Friday Night Classics: 21st Century Blockbusters

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Friday 6th March 2015 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal  conductor
Tommy Pearson  presenter
Roopa Panesar  sitar

Williams ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from Harry Potter/Philosopher’s Stone
Williams‘The Knight Bus’ from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Zimmer ‘Jack Sparrow’ from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Shore ‘Over Hill/Dreaming of Bag End’ from The Hobbit
Greenwood Music from There Will Be Blood
Armstrong ‘Glasgow Love Theme’ from Love, Actually
Zimmer Gladiator – ‘The Battle’
Rahman Slumdog Millionaire: Suite
Williams Star Wars Ep.III: Revenge of the Sith – ‘Battle of the Heroes’
Powell The Bourne Ultimatum – Faces Without Names
Horner Main Theme from Avatar
Giacchino Star Trek Into Darkness
Williams War Horse – ‘Dartmoor 1912’
Arnold/Price Sherlock suite
Powell How To Train Your Dragon

Encore – Williams – ‘Aunt Marge’s Waltz’ from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A film doesn’t have to be old to be a classic. Think of the magic of Harry Potter, the sheer spectacle of Avatar and The Hobbit, the swashbuckling fun of Pirates of the Caribbean and the heartbreak of War Horse. And admit it… you’re already humming the tunes! Great music from great modern movies, delivered with flair by conductor Michael Seal and the full 80-piece City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.


Review by Paul Marston, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “The music, much of it by the remarkable John Williams, was powerful and dramatic, providing opportunities for some delightful solo contributions from members of the 80-piece orchestra.

Williams’ Battle of the Heroes from Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, contrasting with his beautiful, more gentle piece, Dartmoor 1912 from War Horse.

Other highlights included Howard Shore’s nostalgic melody for The Hobit: An Unexpected Journey, and James Homer’s stirring theme, I See You, from Avatar.

Another treat for the audience came with the stunning performance by Roopa Panesar, one of the finest sitar players to emerge on the Indian music scene in the UK, when she joined the orchestra for A.A. Rahman’s music for the suite from Slumdog Millionaire.”     …

Friday Night Classics: John Williams Blockbusters

Friday 12 July 2013 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Dirk Brossé  conductor

Tommy Pearson  presenter

Including music from:

Raiders of the Lost Ark • Jurassic Park • War Horse • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade • Munich • Memoirs of a Geisha • Catch Me If You Can • Lincoln • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone • Star Wars • Olympic Fanfare and Theme • Hook • Jaws


No-one writes a big film theme like John Williams – no wonder he’s one of the world’s most popular living composers. And if you think his music is thrilling on the big screen, just wait until you hear it live at Symphony Hall – as the CBSO plays a blockbuster concert of John Williams’s very greatest themes.

Sir Anthony Hopkins – in Concert

Saturday 23 July 2011 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Sir Anthony Hopkins CBE
Michael Seal conductor

Spend an evening with one of the world’s greatest living screen actors, as Sir Anthony Hopkins joins the CBSO on stage to introduce his own original music and scores from his best known films.

In recent years, the Oscar-winning actor has returned to his first love – music – and regularly composes at the piano. This concert will feature some of his beautiful original music for orchestra, including his scores for his own films Slipstream and August, and music written especially for this evening. You’ll also be treated to music from some of Hopkins’s best known films, such as Shadowlands, Silence of the Lambs and Remains of the Day. Throughout the concert Hopkins will talk about his music and his film roles. Don’t miss this unique experience going beyond the screen to find out more about the man and his music.

 ThumbnailSounds Interesting

 pre-concert talk at 6.15pm
Tommy Pearson in conversation with Alex Heffes, composer of The Rite, and Stephen Barton, orchestrator to Hopkins.

Hopkins: Orpheus
Shore: The Silence of the Lambs
Doyle: Thor – Suite (Concert premiere)
Hopkins: Stella
Hopkins: Evesham Fair
Heffes: The Rite – Suite (Concert premiere)
Hopkins: And The Waltz Goes On


Goldenthal: Titus – Suite (Concert premiere)
Hopkins: Amerika
Robbins: The Remains of the Day
Fenton: Shadowlands
Hopkins: Margam
Hopkins: 1947 – Circus. Bracken Road. The Plaza.
Encore: Hopkins The Plaza

Sir Anthony Hopkins’ music inspired by Margam childhood:

Sir Anthony Hopkins to showcase talent as a composer:

Sir Anthony Hopkins gives Birmingham a thumbs up at the CBSO Film Music Festival:

Read More

Hollywood star Anthony Hopkins to host music festival in Birmingham:

Read More

Hidden talents of Anthony Hopkins to premiere in Birmingham:

Read More

Review: CBSO Film Music Festival, by Elmley de la Cour, Birmingham Post:



Anthony Hopkins CD – “Composer” released 16th January 2012

Evesham Fair
Bracken Road
The Plaza
And the Waltz Goes On

Available online at

Review by Ben Hogwood, MusicOMH:

