When: April 8-9, 7 p.m. and Sun., April 10, 2 p.m. 2016
When composing the score for Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, John Williams was concerned with how the music could generate sympathy for the odd-looking title character. He used the ethereal sounds of harps, celestas and keyboards to emphasize E.T.'s otherworldly nature, and employed polytonality to suggest the twinned nature of Elliot and E.T.'s symbiotic relationship. The finished score won an Academy Award (along with a Grammy and a bunch of other prizes), and Williams' individual musical themes remain crowd-pleasers to this day (as witnessed at a recent RFT staff meeting, when almost everyone was able to hum the "Flying" theme when prompted). Erik Ochsner leads the Saint Louis Symphony through the full soundtrack while the film screens at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (April 8 to 10) at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.slso.org). Tickets are $25 to $68.