John Wilson & the John Wilson Orchestra bring Music from the Movies to the Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Thursday, December 1 at 7pm.
n their most ambitious nationwide tour to date, they are joined by guest singers Kim Criswell and Matt Ford to celebrate Hollywood film scores and Oscar-winning songs.
It ties in nicely with their new album, Gershwin in Hollywood – Live at the Royal Albert Hall. John and the orchestra follow up their Cole Porter in Hollywood album with a tribute to America’s iconic songsmith team — the Brothers Gershwin — and their successes for the silver screen.
“For the tour, the unwritten theme is really the Academy Awards,” John says. “There are so many pieces that either won Academy Awards or were written by multiple Academy Award winners. I wanted to put together as wide a selection as possible, going back to the music that was written during the days of the studio system when people used to clock in at nine o’clock and work effectively in factories for producing movies.
“Each studio had its own individual styles of music, like those MGM film musicals that had their own certain colours and combinations and tones and styles. They had their own styles and actors and they had their own sounds. I wanted to do a show that comes out of the music that was coming out of those studios from the 1930s through to… actually 1983. But it is mainly the music of the 30s and 40s.
“I had a bit of a head start on this in 2013 when we did a concert at the Proms called Hollywood Rhapsodies which covered film scores and film background music, not the songs. Now we have widened this to include the songs, just to add another dimension to it all.”
John is delighted with the singers he has got, his regular collaborators, Kim Criswell and Matt Ford: “We have done hundreds and hundreds of concerts together with Matt and Kim. Kim has got massive experience and has done everything from Broadway to movies. Matt is a great stylist. He is one of the few singers that can still sing in this style.
“But we are not doing it as nostalgia. It is important music, modern western music that should be regarded in the same way that Beethoven and Brahms are..”
Conductor and arranger John formed the John Wilson Orchestra in 1994: “The orchestra just really started as me and my mates 20 odd years ago, just college friends, and a lot of us have stuck at it ever since.”
The orchestra is not full time: “It is a wonderful repertoire, but it is like the sweet course. The music is marvellous to play, but we all do other things. I have just done 12 weeks at Glyndebourne for instance.
“I will also be working with the National Youth Orchestra.
“It is all very different, but you hope that it all adds up to a balanced diet!”
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