E.T. in Concert: 'There's something about seeing the musicians playing on stage that gives an emotional weight'
- Kelly Apter
- 16 April 2019
Spielberg's big-screen classic accompanied by a live orchestra
When ET opened in 1982, cinemas were awash with tears. And, through the years, Steven Spielberg's adventure film about a young boy's friendship with a lost alien, has seen plenty of tissues used up in living rooms. A big part of why ET's longevity is John Williams' incredible score. So imagine seeing a 70-piece orchestra delivering it while you watch the tiny heroes battle against the odds.
'There's something about seeing the musicians playing on stage that gives an emotional weight you just don't get from a recording,' says conductor Ben Palmer, who is leading the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on this international tour. 'One of the reasons people love this film is because of the music, so think of that soaring "Flying Theme" as the bikes take to the sky; experiencing that being recreated right in front of you can be very moving.'
Palmer is one of Europe's foremost specialists in conducting to film, with ET one of ten films he's working on this year, including main themes from Star Wars and Harry Potter. Ensuring the music and visuals are always exactly in sync isn't easy, but if anyone can do it, Palmer can. 'The most difficult section to match up to in ET is the famous bike chase scene,' he explains. 'The music is extremely fast and tricky to play, with lots of difficult rhythms, and we need to stay glued to the picture so that when the bikes finally take to the air, the orchestra is in exactly the right place.'
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 20 Apr.