“A Celebration of the Music of Michael Giacchino”
To my big surprise two concerts with composer Michael Giacchino were announced in Dublin. Hearing his music live in a concert, with the man himself being present as well, has been a dream of mine for a long time, so the announcement of two concerts combined with the news that Giacchino would personally conduct some pieces was definitely a dream come true. The first concert on Friday was to celebrate his music throughout his whole career, and the second concert the day after would be fully dedicated to the music he wrote for the TV show LOST. Since I do not know the music from that show very well, and because I was accompanied by a friend, who wanted to explore the Irish capital, we decided to only attend the first concert, and I made the ‘sacrifice’ to not attend the second one.
For this concert, Giacchino had help from Dutch conductor Ernst van Tiel, who was conducting the majority of the pieces that evening, while Giacchino was sitting in the audience enjoying the concert like the rest of us. The first piece was a suite from The Incredibles 2, which is a bombastic and jazzy piece and it proved that both Van Tiel and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra were able to perform Giacchino’s music very well.
In the first half we could listen to all kinds of suites from Michael Giacchino’s music from the movies. Each piece was a pleasure to listen to, but the selection was also very diverse, keeping me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Most of the suites were accompanied by images playing on the big screen, but that was not the case for the music from Medal of Honor where only the logo was displayed. That gave us a good opportunity to focus on the beautiful music he has written for these games in the early years of his career.
For some of the suites images were displayed that were based on the movie but were not scenes from the movie themselves. For example: for Tomorrowland, we saw a cartoon based on the movie, and for Jupiter Ascending and Jurassic World we saw pictures of stars, constellations, but also of fossils of dinosaurs. These were a nice addition to the gorgeous music that was played by the orchestra.
For the music of some movies, we could see the actual footage from the movies. Of course I have seen movie scenes before, while the orchestra was playing the music, but this concert was a different experience. Van Tiel had a monitor in front of him with visuals of the movie, but also with indicators to help him conduct the music perfectly in sync with the images. This made the suites look like small movies with live music, an amazing experience for your eyes and ears.
Syncing the images with the music brought another interesting concept to the table. While the orchestra was playing their part for the music of War for the Planets of the Apes and images of the movies were perfectly synced to the music, we could also hear a recording of a choir coming from the speakers supporting the orchestra adding an extra emotional layer to the music. Even more emotion was invoked during the last piece before the intermission with “Married Life” from Up. On screen was the beautiful movie sequence, with the orchestra playing the corresponding music, which made it a magical experience.
After the intermission, Ernst van Tiel continued to conduct the orchestra. Under his guidance they played a couple of pieces, including a piece Giacchino wrote for NASA, music from LOST as a prelude to the second concert and a suite from Ratatouille. The two suites afterwards were further great examples of the inclusion of the prerecorded choir while the orchestra was playing its part. Without it, the music from Cloverfield would have been less effective, and also the end of the suite form Rogue One would have missed that extra emotional layer.
With the end of Rogue One, we were not done with Star Wars for the evening, because at that moment Giacchino was escorted to the stage by two Star Wars figures, who also made Giacchino an honorary member of their Star Wars cosplay group: the 501st Legion.
For the rest of the evening, Michael Giacchino took over the conducting, dressed in a waistcoat, striped pants and a bow tie. He also took over the introductory speeches from the previous host, Aedín Gormley, who did a lovely job when Giacchino was still sitting in the audience. With him at the helm we could listen to music from Alias, Coco and also from Super 8, where small movies were shown on the screen, which he and his childhood friends made with their super 8 camera when they were children. The last piece on the program was a very impressive suite with his music from the three latest Star Trek movies.
The encore of the concert was quite special. Not only were we treated to the music from Spider-Man: Far from home, which was not even in theaters on the day of the concert, but there were also some technical problems with Giacchino’s earpiece that needed sorting out for the music from Speed Racer, which was also the final encore of the evening. In order to fill the time, Giacchino had an impromptu Q and A with the audience, which was a very memorable improvisation. After the problems were sorted, we could enjoy a sneak peek of the new music he had written for the upcoming Spider-Man movie.
When the concert was eventually over, fans were hoping that Giacchino would show up in the lobby, which sadly did not happen. Luckily for some of us, we were able to catch him when he was exiting the building from the artist entrance, and he was kind enough to stay for some small talk, pictures and signing CDs, giving this evening a perfect ending.
During the end of the concert Michael Giacchino announced, that his parents came over to attend this concert. When the main guest of a concert brings his parents over to attend a concert in a different country, you just know that it is a passion project, and it showed. Everything from the performance of the orchestra, the conducting by both conductors and the host was well done. Overall, the production was impressive with the images and the supporting audio tracks. I must admit that I am not a fan of these extra audio tracks during a concert, but for this evening, it just fit perfectly, showing that with good production, something you normally do not like can be turned around.
I was also glad that I was finally able to see my fellow Dutchman Ernst van Tiel conduct. I have heard a lot of good stories about him conducting film music, and throughout his performance you could really see that he is very experienced and that he understands film music, which was transferred perfectly to the performance of the orchestra.
As soon as I saw the announcement of the concert, I knew that I had to go, and I am so glad that I did. I am not sure if a concert like this will be held again in the near future but I really do hope so. Michael Giacchino has written so much gorgeous music, and he was a great host and conductor as well, giving me and everyone else in the audience a night to remember for a long time. I hope that the people who attended the LOST concert the following day have had just as awesome an experience as I had.
Where: National Concert Hall – Dublin, Ireland
When: June 21, 2019
Orchestra: RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Giacchino and Ernst Van Tiel
Host: Aedín Gormley
- Incredibles 2
- Medal of Honor
- Jupiter Ascending
- War for the Planet of the Apes
- Jurassic World
- “Married Life” from Up
- “Voyage” to celebrate NASA’s 60th anniversary
- Rogue One
- Super 8
- Suite from Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond
- Spider-Man: Far from Home (world premiere and encore)
- Speed Racer (encore)