Friday, November 04, 2005

good evening

This weekend, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is playing music from some Alfred Hitchcock movies while scenes from the films are shown on a screen over the musicians' heads. My wife volunteered to sing at the symphony's upcoming Christmas concert. She and the other members of the chorale were offered free tickets to the Hitchcock performances. I have posted about my fondness of film scores, and was delighted to be able to go with her tonight.

The program included footage from "To Catch a Thief," "Strangers on a Train," "Dial M for Murder" and "North by Northwest." The scenes from "Dial M for Murder" made me question why anyone would want to kill Grace Kelly's character. She was incredibly beautiful.
Maestro Lucas Richman took some time between selections to explain how difficult it is to keep the live orchestra in synch with the film.

At intermission, we overheard the people sitting in front of us talking. They were reading the program and did not recognize the title of the first piece in the second half. Every true Hitchcock fan should know that "Funeral March of a Marionette" is the music used as the themesong of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

Some of the most famous Hitchcock movie music did not make the cut. John Goberman, the producer and narrator for the show, explained why to the Knoxville News Sentinel:
Herrmann was also responsible for the all-strings crescendo in Hitchcock's "Psycho," but Goberman says the music was used more as a sound effect and lasts only 30 seconds or so, eliminating it from being a possibility for the program.
In the early '80s, my father gave me his tickets to some sort of reception at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. I think it was the opening night of an exhibit sponsored by an oil company. I couldn't get a date so I got one of my buddies to come with me. After we saw a brief video presentation, the crowd slowly started moving to the main hall for hors d'oeuvres and beverages. My friend and I made a beeline for the food and were among the first to arrive in the hall. There was a string quartet over near the buffet table. They had been standing around waiting for the crowd to arrive and looked bored. I thought it would be fun to show off something I had learned during Mr. Naversen's film class in high school so I challenged the musicians to play something by Bernard Herrmann from "Psycho." The quartet laughed and thought about it for a second. Then they launched into the familiar screeching violins from the shower scene just as the VIPs started walking into the main hall.
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