Arts Review


The Queensland Symphony Orchestra presents Cinematic

Concert Hall, QPAC


26th-27th May 2023.


Conductor Nicholas Buc


R. STRAUSS Introduction from Also sprach Zarathustra

GÖRANSSEN Main Theme from The Mandalorian 

WILLIAMS Duel of the Fates from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 

WESTLAKE Flying Dream Suite for Orchestra from Paper Planes 

GIACCHINO Married Life Sequence from Up 

ARMSTRONG Glasgow Love Theme & Prime Minister Theme from Love Actually

ELFMAN Main Title and Ice Dance from Edward Scissorhands 

HORNER Excerpts from Titanic Suite 

MENKEN Tale as Old as Time from Beauty and the Beast

ZIMMER The Dream is Collapsing and Time from Inception Suite 

WILLIAMS Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan 

UTADA Simple & Clean from Kingdom Hearts 

HISAISHI Merry-Go-Round of Life from Howl’s Moving Castle 

HORNER Excerpts from Avatar 

WILLIAMS Harry’s Wondrous World from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 

SHORE The Two Towers Symphonic Suite from Lord of the Rings 

BADELT A Medley from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 


Dr Gemma Regan


The QSO excels with an epic maelstrom of movie music and madness


Another spectacular production from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra left the QPAC Concert Hall ringing to the terrifying chants of the hundred-strong Voices of Birralee choir to Carmina Burana’s O Fortuna from The Omen with the orchestra lit in a terrifying blood red. It was an incredible encore to a phenomenal concert ranking as one of their best Cinematic concerts to date!


The QSO never cease to amaze and entertain their audience, gone are the stuffy dinner suits during the Cinematic concerts. The QSO’s Cinematic event began in the foyer with multiple costumed Cosplayers ripe for a photographic opportunity. Star Wars characters fraternised with Disney princesses, pirates and wizards, but the costumes were even better on stage with the QSO musicians outdoing previous concerts with some home-made additions.


The double bass section won the contest with Justin Bullock sporting a house as a hat with 20 coloured helium balloons towering over the section as a tribute to the movie Up, which featured in the song line-up. A double bass was also converted to the giant bird character “Kevin” from Up with its owner Russell playing. A double bass playing Edward Scissorhands opened the evening as Darth Vader with his red trumpet and stormtroopers were piped on stage to the Imperial March. Fortunately, Princess Phoebe Russell had asked Edward to remove his scissor hands before playing the bass lest he cut a string or too!


The packed audience of families and QSO fans were already whooping and cheering as each character took their place on stage, but the biggest cheer was for conductor Nicholas Buc who terrified the wee ones with his Nightmare Before Christmas Pumpkin King costume. Without losing a beat the QSO and tremulous organ were straight into Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra with the King of the pumpkins conducting with his elongated skeletal fingers. 


The iconic introduction to Zarathustra was made popular in Kubrick's Space Odyssey 2001 with the opening movement, inspired by the philosophical writings of Nietzsche with Zoroastrian influences. Zoroaster was a prophet of the sixth century BCE and taught the dualism of an eternal struggle between the two gods who represent light and darkness. Very fitting with the King of the Pumpkins at the helm!


Movie-mad conductor Nicholas Buc recently conducted the popular QSO Cineconcerts Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Concert at the Brisbane Convention Centre. He is highly sought after having conducted the world premieres of John Williams' Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Hans Zimmer’s The Lion King (2019), Alan Menken's Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Alexandre Desplat’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. He even has the unique record of having conducted all three original Star Wars films in concert, in one day!


After Buc removed his skeletal pumpkin head, propping it on a stand, music followed from the Star Wars franchise with John Williams’ Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace and Göransson’s theme from the spin-off series, The Mandalorian. Darth Maul was on stage wielding a viola rather than his cool double-ended lightsaber. The Duel of the Fates theme is iconic, where Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and the villainous Darth Maul (Ray Park) face off, and is the most popular Star Wars theme outside of the original trilogy. The hundred-strong Voices of Birralee choir with conductor Paul Holly were epic! The frantic strings, staccato brass and brazen bassoon created a terrifying apocalyptic scene as the choir swelled to crashing drums.


Love was a running theme throughout many of the soundtrack excerpts, with the poignant old-timer's waltz from Michael Giacchino’s Married Life Sequence from Up causing many an audience member to wipe away a tear. The creepy Danny Elfman’s Main Title and Ice Dance from Edward Scissorhands were also incredible, with a sparkling celeste and spooky choristers.


After the Celtic-themed excerpts from Horner’s Titanic (thankfully they didn’t play THAT song), the Voices of Birralee gave a heartfelt rendition in unison to close the first half with the fabulous Tale as Old as Time, sung originally by the teapot from Beauty and the Beast. Menken’s Disney scores for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and The Beast resurrected a flagging genre of animated feature films after the lull since The Jungle Book.


Science fiction dominated the second half with Zimmer’s The Dream is Collapsing and Time from Inception with a blasting brass, 90’s synthesiser and an electric guitar creating multiple textures for the multiple dimensions. After William’s Saving Ryan’s Privates (a better title I’m sure you would agree!), two popular Japanese soundtracks from Utada and Hisaishi represented the surge in the popularity of Asian composers through animations and gaming music.


Epic tracks from The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (of course) and Avatar built up to the Piratical medley from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl by Klaus Badelt, who has managed to encapsulate his mentor's signature Hans Zimmer sound. The swashbuckling sea shanties were lifted with catchy motifs and high energy, causing Buc to do a perfectly executed 360-degree pirouette without falling from the podium!


After a long-standing ovation, the terrifying O Fortuna encore from The Omen closed under bloody red lights an incredible maelstrom of movie music and madness from the QSO.



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