Sunday, October 11, 2009


Yesterday DH and I headed into NYC to the Art Deco splendor that is Radio City Music Hall (along the way we saw the remnants of a street fair on Avenue of the Americas, which was closed to auto traffic)...

Radio City Music Hall

... to see The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in concert. The concert included a viewing of the movie that was rather like reverse karaoke – the images, dialogue, and sound effects were from the movie, but the music was live. Here's the orchestra, chorus, and movie screen awaiting the conductor.

LOTR concert

I was completely engrossed by the multi-media presentation – I didn't even knit on the sock I brought. Howard Shore's score includes some ethereal vocalizing best heard live. Another fascination was the musical instruments unfamiliar to me – mutant violins, a contrabassoon on steroids, extra-low register brass instruments, and lots and lots and lots of unusual percussion (perhaps the most novel was chains struck against the exposed wires of an upright piano). Then there was the giddy joy of owning geeky fandom. The collective vibe was part jazz concert, part cult movie – there was generous applause both for the live solos and for the action on the movie screen. I suppose that may have been a bit strange for the live performers, but it's wonderful to be part of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. The composer received a standing ovation when he came onstage.

Grand Lobby

The unpretentious, old-fashioned Modern glamor of the venue was an additional pleasure. I love the now-retro name and decor, the grand lobby with its soaring ceiling, art glass chandelier, and sweeping staircase, the handsome concession stands that offer both adult beverages and boxes of popcorn, the relaxed policy on photography – a diva-esque assurance that patrons will want to snap pictures but will not make nuisances of themselves. Even the restrooms are worthy of a visit. I didn't take any pix inside the lounge, but here's one of the bronze statues outside, Spirit of the Dance. I also didn't take any pix of Stephen Colbert, who was there with his family.

All in all, this concert was the most fun I've ever had at a classical music concert. Ringheads who missed the music can console themselves at an exhibit of Tolkien manuscripts at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus now through November 12 for free.

ETA: Be sure to enter my blog contest, open through October 15.


Bezzie said...

What an interesting concept! But ugh, did you drive or hitchhike to get around NYC this weekend? I heard it was a headache w/all the lines closed down.

Ina said...

Bezzie: I suppose the concert was coming full circle for the hall, which used to show silent movies with live musical accompaniment.

Holiday weekend auto traffic was heavy, yet we were able to park on the street and walk to Radio City. I'd say it was easier to get around than going to a concert or sports event at the Meadowlands.

craftivore said...

Didn't even knit the sock you brought?! It must have been a good concert indeed.

--Deb said...

How cool is that? A few years ago, Mom and I went to "The LOTR Symphony" which took all the musical themes and condensed them down to a two-ish hour piece of music. There were slides and illustrations projected on stage so you'd have something to look at, but the focus was the music. And, still the music from those movies just floors me every time. Absolutely wonderful.

Jessica said...

Sounds like fun in more ways than one! If you ever want a close up view of a contrabassoon, I'll dig mine out for you when you come over next. :)

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