We come in peace at Goteborg’s Symphony Orchestra

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by Lilja, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. Lilja

    Lilja Master Chief Petty Officer

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    So on the evening 12th of January 2017, I went to the Goteborg’s Symphony Orchestra to see the production ’we come in peace’.

    I am a music lover, and although I respect classical music, it is not what I would normally choose to listen to.

    I have never written a review before and I really don’t know how to right one. The entire concert lasted for a little over two hours, so there is a lot to cover, so I apologise if this gets rather long.

    Orvar Säfström was the presenter and one of the producers, they has a very good reputation within Sweden and has put together many productions based around ‘pop culture’. They have produced several productions based around gaming , films and science fiction. They introduced every piece and I got the impression that science fiction and gaming is a genre that they themselves enjoys and wanted to put together something that was both respectful and enjoyable.

    The orchestra and conductor are also very respected and have very good reputations. I am proud to say that they are my distant colleagues, as we all work for the local government. Unfortunately I really can’t say much more about them, this being the first time that I have listen to them.

    I created a youtube play list that generally covers the concert, it can be found here : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDSnb0e-nTMEMTWD4ub6ITS5SZkH2LB6F

    So I’ll start at the beginning and talk about each piece in turn.

    Introduction to Also Sprach Zarathustra by Strauss, famously known from 2001 : A Space Odyssey. There is truly no better piece to begin with, it served as a great powerful introduction.

    Battlestar Galactica Theme from Battlestar Galactica (original) by Philips, I watched many episodes as a kid, and the split second of the trumpets playing, I was taken back to the fights against the Cylons. After the powerful introduction this was an excellent choice as the music instantly filled every corner of the hall, I was surprised to see that there was a subtle usage of coloured lights throughout the concert in an attempt to add more depth to the music.

    Opening titles / Donovan Looks Up from V (original series) by Harnell, this piece was chosen due to the important role that V has played within Science Fiction and despite the budget a good series was produced. For me personally the music was very powerful, watching the orchestra it was very interesting to see the many different playing techniques employed within the string section.

    Building a Trap / Main Theme from Predator by Silvestri, this was another powerful piece very much dominated by the percussion section, offset by the wind section. As luck has it Arnold Schwarzenegger, was at the time paying a visit to Göteborg, however they were not at the performance, or didn’t wish to reveal themselves.

    Unforgotten / Main Theme from Halo by O´Donnell, this piece was chosen as the producers have had some history with Halo. Orvar was chosen a few years ago to put together a concert consisting of Halo music for the release of one of the sequels (I can’t remember which one he said it was), the concert was timed so that it would end just as Halo was released. Orvar had some strong feelings towards this music as he felt it was very striking and contrasted with much of the other music found.

    The Shape of Things to Come / Kara´s Coordinate from Battlestar Galactica (newer) by McCreary, Orvar spoke about the scenes where these pieces were used, but my personal opinion is that they were chosen to highlight some of the abilities of orchestra.

    Adventures on Earth from E.T. by Williams, such a famous piece of music, almost all children (or children of a certain decades) E.T. is such a special and poignant film, it is a piece that I am sure all of you know, but what I can’t get across in words is the feeling that went along side with this music, particularly the warmth that I felt. For me E.T. was on TV around Christmas and it became a Christmas tradition to watch it at that time as the year. It also brings back memories of the ET ride when my family had a holiday in Florida and we were lucky to be at the front and could hear ET say our names.

    The next two pieces Plasma No. 1 from The Thing from Another World by Tiomkin and Suite from The Day the Earth Stood Still by Herrmann, I shall put together as these pieces were obviously chosen and placed together to give homage to the theremin. Unfortunately I was almost oblivious to the orchestra and focussed on Kristofer Eng Radjabi, who was playing the theremin. It was absolutely fascinating to watch it being played, as I very much associate it with many of the older Science Fiction movie music.

    After the intermission, we were thrown into

    Main Theme / Bishop´s Countdown from Aliens by Horner, a very powerful piece where the percussion section very much dominated the music.

    Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan Main Theme by Horner and The Next Generation - Main Theme by Goldsmith, these pieces were very interesting as they have to be identifiable with the franchise but have to stand out as separate pieces. The introduction lead me very much to believe that Start Trek is close to the producer’s heart.

    Suite from Serenity by Newman, the wild west in space, a very interesting piece from a very important series. The concert’s version lacked the banjo and the vocals, but the banjo was subtlety replaced by the string section.

    Suite from Wing Commander by Sanger, the piece that you have all been wanting to read about no doubt. The piece was chosen not due to the game or what the game itself meant for the gaming industry, but what was accomplished with the soundtrack, Orvar talked about how prior to Wing Commander game music was terrible, and although the music that Wing Commander used were not brilliant, how it was used within Wing Commander was well implemented and changed music within future games. Orvar said that they would play (in order and his titles): title music, briefing, battle and medal ceremony. The pieces all went together well, great care had been taken to ensure that they flowed into one another. The mixture of the wind and string sections I feel complimented each other very well especially during the title music. The briefing music allowed for a short period of concentration before the organised chaos of the launch process. The battle music was played well, but the real highlight for me came towards the end with the medal ceremony, where the strengths of the different orchestral sections came together and played a very enjoyable piece of music full of pride and joy.

