An evening of classic movie scores from The Hallé - an 86 piece English symphony orchestra who take up the entirety of the large stage - is a wonderful introduction to the world of orchestral music played live. It is of course made all the more accessible with a range of fine film scores, but I think that any music played by a group of musicians of this size and calibre would be thrilling.
At the centre of the stage stand conductor Stephen Bell and Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny - both men boasting tremendous stage presence. Bell - an energetic and animated conductor who uses his entire body to conduct his orchestra - with seemingly frenzied waving of his arms relaying precise instructions to his musicians. He’s so enthusiastic that his style even includes small leaps. Trelawny introduces each score, explains the stories behind them and discusses its composer as well as adding the occasional piece of trivia about the score or the associated film.
Highlights included themes from Jaws (John Williams), Jurassic Park (John Williams) and Psycho (Bernard Herrmann), tremendous scores well known to most audience members. However, the real joy for audiences will be realising that even the less well known scores will feel familiar and delight the senses.
The chase score from North by Northwest (Bernard Herrmann) was new to me, but it was truly enthralling and I could have listened to the score from The Sixth Sense (James Newton Howard) all evening, so captivating are any of James Newton Howard’s scores.
The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone), Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer) and Taxi Driver (Bernard Herrmann) were louder and more powerful, whilst The Incredibles (Michael Giacchino) was genuinely fantastic, using every instrument on stage to full effect. Of course the Mission Impossible (Lalo Schifrin) score will be perhaps the most easily recognisable to the audience and was a real joy to experience live.
A superb evening was rounded off by a rendition of Michael Jackson’s appropriately named Thriller which is as fun as it is enjoyable. It was a fantastic warm up for my next Classical themed trip to The Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham on Friday 27th April to see Queen: A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular.
The Hallé are clearly an extremely talented group of musicians, Stephen Bell is a gifted conductor and Petroc Trelawny is an engaging presenter. On tonight’s show alone I’m certain that any performance from The Hallé is an unmissable experience, and am looking forward to seeing them again on one of their visits with the Nottingham Classics concert series.
The Hallé: Classic Movie Thrillers played at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 14 April 2018.