Treasured Appearances #2: The Lord of the Rings In Concert
On Friday October 5, 2012 I had the distinct pleasure to attend a one-of-a-kind concert with film presentation that was absolutely electrifying from start to finish. It took place at Hamer Hall located at the Arts Centre in Melbourne Australia. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in full force combined with a 100 + strong Chorus and National Boys Choir performed Howard Shore's monumental symphonic achievement as the film played from start to finish digitally projected on a super large screen overhead.
The orchestral playing could not have been bettered. From the lyrical, melodic opening scenes concerning Hobbits and Wizards, through the darker passages of thundering orchestral might as sinister forces are sent to destroy our hero's quest, to the final reprise of its glorious stately main theme over the end credits, this experience was simply awe inspiring. The soloists and choir performed with aplomb.
For such a massive screen presentation the film looked surprisingly vivid, the colours rich and the dialogue clear but pitched at the perfect volume so as not to interfere with the music being spotlighted.
There's even more to appreciate in this presentation than the obvious joys of hearing such a distinguished work of musical art beautifully performed. And it's ironic because I thought that the film playing alongside the music would be its one unnecessary and possibly distracting element. How absolutely wrong could I be? With the score being the focus here (as if in the film say it was dialed way up and the sound effects taken down) one can revel in the enhanced dramatics of the music's contribution, especially when it's being performed live. Additionally, the film's presentation takes on a whole new dimension: By putting the music so up front and centre, it allows us to feel as if we were practically there during the creative process of scoring the film.
After having this most treasured and unique experience I could not help but dream of the possibilities... Herrmann's Vertigo, Steiner's King Kong, Rozsa's The Lost Weekend, even Fried's The Killing for crying out loud, being performed this way. If only...