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What's Hot? Classic Films Projected With Their Orchestral Scores Performed LIVE

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
A scene from Star Wars: A New Hope at the Mann Center with The Philadelphia Ochestra in 2018.

In the first part of the 20th century, live music accompanied the otherwise silent movies. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, concerts that pair projections of popular films, such as The Lord of the Rings, with live performances of their scores, showcase the music and the imagery in a whole new light.

Grease wth the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia is on August 15th, 2019 at the Mann Center. Info here.
"We don't try to recreate the film experience. We let the music play in all of its wonder and glory and dynamics." - Howard Shore

Radio script:

Susan Lewis: The lush music for the three-part film adaption of The Lord of the Rings was written by composer Howard Shore for orchestra, choir, and soloists. After the complete recordings were released, Shore also created three scores that could be performed live in concert, synced with projections of the film.

Howard Shore: You’re seeing the imagery of the film, you’re hearing the dialogue, you have the story, but you’re getting this wonderful symphonic performance of the music.

Howard Shore at work.

SL: The complex classic fantasy is set long ago in a place called Middle Earth. The score’s musical themes  and leitmotifs express characters and ideas, such as the pivotal formation of the Fellowship – which pledges to destroy the ring that embodies evil that threatens the land.

HS: A young Hobbit stands up and says,  'I will take the ring,' who is Frodo. And then each part of the Fellowship comes to his aid…It’s a scene where you see the heroism and honor from all different races.

SL: The theme builds through that scene in fragments. And finally in that scene you hear the culmination of the theme in its full glory.

HS: We don’t try to recreate the film experience. We let the music play in all of its wonder and glory and dynamics.

SL: The Lord of the Rings, in concert with projections, has been staged all over the world.

Listen to The Lord of the Rings composer Howard Shore talk with WRTI's Susan Lewis about his composition process, and about concert performances of his scores with projections of the films.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.