The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) brings the works of film’s best composers to life in two amazing movie concerts.
Now we all know the hallowed halls of the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas have permeated some of the world’s most renowned classical pieces. Through the talented hands of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, music from Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Chopin have been replicated in truly tremendous form over the years. However ever so often, the MPO shifts gears to highlight some of music’s modern composers.
That is exactly what happened when in July and September of this year, the MPO paid tribute to the world’s most renowned film composers. The Magnificent Seven concert on 23 July and A Tribute to John Williams on 16 & 17 September, were designed as a tribute to film music. But for those in attendance, it served as much more than that.
An institution designed to promote music, the DFP is also a place where like-minded individuals converge to appreciate music. In the case of these two movie concerts, the MPO guided by Resident Conductor Gerard Salonga, transported audiences into the world of film and movies.
Those in attendance were treated to a musical journey that showcased the exceptional music composers such as Bernstein, Mancini and Zimmer created for films. Much more than that, it also served as an insightful and educational experience that peeled back the curtains, showing how these compositions came to be.
Seven Remarkable Movie Composers
Titled The Magnificent Seven, Salonga and the MPO along with special guest Jaclyn Victor delivered a rousing performance with a curated list of amazing film scores and songs. As the title suggested, the concert opened with ‘The Magnificent Seven Overture’ by Bernstein. Songs that followed included works by Morricone (‘Cinema Paradiso’ and ‘A Fistful of Dollars’), Mancini (‘Pink Panther’ and ‘Moon River’), Zimmer (‘Gladiator, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’) and Schifrin (‘Mission Impossible’).
Through the powerful of voice of guest singer, Victor, the MPO also produced stunning renditions of movie songs. Victor’s powerful voice replicated the beloved theme songs from ‘Titanic’, ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘You Only Live Twice’ and ‘Goldfinger’. The two-hour concert was a truly epic and entertaining affair. However, of the seven composers featured, one was a notable absence.
After all, when discussing movie scores and concerts, the name John Williams is assuredly part of the discussion. That issue was addressed by Salonga as he led the MPO in a lively rendition of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ for the concert’s encore. Prior to taking the podium, the resident conductor announced that the omission of Williams was due to the MPO planning a tribute to the composer in celebration of his birthday.
A Tribute To John Williams
Salonga and the MPO kept to their word, because barely two months later the orchestra was back again tuning up for another entertaining pair of movie concerts. Held across two nights, the concert themed Happy Birthday John Williams! served as a tribute to the legendary film composer’s 90th birthday.
Playing to sold out crowds over the two days, the MPO celebrated John Williams’ illustrious career by performing some of his iconic movie soundtracks from ET, Superman, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and the unforgettable Star Wars.
The song list for the night also included compositions from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Hook, Schindler’s List, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Terminal and a personal favourite, the chilling and memorable theme from JAWS.
Happy Birthday John Williams! marked the second time the MPO orchestrated a tribute concert to the five-time Oscar winner. I was fortunate enough to attend that first concert back in 2011, which incidentally first introduced me to the MPO.
If anything these movie concerts by the MPO serve as a reminder that a love for music stretches far beyond interests, ages and genre. As the MPO has repeatedly showcased through its Classical Concerts, Pop Concerts and Family Day Concerts, there is something for everyone at the DFP.
Keep tabs on the MPO’s next series of concerts through their official website.
(Images: The Malaysian Philharmonic)