25 June 2010, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London
What a way to watch one of last century’s masterpieces for the very first time.. the world premiere of 2001: A Space Odyssey to live music performed by Philharmonia Orchestra!
It was quite an experience. The dun dun dun dun dun of the opening bars of the main theme… it was so powerful, I got goosebumps.
Playing a soundtrack live to a movie must require so much work on the conductor’s part. They have so many visual cues and have to make sure the musicians play at the perfect speed. What happens if they finish the piece before the visual element finishes? They must have some buffer music they can play… hm…
This show was a real challenge for Southbank Centre. They weren’t able to find a copy of the movie file where the music was separated from the soundtrack (everything was recorded/put onto the same track in the old days). So Warner Brothers had to especially produce this special print just for this performance. Also, there was the challenge of balancing the volume of the orchestra with the film’s soundtrack. And also the lighting such that there was enough for the orchestra but not distracting for the film watcher.
But what a great job they did. What a brilliant score. And what a brilliant performance.