De Avond van de Filmmuziek (The Evening of Film Music) is an annual concert I have attended for many years. As can be read in my reports about the previous editions, I found the new format in the large Ziggo Dome a bit of a mixed bag. There were many elements that I liked , but I also had some thoughts about what could have been better. Fortunately, the positive side had always won, so I once again found myself in the big arena-sized venue for the third time attending this concert.
.In recent years many aspects of the show have stayed the same. The Metropole Orchestra is still the orchestra on stage, with Jules Buckley conducting, and Dominic Seldis returning as the host. Another tradition was that the event always opened with “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” which would be slightly different this year. Instead of the original, we got the version from Barbie, while Dominic Seldis entered the venue dancing dressed up as Ken. The following piece formed quite a contrast, with the gorgeous and emotional melodies of the famous theme from Dances With Wolves.
The next two pieces were from The Hunger Games movies, during which The Netherlands Radio Choir gave me goosebumps and Gaia Aikman singing a great version of “The Hanging Tree”. After the iconic “Raiders March,” the piano was transported to the center of the arena for Iris Hond to perform, just as she had done last year. This time she played an incredible version of the famous piece from Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. It became even better when the orchestra joined in.
There has always been music from Hans Zimmer in the Avond van de Filmmuziek and we were treated to two of them this year. The first was “Interstellar Theme,” for which they used a real organ instead of simulating one. The second was the magnificent “Chevaliers De Sangreal” from The Da Vinci Code, beautifully performed by orchestra and choir.
The following piece was “Stillness of the Mind” from A Single Man, a true delight and a huge surprise for me. The majority of music to be heard at this annual concert are well-known pieces, but introducing this magnificent Abel Korzeniowski track to a huge audience, who are probably unfamiliar with his music, was marvelous and was performed exceptionally by violinist Charlotte Spruit and the orchestra.
The orchestra played three pieces by Bernard Herrmann next to highlight some of the music from his astounding career. After the iconic theme from Psycho, we could listen to the Metropole Orchestra play the music from Taxi Driver, including the famous and soothing saxophone solo. For the last piece in this Herrmann block, whistler Jonas Pap came on stage to perform the renowned tune that most know from Kill Bill Vol.1, but which was initially written for the late ‘60s movie Twisted Nerve.
Apparently Lord of the Rings music was never performed at these concerts, and that changed with the brilliant performances of “The Black Rider” and “The Bridge of Khazad Dum” from Fellowship of the Ring. The sounds of the orchestra and the choir filled the entire venue with the magnificent music from Howard Shore. To continue with bold sounds, Steve Stevens entered the stage with his guitar for a fantastic “Top Gun Anthem” performance, which he originally played many decades ago. The final piece before the intermission contrasted quite heavily with these bold sounds, consisting of the emotional and intimate sounds of “Love Theme” from Love Actually. The reason for it was probably as a tie-in with the Christmas-themed concert that they announced afterwards.
After a solid first half, the start of the second one looked very promising as well when opera singers in robes entered the hall, and singing the impressive piece “I Lie,” which has been used in La Grande Bellezza. As a cherry on top, they also entered the stage, where soprano Josephina Hoogstad joined them to perform another piece from La Grande Bellezza, “Dies Irae,” composed by Zbigniew Preisner.
After a beautiful “Love Theme” from Cinema Paradiso, we could listen to the song “Shallow,” which was also performed during the 2019 edition, but this time it was sung by Alain Clark and Channah Hewitt. A brand new piece followed, which was “Can You Hear the Music” from Oppenheimer. The new music did not stop there because, while the Metropole Orchestra was playing the magnificent theme from The Batman, Iris Hond’s piano was rolled back to the middle of the venue for her to perform “Sonate in Darkness” from the same movie. If you are able to get an audience of 14 thousand people completely quiet while performing, you know you have done a fantastic job.
One of the biggest movie hits from last year has been Avatar: The Way of Water, with music by Simon Franglen. To celebrate it, we could listen to a piece from this movie and music from the first Avatar, composed by James Horner. What I loved about this last piece was that it was not the theme from the film, but a different cue that highlighted the power of the orchestra together with the choir.
Two instrumental pieces would be performed before we arrived at the finale of the concert. The first was Seldis’ favorite piece from The Shawshank Redemption, for which he dragged out his double bass to play with the orchestra. For the second one, Jack Sparrow appeared in the venue to demand Pirates of the Caribbean to be played, which the orchestra did.
The finale of the concert consisted of two songs from Barbie. LAKSHMI returned for the first to perform Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” after singing “No Time Die” last year. The second song was “I am Just Ken,” with Gonzalo Campos singing and Steve Stevens providing the guitar solos. We could not go home without an encore, which was Josephina Hoogstad performing the party hit “Far L’Amore,” another song used in La Grande Bellezza.
