Review: The Cinematic Orchestra Dazzled us With Every Film Score we Could Hope for

An evening of stunning film scores, atmosphere, and vast worlds of film brought to life in Central Hall, SCENE reviews The London Touring Orchestra’s evening of cinema... 5 stars.

(Image: Kaitlyn Beattie-Zarb)

In November last year, The Cinematic Orchestra of London took to the stage at the University of York to transport guests through a magical array of atmospheric movie themes.

Hosting an evening of music by John Williams and Hans Zimmer, and a few other orchestra favourites, the cinematic orchestra brought a full spectrum of worlds from earth, space, and beyond to Central Hall.

A night of soaring melodies and roaring rhythm, the familiar filmic scores brought comfort to the heart and soul.

With a wide range of iconic scores to choose from, the music options were endlessly exciting and all equally atmospheric, further complemented by stunning visuals and thoughtful lighting.

The orchestra were not only exceptionally talented in bringing such an array of themes to life, but clearly having a lot of fun doing it too. A night at Central Hall has never been better spent than being whisked away to the worlds and places brought into being by Williams and Zimmer’s awe-striking music.

I myself was running late due to bus delays, but as I raced to the hall I was enamoured to hear John Williams’s Jurassic Park already echoing across campus, all parts glorious and nostalgic.

The atmosphere only built from there. As I snuck into my seat, ET’s soaring melody floated wistfully above my head. Next, a gorgeously tragic rendition of Zimmer’s Gladiator, as soloist Alex Beason took to the stage. And of course, a John Williams concert is never complete without a starstruck multi-part medley of Star Wars

Bouncing from powerful red lighting to the orchestra’s very own rolling opening, this number sucked us straight into a galaxy far, far away. With a whirl of his baton, our conductor teleported us to a different galaxy, one of black holes and dying planets, in an all-encompassing rendition of Interstellar’s theme. So all-encompassing in fact that the audience was left in stunned silence at this completion, I was certainly willing to listen to another hour (or three!) of Zimmer’s most meditative work. 

Appearing next in a burst of jumps, bumps and rolling drums was Indiana Jones, before Wonder Woman’s theme offered a powerfully electric energy.

This electric first half ended with a surprise rendition of the new theme from Oppenheimer, by Ludwig Göransson, and when I say I gasped! A favourite composer of the orchestra; they are likely among the first to perform this new piece of music to audiences, and they certainly pulled off the score’s tense creeping towards destruction with subtlety and mastery.

The second act opened a hugely entertaining burst of pop delight, as the orchestra captivated the room with the second half of Barbieheimer – Barbie! Their rendition of ‘I’m Just Ken’ caused vast giggles across the room, and was a perfect way to energise us all ahead of the second act.

Returning to the music of our featured composers, the second act led us through a chilling Jaws rendition, creeping horns and all, before we delved into the vast worlds of the Da Vinci Code and Dune. I was most glad to see the return of soloist Alex Beason for the latter, as her dream-like calls brought us right into the planet of sands, worms and Timothée Chalamet. Harry Potter’s magical entrance saw a sudden chatter of recognition fill the room, as did the soaring strings section, before Inception’s rolling time motif was fulfilled with majesty.

Another tragically gorgeous melody filled the air as a violin soloist led a fully realised and delicately orchestrated rendition of Schindler’s List. Nearing the end of the evening, we returned to a galaxy far, far away as Ludwig Goransson’s Mandalorian theme rang out. 

Superman’s triumphant theme then took off with roaring horns, before a sneaky encore led us into an inevitable Pirates of the Caribbean medley. With explosive lights, this was a particularly catchy way to round off the evening, with immediate applause and excited chatter as the orchestra left the stage after two hours of musical magic.

Dazzling us with every film score we could hope for, this orchestra was equally subtle and majestic in their delivery of movie history’s greatest soundtracks. 

An energising, humbling and deeply soul-cleansing night, the London Cinematic Orchestra completed exactly what they had set out to, honouring the careers of John Williams and Hans Zimmer, and the endless impact they have upon the films we all adore.

The London Touring Orchestra perform in venues across London and the country, with details of future events available on their website: