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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Lord Of The Rings and the MSO

I 'm just coming home from the performance of Lord Of The Rings at the Melbourne Concert Hall. I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived; I had thought it might be the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra playing, perhaps, a symphonic suite with some scenes fom the movie playing in the background.
Boy, was I wrong. It was the entire movie of Fellowship Of The Ring, with the music soundtrack switched off and in its place a live orchestra and two choirs, a mixed adult one and a highly cute boys' choir on a balcony at the left of the stage, with their own soloist who got up every now and then to sing his bit, including that song in the end credits.

Oh, and my "restricted view" took the form of a kindly but tall cellist who grinned at me and said,"I apologise!" I told him that I was aware it was a restricted view seat and I was happy to see the orchestra. He promised to play his best for me.

Thing is, when you see a movie at the cinema, however wonderful the score is, you just enjoy it for what it is and think you really must buy the CD. When, however, you see the orchestra, watch the solo violinist at work, see the cellists doing pizzicato bits, hear the sound of the percussion and the brass from just behind, when you see the choristers opening their mouths to sing in Elvish, you realise just how much of a team effort it is.

It was a fabulous evening out and a pleasure, too, to see audience members from about ten years of age to white-haired ladies who probably bought the first edition of the book when it came out. They're doing a second concert, of The Two Towers, next July and you can book online till Sunday.

Guess what I'm doing? I resisted, with great determination, the $65 books about the score for sale in the foyer, even though they had a CD of unreleased music and concept drawings by John Howe and Alan Lee, so I have money I can put towards a ticket to the next concert. I mean, come ON! I have the fully illustrated LOTR with Alan Lee art. I have his version of The Hobbit, plus the much rarer Michael Hague one. I have an annotated Hobbit, a couple of copies with Tolkien's own art AND the ebook Enhanced Hobbit which has three of the songs that you can press play and Tolkien sings for you! I have books about the novels and about the move art, plus several Tolkien bios. How much more do I need?

The movie was just as gorgeous as the first time I saw it. I have visited some of those places when I went on "pilgrimage" to NZ a few years ago. The River  Anduin scenes were shot just outside Queenstown at a spot where people go bungee jumping. There was also a place where they filmed the Nazghul threatening Arwen and Frodo, where I went on the same half-day tour as where I saw the "Misty Mountains" ( the Remarkables, where people go hang gliding). Movie making is magic and this film was made by people who loved the book, a love that comes through. One of the Nazghul is a veteran rider who was offered his choice of riding jobs in the film and that's all he wanted. Even among the cast there was Christopher Lee, Saruman in the movie, who has been reading and rereading the novel since it first came out(and when the Tolkien Ensemble recorded Tolkien's songs, he was the most delightful Treebeard- he can actually sing, he started life as an opera singer).

The fans were worried before the film came out, but it was faithful to the spirit of the book and you can't ask more than that.

Neither could I have asked for a better concert.


miki said...

I'm really glad you fully enjoyed this experience^^ ( even with a restricted view at least you were there^^)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, that's what I thought too. And after all, I had seen the movie many times and I was there to hear the music. Besides, the cellist was such a nice man. :-)