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The Genius of Film Music

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Because movies wouldn't be the same without it

Think about your favourite film. What makes it so special? Is it the plot, the acting, the sets, the visual effects? These all play an important part, of course, but one thing most people forget about is the music. The role of film composer is rather thankless; I have listened to many a DVD commentary that explains why. The whole point about a musical score is that it is meant to support what is visually happening on screen. Scores can change the entire mood of a scene, changing it from happy to sad or light-hearted to serious. It adds tension, suspension, climactic endings, yet its presence goes by completely unnoticed. At least if the composer did a good job. You see, a score is meant to be in the background; if the audience suddenly starts paying more attention to the music than the story, then it has failed in its role.

A good piece of film music is one that no one ever realises is there, but if missing, would completely disenchant you from the story. As a way of giving credit to these unsung heroes of film, the London Philharmonic Orchestra are paying tribute to some of the most memorable and iconic scores in film - to be enjoyed to the full, on their own, without the distraction of the big screen. The Genius of Film has been split up into two nights, both of which will be performed at the Southbank Centre.

Tickets start from 9 and go up to 65 for premium seats. But considering this is all about what you hear, rather than what you see, how far away from the stage you are does not really matter. The first night is on the 9th November, and will include scores from movies of the 1960s-1980s a '20th Century Fox Fanfare', the Cleopatra Symphony, music from The Godfather, The Ride of the Cossacks, Psycho, Mutiny on the Bounty, and Jerry Goldsmith's The New Enterprise from Star Trek.

Then on the 29th November, the series continues with films from the 1980s-2000. Listen to the Star Wars Suite, main theme from Chariots of Fire, love theme from Sophie's Choice, and suites from family films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Chicken Run.
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Why? Experience film through music
When: 8th & 29th November
Phone: 44 (0)20 7960 4200
Where: Southbank Centre
Cost: 9-65
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