Het Nederlands Filmorkest (The Dutch Film Orchestra) is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and, shamefully, I have missed 24 of those years since I only attended one of their concerts for the first time last year. After having an amazing time during that concert, I recently found myself in the movie theater in Ede to attend De Gala van de Filmmuziek (Film Music Gala) to celebrate their 25th birthday with them.
I knew that I was in for a treat after host Pieter van Es, a radio personality and former director of the orchestra, appeared on stage to explain the format of the evening. The concert would be treated as a ceremony award show, handing out awards for the best music in eight categories. The orchestra members had selected nominees and had voted for music in categories such as ‘Best Drama,’ ‘Best Adventure’ and so on. All kinds of people were asked to come on stage for each of the awards. Each of them had some connection with the orchestra, like being the founder, a current or former member, or faithful visitors of their concerts for many years, and, at some point, even Storm Troopers from the Dutch Garrison of the 501st Legion came onto the stage for the ‘Best Sci-Fi’ category. Having these people on stage was an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of the journey the orchestra has been on during those 25 years. Because of these stories, you could see the orchestra grow from a smaller string ensemble into the full symphony orchestra it is nowadays. You could also hear fun stories about directors getting haircuts during concerts in Italy.
After announcing each winner, the orchestra would play a suite from its music in combination with images on screen. There were a few aspects of these suites that I liked a lot. First of all, the winners of each category were quite surprising. The winner was often not the most popular, but came from a movie I would also like to hear the music from. For example, King Kong by James Newton Howard won over Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Vertigo won over Jaws and Psycho. Secondly, for the music in those suites, the orchestra did not shy away from playing the lesser-known music, where I had expected the more familiar themes to be played, making for quite a refreshing listening experience. Lastly, the orchestra had well-timed moments with certain scenes of the movies on the screen during the suites. I have seen this more often, but these were big-budget concerts that used technology such as click tracks for the musicians. The Filmorkest accomplished the same effect without these kinds of technology, which is quite a feat.
The Nederlands Filmorkest concerts always have a specific theme, and when the official program was over, with incredible music that I had not heard before for a long time, thanks were given and flowers were handed out. During this end speech, the next concert with a new theme, focusing on music involving England, was announced for June. So it was quite fitting to hear the “James Bond theme” as an encore of a fantastic evening.
After attending their concert last year, I knew I would have a great time this time as well. With an orchestra like this, with so much passion for the art of film music, there is little that can go wrong. Where many traditional orchestras go for the more conventional music, when it comes to film music concerts, the Nederlands Filmorkest, which is not a professional orchestra, goes that extra mile, making their concerts so much better than many professional counterparts, simply because of their originality. I am happy they have been around for those 25 years, and I hope they will for the next 25 and beyond.
Where: Pathé – Ede, the Netherlands
When: January 12, 2024
Orchestra: Het Nederlands Filmorkest conducted by Sander Vredenborg
Artists: Gijs Leegwater (accordion) and Valeska Poismans (vocalist)
(Suites with music from the winners that are marked in bold were performed)
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Ennio Morricone
- The Magnificent Seven – Elmer Bernstein
- High Noon – Dimitri Tiomkin
- Vertigo – Bernard Herrmann
- Psycho – Bernard Herrmann
- Jaws – John Williams
- King Kong – James Newton Howard
- Raiders of the Lost Ark – John Williams
- The Adventures of Robin Hood – Erich Wolfgang Korngold
- “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” used in Fantasia – Paul Dukas
- Beauty and the Beast – Alan Menken
- Toy Story – Randy Newman
- Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain – Yann Tiersen
- Modern Times – Charlie Chaplin
- An American in Paris – George Gershwin
- Dances with Wolves – John Barry
- Citizen Kane – Bernard Herrmann
- A Streetcar Named Desire – Alex North
Best Sci Fi
- Star Wars – John Williams
- Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
- Blade Runner – Vangelis
- The Sound of Music – Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
- West Side Story – Leonard Bernstein
- Jesus Christ Superstar – Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
- “James Bond Theme” – Monty Norman