I had the opportunity to return to Tanglewood this past weekend for Film Night. The Boston Pops were conducted by John Williams, with special guests Stanley Donen and Josh Groban.
After a quick selection from Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and tributes to Goldsmith, Raksin, and Bernstein (who all passed away in the past year), Williams and Stanley Donen had a lovely little chat on stage, a sort of Inside the Director's Studio, along with examples of the director's work in the great Hollywood musicals. We saw and heard examples from films like Royal Wedding (the scene with Fred Astaire dancing on the walls), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Singin' in the Rain. The Pops were in perfect sync with the visuals, which was pretty neat. We had lawn seats, and I'm always impressed by how well the image projected on the large screens matches the music we hear on the sound system. There must be a delay built in there or something.
The venue was absolutely packed, partially because Groban was singing. He performed music from Cinema Paradiso, Il Postino, Troy, and Modern Times (that piece, "Smile," written by Charlie Chaplin). The Grobanites were quite receptive, although I was a little annoyed by the number of flashes going off during the performance, and the fact that a number of patrons left immediately after Groban's section finished.
Had they stayed, they would have heard a lovely montage of Williams' music, including Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Hook, Close Encounters, and Harry Potter. Speaking of HP, Williams debuted "Hedwig's Theme" at Tanglewood several years ago, and I was hoping he'd treat us to another new piece for his encore. Something from Goblet of Fire, perhaps? Sadly, no. The encore was from E.T.. Still lovely, just not quite as exciting.
For a film music fan like me, it was a night that dreams were made of. On some future visit, though I enjoy the lawn picnic aspect of the journey, I would love to get a seat in the shed, so I could actually see Williams conduct, rather than trusting that the image on the giant screen is in fact that tiny spec in the distance.
Great show, highly recommended.