Mexico, December 21, 2003

Centro Cultural Ollin Yoliztli, Mexico City
Sunday, December 21, 2003
The Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by 
Erich Kunzel

Concert Review by Alejandro Herrera

Well, I’m still disappointed that Williams cancelled, but I just came back from the concert and it was just wonderful. Erich Kunzel established great rapport with the orchestra and they played superbly. I was very concerned by how the Philharmonic would react to Kunzel (or Williams), since they?re not used to light programming, but Kunzel?s energy and pleasant attitude were contagious to both orchestra and audience and we all had a great time. By the end of the concert, the players all had huge smiles and joked around with their hats and other props, very much like a regular Pops concert.

Sorcerer?s Apprentice and Nutcracker were executed perfectly and provided a good balance between the classical and film music suites.

The Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Suite was probably the most difficult piece for the audience, since it?s still not that easy to recognize or as accessible as the rest of the program. I haven?t seen it described anywhere in the site, so if anyone?s interested, the suite is composed of four movements and lasts around 12 minutes:

  1. Fawkes The Phoenix
  2. Dobby The House Elf
  3. Gilderoy Lockhart
  4. The Chamber Of Secrets

The final movement has o­ne of Williams?s trademark endings and is possibly the best part in the whole suite.

On the other hand, the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Suite was outstanding and extremely well received by the audience. Although it was billed as the children?s suite, not all eight movements were included, just four:

  1. Hedwig?s Theme
  2. Voldemort (which for some reason was retitled ?The Philosopher?s Stone?)
  3. Nimbus 2000
  4. Harry?s Wondrous World

I suppose the other movements were excluded in order to make room for a seven-minute medley of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which was, IMO, by far the most powerful and impressive piece in the whole program. It combines several of the themes from the film, including ?May It Be?. This o­ne?s highly recommended.

As encores, two Christmas pieces were played; ?Sleigh Ride? and the ?Christmas Festival? (the same arrangements as in Williams?s ?Joy to the World? album. Both were delightful and very appropriate, closing in a very high note.

So in the end it was a great experience.

…Now all that remains is to convince Williams that he owes us at least three concerts and should make up for them soon.

— Alejandro Herrera

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