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.
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.
And here’s the inside.
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.
Then, the film!
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!