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CONCERT: Harry Potter on Tour / Live to Projection (Oslo, March 18th)


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The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Shih-Hung Young, is currently on tour in Scandinavia this month, performing live to projection concerts of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Besides Oslo, where I attended the concert today, their website lists Aalborg, Karlstad, Stockholm, København, and Aarhus as other cities where they will perform. I am not exactly sure of the concert dates and ticket availability for those, however.
 

This was, in fact, my first ever live to projection concert, and so I'll simply write a few brief thoughts on it, which will not be based on any sort of experience, standards or comparisons with these sorts of events, so do take what I say with a grain of salt.

 

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I cannot complain about the technique of the orchestra - it was top-notch. They did really well on the complex action sequences, such as the spider chase and the Quidditch scenes, which where powerful and well-synchronized, no doubt a result of the conductor who was meticulously following the score and the guidance screen in front of him, and lead the orchestra without any noticeable issues. He seems to have lots of experience with live to projection conducting, and those skills were evident. I also loved The Flying Car, and was amazed at how much sound the orchestra produced while playing the Voldemort/Chamber Opening motif - it actually drowned everything else that was going on in the film sound-wise, and I was in nothing but complete awe :D

 

My criticisms would come from the fact that the audience was explicitly encouraged to cheer, applaud and boo for various characters and events in the film. I realized that half of the seats were filled with small children and young teenagers, who were probably the target audience, and so the whole concert became too casual for my tastes. While I have nothing against applauding the orchestra where applause is due, I do have problems with applause while the orchestra is actually playing. Some character appearances and their actions resulted in moments of complete noise, which made listening to the orchestra practically impossible at times. Also, it seems that the orchestra decided not to play through the whole of the end credits, so there was no reprise of the Fawkes' theme, for instance, which was a minor disappointment - I really liked that rendition on the OST and was hoping to hear it separately from the action/dialogue in the film.

 

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On the non-musical side of things, there was a lot of merchandise to buy at the venue. Scarfs, pins, robes from all of the four Hogwarts houses, etc. I got the Programme notes, which were printed on such a massively-sized booklet that I initially thought they were selling vinyls :D. The notes include lots of pictures and quotes from the film, as well as detailed analysis on the score itself and notable pieces. They were also selling the CD album, which is the 5 Collectible covers version. All of it was definitely overpriced, but, I guess, that's what you'd expect when buying from a temporary stall at a concert venue.

 

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The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Shih-Hung Young, is currently on tour in Scandinavia this month, performing live to projection concerts of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

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