Sunday, July 15, 2012

I am in the matrix......

I have never been a fan of film soundtracks. There is no doubt that the music they contain can be very emotional and evocative.  That is, of course, the purpose of movie music- to underscore the emotion of a scene.  Soundtracks are usually made up of short pieces that are effective for what they are, but they do not challenge the listener with much thematic, rhythmic, or key development.  Yet, many symphony orchestras are having to rely on movie music to help fill their seats as a sure fire way to supplement the regular classical season. 

Well, I am reassessing my position, at least to a certain degree.  The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra filled Symphony Hall with its performance of the soundtrack to the "The Matrix" while the film was being shown in very nice digital projection.  I was totally surprised how the live performance made a powerhouse of a movie even more tense, exciting, and palpable.  I do not think that it would be possible to duplicate the power of a skilled symphony orchestra in a movie theater using standard film playback techniques. There is something so powerful and subtle about an in-person symphonic experience that cannot be duplicated.  About 90% (my guess) of "The Matrix" includes music, which made the impact of the ASO's performance even greater. 
No, I do not want to hear a symphony accompany "North By Northwest" or "Gone With the Wind," but I am interesting in seeing and hearing big, strong, splashy movies that have powerful soundtracks where a talented orchestra can add something potent and weighty.
If you get a chance, take in "The Matrix" if played by your local orchestra.  It's worth the time.   

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