Have you been to a live music performance? Whether it’s Glastonbury or The Proms, Lady GaGa or Prince, there is something extra special in seeing it first hand, in the flesh, without ‘ducking’ or sound studio engineering (although I suspect some pop stars do have a little extra sound help from behind the scenes!)
So when I heard an advert on Classic FM radio for a performance of Heroes & Super Heroes theme music by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in a nearby town, it was too much to resist. I also wanted to start enlightening my sons so they could appreciate just what a beautiful thing a live orchestra can be.
I procrastinated not and booked the tickets post haste with the Lighthouse in Poole @LighthousePoole on Twitter and their website link is http://www.lighthousepoole.co.uk/home
The weather on Friday 14 February was horrendous so we left early and to avoid the danger of driving back in the dark during the storm, booked an overnight stay in the Holiday Inn Express Poole (a reasonable hotel, family room with breakfast included £55).
It was a quick walk across the road to the theatre and our seats were perfect; row L is on the front of the second bank of seats, so a great view of the orchestra and plenty of leg room.
There was definitely an air of excitement as the audience started to take their seats with a broad range of ages from 4 year olds to very elderly. The orchestra was starting their ‘tune-up’ with the usual out of tune sounds that were probably very in-tune to the trained ear. It all added to the experience of it being ‘for real’.
The conductor Pete Harrison walked on stage to great applause and without further ado swung into action with The Adventures of Robin Hood and having recreated the antics of Errol Flynn, Pete launched his able crew into their next piece, Apollo 13. The low, almost motorised rumble of the bass drum replicated the muffled distant roar of the damaged rocket that was safely returned to Earth and the images of the astronauts and the Houston launch pad who refused to accept they were doomed, very nearly bringing a tear to your eye.
But as I sat there, completely and utterly absorbing every second of music, I couldn’t help but marvel at the instruments themselves; the shine on the brass section was dazzling, a gleaming, indeed glowing instrument of precision and the enormous but exquisitely and artistically shaped harp that made me think of the gods & heavens as the harpist gently plucked at the long tight strings.
The violinists, their violins held firmly under their chin, was like watching a finely tuned army on the parade ground. Each stroke, the rise, the fall, the quiver, the start, the finish, was all so perfect as to be executed with military precision as their weapon of choice, the mighty bow leapt into action. (Funny when you think about it…a bow is also the name given to something that can cause great harm and you carry a ‘quiver’ of arrows).
I marvelled at the puffing cheeks of the wind section, the effortless but at the same time concerted effort they put into creating both a blast of triumphant sound as well as a more gentle lower pitch and the busy percussionists who moved seamlessly from one instrument to the next.
The anthology of film sound tracks combined to raise your spirits one moment, make you shed a tear in another and feel great passion and patriotism in the next.
From the Rossini William Tell Overture aka The Lone Ranger to John Williams Saving Private Ryan and Superman to Dr Who to which Pete Harrison added a proud PS – his father played the original base line – you were swept up in the wave and sheer spectacle of a live orchestra whose passion for their art was flying from their instruments and bouncing off the walls of the auditorium.
The theatre was comfortably warm but even so, I frequently gave a little shudder as the emotion a piece of music evoked sent a shiver down my spine and into my legs. This was exactly what I had hoped for and I wasn’t disappointed.
So I would like to thank Classic FM for supplying the inspiration to book the tickets, thank you to the Lighthouse Poole for providing the location and a MASSIVE thank you to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for performing such an inspirational and thoroughly enjoyable night at the movies!
There are still some performances you might be able to catch: the Anvil, Basingstoke Thursday 20 February at 7.45 or the Colston Hall, Bristol Friday 28 February at 7.30.
Here is the link to the BSO https://www.bsolive.com/