February 19th, 2012


An Epic Journey of 854 Days Concludes

A Friday Night Out

It's rather unusual for us to go out on a Friday night. Working at two different universities in two different cities, coordination becomes complicated. But one must make allowances for some things. After dropping Mrs. Dr. Phil off at GVSU's Allendale campus in the morning, we met up again at the downtown Grand Rapids campus. I picked up a pair of Jimmy John's sandwiches along the way -- the food service closes up early on a Friday -- and we had a pleasant supper sitting in the sort of indoors/outdoors street cafe commons area. Palm trees (!) and red London telephone boxes... and South Park on the telly a number of students were watching. (grin)

The light snow which had fallen might as well have been rain, as it was still 39°F. Then a long drive across the bridge and glacial progress all to go one mile to the parking structure by DeVos Auditorium. GVSU's President's Ball and the Boat Show seemed to be going on at the same time...

The Grand Rapids Symphony in Concert
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Friday 17 February 2012, 7pm, DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids MI
Loge Left, Row D, Seats 10-11, 2×$67 (Sold Out)

The 200-some musicians, choral and youth chorus members, plus our featured soloist voices, take a well deserved bow afterwards.

It was Friday 16 October 2009 when we saw the first installment of the LOTR trilogy with live symphonic and choral accompaniment (DW). A year later for the second act. And now, the war itself and the denouement of Mister One-Ring-To-Rule-Them-All.

Of course by now we've seen all the movies, including The Return of the King (19 December 2003) many times. Alas, this is the theatrical length version and not the Extended Editions, though, really, the orchestra has over two hours of music to play over nearly four hours including the intermission, so let's not feel bad about this.

Whether it was because we were so much closer to both speakers and orchestra, it was good they had the subtitles on, because the full on score overwhelmed some of the dialogue at times -- but this is not a complaint. Howard Shore's score is lovely. In particular, the violin solo theme for Rohan, introduced in The Two Towers, whether alone or against the orchestra, was gorgeously played by the GR Symphony's concertmistress. And the flutist on the penny whistle brought her themes high above the fray as well.

One of my favorite scenes, oddly enough, is the lighting of the beacons. And I couldn't be happier with the result.

Mezzo Soprano Kaitlyn Lusk has been touring with both the concert and film/symphony versions of the LOTR since she was 14 and her singing fits the moods of the film so well. She even belts out a pretty convincing Annie Lennox during the credits.

I am so pleased that I have been able to see all three movies with full symphony and chorus. Grand Rapids is one of the few cities in the world which have been given permission to do this, bringing in the soloist and conductor who has done most of these productions. Not to say that the movie score on the DVD is in any way shabby, but this was special.


The Hobbit with or without full symphony anyone? (grin)

Dr. Phil