By Joel Benjamin
New York Pops’ Lights, Camera, Action: A Night in Hollywood at Carnegie Hall on April 4th, included Alan Silvestri’s Theme from Forrest Gump which immediately brought to mind a paraphrase of Gump’s opening line: “Concerts of film scores are like a box of candy,” some lovely moments, some fond memories and a few gorgeous arrangements.” Actually this concert was more like a plate full of appetizers that didn’t add up to a meal, but the pleasures were real and the end result was an entertaining evening of easily digested music.
After a “Hollywood Salute,” which included the famous Twentieth Century Fox theme and Richard Whiting’s “Hooray for Hollywood,” the Pops played music from one famous film after another, all resonating in our memories. Steven Reineke, the Pops’ Music Director and Conductor, was a convivial host and narrator, giving thumbnail descriptions of each work starting with James Horner’s ponderous Apollo 13 and on to Nina Rota’s lovely Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet which had been turned into a ubiquitously popular song, but here elicited bright-eyed expressions from all those audience members who remembered this beautiful film.
Music from the delightful animated feature Up (Michael Giacchino), The Dark Knight (James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (Klaus Badelt) flowed smoothly from the terrific musicians of the New York Pops.
The second half of the concert had the benefit of the Essential Voices USA, a large chorus under the direction of Judith Clurman. The chorus added angelic vocalize to Miklós Rósa’s Ben-Hur and Ennio Morricone’s hypnotic theme from The Mission.
Even more effective were the chorus’ contributions to several selections from the movie scores of the late, sorely missed Marvin Hamlisch which included the haunting Sophie’s Choice and the hugely popular “The Way We Were” from the film of the same name. The Pops and Essential Voices reached their zenith in a Suite from The Wizard of Oz (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg) which included the iconic “Over the Rainbow.” As the saying goes, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The New York Pops is presenting a 31st Birthday Gala on Monday, April 28, 2014 at 7pm which includes a roster of big stars and several choruses.
*Photos: Magda Katz
The New York Pops – April 4th, 2014
Lights, Camera, Action: A Night in Hollywood
154 West 57th St. at 7th Ave.
New York, NY