A film score can make a movie. After one evening at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester I was reminded of just how crucial music is to film. Music often drifts by without our recognition and with just a little bit more attention to detail we can learn to appreciate the thought and conviction that goes into composing film music. Sometimes the best film music is subtle. It doesn’t take over the film, or draw attention away from the story, but simply compliments and enhances it. This July I was fortunate enough to spend an evening in this sensational venue with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra playing a variety of different arrangements, celebrating some of cinema’s most ambitious and under-appreciated film music. Hosted by film critic and fanatic Mark Kermode the evening involved listening to, discussing and exploring some of his personal favourite pieces of film music. In the second half of the evening, actor Paddy Considine and composer David Arnold were welcomed onto the stage to discuss their own work and express their own thoughts on what makes great cinematic composition. The evening was a diverse and interesting display of just how important music is to cinema and how sight and sound really do go hand in hand.
The venue itself was impressive. With the Bridgewater Hall’s superb acoustics, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s talent was exemplified. Kermode himself was a delightful host; passionate, opinionated and charming. Bringing his own love and knowledge of cinema to the event, Kermode made the event energetic and fluent. His great rapport with conductor and composer Robert Ziegler came across to the audience and their on-stage discussions and conversations created a relaxed and warm atmosphere. Both host and conductor collaborated well to create strong introductions to the pieces that were to be played. The actual programme was unexpected and fascinating. My personal favourites included the opening theme/medley from Mary Poppins, Ziegler’s own arrangement of ‘Tubular Bells’, made famous by Friedkin’s The Exorcist, and ‘Proven Lands’, composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and used in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. Considine was interviewed about his acting career and discussed, in depth, his directorial debut Tyrannosaur. It was David Arnold’s interview that was particularly fascinating and concluded the event wonderfully. Arnold was charismatic and passionate and gave a strong insight into the world of cinematic composing. By the end of the evening, as a satisfied audience member, I exited the venue with a new appreciation for, understanding of and interest in film music.
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.