X is for Xtraordinary!

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

A new trend sweeping soundtrack concerts is to show the film with dialogue and sound effects but no score, and below it, a live orchestra plays the music along with it.  My soundtrack nerd friends and I watched the last reel of E.T The Extraterrestrial this way at the John Williams concert a few years ago, but I’ve never seen a whole film this way.

Until now!

Titanic is one of my favorites, and the concert did not disappoint.  It took place at the Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s most historic (and beautiful) venues.

Photographs and videos in this post by Elizabeth West unless otherwise specified

Here’s the outside.

Albert Hall!

And here’s the inside.

Titanic Live-inside Albert Hall

James Horner, composer of the Titanic score (yes, he wrote the song too), was supposed to conduct, but due to a shoulder injury, he was unable to do so.  Ludwig Wicki (say it like Vicky) took over for him admirably.

Instead of just bailing on the thing, Horner and Titanic producer Jon Landau did a Q&A interview live before the concert, a bit early.  The audience for that was sparse–I suppose most people didn’t check their email, or perhaps they couldn’t get off work in time.  All ticket holders for the event could attend.

Here’s a picture of the panel.  I forget the guy’s name who did the questions, and I didn’t get a souvenir program, dammit.

Titanic Live--interview James Horner and Jon Landau

Then, the film!


Image:  fanpop.com

Normally, I watch Titanic on the anniversary of the sinking, but I skipped it this year because of the concert.  I know this film and its score by heart.  I know where every crescendo belongs; when I listen to the score, I see the film in my head.

The orchestra followed it perfectly.  They had a singer for the vocal instrumentation (the melody line parts in the score are vocal, in case you didn’t know), along with the Tiffin Boys’ Choir.  At times, I found myself sucked into the film and forgot that I was sitting in a concert hall and that there was a whole orchestra in front of me.

At the end of the interview, Horner dropped a bombshell–there was a very special guest attending the screening.  And he did make an appearance at the end.  Who was it?


Yes, the director of Titanic!

I dived for my phone and caught a little of his appearance.  You see him with Wicki at first, with Landau in the back, and then that’s Horner he bro-hugs at the end.  I apologize for the poor quality; I didn’t bring my actual camera.

That was a moment, I tell you.

I really enjoyed this show at the Albert Hall.  I would love to go back again.

Here is an interview with James Horner about the concert.  He talks about some of the things he discussed at the venue, and film scoring for Avatar, Avatar II, and in general.

And now it is past midnight and I am going to sleep.  Good night!

4 thoughts on “X is for Xtraordinary!

    • I know, right?! I nearly died when Horner said he would be in the house. I wonder if he enjoyed watching the film like Horner said he did in the other interview, or if he sat there and picked it apart in his head, ha ha. Like, “I should have done this, that shot could have been tighter, arrgh!”

      On Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 5:45 PM, Graphomaniac – Elizabeth West wrote:


    • You know what I did on the 100th anniversary? I watched Titanic, and then at the exact equivalent of the time of the sinking, I opened the sealed packet of one of my pieces of coal (yes, I’m one of the pothunters who bought some from RMS Titanic, Inc.) and lit a candle and held it. Touching it felt rather peculiar.

      Sue me–it was a moment. When I bail on this life, Titanic better be on the other side, because I want to visit her. And hang with all the peeps, first class through steerage. :)

      On Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 4:35 AM, Graphomaniac – Elizabeth West wrote:


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