The show combines the music of Gustav Holst’s The Planets—played live by the National Symphony Orchestra—with some amazing high-definition imagery and animations from NASA, ESA, and the historical collection of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
During intermission, one of my friends who’d bought lawn seats for the show informed me that the director of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country wanted to use The Planets as the basis for movie’s score, but the plan got prohibitively expensive.
His girlfriend immediately crowned him King of the Nerds.
But maybe some folks at NSO are just as nerdy, considering the first half of the concert: To complement The Planets, NSO conductor Emil de Cou and artistic director Norman Scribner got things started with a selection of orchestral pieces from famous science fiction and fantasy films.
Thus Spake Zarathustra (aka the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) may be one of the most recognizable scores of the genre, but that didn’t stop me from getting chills listening to the live performance.
The audience was also treated to themes from The Twilight Zone and Lost in Space, the closing credits music from the 2009 Star Trek movie, and a couple John Williams standards, the “Imperial March” from Star Wars: Episode V and the “Flying Music” from E.T.
De Cou and colleagues even got permission to do the first-ever concert performances of suites from James Cameron’s Avatar and Disney-Pixar’s Wall-E.
So my question to the blogosphere is, What’s missing? In a list of the Top Ten Sci-fi Instrumentals, what would you add or subtract from the NSO’s eight selections?
For my part, I much prefer the original 1960s Star Trek theme over the J.J. Abrams movie score—there’re some classics you just can’t improve upon.
I also would have loved a little Back to the Future action, although I guess that’s less spacey than what the NSO had in mind.
Any other votes?