The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is kicking off 2024 in cinematic fashion with a carousel of concerts that draw inspiration from the silver screen. Get ready for our January concerts by getting cozy with a list of films inspired by our dynamic programming.
Oundjian Conducts Rachmaninoff - Jan 17–Jan 20
Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 3 — As if the return of our Conductor Emeritus Peter Oundjian wasn’t exciting enough, the program he’ll be conducting is a tinderbox of exciting firsts and perennial favorites. Canadian composer Katerina Gimon’s TSO-commissioned work will be making its world premiére alongside the Canadian premiére of a concerto for saxophone(!) by John Adams. On the other side of intermission, a Rachmaninoff favorite will take hold of our orchestra as they perform the rhapsodic Symphony No.3.
Get inspired for this symphony with the help of another famous third by Rachmaninoff—his Piano Concerto No.3, which was the subject of the 1996 Australian biopic Shine. Directed by Scott Hicks — and starring Geoffrey Rush in a role that earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor — this psychological drama depicts the highs and lows of pianist David Helfgott, centered around his preparation for the Rachmainoff concerto.
Beethoven’s Sixth + Korngold’s Violin - Jan 26–Jan 27
Korngold Violin Concerto — As temperatures begin to drop to seasonal lows, we’ll be staving off winter with dreams of spring via Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony. For a bit of summertime warmth, however, we’ll be stepping into the spotlight with one of the world’s most recognizable violinists: Ray Chen. With his highly anticipated performance of Eric Korngold’s Violin Concerto, the spotlight is sure to mix with the cinematic limelight that Korngold composed so many pieces for. Having made lasting impressions on Warner Brothers Studios while visiting Hollywood in 1934, the studio managed to squeeze 18 original film scores out of him. The Violin Concerto doubles as a best-of compilation of excerpts from three of these scores.
The first movement’s themes are borrowed from Korngold’s score for the films Another Dawn (1937) and Juarez (1939)—both directed by William Dieterle as a follow-up to his immensely popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935). In the second movement, you’ll hear callbacks to Korngold’s score for Anthony Adverse (1936), a historical drama featuring such generational talents as Olivia de Havilland and for which Korngold was awarded an Oscar for best score. The third movement’s second theme was similarly lifted from the score from The Prince and the Pauper (1937), a film inspired by a Mark Twain novel of the same name, which was published in Canada in 1881.
These are just a few of Korngold’s compositional footprints in the early history of music in Hollywood. As Chen notes in his interview with Noteworthy (below), Korngold helped to usher in the characteristically lush and symphonically effusive film scores that came to be known as the “Hollywood Sound.”
We look forward to seeing you at Roy Thomson Hall for a cinematic (and symphonic!) affair.