November 2004
Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs The High and the Mighty Suite

A suite from Dimitri Tiomkin’s Academy Award®-winning score for The High and the Mighty was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as part of the second concert in the inaugural “Friday at the Movies” series. The concert, titled “The Golden Age of Film Music,” was conducted by Richard Kaufman at Chicago’s Symphony Center on November 19. In attendance was Olivia Tiomkin Douglas who was introduced to the audience. The audience had the rare privilege of an onstage viewing of Tiomkin’s Oscar® statuette from the 1954 film. The concert marked the second public performance of the six minute suite arranged and extended by Patrick Russ from a shorter earlier version by Christopher Palmer, which Kaufman recently recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra (see May news, below). Kaufman and the orchestra received a standing ovation.

In addition to the Tiomkin suite, the music scores of Elmer Bernstein, Ernest Gold, Ron Goodwin, Bernard Herrmann, Maurice Jarre, Erich Korngold, Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman, Alex North, David Raksin, Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, and Victor Young were performed while selected still images from the films they accompanied were projected above the orchestra. Much of this music was composed between the years 1957 and 1964, for films ranging from Peyton Place to 633 Squadron. Sadly, hearing Raksin’s haunting theme for Laura and Bernstein’s rousing call to arms for The Magnificent Seven reminds us that their recent deaths signify that an era has indeed ended.

Concerts featuring film scores have gained increasing respect over the past several years. Live performances of film music have become standard fare on community and pops concerts, and the genre is growing more visible in the repertoires of regional and larger orchestras. In November alone, performances were heard from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Greeley, Colorado, to Redwood, California. The performance by the CSO, in their first-ever series devoted to film music, is noteworthy and perhaps evidence that film music is fast becoming a publicly and critically accepted American symphonic art form.

Richard Kaufman, who has served as principal pops conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, returns for the final program of the three-concert series, “A Night on the Red Carpet,” on February 25, 2005. On Oscar® weekend, the CSO will perform Academy Award®-winning music by John Barry, Maurice Jarre, Nina Rota, and others. Music from Tiomkin’s score for High Noon will be featured.

For ticket information: www.cso.org

For a review of the concert (“CSO steps out with evening of film scores,” by Michael Cameron): www.chicagotribune.com (search “Archives” for “CSO”)

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