Bob writes: My family and I went to the Spokane Symphony’s LOTR concert last night ( Nov. 12th), and came away with a (for the most part) very enjoyable experience. While not exactly matching the scope and depth of the original score for the movie, the Spokane Symphony made up for it in feeling and expressing the music — it still had all of its glory and majesty intact. The Spokane Symphony Chorale and Spokane Area Children’s Chorus were excellent, Kaitlyn Lusk outstanding, under the heart-felt control of conductor Alastair Willis.
That being said, I don’t think the Spokane Veteran’s Arena, turned into the “Star Theater” (where the Arena is basically cut in half) was the best place suited for the concert. The seating was cramped (at least up in the nosebleed section where we were — see attached picture). The acoustics were a bit flat (at least no echoing), and the air condition/heating blowers would turn on noisily and distract. And it looked like Shelob may have been lurking in the rafters, with all the spider webs. My feeling is arenas are for loud rock concerts and hockey, not symphonies.
But, I don’t think the concert could have been held elsewhere in town, since the opera house is hosting “The Lion King” and The Met is too small, and the Fox to begin renovation, so my complaints are mere quibbles when it comes down to it. I am happy we had the chance to experience the concert, no matter what venue.
gloryliberty writes: We find our seats (last row on the floor, right in front of the box seats)… and then complain a tad. Not about the Symphony, mind you, but the venue. Normally, the Symphony would be playing in the Spokane Opera House, but at the moment the Opera House is in the middle of a six-week run of the national touring companies’ production of The Lion King, so for the Spokane Symphony to throw Rafiki, Simba and the Gang out on the street for one night wasn’t really feesable. Especially on a Saturday. But, the Arena has a solution: The Star Theatre – basically they curtain off one end of the Arena and call it a “theatre”. The Arena isn’t known for its spectacular acoustics, so my mother and I were kind of suspect of how a symphony performance would sound in that kind of space. Another thing to rag on: food vendors. At a symphony performance. It’s just not… right. We gave them credit that they weren’t trolling through the performance, but they were hard to miss before and during intermission with their Uncle Sam oversized hats and their cotton candy.
Besides that, it was beyond expectation. The worries about acoustics? Unfounded,at least from my viewpoint. We had a guest condutor, a very capable man by the name of Alastair Willis instead of Eckart Preu, the Symphony’s music director/house conductor. Our featured soloist, Kaitlyn Lusk, was mind blowing.
The music itself was performed very well with each specific song flowing into another, something that I didn’t expect, but enjoyed nonetheless. The visuals including the Lee/Howe artwork was a welcome bonus. Being able to hear the score performed live was awesome because I was able to hear instruments that I couldn’t hear on the CD and also to see what instrument created what sounds and where the choirs came in… it certainly was an experience.
Besides the Lee/Howe visuals, watching the conductor was also… an interesting experience. Even though we could only see the back of him, you could tell he was contucting with such emotion and power. I can only imagine the facial expressions.
The only thing I can say I didn’t approve of was the choice of male soloist for “The Return Of The King”. The man they chose… he was a bass, where I’m almost sure Vig’s a baritone. His voice was too deep and too powerful for what the text required. It sounded… out of place, but then I’m biased. No one steps on Viggo’s turf.
I was pleased with the soundtrack selections that made it into the symphony. I would have enjoyed more from TTT and ROTK, but I understand why; more music from FOTR needed to be in the piece to set up the themes for the other two movies. What I didn’t get was why Billy’s song from “Steward Of Gondor” wasn’t included. I was really looking forward to that, so for it not to be in there was disappointing. Guess I should have made the journey to Cleveland.