The Concert Club explore music, cinema & the work of John Barry

Date published: 24 Feb 2014

Posted by: Joe Pick

James Bond Gun Barrell sequence

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The Concert Club, our project that aims to introduce a new audience to the Royal Centre’s classical music programme, met again this month for the first time this year.

Before Christmas we explored the development of classical music and the different roles in an orchestra, visiting the Royal Centre for the Halle’s Christmas concert.  The new year brought a new focus; the Royal Centre’s Neil Bennison joined us to introduce the club to the use of classical music in film.

It’s a huge topic, and we were only able to scratch the surface, but we looked at classic film moments from Hitchcock’s Psycho and Vertigo, Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti Western soundtracks, and the epic music that scores Lord of the Rings.  We discussed the relationship between music and films, how it can announce a character, push an emotion and build tension. The discussions eventually came round to the work of the great British screen composer John Barry, most famous for his James Bond scores; he also penned soundtracks for Dances with Wolves, Midnight Cowboy and Out of Africa.

The club was meeting in advance of a performance of  John Barry’s work at the Royal Centre by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. It was an evening of music every bit as epic as the films. Opening and closing with Bond themes, we were treated to a variety of pieces from his famous and moving back catalogue. ‘Born Free’ was a particular highlight.

The music was elating; in the final moments members of their group were out of their seats for a standing ovation. The energy of the conductor and the skill of the orchestra raised the roof, and took us with them!