I have visited this concert many times. During the last few years, I have disagreed with the considerable focus on the entertainment value and repeatedly revisiting the same iconic film music classics. I also saw the potential of this concert, and they understood it for this year’s event. The choice of music was perfect. Not only did they program some iconic film music with great entertainment value, which had not been performed before during an Avond van de Filmmuziek concert, but they also arranged new pieces from recent movies.
I like being thrown off guard by music I did not expect, and in this case, it was the music from Single Man and La Grande Bellezza. I am still not fond of songs, but I understand why they are needed to draw in a wider audience. This year the songs were a perfect fit with the popularity of Barbie, and it also shows one of the biggest strengths of the Metropole Orchestra, which is supporting a performing artist.
When I previously spoke about this concert, I always said that I liked it better when it was in Het Concertgebouw, but after attending this year’s concert, I am not so sure anymore. I really enjoyed what they have done this year, and I was still reliving some fond memories of the evening while writing this report. This concert had fully achieved its goal of promoting film music perfectly to a broad audience. See you next year, because my seat is already booked.
Where: Ziggo Dome – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
When: November 17, 2023
Orchestra: Metropole Orchestra conducted by Jules Buckley
Choir: Netherlands Radio Choir
Performers: LAKSHMI, Iris Hond, Charlotte Spruit, Gaia Aikman, Jonas Pap, Steve Stevens, Chorus of Dutch National Opera, Josephina Hoogstad, Alain Clark, Channah Hewitt, Gonzalo Campos, Esmee Dekker, Nandi van Beurden, Sanne den Beste and Tristan van der Lingen
Host: Dominic Seldis
- Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt – Barbie
- “Creation of Barbie” (includes “Also Sprach Zarathustra”)
- John Barry – “John Dunbar Theme” from Dances with Wolves
- James Newton Howard – “Main Theme” from The Hunger Games
- James Newton Howard – “The Hanging Tree” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1
- John Williams – “Raiders March” from Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
- Hans Zimmer – Theme from Interstellar
- Hans Zimmer – “Chevaliers De Sangreal” from The Da Vinci Code
- Abel Korzeniowski – “Stillness of the Mind” from A Single Man
- Bernard Hermann – “Prelude” from Psycho
- Bernard Hermann – “Main Title” from Taxi Driver
- Bernard Hermann – “Twisted Nerve” from Kill Bill Vol.1
- Howard Shore – The Lord of the Rings
- “The Black Rider”
- “The Bridge of Khazad Dum”
- Harold Faltermeyer – “Top Gun Anthem” from Top Gun
- Craig Armstrong – “Love Theme” from Love Actually
- David Lang – “I Lie” from La Grande Bellezza
- Zbigniew Preisner – “Dies Irae” from La Grande Bellezza
- Ennio Morricone – “Love Theme” from Cinema Paradiso
- Lady Gaga, Andrew Wyatt, Anthony Rossomando and Mark Ronson – “Shallow” from A Star is Born
- Ludwig Göransson – “Can You Hear the Music” from Oppenheimer
- Michael Giacchino – The Batman
- “Can’t Fight City from Halloween”
- “Sonate in Darkness”
- Simon Franglen – “Leaving Home” from Avatar: The Way of Water
- James Horner – “War” from Avatar
- Thomas Newman – “Stoic Theme” from The Shawshank Redemption
- Klaus Badelt – Suite from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell – “What Was I Made For?” from Barbie
- Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt – “I am Just Ken” from Barbie
Bob Sinclar – “Far L’Amore” from La Grande Bellezza (encore)
- David Lang – “I Lie” uit La Grande Bellezza
- Zbigniew Preisner – “Dies Irae” uit La Grande Bellezza
- Ennio Morricone – “Love Theme” uit Cinema Paradiso
- Lady Gaga, Andrew Wyatt, Anthony Rossomando uit Mark Ronson – “Shallow” uit A Star is Born
- Ludwig Göransson – “Can You Hear the Music” uit Oppenheimer
- Michael Giacchino – The Batman
- “Can’t Fight City uit Halloween”
- “Sonate in Darkness”
- Simon Franglen – “Leaving Home” uit Avatar: The Way of Water
- James Horner – “War” uit Avatar
- Thomas Newman – “Stoic Theme” uit The Shawshank Redemption
- Klaus Badelt – Suite uit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- Billie Eilish uit Finneas O’Connell – “What Was I Made For?” uit Barbie
- Mark Ronson uit Andrew Wyatt – “I am Just Ken” uit Barbie
- Bob Sinclar – “Far L’Amore” uit La Grande Bellezza (toegift)