CBSO Review: 21st Century Blockbusters – 6th March 2015

Tonight in Birmingham at the majestic Symphony Hall, I was privileged enough to be in the audience of a wonderful concert, displaying some of the finest film music of the 21st Century (so far)!

Hosted by Tommy Pearson and conducted by Michael Seal, Friday Night Classics: 21st Century Blockbusters was a fantastic journey through recent cinematic history through a marvellous selection of film scores, covering a wide range of film genres as well as composers and styles of music. Opening with an extract from the instantly spine tingling score of John Williams’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and continuing onwards with extracts from popular family favourites such as The Hobbit, Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as some scores from more adult films such as Gladiator, There Will Be Blood and The Bourne Ultimatum. The compere’s introductions to the pieces with some back story were very interesting and worked well to engage the crowd, which seemed to be a very mixed age range audience, which was a real pleasure to see at a classical concert!


My personal favourite apart from the opening piece were the extracts from David Arnold’s entertaining and exciting score to the popular TV series Sherlock, Michael Giaccino’s wonderfully warm score from Star Trek: Into darkness (which Tommy rightly dedicated to the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy) and the amazing cultural experience that was the juxtaposition of hearing the sitar and orchestra in A.R. Rahman’s score to Slumdog Millionaire.

A final mention must go out to Craig Armstrong’s ‘Glasgow Love Theme’ from Love Actually, which is always a joy to hear with its beauty and simplicity performed live. The orchestra played brilliantly and whole audience left with a real buzz – as one younger Twitter fan said of the concert:

“We are literally dying at how amazing the orchestra is.”

With student/under 25s tickets available from just £5, the CBSO have attracted a younger audience to their shows and if the great scores keep being written and the concerts keep being performed to such a high standard, I am sure that they will stick around for many years to come. I know that I will be coming back for more from the CBSO!

CBSO Review
Image taken by @HopeStreetBlues


For more information about the CBSO concert series, visit or follow on Twitter @TheCBSO. Check out the trending tweets from the concert on #CBSOfilm.

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