Monday, 16 November 2015

Over the pop

I've never been much of a fan of epic movies. I find them a bit overblown, lacking in levity, and too damn long.

However, younger daughter loves movies and music, and especially movie-music, so we had tickets for a National Arts Centre Orchestra pop concert celebrating the theme music of about fifteen larger-than-life films. I'd seen about five of them, including Titanic, which isn't my favourite movie - there are too many moments when I want to hurl things at the screen - but which had wonderful art direction and, let's face it, a beautiful score by James Horner. This isn't quite what we heard. We didn't have a soprano soloist, got some other incidental music as well, and, alas, were subjected to a full-throated choral rendering of "My Heart Will Go On".

The rest of the concert was just as beautifully performed, but epic movie themes, much like the movies they accompany, are a much of a muchness. As the woman behind me in the line-up for the ladies' room put it at intermission, lots of ooohing and ahhhing from the choir.

The same couldn't be said of the concert's opening.

We have a subscription to Pops, again, due to younger daughter's love of jazz, pop, and movies, so we're familiar with the Pops Principal Conductor Jack Everly and knew something was different the moment he walked onstage. Usually spritely and jovial, he now said a few quiet words about Paris, then turned to the orchestra and combined choirs behind him.

"Here we go; I've been expecting this," said the Resident Fan Boy, quickly rising. I hurriedly joined him because if it's one thing I know, it's that you get to your feet if you can when a national anthem is playing. I don't have a video of the NACO playing the Marseillaise, nor of the Ottawa Choral Society and the Ottawa Festival chorus singing it, but it sounded pretty splendid. Almost epic.

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