HMI Tribute to American Film Music

Dan Showbiz

Got together with John tonight, and we headed on over to UCLA where we were going to partake in a free concert: the Henry Mancini Institute‘s Tribute to American Film Music. The auditorium was pretty full, but being press had its advantages and we got good seats in advance. The artistic director of the Institute, Patrick Williams, came out to speak and start off the concert, with a performance of King’s Row by Korngold. This set up the format for the evening – a musical selection (theme, song, suite, etc.) would be performed by the live orchestra, while projected on a screen above, the entire film in condensed form would be show. Yes, the entire film edited down to fit the length of the piece of music. The only notable exception to this was The Spirit of St. Louis, where they played the cue “Ireland” to the scene.

There were three notable highlights to the evening. The first was Randy Newman conducting a lengthy suite to his excellent score to Avalon, followed by him performing “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” from Toy Story. The next one was the 17-minute long concert piece from The Red Violin, introduced by composer John Corigliano. The violin work was just extraordinary to see performed. And third, James Newton Howard came out to conduct a suite from Wyatt Earp. Of course, it was highly inappropriate that the love theme was played against the violent images of the gunfight at the OK Corral, but hey – what can ya do? Also notable was the performance of Exodus, which is just such a great theme as always. Okay, four notable moments.