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Orchestral Music Review

Off to a Rousing Start: The RSO and the RLT in Tandem

Event  Information

Raleigh -- ( Sun., Sep. 23, 2018 )

Raleigh Little Theatre, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra: Symphony Concert > POSTPONED FROM 9/16
Performed by Raleigh Symphony Orchestra
Adults $18.74, Seniors/Students $14.05 -- Raleigh Little Theatre (Cantey V. Sutton Theatre) , http://www.raleighlittletheatre.org -- 3:00 PM

September 23, 2018 - Raleigh, NC:

The Raleigh Symphony Orchestra has launched a new partnership with Raleigh Little Theatre that holds great potential for both organizations. After several "pop-up" concerts with RSO musicians in various Cameron Village venues, the first major installment took place on a balmy September afternoon. There were some logistical glitches. This presentation had been planned for the weekend that Florence paid her call on the Carolinas (as the weather guessers call us), during which she took down a tree that damaged the august theatre's power supply to the amphitheatre, so the concert was first postponed and then relocated indoors, to RLT's main stage, the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre (298 seats, total). There were many advantages, including air conditioning and comfortable seats. And the room itself proved outstanding for orchestral music, with better acoustics, if one may believe this listener, than are sometimes experienced in straight theatrical presentations. The orchestra sounded terrific throughout as conductor and music director Jim Waddelow led his somewhat reduced forces – there were basically three desks of each of the string sections plus a fairly standard complement of winds, brass, and percussion, augmented by several strong keyboardists.

It was rare to hear concert music – even film music – in this venue, but it was not unheard of. Indeed there have been occasional long-hair events there, including the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's opera The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, back in 1963. And it is a remarkably good room for music – a better room, indeed, than many spaces that are regularly used hereabouts by our many, many music presenters.

The family-friendly program was in effect all movies, all the time, 15 selections, all from the film soundtrack world with the exception of a substantial medley from Phantom of the Opera (debuted Jan. 26, 1988, and still going strong on Broadway) – this was given to help celebrate the new partnership with RLT – and one Netflix selection, from House of Cards.

The rest ran the programmatically refreshing gamut of traditional favorites admired by several generations of cinema fans to the brief chocolate syrup scene from Psycho to crisply and incisively played bits from Harry Potter. Among the more substantial offerings was a truly amazing, almost larger than life sequence from Man of Steel, but there were many impressive moments, along the way, from the opening Pirates of the Caribbean bit, which served as an admirable overture, to an imaginative pairing of Batman clips to an elaborate orchestration of excerpts from Spiderman by Danny Elfman (of Oingo-Boingo fame). (For the record, others not already cited or alluded to included the James Bond theme, music from Halloween and the Pink Panther series, and a charming reminisce of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that was keep well away from that aforementioned Psycho bit…. Incidentally, all these films may be researched in detail in one of the web's great resources, the Internet Movie Database, without which a whole generation of pen-pushers would appear significantly less erudite).

The RLT's Charles Phaneuf welcomed the near-capacity crowd and stick-waver Waddelow provided engaging commentary as the program unfolded. There was outstanding work from the RSO's fine players – golly, this orchestra has come a very long way under his spirited leadership! There were too many superb solo bits to call them all out but it would be remiss not to mention the contributions of keyboardist (and CVNCer) Chelsea Stith Waddelow to the overall richness of the sound.

This partnership will continue in May with a concert performance of West Side Story featuring RLT actors and the RSO "in the pit" as it were – presumably outside in a by-then-fully-restored Louise "Scotty" Stephenson Amphitheatre – for details of which click here. We're reserving our tickets now!