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From Jaws to Jurassic Park: The Music of John Williams

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
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It doesn't get better than this

"John Williams was nominated for 51 Academy Awards. He won 5. What a loser!"

So (tongue in cheek) said conductor/compere Guy Noble, who, by the way, managed to be urbane, informative and funny - clearly thoroughly enjoying playing to a jam-packed audience who had clearly come to celebrate music from their favourite movies.

It has been a long time since I've seen the choir seats above and around the orchestra entirely filled. The roar of approval after the opening Superman march was well deserved.

Yes, Williams (entirely appropriately for movie scores) knows how to write for effect, and how to "sell" a melody. Add an orchestra which generates a superb sound, and is investing as much energy and skill into Jaws as they would to Beethoven, and the result is electrifying.

Frankly, this show ticked all the boxes - quiet, melodic standouts were the violin solo in Schindler's List (where there was an awed hush in the Concert Hall as many of us re-lived the film'simages in our mind) and the flute part in Memoirs of a Geisha. But for full throttle, blow your socks off thrilling musicality, the final Star Wars Suite was hard to beat.

My guess is that there might well have been quite a few people in the audience who don't often hear a first-class orchestra close-up and personal. What a wonderful introduction "From Jaws to Jurassic Park must have been. I saw a six year old kid practically levitating during a Harry Potter theme, on his feet and waving his arms with delight - while the well dressed elderly concert goer behind him beamed with approval.

If you'd like to have more detail on the selections played, and see an excellent diagram of what instruments go where on the stage, view the excellent program.

Full marks to the QSO - this is a show which deserves to tour widely.

Listening Guide

March from Superman
Suite from Jane Eyre
Music from Lincoln
Suite from Jaws
Suite from 1941
Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Schindler's List, Three Pieces
Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Adventures on Earth and Flying Theme from E.T.
The Flight to Neverland from Hook
Theme from Jurassic Park
Sayuri's Theme from Memoirs of a Geisha
Suite from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Suite from Star Wars Phantom Menace (Episode 1)
Across the Stars from Star Wars Attack of the Clones (Episode 2)
Suite from Stars Wars The Force Awakens (Episode 7)
Star Wars Suite
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Why? Great fun, great orchestra
When: 24th Feb, 7.30pm
Where: Concert Hall, QPAC
Cost: $47- $87
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