Those who have seen a silent movie accompanied by live music from an organ or small group of musicians know how cool the experience can be. Now imagine seeing a modern movie with sound but with some of it replaced by the muscular musical interpretations of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
That's the gist of "Night at the Oscars," a pops program that various symphonies around the country have presented and Powell Symphony Hall plays host to this weekend.
"Night at the Oscars" promises a showing of scenes from The Wizard of Oz, An American in Paris, Citizen Kane, Robin Hood, Gone With the Wind and Ben-Hur on a 40-foot screen. KMOX-AM morning host Charles Brennan introduces each movie and delivers a few comments on the film's history, score and composer; then the symphony plays music from the film over various matching scenes. Original dialogue from each of the six films may be heard as well. The whole program clocks in at a lengthy two hours.
The symphony has hosted similar movie-screening/music nights in the past. In 1998 the group performed to scenes from Charlie Chaplin films, and in 1996 music from (a different set of) Oscar-nominated films was presented while matching clips were projected onto a screen.
"Night at the Oscars" will be guest-conducted by the well-traveled Neal Gittleman, music director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. The show was devised by John Goberman, executive producer of the Live From Lincoln Center TV programs.
Here's hoping this weekend is so successful that the symphony decides to book the science-fiction version of the movie/orchestra hybrid, a program called "Four Views of the Future" that features excerpts from Trip to the Moon, Things to Come, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.