Latest Review – John Williams: A Life In Cinema [The Hallé] [The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester]

The Hallé Presents


The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Last Saturday saw the Hallè Orchestra kick off their 2015-16 Pops concert series with John Williams – A Life in Cinema, a celebration of one of the most beloved and accoladed film composers there has been.

Now 83 years of age, the octogenarian shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, having recently worked on Jurassic World and with Star Wars: Episode VII, The BFG and Indiana Jones 5 still to come.

With a filmography comprising some of the most cherished and celebrated films ever put on the screen, and as one half of arguably the greatest composer-director partnership the cinema has seen, it is not difficult to comprehend why Williams has been so successful in a career spanning almost six decades.

In the gifted hands of the wonderful conductor, Stephen Bell, who also served as host for the evening, the 86-piece Hallè orchestra sounded nothing short of sensational. The Hallé put together a superb set-list for the evening, packed full of hit after hit, from Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Jaws, E.T. and Indiana Jones, alongside such lesser known gems as Memoirs of a Geisha, Hook, War Horse and Lincoln, all culminating in a grandiose medley of possibly the composer’s best known work, Star Wars.

The one glaring omission in an otherwise stellar programme was Williams’ haunting, Academy Award-winning score for Schindler’s List – arguably his finest composition – but on reflection perhaps the piece is a little too melancholic to be included alongside such epic, family-oriented themes as previously listed.

A superb celebration of a master composer, fully deserving of the packed out house which received it, and it was nice to see such a varied, family audience for an event of this type.

Coincidentally, it was announced this week that John Williams is set to receive the 44th AFI Life Achievement Award. This is the first time that a composer has been honoured with this prestigious award, and, after having the opportunity to revisit his work here, couldn’t be a more fitting tribute.

Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.

For more information on The Hallé and to book tickets for future concerts, please Click Here.

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