by Robert Rollin
On Sunday night, conductor Michael Krajewski and The Cleveland Orchestra, assisted by the Blossom Festival Chorus, presented “The Magic of the Movies,” a lively film music potpourri. The evening’s guest artist was Carpathia Jenkins, a talented Broadway singer and actress.
Krajewski, who has conducted Cleveland Orchestra and Blossom pops concerts since 2012, is always gracious and charming. Native New Yorker Carpathia Jenkins’s remarkable background includes singing and acting on Broadway, extensive appearances with pops orchestras, and impressive television credits. The two combined their talents to produce a delightful evening.
The highpoint was the Suite from The Mission by prodigiously gifted Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. The 1986 film, directed by Roland Joffé, is an artistic, imaginative, and heart-rending depiction of the relationships among the Church, the Jesuit missionaries, the colonial Spanish and Portuguese troops, and the aboriginal Guaraní tribe in the jungles of central South America. Morricone’s beautiful and engaging score, which was nominated for an Academy Award, employs leitmotivs for the main characters and historical forces.
The Suite includes the gorgeous and soulful oboe theme of Father Gabriel (who had won the natives’ trust by playing his own oboe for them) and the syncopated rhythmic theme that represents the Guaraní themselves.
Although the Orchestra’s performance didn’t match that of the original soundtrack due to some balance problems, Krajewski deserves praise for selecting this masterpiece for performance. The Blossom audience responded with thunderous applause.
The concert opened with Hooray for Hollywood! by Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer in an arrangement by John Williams which seemed a bit square.
The wonderful Suite from The Wizard of Oz, beautifully arranged by Jeff Tyzik, was stunning, with terrific ensemble. Punctuated by the glockenspiel and xylophone, The Cleveland Orchestra created great beauty and grace. Everyone always responds to wonderful songs like Harold Arlen’s and Yip Harburg’s Over the Rainbow.
Due to balance problems, it was difficult to hear clearly Carpathia Jenkins’ first-half performance of “Home” from The Wiz (music and words by Charlie Smalls) and her singing of the universally loved “My Heart Will Go On” from James Horner’s Titanic. Later in the evening, she was terrific in Marvin Hamlisch’s “Nobody Does It Better” from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. The Orchestra’s performance of Monty Norman’s infectious “James Bond Theme” from Dr. No also elicited a warm audience response.
Jenkins began Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard with a gorgeously radiant solo, then continued magnificently over a lightly scored orchestration. The result was absolutely magical when she joined the Orchestra and the wonderful Blossom Chorus on the closer, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music.
Other fine performances included James Horner’s beautifully scored Suite from Avatar with the Blossom Chorus singing in Na’vi; Vangelis’s colorfully scored theme from Chariots of Fire; John Williams’s theme and “Duel of the Fates” (sung by the Blossom Chorus) from the Star Wars films. Add to the list Klaus Badelt’s cleverly syncopated and well-orchestrated Suite from Pirates of the Caribbean and Michael Giacchino’s imaginative setting of the theme from Star Trek Into Darkness for orchestra and chorus, which included sparkling percussion ostinatos.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com July 30, 2016.
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