Live Music Review: Fantastic Worlds

Words: Kevin Stanley
Monday 18 March 2019
reading time: min, words

A thrilling film score binge from a top orchestra


The Hallé Orchestra's Fantastic Worlds concert was presented by Game of Thrones star, Hannah Waddingham the English actress and singer, best known for her contribution to West End musical theatre. So that's quite a treat to begin the evening. She's a fun, lively presence on stage, introducing each score with welcome anecdotes and jokes.

As the concert starts and the beautiful music soars up from the Hallé I close my eyes and allow the sounds to wash over me. Time to be transported to other worlds. The bouncy violins of the score to The Lord of the Rings having me off to JRR Tolkien's Hobbiton of Middle Earth. Next up the chill of winter approaching, as Ramin Djawadi's crashing theme music from Game of Thrones is played and we enter the mystical world of Westeros with its Kings, Queens and dragons. It's credit to the production values of new TV shows and video games that they put so much effort and heart into these pieces.

Next up, the upbeat trumpets, drumbeats and cymbals of Hans Zimmer's Jack Sparrow's theme from Pirates of the Caribbean I could almost smell the sea air and feel the salt spray and rum splashing at my face. 

The theme tune to the video game Final Fantasy is all immersive. An incredible score - to a computer game let's not forget. Released at least 25 years ago, long before it was common to put so much with into a mere game. Fast and fun but also tremendously delicate and beautiful. A full orchestra scoring a video game... We've come a long way since 8 bit bleeps and beeps. I remember playing this game back in the day and being blown away by the music then. Imagine then hearing it played live. More up to date are several pieces of music from World of Warcraft.

Other memorable scores include Brain May's Who Wants to Live Forever from Highlander - another real favourite of mine, Danny Elfman's Spiderman, John Williams' Harry Potter, James Newton Howard's The Hunger Games and a finale of John Williams' Star Wars.

Listening to these wonderful scores live was thrilling - especially for a film fan such as myself, sat amongst the grinning ranks of sci-fi and fantasy film fans in the audience. Great fun.

The next film related music show from the Hallé will be a wizarding binge next spring with The Magical Music of Harry Potter chalked up for 14th March 2020.

Fantastic Worlds by the Hallé was performed on Saturday 16 March 2019.

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