A New Hope in Concert

Star Wars fans were out in force at the Count Basie Theatre to see one of their favorite movies on the big screen, with the score performed live by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO). What a treat for any Star Wars fan.

The sound of the orchestra was amazing, and only at the end of the performance did we fully grasp the size of this group of instrumentalists! All that sound just gives the movie an experience like no other.

It was so well produced that at times we found ourselves lost in the movie —  a fun feeling. Other parts, the live performance just made scenes all the more incredible as we held our breaths.

Pinnacle at the Proton Torpedoes

The greatest and most memorable part of the performance was when Luke Skywalker was getting ready to fire the two proton torpedoes into the reactor core of the death star. The build up of the music was powerful, as the string instruments moved with such an intensity and sound. The bows moved rhythmically, fanatically, until the giant battle station is destroyed.

The collective released their breaths, and applauded Luke’s feat, which was ever so punctuated by the incredible sound of the symphony.

If words could only describe how amazing the experience and sound were. The NJSO just brings out the power, especially in such a pivotal part of the movie. (In the regular version of the movie, the score is barely audible in this part, something we will forever miss. Thanks NJSO. You’ve spoiled us.)

A New Hope

The New Jersey Symphony performance of Star Wars: A New Hope took place at the Count Basie Theatre on Friday, November 23 and NJPAC on the 24th. They are playing at the State Theatre NJ in New Brunswick on Sunday, November 25.

If you don’t get the chance to see A New Hope, be sure to put January 3 and 4 in your calendar as the NJSO will perform the score for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back at the Count Basie Theatre.

(Our bet is that this will not be the only time that the NJSO will perform Star Wars: A New Hope. We hope that it will be a yearly event.)

Peek of A New Hope

Here’s a peek of what it’s like to see a symphony play a movie score live. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed Star Wars: A New Hope in February, 2018.

Just like in this clip, the NJSO performs all aspects of the score, so there’s no leaving the show until the credits are over and the music stops. This Count Basie audience gave NJSO a standing ovation, just before the credits ended. There was excitement in the air.

The enthusiasm was generated in part by the sound and talent, and also by the gratitude to the NJSO for bringing this great 1977 movie to life.

A New Hope Recorded

If anyone wasn’t a fan of Star Wars there, they surely kept quiet since they weren’t amongst friends, as Danish author Jakob Stegelmann comments in this video. His (subtitled) introduction of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra at their June 2017 performance of Star Wars: A New Hope is humorous, and gives a glimpse of the passion that he has for the music that catapulted composer John Williams to the forefront. The performance doesn’t have the movie playing in tandem.

See Scores Live

We’re happy to report that orchestras performing a score live in tandem with a movie will become more commonplace, which the NJSO is spearheading in NJ.

Some upcoming shows include Nightmare Before Christmas, December 15th at the New Jersey Performing Arts CenterStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back mentioned earlier, Mary Poppins in concert at the Count Basie Theatre on April 12th, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, June 1 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

See you at the next performance!