Sunday, May 13, 2018
If you ever doubted what just the right musical score does for a movie, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra proved it beyond a doubt Saturday night at Little Rock's Robinson Center Performance Hall.
The dialogue and sound effects, intact, blared through the performance hall speakers throughout the screening of Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, but sans John Williams' musical score.
That was supplied by the orchestra, live on stage, swelled by two extra desks of violins and a brace of additional violas, plus a bit of supplementary brass, percussion and a synthesizer you wouldn't ordinarily hear in a symphonic concert.
Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson was in charge of making sure the notes all fit into the right spots as the film rolled on a large, rectangular screen, turning Robinson into an appropriately darkened movie theater.
The combination was as near to flawless as it would be possible to get -- so good, in fact, that if audience members were sufficiently tightly riveted to the screen, they might not even really know there were 70 or so musicians on the stage making the music possible.
"Raiders of the Lost Ark: In Concert" is the latest in a series of live-notes-to-screen pops performances the orchestra has assayed (previously The Wizard of Oz and Back to the Future and, coming in 2019, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial).
Some audience members Saturday or for today's reprise may not have seen the inaugural film in the action series, so a very brief plot summary may be in order: Adventuresome globetrotting archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) must outfox and outrace a French archaeologist rival and a cadre of nasty Nazis to discover and recover the Ark of the Covenant before Hitler can get his hands on it.
Williams weaves the dramatic, familiar theme throughout his masterful score, adapted slightly for just this purpose. Orchestra musicians gave the audience a couple of lagniappes, including a lead-in to the intermission (and yes, there is an intermission), a post-intermission entr'acte and, from a bevy of woodwinds, an enjoyable quasi-overture.
Robson and the orchestra face the music again at 3 p.m. today at Robinson, 426 W. Markham St. at Broadway, Little Rock. Ticket information is available by calling (501) 666-1761, Extension 100, or online at arkansassymphony.org.
Metro on 05/13/2018
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