BWW REVIEW: Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Celebrates The Power of Sound In Cinema in MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES
Saturday 11th May 2019, 8pm, Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Under the baton of Elizabeth Scott, 400 voices from the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs' combine with the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra for the celebration of cinema sound with MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES. Sydney Philharmonia Choirs largest community choir, the Festival Chorus, is paired with the young adult ensemble VOX to present an aurally spectacular force for the selection of contemporary and classical music, featuring voices, that have colored a multitude of blockbuster movies.
Sound has played an immense role in creating the mood of movies for many years. Some scores are easily recognizable, and others may not be as easily identifiable when presented out of the context of the movie they were written for but played an equally integral part of evoking the mood of the story. This concert, with introductions by Fenella Kernebone, celebrates the well-known and more obscure music, particularly the pieces that incorporate the human voice, that have helped make the movies they are in so successful.
The selection includes works created specifically for films and classical compositions, written well before the advent of cinema but all have the common characteristic of the ability to color emotion and elevate mood. Prolific contemporary cinema composer John Williams' pieces like the comical Double Trouble from HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN and the powerful tribal tones of Dry Your Tears, Afrika from AMISTAD sits alongside Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's imposing power of Dies Ire, mournful Confutatis and Lycrymosa from Requiem used in AMADEUS. Morten Lauridsen's mysterious reverential work for ANGELS AND DEMONS is presented with a contrasting ethereal sound of oboe solo, performed by Nicola Bell, in Rene Clausen's arrangement of Ennio Morricone's On Earth As It Is In Heaven from THE MISSION. Australian movies like Baz Luhrmann's ROMEO + JULIET and AUSTRALIA are celebrated with medleys and Ian Jefferson's arrangement of the Maestoso final movement of the Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony, set with Jonathon Hodges words is one of the few pieces presented with English text. The variation however from the movie's solo sung by farmer Hoggett, to having the piece sung by the full choir does change the degree of impact the work can have.
The music is wonderfully textured, and the force of the combined choirs is quite astounding to the point where during various bolder vocal pieces, they manage to relegate the orchestra to a barely noticeable undertone. The choice to have some pieces presented by the younger VOX choir with others incorporating the combined voices allows for a suitable level of sound variety to ensure the diversity of the work is celebrated.
Whilst MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES was a single concert event, hopefully the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs will choose to program another similar event as the works proved more accessible to a wider audience than the group's normal repertoire.