Music of Film – 13 June 2021

Music of Film
The Derwent Symphony Orchestra
The Cradle Coast Orchestra
David Bird and Robert Bentley, conductors
Stanley Burbury Theatre, UTAS Sandy Bay
13 June 2021

This concert brought together some 80 performers consisting of the DSO and visiting Cradle Coast Orchestra from the NW Coast along with augmenting players. The resulting ensemble was easily the largest orchestra heard in Tasmania since pre pandemic. While the title ‘Music of Film’ was a bit misleading with the program only including one actual film score, there was a well-chosen selection of fun pieces.

Things got off to a shaky start with some clearly under rehearsed results in the Bizet L’Arlesienne Suite No 2 where good wind playing was a redeeming feature. However from the arresting opening snare drum of Rossini’s ‘The Thieving Magpie’ Overture under David Bird’s taut direction, standards were high with crisp, alert articulation and good coordination if at a rather stately tempo. The famous Rossini crescendo was well handled as the piece proceeded to its climax.

The Richard Rodgers/Robert Russell Bennett collaboration for the 1952 television series ‘Victory at Sea’ was sumptuously orchestrated, rousing, tuneful stuff with the American flag flying triumphantly in a very aspirational 1950s way. I’ve always loved this music and a suite from the full score was robustly performed here under the direction of Robert Bentley with all the verve, colour (and volume!) one could want.

David Bird again led the large ensemble with authority and control in excerpts from John Williams’s wonderfully memorable music for the original Jurassic Park movie. DSO concertmaster Joseph Phillips contributed extensive, informative and entertaining program notes to complement a most enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment.

Peter Donnelly

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