Clive JamesSydney Symphony's Movie Music: Crime Time is one for the film buffs. Featuring the scores of many of Hollywood’s greatest composers, it’s a thrilling and fascinating journey through some of the most memorable music from the movies. Better still, it’s hosted by the undeniably witty Clive James, who in between furnishing the audience with details about the composers and the films on offer spends the majority of the evening blissfully ensconced in a comfy chair that’s been expressly provided for that very purpose. And it has to be said that there's something that's just plain fun about watching Clive James on stage in front of the orchestra, it’s kind of like we’ve crashed a party at his place or caught him in a private chill-out moment - but enough about Clive, the real star is the Sydney Symphony orchestra themselves and they are in fine form here.

Right from the start when the massive and magnificent orchestra strike up the drums and horns for Alfred Newman’s iconic Twentieth Century Fox theme you know you’re in for a treat — and the night doesn’t disappoint. From Hitchcock’s right-hand man Franz Waxman of Rebecca and Rear Window  fame, to John Williams, the man who turned popcorn pics like Raiders Of The Lost Arc and Star Wars into box-office blockbusters, this is truly a roll call of Hollywood’s best and brightest musical minds. There’s even something to keep the Gen Ys happy in the form of avant-garde ‘artiste’ Don Davis’ score from The Matrix; while Dad will be grinning from ear to ear during the James Bond medley and Granny will be clapping along during Ron Goodwin’s Miss Marple theme.

It’s an evening full of treasures great and small and should serve to open up the audiences’ ears and allow them to focus on what music can do for a film. For great cinematic scores are truly an art form in themselves. They can make a mediocre film shine beyond all expectations and because of this they are the best trick that directors have in their arsenal to manipulate an audience. Scores poke and prod us in emotional directions that are seemingly beyond our control. Some of the best ones are invisible at first glance, you’d swear that there was nothing there at all, but without them the scene would fall flat and you’d fail to understand the hero’s true motives or the villain’s wicked intentions.

Conductor Frank Strobel does a masterful job of translating the subtleties of these scores, and watching him convey them through his sharp, nimble and sensitive gestures is a rewarding experience in itself.

What a shame that this splendid evening of cinema scores is only on for three nights. Thankfully it will be broadcast soon nationally thanks to ABC Classic FM, so be sure to check online guides for details.

Music has always had the power to transport us. We close our eyes and disappear into another realm. But the moral of Crime Time appears to be the power of what music can do when we keep our eyes and ears open.

Sydney Symphony
Movie Music: Crime Time

Frank Strobel conductor
Clive James presenter

Venue: Sydney Opera House | Concert Hall
Dates: September 11, 12 ,13
Time: 8pm

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