In the 1940’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” was the first fully integrated musical, incorporating song and dance to develop the characters and the plot. The three decades of the 1940’s through 1960’s were marked by the worldwide popularity of the genre spurred on by the availability of original cast recordings and film versions of the musical. There are so many dramatic moments arising from musical theatre that they are almost too numerous to mention. Personal favorites of mine are the title song from “Oklahoma,” “I Am a Pirate King” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance,” and “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” from Rodgers and Hammersteins’s “State Fair.”
Concertgoers will be able to hear many of their favorites in the “Celebrate Broadway” concert series with The Master Chorale and The Florida Orchestra during the weekend of April 27-29th.
Since then, music has combined with voice to add drama to the movie-going experience. Many successful pairings were film versions of musicals, such as “Oklahoma” or “My Fair Lady.” But voices were used in other film genres too, such as Ennio Morricone’s score for “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.” During February, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay singers joined forces with The Florida Orchestra to present “The Music of Star Trek and Star Wars.” I am a huge science fiction fan and was able to enjoy this concert as an audience member.
The concert opened with the Star Trek original series theme, taking me back to my high school and college days when the series was in its heyday. In hearing this music exclusive of the TV or movie images, it was easier to concentrate on the beauty of the music and the voices stood out even more, bringing an ethereal feeling to the theme. Likewise, the addition of voices to the “Star Trek: Into Darkness” film score added to the drama of a conflict between Kirk and the super-being, Khan.
In the “Star Wars” segment of the concert, the vastness of space and the drama of human conflict were brought to life by composer John Williams, one of the greats among movie score composers. In the “Battle of the Heroes” segment, voices combined with the instrumental score to add drama to the climactic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi and added a heightened level of finality to Anakin’s descent into the dark side.
Like adding spice to food, the addition of voices made the drama of these moments even more palpable, creating lasting impressions that make me want to return to the theater to see the film again.
Video game score composition now attracts some of the best composers who have embraced this avenue of artistic expression. These include Koji Kondo (Legend of Zelda), Jeremy Soule (The Elder Scrolls) and Michael Giacchino (Medal of Honor). Michael Giacchino also composed music scores for J.J. Abrams, producer of the current generation of Star Trek movies. Nobuo Uematsu, composer of the Final Fantasy music scores has been composing them for more than two decades, and concerts of his music play to sell-out crowds around the world.
Such was the case on January 26th and 28th, when guest conductor Arnie Roth directed the Florida Orchestra and the Master Chorale Ensemble Singers in the “Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy” concert series. In an interview, Nobuo Uematsu noted that his scores “are the closest thing to large-scale evocative symphonic works from films.” Hearkening back to the opera genre, Uematsu creates leitmotifs for his characters. For example, the Chocobo theme has been present in all the Final Fantasy scores since December 1987.
Dacci un Dramma!