Click here for full review

…     “On one hand Hopkins was extremely lucky, for few contemporary composers get to jump in feet first with an orchestra as good as the CBSO. Yet on the other hand the music fully merits its status, for Hopkins writes with considerable flair and confidence. The feel is very much that of a man who loves making music, who writes instinctively from the heart. With that instinct comes a strong grasp of structure for shorter, more cinematic works, rather than complex symphonic forms – yet within these numbers Hopkins develops his work subtly and never settles for mere repetition.”      …


Sir Anthony Hopkins talks with Jessica Duchen, Independent:

Click here for full article

…     “In spirit, his music turns out to be rather similar to his paintings: vividly coloured, drifting from the literal to the dreamlike and sometimes betraying a dark, haunted intensity. The opening track, “Orpheus”, is positively sinister. But there’s a variety. One tender number featuring a rhapsodic cello solo is dedicated to Stella; some pay tribute to the visceral excitement of cinema, while “And The Waltz Goes On” – a full-blooded, slightly lurid take on the Viennese waltz tradition – has been championed by André Rieu, who orchestrated it and gave its first performances with his Johann Strauss Orchestra.”     …


Review by Keith Bruce, HeraldScotland:

Click here for full review

…     “Without naming names, there are writers of music with successful careers whose work is less interesting and varied than this selection of Sir Anthony’s.”     …

Review by Simon Gage, Express:

Click here for full review

…     “It’s lush and unsurprisingly cinematic. Talk about having a second string to your bow.”

Article (with extracts of music) ClassicFM:

Click here for full article

…     On July 23rd 2011, world-renowned actor Sir Anthony joined the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on stage at Birmingham Symphony Hall to introduce a performance of his original compositions and scores from some of his best-known films. ‘Composer’ is the live recording of Sir Anthony’s original works from that evening, including pieces composed for two films that he not only scored but also directed and starred in (‘Slipstream’ and ‘August’).”     …

Review by Staff, SeenIt:

Click here for full review

…     “Of the nine tracks, our favourite is ‘Braken Road’ – it’s the perfect sound to unwind to after a hard day’s work. ”     …

Selection from article with Emma Pomfret, The Times – at Gramilano:

Click here for full Gramilano article

…     “When I heard the orches­tra I did think, my God, this is my music! It takes your breath away … Let’s say I’m pleas­antly moved.”     …

Friday Night Classics: Nightmare on Broad Street

Friday 29 October 2010 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal  conductor
Tommy Pearson  presenter
CBSO Chorus   

Doyle: ‘The Creation’ from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 2′
Williams: Lost World: Jurassic Park 5′
Goldsmith: ‘The Light’ and ‘Carol Anne’s Theme’ from Poltergeist 7′
Waxman: ‘The Creation of the Female Monster’ from The Bride of Frankenstein 7′
Cassidy: ‘Vide Cor Meum’ from Hannibal 4′
Herrmann: Psycho: A Narrative for String Orchestra 14′
Elfman: ‘Main Titles and Ice Dance’ from Edward Scissorhands 5′
Herrmann: Suite from Vertigo 10′
Bernard: ‘Invocation to the Devil/Dance Frenzy’ from The Devil Rides Out 7′
Williams: ‘Devil’s Dance’ from The Witches of Eastwick 5′
Wiseman: Suite from Lesbian Vampire Killers 5′
Goldsmith: Suite from The Omen (Ave Satani, The Killer Storm, The Dogs Attack) 14′

Williams: Jaws – encore

Whether you love or hate the Halloween silly-season, some great music has been written for horror films. Escape the trick-or-treaters, and let the CBSO scare you silly with music from Frankenstein, Psycho, The Omen and lots more terrifying favourites. There may not be any nightmare nasties to be seen in Symphony Hall, but with music this creepy and the dramatic sound effects that a full symphony orchestra can throw at you, your imagination will do the rest. We’re sure you’ll have a great evening, but it might leave you wanting to sleep with the lights on…

Friday Night Classics: Film Music for Lovers

Friday 12 February 2010 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

Michael Seal  conductor
Tommy Pearson  presenter
David Arnold  special guest
Ben Dawson  piano

Steiner – Gone with the Wind: Tara’s Theme
Herrmann – Vertigo: Main Title & Love Theme
Barry – Out of Africa – Main theme
Rota – Romeo & Juliet – A Time for Us
Lai – Theme from Love Story
Addinsell – Warsaw Concerto
Arnold – Independence Day: Closing Titles
Doyle – Much Ado About Nothing – overture
Warbeck – Shakespeare in Love – suite
Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto no. 2 – slow movement
Arnold – Casino Royale: Love theme and Bond theme (arr. Arnold)
Horner – Titanic
Armstrong – Love Actually – Glasgow Love Theme
Jarre – Dr Zhivago: Lara’s Theme
Williams – ET: Adventures on Earth

The perfect treat for your Valentine, or simply the chance to snuggle up with the CBSO and enjoy a night of romantic music from some of the most heart-rending moments from the big screen. Featuring soundtracks by Arnold, Barry, Herrmann and others, this evening surely won’t leave a dry eye in the house. Chocolates and hankies not supplied!

Post-concert talk, c.9.45pm
Music from the Movies – Tommy Pearson interviews James Bond (and Little Britain) composer David Arnold.