    The Destruction of Hometree from Avatar by Horner, I feel as if this music was chosen for the youngest audience members, as well as to highlight the destructive nature of humans. Horner received praise, as they had a very hard job in writing the sound track with the film being behind schedule. It was a very powerful piece and without the film, the music provided a very vivid picture of the events that are going on.

    Princess Leia´s Theme by Williams, Orvar spent quite some time talking about the Star Wars music, and how the films have a huge role within Science Fiction. The Star Wars pieces had been provisionally chosen and the orchestra had presumably been practicing several different pieces. The music was finally decided upon in the last week or two. Orvar had thought about including music from Rogue One, however as it was released they thought that it was rather ‘weak’, and decided to stick with the music from the original. With the passing of Carrie Fisher, the choice of Leia’s theme was again confirmed, and served very well as a tribute. The piece was played beautifully and I am surprised that it did not receive a standing ovation. Certainly almost everyone was moved by the music with many of the audience in tears.

    The final piece Throne Room & End Title from Star Wars by Williams, as the last piece did receive a standing ovation, I can’t say too much about it, it is a piece that everybody knows. It was fitting as an end to the concert.

    An encore piece was also played this being the Imperial March by Williams, it had to be thrown in somewhere had it not ? a powerful and striking piece of music, which truly brought everything to a wonderful closure.


    So that was a run through of the concert.

    I think that most people there were in their twenties, thirties and forties, I expect that the producers were expecting the same and had chosen pieces very well, to suit their target audiences age and to really pay homage to the science fiction genre.

    One thing that really struck me, is that I had never really given much thought to the work required to play music as an orchestra (even though I learnt to play the violin), quite often it is used as back ground music, or to set the scene or add emotion. I have a great respect for the Family Guy team as they use an orchestra for much of their music, I have no doubt that there are others who use orchestras but Family Guy springs to mind. During the concert I saw some of the immense work involved, the musicians during the performance were making slight alterations to their instruments, not only in-between pieces but also during slight pauses in the piece.

    The pieces and their order went together very well, although at times the pieces were very contrasting, However I thought that it showed some of the range and abilities that are open to an orchestra.

    Finally, I feel that it is one thing to listen to music via vinyl/CD/MP3/etc , but a whole other thing to go to a real live orchestral concert. So I would encourage all of you to actually go out to one. I certainly hope that concerts of this theme will become more popular, I myself will certainly be keeping an eye open for another one of this kind.

    Here is a link for the youtube trailer that was created by the producers.


    And below are a few images.

    CCI14012017.png CCI14012017_0001.png CCI14012017_0002.png

    I shall try to keep an eye open for anything else related to the event, with any luck it has been recorded and will be available somehow.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
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  2. Worf

    Worf Vice Admiral

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    I'm no classical music fan. In fact, for the most part, I usually detest it (usually they're just stuffy formal attire events). Which is ironic since I love orchestral music, especially soundtracks (movie scores and videogames) - they are my favorite kind of music. I

    So I've been to many "live" performances (Video Games Live, Star Trek Live, etc), and I do enjoy them. However, I also note that if you stuffed me into a classical concert, I'd probably hate it. Yes, the recordings do no justice to the pieces - there's still a certain thing that live has that a recording doesn't have.

    Many symphonies and orchestras are adapting - they've seen the slow aging and dropping attendance of the "traditional" pieces (classical) and have realized that modern music (soundtrack scores, etc) actually do attract a large number of younger people. So many have actually started to produce such shows because the clientele for classical shows is dropping (and thus funding), while the more modern music attracts the younger crowd who will likely be the ones to provide revenue for years to come. Plus, the informality of such shows helps (T-shirts and jeans? fine!). There's even a show out there (I forget its name) where the composer has woven more traditional pieces with modern ones, mostly to highlight their similarities and inspiration. So you'd have Star Wars, followed by a piece written centuries earlier and they'd integrate.

    I wouldn't buy a season ticket to the orchestra, but I have bought lots of tickets (pretty high priced ones, too - no cheap seats) to the modern orchestra. Makes for an enjoyable evening. I'm thankful they don't happen often, as I have to take a couple days off work to see them.
     
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  3. Lilja

    Lilja Master Chief Petty Officer

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  4. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    Thanks for the write-up! I wish I had been able to attend myself. WC really did change the shape of -not just music - sound in games on the PC. Personally, I have an affinity to the WC2 themes. They felt more moody I guess.
     
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  5. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    Apparently the WC suite played 3 more dates in Bergen, Norway in November and it completely flew under our radar! Anyone get a chance to check it out? http://harmonien.no/english/concerts-and-tickets/2017/11/we-come-in-peace/

    Looks like it also played two dates in Oulu, Finland on Nov 15th and 16th
    http://www.oulusinfonia.fi/konserttipohja/we-come-in-peace-loppuunmyyty
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018

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