- Above: A much sunnier Symphony on the Prairie concert than the one Rita attended last weekend
A few hundred of us braved the rain Friday night, huddled under umbrellas, blankets and makeshift trash can ponchos as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra played on, keeping instruments tuned and musicality top-notch to bring us into the diverse world of John Williams's film scores.
Proceeding chronologically, Maestro Alfred Savia showcased Williams's Hollywood years from 1972 onward, opening with a visualization of the sweeping landscape of The Cowboys, John Wayne's last Western. As an heir to the large orchestral music of Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Strauss, Williams embraces their concept of personalization through melodic themes that intimately connect audiences with each film's characters as well as with the overarching theme of the story. We know the music and own it for Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, along with the Olympic Fanfare and Theme, all delivered to an enthusiastically appreciative audience.
Of special note was virtuoso playing by ISO soloists, including violinist Philip Palermo's haunting Main Theme from Schindler's List; the combo of saxophonist Mark Ortwein, percussionist Braham Dembar and bassist Bennett Crantford sharing jazz licks for "Joy Ride" from Catch Me if You Can; and Alfred Savia adding his dancerly clarinet to "Viktor's Tale" from The Terminal and the raucous "Cantina Band" from Star Wars.
If you left or didn't make it to this outstanding concert, John Williams' music will be part of the ISO's Fourth of July celebratory program, July 3-5, at Conner Prairie.