Get it: If you would enjoy hearing classic movie themes we all know and love in a new manner and with a fresh perspective
Don’t get it: If you would like to hear a carbon-copy of the music you already know and love, and would not appreciate any variance
It’s always a difficult task for any composer, conductor, or orchestrator to take on established work and not only do the original justice, but also bring your own flair to the project. This is especially true when you’re working on something as major as iconic film scores and themes. There are several times where other composers try to come in and cover previously done themes, and sometimes they fall short (though definitely not always, shoutout to Michael Giacchino). Maybe they tend to fall short because they’re trying to copy something that some of us understand on a subconscious level, and we just know that there’s something off or different about what we’re hearing. Well, maybe sometimes it’s a good idea to embrace differences and not just try to simply cover a track.
One thing that’s important to establish from the beginning of this review is that this is London Concertante’s first time venturing into the world of film music. But, I certainly hope it’s not their last. As you may be able to imply by the word “concertante” being in their name, they have a different approach to these iconic sounds we already know and love — and they therefore reinvigorate our appreciation of that same music by providing a new perspective of it.
For example, there are a few different tracks on here originally composed by John Williams, who is of course known for his “big sound” compositions. What this album does most effectively — and successfully — is give us the brilliance of melody that lies in these compositions and staying true to them while still being something a little different. It is able to present something so iconic as the James Bond theme in a way that we haven’t heard it before, but that still doesn’t disappoint. That’s a hard goal to achieve, and I commend them for doing it so well.
It also makes me wonder what a second volume might look like, and I would certainly be here for it. While this is full of such immediately-recognizable themes like Jurassic Park and The Magnificent Seven, they didn’t touch on many more iconic themes like Indiana Jones and Star Wars…unless, of course, they did (I’m looking at you, “Superman”).
I feel like there’s not much I can say about the music itself since we all already know what we think about these themes, and there’s a reason they’re the ones chosen to be on this album. But what I can attest to the most is the quality and execution of bringing those notes to life. If you’re unfamiliar, the definition of “concertante” is, “denoting a piece of music containing one or more solo parts, typically of less prominence or weight than in a concerto” (source). This being a part of their identity is what helps them attain this unique reimagination. The overall sound is a bit smaller than the originals we’re used to, but at the same time they deliver and are no less impactful.
We’ve gotten to the point with most of these pieces where we almost take them for granted. Obviously we love them and they’re as popular as they are for a reason, but at the same time we’re simply used to them. At the end of the day, I would say that this presentation of the music provides a much-needed fresh look and can almost help the listener fall in love again with something previously so familiar.
It’s an easy choice if this is something you’d like to check out for yourself. If you think the tracklist looks like the type of music you enjoy, then you check it out no question. The only reason to not dive into this album is if you find none of the tracks appealing to you, and even then maybe you’ll like this new take on them. So, basically, you’re trapped either way and this is something you have to check out. Oh look, I’ve also made it really easy for you to start by embedding their take on the theme from Jurassic Park below.
If anyone from London Concertante is reading this, I’ll be anxiously waiting for a Volume II.
Oh, and if you’d like to go ahead and get a copy of a physical CD for yourself, order it here.