A few nights ago we went to an odd but entertaining affair at Disney Hall. Film composer John Williams conducted a selection of Bernard Hermann's film scores (from Citizen Kane, Devil and Daniel Webster, Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest, and Taxi Driver), and then, after intermission, from his own (Sugarland Express, Jaws, ET, Indiana Jones, Schindler's List). The two sections were hosted by Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg respectively, and they introduced each piece.
We had fantastic seats--second row in a sold-out hall. (I bought our tix about ten seconds after they went on sale to LA Philharmonic patrons. They sold out before they went on sale to the general public. First come, first served--rare in LA, where there's usually some sort of VIP preference on offer. Though not usually on offer to me.)
John Williams was marvelous as always, conducting with good humor, and Bing Wang was her usual spectacular self in the violin solo from Schindler's List. My only complaint--and I do have one--is that Williams once again ignored the spooky little Ark leitmotif from Raiders, which is my favorite piece of his music.
Scorsese and Spielberg were quite charming, and both had incisive comments about the role of music in the movies. But what was most interesting was that Scorsese and Spielberg both seemed more than a little nervous--especially Scorsese, despite being Man of the Year in Hollywood after his recent Oscar wins.
I found this bizarre until I worked out that they weren't talking to their usual Hollywood crowd. They were talking to a classical music crowd. And they were trying to say the right things to honor Williams and Hermann, and it was a little bit outside of their normal sphere, so they weren't that sure of themselves.
It made me like both of them. And isn't it noce to know that anxiety can still be a factor even when you're at the top of your game?