Royal Albert Hall, London
Composed by Thomas Newman
Conducted by Anthony Gabriele
Directed by Sam Mendes
At the Royal Albert Hall and conducted by the gifted Anthony Gabriele, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed the world premiere of Thomas Newman’s 2015 score for the James Bond film Spectre, played live and synchronised to a screening of the movie.
Composed by Newman alongside filming, the score is both inspired by and honours many of the film’s locations. Memorably, the opening sequence set in full swing at a Day Of The Dead festival alongside local bands in Zócalo Square in central Mexico City, gives the orchestra and in particular the percussion section, full opportunity to embrace the vibe of the occasion.
The titles play to Sam Smith's ballad The Writing's On The Wall, with its dramatic strings content deliciously echoing Monty Norman. For lovers of the famous franchise, Newman’s work incorporates those familiar, almost expected Bond-sounds and the orchestra deliver magnificently. The powerful accompaniment of the musicians provides added excitement, a supercharged experience in the form of waves of pleasure, aesthetic chills almost, from the musical vibrations generated in the acoustically perfect auditorium. Under Maestro Gabriele’s seasoned baton, the orchestra add another nuanced layer to the viewing experience.
The afternoon closed with the familiar Jazzy big band sound of Norman’s original "James Bond Theme". One could feel the audience relax into their seats, succumbing to that timeless leitmotif, the applause and standing ovation only defining their appreciation and fondness for this classic music, wonderfully and flawlessly performed.
Reviewed by Lucy Bex