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Omen II

BBC Proms 2019

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The 2019 BBC Proms season was announced today and as always there are plenty of interesting concerts scheduled.

 

There are a couple of concerts of particular interest to film music fans, including a tribute to Warner Brothers from those Proms stalwarts the John Wilson Orchestra.  The programme includes some of my favourite pieces of Golden Age film music, The Contstant Nymph by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Treasure of the Sierra Madre by Max Steiner and Alex North's A Streetcar Named Desire amongst others.  Luckily there will be two performances on 9th August.

 

The Warner Brothers Story

 

The late night Prom a few days before that is a concert of sci-fi film music which looks interesting too (https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/eqhj6q).  I have my eye on several other concerts in the season, but would be interested to hear what your top picks would be.

 

BBC Proms website

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I feel like there should be more Steiner, given his outsize importance at WB in that era, but it's a really cool concept for a film music concert nonetheless.  Alfred Newman and Fox tend to get more attention, but the WB music department led by Leo Forbstein was the best in the biz in the 30s and 40s.

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The London Contemporary Orchestra which played in yesterday's The Sound of Space late night prom included not only a contrabassoon but also a contrabass clarinet, a contrabass trombone and a contrabass flute!  The musicians were all dressed casually but there was nothing casual about their performance.  At least four of the composers were in attendance: Steven Price (Gravity), John Murphy (Sunshine), Carly Paradis (The Innocents) and Jed Kurzel (Alien: Covenant).

 

The whole concert was filmed for TV broadcast on BBC Four tomorrow (Friday 9th August) at 10:30 p.m.  It was a great idea for a late night prom with some wonderfully unusual selections, including the world premiere of a suite from Johann Johannsson’s Arrival.

 

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Both 'The Warner Brothers Story' and 'The Sound of Space' proms concerts are now available to watch on the BBC iPlayer for those in the UK (and those overseas clever enough to know any workarounds! @Disco Stu et al.).  Alternatively, anyone can listen to the concerts via the BBC Radio 3 site.

 

The Warner Brothers Story

The Sound of Space

 

I was lucky enough to attend both concerts and cannot recommend them highly enough.  The performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Tomorrow from The Constant Nymph was one of the best live concert experiences of my life, it was real goosebumps stuff in the Royal Albert Hall.  It has long been one of my favourite pieces of Golden Age film music and I have occasionally waxed lyrical about it on here in the past.  It was sung beautifully by the American mezzo soprano Kate Lindsey, who has a proper old school mezzo voice, and the audience just erupted when the piece finished.  Even if you only watch one part of the concert, watch that.

 

Incidentally, there was a ripple of 'laughter of recognition' in the audience when the second encore Harry's Wondrous World started, much as happens often when the Jaws theme is played in concerts, so embedded now is John Williams's music in the public consciousness.

 

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