I sat down with Neil Bennison, Programme Manager for Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall, and discussed the film music festival that has been taking place in Nottingham from 24th–28th March. We talked about the chosen theme of science fiction, why film music is an ideal opportunity for those less versed in concert knowledge to experience a live orchestra whilst still appealing to avid fans of music, and the exciting possibilities of future events.

The relationship between music and film is one steeped in history. Our appreciation of music within film certainly differs yet it captivates us all, whether we know it or not. I am sure almost all of you know John Williams’ musical theme to Star Wars. Yet, film music also ranges from lyrical works, such as Elton John and Tim Rice’s work in the Lion King, to more ambient, atmospheric compositions, such as in the recent Interstellar.

Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall have decided to throw Nottingham’s first film music festival and it involved all sorts of great events revolving around the theme of science fiction. The Hall has been host to film music concerts previously, with themes including John Barry’s James Bond, John Williams’ classics and Academy Award winning scores, yet had never attempted anything of this scale.

Mr Bennison described the theme of Sci-fi as almost having fallen into place due to such good opportunities opening themselves up to him and, for film, it is a fantastic choice. Science fiction movies almost date back to the invention of film and there have been countless since – perhaps reflecting the human passion for discovery, fantasy and mystery.

Back to the Future played a prominent role with both a screening at Broadway and Alan Silvertri’s theme included at the renowned Hallé Orchestra performance of many of the best science-fiction film scores, including music from the films Moonraker (Barry), Avatar (Horner), Star Trek (Goldsmith) and Star Wars (John Williams) to name a few.

Musical scores from many science fiction films throughout the ages are as famous as the films themselves and, as Neil said, film music is the perfect opportunity for those newer to orchestras and classical music. By design, film scores instil emotion into audiences like no other style of music. Furthermore, through music, the memory of these emotions are forged inside your head. When you next hear that piece of music, be it day, years or even decades later, you, like Marty McFly, will be transported back to your past.

We discussed the possibility of future events and Neil mentioned that they are planning next year’s theme already. Yet, ambition does not stop at future festivals; Neil described his vision for larger, more varied, increased number of events, each more inclusive than the last. One, in particular, was for a group of musicians walking around the city creating a live score to everyday life.

Although now coming to a close, the festival has been fantastic. It has given film and music fans alike events to get excited about almost every day for five days. It has also given opportunities like no other; the screening of Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’ with a live score performed by London Sinfonietta was an unforgettable experience. The prospect for future film-music festivals instils me with anticipation and I cannot wait to see what the Hall has in store for the future!

Fred Lloyd-Williams

A large thank you to the Royal Concert Hall and, in particular, to Neil Bennison for the opportunity to sit down and discuss our passion of film music.

Click here for the full programme of events.

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Media courtesy of Sony Classical Records and Theatre Royal Concert Hall.

 

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