My wife and I enjoy the NAC Orchestra shows, particularly the Pops, and if it wasn’t for simple cost and logistics, we’d sign up for them every year. Instead, we pick and choose the shows we want along with some others. With 17 shows across multiple venues, this was outing #2 this year. The theme for the night? The music of John Williams, namely from all his soundtracks of the greatest hits of films.
Up first was the Main Title from Star Wars (1977), and it’s a great blockbuster opening. From there, they slid into Superman March from Superman (1978). Just those two alone would be worth the price of admission for some people, including me.
After that, they went through The Flight to Neverland from Hook (1991), excerpts from Artificial Intelligence (2001), The Cowboys Overture from The Cowboys (1972), and Theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). They’re all good, and the Cowboys Overture has that big epic Western feel to it. But none are amazing.
The first half ended with Devil’s Dance from the Witches of Eastwick (1987) (aka Dance of the Witches), which I don’t remember being quite so Hallowe’enish in its feel, and then the blockbuster Raider’s March from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Pick these two plus the first two, and I could call it a night.
The second half started off with Liberty Fanfare (1986) which apparently Williams composed as a tribute for the re-inauguration/opening of the Statue of Liberty. Okay, not amazing. Suite from Far and Away (1992), Theme from Schindler’s List (1993), Hedwig’s Theme and Harry’s Wondrous World from Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (2001) followed, and while they were all good, only Hedwig’s Theme had a bit of innovation in it to keep it interesting. The concert master and first chair violin Yosuke Kawasaki played Schindler’s List, which was a great violin piece, but not really a challenge for the master.
Next up was the Shark Theme from Jaws (1975) and the sound is iconic. Plus conductor Jack Everly played with a hand puppet shark for laughs during the piece, which was fun. I was a bit disappointed with the Main Theme from Jurassic Park (1993), didn’t really excite me, although perhaps that’s because it is from the start of the movie before chaos reigns.
Last on the official programme was the classic “Adventures on Earth” from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982). It felt great to hear, although that may be partly because we just watched it a week ago with our son.
For an encore, they dusted off another Star Wars one, which was one of the marches from Return of the Jedi, I think, as it has the lighter Ewok theme worked into it a couple of places.
Overall, 17 pieces for the night, although I would have been perfectly happy with just five of them. Six if you include the encore. Still, the rest were all nostalgia for the movies, and enjoyable.
If you’re interested, here’s an Apple Playlist with all the music: