FEATURE: Cinema Paradiso | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The world of classical sometimes seems completely separated from the domain of pop music, and even with a few artists adding strings and choirs to their work, there’s still a very defined wall between the two styles. Or is there? Because it seems like there’s one arena where even those most sceptical of classical, those who claim to not enjoy the genre, are more than willing to give it a listen: when it’s in the background of their favourite blockbuster. Really, where would some of our favourite films – from classical spaghetti westerns like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to action flicks like Jurassic Park – be without a dose of classical music in the background? The Royal Northern Sinfonia and the Inspiration Choir have therefore teamed up to present an evening of some of the most iconic tunes in cinema, which will hopefully encourage more of us to explore classical music.

Ahead of Cinema Paradiso at the Sage Gateshead, which celebrates some of the most iconic classical soundtracks with a smattering of pop tunes, we had a quick chat to the Musical Director of the Inspiration Choir Gary Griffiths about working with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, James Horner and more.

The show isn’t just recreating the classical music that makes up film soundtracks but also more popular fare from Sunshine on Leith and Jersey Boys. Why are you combining these two different styles together?

Inspiration is known for its eclectic choice of material, and the world of film music is so wide ranging we felt we had to cover most of it. Who else could put Ennio Morricone next to The Proclaimers?

Do you have to arrange the pop songs in a different way for the performance so that they can be played by an orchestra and choir?

Absolutely. There is a huge difference between a solo pop artist in a recording studio and a 300 voice choir and full symphony orchestra performing live. We try and maintain the style of the song, but it often takes on a different feel with choir and orchestra.

Do you think that people will be at all surprised that the RNS are playing songs by acts like The Proclaimers?

Not at all. With such world class players in the orchestra they can play anything put in front of them, and they are used to a very wide range of styles when playing with Inspiration.

Film composer James Horner, who created scores for Titanic, Avatar and Apollo 13, recently and tragically died; will you be paying tribute to him during the show?

We have in the past performed music by James Horner, in particular our huge suite from Titanic, but the music for this concert was chosen a long time ago, before the sad news of his passing.

Do you have any personal favourite composers of film scores?

My personal favourite has to be John Williams, and Dry Your Tears Afrika has proved to be one of the hits of this concert.

Do you hope that a performance like this would encourage people who don’t normally attend classical concerts to go and see the RNS play again?

Yes I think so. Good music is good music, whatever style, and I would hope that audience members drawn in by the choir, or the movie repertoire, would consider attending one of the orchestra’s own concerts.

Cinema Paradiso comes to the Sage Gateshead on Sunday 12th July.

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