It’s the blockbuster show many concert-goers wait all year for: The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is performing A Night at the Movies on Saturday at the Memorial Centre.
With John Williams’ themes to Star Wars, Harry Potter and E.T. on the program, “It’s powerful music, orchestrally, so it’s going to be big,” promises music director Claude Lapalme.
The orchestra will also play The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from the film Fantasia, as well as the theme to Star Trek movies by Jerry Goldsmith.
As one would expect, these colourful pieces paint vivid visual pictures for listeners, says Lapalme.
Williams’ Star Wars theme, for instance, borrows from the Wagnerian tradition of creating separate musical vignettes for each character, then wrapping these into the famous main score: “There’s a theme for Yoda, a theme for Princes Leia, and the Imperial March theme for Darth Vader…”
Lapalme explains each character’s music is varied according to the situation. During Vader’s death scene, for instance, the Imperial March takes on an “eerie” quality as the villain’s soul leaves his body.
A lighter “sense of wonderment” is captured in Williams’ flying music from E.T.
Lapalme says it echos the film’s score, but also introduces a new melody reflecting the boy’s sense of awe as his bike lifts off the ground.
Although music for the movies is generally created to be accessible and catchy, there’s nothing particularly easy about playing it, says Lapalme.
He notes the Star Wars theme was purposely slotted at the end of the concert so the trumpet players’ lips get a chance to fully “recuperate” from the rehearsal workout.
Similarly, three bassoon players will be endurance tested by The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, written in 1897 by French composer Paul Dukas.
Lapalme said this music was inspired by a ballad about spell-bound broomsticks created by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and the scene was animated for Disney’s classic Fantasia.
On the difficulty scale, it’s even tougher than the Williams film themes, admits Lapalme.
As for Goldsmith’s composition for the Star Trek movies, Lapalme believes it skillfully succeeds by hinting at the original TV series music, while making the new theme sound more heroic — as befits a big-screen telling of the story.
The Memorial Centre is larger than the orchestra’s usual college venue, but tickets to this concert are selling fast, says Lapalme — indicating there are many local enthusiasts of music and the movies.
For more information, contact the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre.