… but the reviewer I’m quoting must be one busy person, attending every symphony in the country!

“A symphony orchestra should be stimulating but never stodgy, which perfectly describes the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the most fun-loving symphony in the country.”


I have friends in the group, and next time I see one (or more) I’m going to ask what makes things so darn fun, and why aren’t they making the groups we play in together the most fun-loving. But I really, really love fun.

Reading the article does make me think about the theater Symphony Silicon Valley (sorry, it appears the site needs updating) plays in. The California Theatre is a restored movie theater. They show movies there on occasion. Why don’t we do a movie/orchestra night? Wouldn’t that be fun? Years and years ago San Jose Symphony (RIP) played the original, rarely heard soundtrack to the silent film, The Thief of Bagdad. I remember it being a bit of a challenge, coordinating the music with the film, but it was pretty darn fun. I’d love to do more of that. And perhaps it would bring in a different audience. Don’t know unless we try!


  1. We recently went to a great movie/symphony event in Boca Raton. It was Alexander Nevsky, using an “expanded” score, derived from Prokofiev’s cantata version of the smaller original fi score.
    I really envied the orchestra player. Seemed like they were having fun!

  2. Ooh, I’d LOVE to do Prokofiev! I’ve never seen the movie … only have a CD of the score.

  3. Some DVD versions use a new recording of the music using the original score and carefully synchronized with the action. The Criterion Edition version is said to feature restored picture and sound, so it may be the original sound track conducted by Prokofiev himself. The movie is in some ways a typical wartime propaganda film with lots of less than great acting, but the battle on the ice is a masterpiece, no matter how you see it. This Russian version is obviously not restored and has no subtitles, but it is still quite powerful.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOW4uFkNKMU (aftermath of the battle.)

  4. patti with an i

    The downside of the program of which you speak is that the movie was performed with organ accompaniment by the week’s soloist, and the orchestra joined him for the second half of the program (Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, natch). Easy gig, if not particularly rewarding, but I believe it constituted only a 4-service week for the players, 2 of those being performances.

  5. Patti, I wondered about that. The article did imply that it was just organ … too bad! … I did suggest movie + ORCHESTRA … but of course so many of those old movies were accompanied by organ. Sometimes the California does those and Dan and I have attended. (Stanford Theater does the same thing. Great fun!)