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 Posted:   Nov 12, 2013 - 10:20 AM   
 By:   franzfan   (Member)

Just back from a quick trip to London for the concert ('The Genius of Film Music 1960-1980') at the Royal Festival Hall last Friday which featured the London Philharmonic Orchestra (94 players onstage!) under the baton of John Mauceri. A fabulous evening!

The concert consisted of a programme, as explained by Mauceri, of music courtesy of 6 composers, evenly balanced between Europeans and Americans, albeit that two of the 'European's' were emigres who spent most of their working live in the USA.

The evening kicked off with a specially arranged symphony of Alex North's 'Cleopatra' commissioned by the composer's widow, Anna North. The symphony was arranged for concert performance by John Mauceri who conducted the London Philharmoic Orchestra in this London premiere of the work. Some members of the late composer's family (I failed to catch the details as announced by Mauceri) were present for the performance.

This was followed by 'The Godfather - A symphonic portrait' which was also arranged for concert by John Mauceri. The piece drew on music from 'The Godfather', Part 1 and Part2.

The first-half of the concert concluded with a rousing performance of 'The Ride of The Cossacks' from Taras Bulba composed by Franz Waxman.

After the interval Mauceri introduced 'Psycho - a narrative for string orchestra' in which he explained clearly the correct phonetic pronunciation of the composer's first name a la US style as....Ber..NARD, as opposed to the UK style of Bernard!

Next up was a suite (also edited for concert performance by Mauceri) from Bronislau Kaper's 'Mutiny on the Bounty'. This section of the performance included an unexpected contribution from a chorus, although there was none present on stage, and which to my ears sounded like it was a taped recording.

The official programme finished with another suite, 'Star Trek - The New Enterprise', which was also edited for concert performance by John Mauceri. I was not familiar with the piece which had been commissioned by Mrs Carol Goldsmith and which consisted of, to quote the concert programme booklet, '... an extended series of variations to accompany an eight-minute journey of discovery to view the refitted starship by the newly promoted Admiral Kirk.'. I did wonder whether the playing lacked tempo...

The end of the concert was greeted by enthusiastic appreciation by the full-house audience. And the sustained applause led to not one, but two encores!

First up was Deborah's theme from 'One Upon A Time In America' by Ennio Morricone, the only living composer whose music was featured during the evening. This was followed by a thunderous performance of the Main Theme from 'Lawrence of Arabia' composed by the late Maurice Jarre. Mauceri took the opportunity to introduce to the audience the LPO cellist Santiago Carvalho who had also participated in the original recording of the soundtrack when it was first recorded by the LPO just over 50 years ago!

A fabulous evening noteworthy for several reasons:
a) Superb playing by the LPO with significant contributions from some individual members of the orchestra. And Mauceri was always quick to give recognition to the particular performers at the end of each suite.
b) A highly enthusiastic and very animated performance by conductor John Mauceri. At times I worried for his safety on the conductor's podium!
c) The unusual concert format - six lengthy suites as opposed to the usual presentation of multiple single themes

SWMBO (not a huge fan of film music) and I were delighted to have travelled to London for a first visit to the Royal Festival Hall and to hear at first hand the excellent LPO.

And, 'Richard', if you happen to read was nice to meet you and to chat, albeit briefly, after the concert concluded. We should have stopped for a drink or two with you before heading back to our hotel.... next time, hopefully!

And not a visit to a CD/record store over the weekend. How times have changed!

 Posted:   Nov 12, 2013 - 10:38 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Mauceri has always been my hero!

Sounds like it was a great evening!

 Posted:   Nov 12, 2013 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

I enjoy almost everything I hear from Mauceri. On the mainstream labels, he's the nearest we have to those former champions of classic film music, Charles Gerhardt and Christopher Palmer.

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