Sunday, July 16, 2017

Day 227 Pittsburgh Symphony POPS –Music of John Williams-Larger Than Life

I grew up loving the excitement of the Star Wars series and my son, who is also a fan, had all the action figures.  Listening to the musical scores  from these films brings me and many of us back to a happy place.  I recently added the Pittsburgh Symphony PNC POPS to my list of favorite experiences so I was eager to hear  the orchestra  play the music of John Williams, composer of  many popular and recognizable movie scores such as the Star Wars series, Harry Potter, Superman, Jaws, JFK and Raider of the Lost Ark sequence, just to name a few.   His music like these movies are in many ways "larger than life”  and truly come alive with the talents of a top notch symphony such as our  very own Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  

I  love how the POPS pairs the beauty of the symphonic sound with a “twist” which often makes the shows  appealing to some who might not otherwise venture to the symphony.  There were many children in the audience enjoying the  music from their favorite movie and  when doing so, they got a dose  of some “real” music!
Trombone Choir-"Planet Krpton Fanfare" from Superman

Under the direction of Lawrence Loh,  the POPS opened  with light tingling sounds which flowed into a dreamy sequence in  “Tedwig's Theme” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Then they played the “Raiders March” from Raiders of the Lost Ark and added a trombone choir (James Nova director) to “Planet Krypton Fanfare and March” from Superman.  This music is so recognizable that even without the visual in front of me I “saw” the movie scenes as I enjoyed the full sounds that filled the theater.  

I did not realize how many movie scores were birthed from John Williams.  I surprisingly  found my favorites in the Theme  from J.F.K.  and the Theme from Far and Far Away, which included a fantastic violin solo by Jeremy A. Black and familiar Irish sounds.  

"Yoda's Theme" from Empire Strikes Back 
The second half was solely  dedicated to the Star Wars series opening with the universally recognizable “Main Title” from Star Wars. The POPS played music from “The Force Awakens”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Revenge of the Sith”, and of course “Star Wars”. Even my friend who later admitted to not seeing any of the movies recognized  and enjoyed the music. How could you not when it’s so “larger than life”!

(I can’t wait to see how the Pittsburgh Symphony POPS meshes with the music of  Hip Hop artist Common on July 20th.  For the symphony schedule and POPS schedule go to

Spiritual Reference 
 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable (Isaiah 40:28)

Other Sources
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Raiders March (Pgh Symphony)