Boston Pops and Josh Groban Bring the Music of the Movies to Tanglewood
The Daily Collegian
September 14, 2005
By Matt O'Rourke
Thousands of music-goers settled on the spacious grounds of Tanglewood, Aug. 27 to attend Film Night with the Boston Pops. Amidst the backdrop of the beautiful Berkshires, conductor John Williams returned along with famed Hollywood producer Stanley Donen and special guest vocalist Josh Groban.
Due to film scoring commitments, it was John Williams's only formal Tanglewood appearance this summer and an appreciative crowd welcomed him warmly.
Williams began the film concert with a lively rendition of Erich Korngold's "Robin Hood March" originating in the 1938 movie, "The Adventures of Robin Hood." Williams next paid tribute to three film music composers who died last year: Jerry Goldsmith with the theme song of the movie, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture;" Elmer Bernstein, his music, "The Magnificent Seven," which was also from a movie of the same name; and a beautiful haunting rendition of David Raskin's "Laura" from that movie with an exquisite solo from guest violinist Tamira Smirnova.
Eighty-one-year-old Stanley Donen exchanged anecdotes with Williams. Having worked together several years earlier, Donen remarked, "It's a most wonderful night for me to see John doing this." Classic dance routines archived from Donen's famous movie musicals decades ago were flashed across widescreen TVs to those inside the Shed and to thousands who brought everything from chairs and tables laden with food and potables, candles and candelabras to the colorful yet simple blankets spread along the grassy slopes. Performances included those by Gene Kelly, "Singing in the Rain" and with Kelly and Jerry Mouse in "Anchors Away." Also shown was Fred Astaire in "Royal Wedding" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." While playing on the screens, scenes of elegance in dance to a series of rousing dance steps, John Williams and his Boston Pops adeptly synchronized their music with the various film clips, the result a perfect mesh of past and present. Donen related how several techniques were utilized when Fred Astaire seemingly and effortlessly danced up the walls and across the ceiling. The audience laughed as Donen recalled going to see Walt Disney at Disney studios to recruit Mickey Mouse for Anchors away only to be chastised by Mr. Disney with the words, "Mickey Mouse does not work for MGM."
Perhaps the largest crowd of the summer, over 19,000, chose this event in part because of special guest Josh Groban. It was a night, said Josh Groban, for the "Grobanites" to meet the "Tangleheads." While admitting his nervousness at performing with John Williams, the tousled hair 24-year-old appeared comfortable soon after he began his too-brief stint. Songs selected from movies included Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" from "Modern Times" and "Remember" from the movie flop "Troy," to which Groban quipped, "I sang in the movie but I wasn't in it." Grobanites reverently waved their lite sticks to his rendition of "Vincent," (Starry Starry Night) from the less known movie "Starry Night." Groban's strength lies in his delivery, a soft and soothing baritone style.
Williams concluded the concert with his own music, beginning with the march from "Superman", music from "Jurassic Park", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "ET, the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Judging from the applause, the collection was well received and John Williams and the Boston Pops will return to this delightful music center in Lenox, Massachusetts.