
As a summary, the orchestra has an excellent sound, energy and good work of musicians who give everything from the first note. They make music in its purest form, conducted, as always, by Constantino Martínez-Orts. Works available in digital download, both on iTunes and on Amazon, which are well worth it.
Article by Carmen Ruiz
Pictures by Film Symphony Orchestra