Personal Review: Elmer Bernstein's 80th Birthday Concert (Royal Albert Hall, London)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Brecher, Oct 10, 2002.

  1. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    As some know, I attend classical and film music concerts frequently, and usualy put up little reports on the film music ones here on the HTF when one of the majors is there conducting their own work... Well, last night was no exception of another major composer conducting his own brilliant work.
    Last night, October 9th 2002, served as yet another memorable moment in my life in seeing another great composer/conducter and another stellar orchestra live, playing the most beautiful and awe inspiring of music before my very own eyes and ears.
    In celebration of his 80th year Mr Bernstein conducted the Royal Philharmonic orchestra before a packed crowd at London's Albert Hall. As Elmer told the audience, the orchestra is so very dear to his own heart having worked with them more than any other orchestra in his 50 year career. The orchestra gave it their all last night and to my ears never missed a single beat.
    The concert opened with performances of 'The Ten Commandments' & 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' performances of which almost reduced me to utter tears of joy. This was rounded off by the UK premiere of his incredible 1999 'Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra' for which Chistopher Parkering (who approached Bernstein years ago with the wish he compose this Concerto for him) served on guitar and was simply unreal.
    Prior to the interval Parkering played out a wonderful solo in dedication to Bernstein on his 80th birthday.
    Cynthia Millar who served on piano throughout the night was brought on at the start of part two to take to the Ondes Matenot, Berstein's use of which I fondly recall most of all from Ghostbusters. This was all part of a suite, a world premiere of 'Ondine at the cinema - Themes for Ondes Martenot and Orchestra.' I'd love for this to see the light of day on CD one day, it was simply sensational and Millar worked the instrument, you could see every note she held flowing through her.
    Bernstein led into 'Kings of the Sun' by discussing how much in demand a release of the score had been, and how a special concert piece had been put together. This was a UK premiere and another real crowd pleaser that evening.
    'Far From Heaven' was next, a world premiere of his upcoming score which I found simply beautiful as I am an obsessive piano and strings junkie which this score makes good use of. Shaping to be a really wonderful score.
    At this point, Bernstein abandoned any need for his own music notes as he conducted 'Man with the Golden Arm,' 'Walk on the Wild Side' and the finale, a suite from 'The Magnificent Seven' by heart. It was astonishing to watch him during this three incredible closing performances. The music is in him, he knows it through and through, knows it like the back of his hand. Man with the Golden Arm is still one of the greatest things EVER.
    Applause at the end of the night was big, at which point he returned for the encore which took the form of 'The Great Escape' at which point reaction from the crowd became immense. Genius at work before us and everyone was loving it.
    To everyone's surprise the concert ended with British TV presenter Michael Aspell bounding up the centre of the auditorium and onto the stage with a cameraman and grasping the infamous 'This is your Life' red book in hand, and this just sent the whole crowd completely and utterly wild. I'm hoping for that edition of the show to be aired here in the UK soon.
    It was just a wonderful, wonderful night for all and one that served to be an evening atendees will never forget.
    Dan
    NP: Boingo (Oingo Boingo)
     
  2. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Thanks, Dan.

    Film music is one of those unexplored areas for me (erm, outside of actually watching the movies).

    Do you know if this will be aired in the States?

    NP: Charles Mingus, Paris Concert, 1964
     
  3. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    I don't think the entire concert was filmed sadly, just the moment where Mr Bernstein was presented with the 'This is your Life' red book. I've no idea if that episode of This is Your Life will air overseas... I am trying to find out when it's due to air here.

    Dan

    NP: The Fellowship of the Ring (Howard Shore)
     
  4. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Peter Apruzzese
    I'm very jealous, Dan. Glad to hear it was such a good concert.

    We're trying to get him to come to next year's Lake Placid Film Forum, so maybe I'll finally get a chance to meet him.
     

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