Star Trek Live, Royal Albert Hall


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Now there’s a thought. How would one go about producing Star Trek in a concert setting? In this case Star Trek – Into Darkness live, performed at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday. Thats easy…you play the film and get a live orchestra to play the music.

I wasn’t sure how this would work, and I was amazed at the result! The hall was packed for the performance, which was the final show of a 3 day residence. It was an interesting mix of people too; some were dressed as people often are for concerts at the RAH, smartly, there were people like myself, a bit more ‘smart/casual’, a lot of jeans and T’s and then there were the Trekkie’s in Star Fleet uniforms, some with pointy ears, carrying ‘Tri-corders’. Not that surprising perhaps, and fun to observe.

An enormous screen had been set up in front of the pipes of the famous organ which forms the usual backdrop to the stage, with the orchestra set up beneath it. The orchestra, the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and chorus, from Lucerne, Switzerland is one I’d not come a cross before and they were top notch. They seem to specialise in doing this kind of thing, having previously perfomed The Lord of the Rings with Howard Shore.

The music for this film, is composed by Hollywood film composer Michael Giacchino, and he was there on the night to set the scene, getting proceedings off to a good start by taking a selfie video with his iPhone and getting the capacity crowd to join in (for the benefit of his kids back in LA).

Orchestra getting ready to start...

The 21st Century Orchestra getting ready to start…

For the performance itself, the music was very much centre stage. It was good to have Giacchino involved on the night, which it gave his music a focus (and got the Trekkies quite excited), but then he handed over to Ludwig Wicki to get the show on the road.

The music starts gently, and quickly built as the the film joined in and rather than play the dialogue at a volume that would impinge too much on the music, subtitles were added so that punters could follow in the louder bits. As the evening progressed, I found myself torn between concentrating on the orchestra, who were superb and watching what is a very entertaining film. I found a happy medium though and loved the effect. As a film and home cinema buff, I would like to have had a bit more of the films actual sound effects and subwoofer slam, as their absence left a few holes in the soundstage at times, but you can’t have everything.

Action films of this type always provide a workout for the brass section of orchestras. Special mention has to go to the low brass section of the orchestra, consisting of 2 tenor and 2 bass trombones, and 2 tubas. Team, that was awesome! (Trombones: Pirmin Rohrer, Andreas Mattle, Daniel Ringgenberg and Anita Rohrer. Tubas: Markus Hauenstein, Remo Capra)

Even if you’re not into Star Trek, if you like great music played live, this would have hit the spot. Even my mate Howard, who suffered a Sci-Fi bypass at an early age would have enjoyed it!

So, Transports of Delight? Absolutely..! Music, movies and the USS Enterprise 1701! What’s not to like?

Er, Live Long and Prosper 😊

© Richard Debonnaire

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