I felt like a ten year old when the “The Dark Knight” came out in theaters last May. I visited the websites leading up to the release, I gawked over trailers, became mesmerized by the posters, and I (just like everyone else) grew more and more impatient. Everyone was discussing the new batsuit, the new batcycle, and Heath Ledger’s demented, awe-inspiring, portrayal of Batman’s arch-nemesis. The one thing that I didn’t think about until I saw was the film, was the score.
James Newton Howard had done an incredible job with “Batman Begins”. I was 7 years old when Tim Burton’s “Batman” film came out in 1992 and aside from my all-time favorite superhero coming to life on the silver screen making my year, the musical theme to that movie captured what it meant to be in the presence of Batman. I applaud James Newton Howard for recapturing that experience for me.
I had the pleasure of seeing James Newton Howard at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. He premiered his first concerto piece commissioned by the Pacific Symphony titled, “I Would Plant a Tree”. A remarkable 22 minute long work. The symphony also played a section of music from Howard’s score for the new movie “Defiance” while a clip from the film was playing on a big screen above the orchestra. I still have yet to see this film but after today’s performance, I definitely will.
There is something about live music, live CLASSICAL music. It demands your attention. Not with distortion pedals, loud speakers, or screaming voices. But with tactful dynamics, other worldly harmonic changes, and familiar melodies that resonate within every beating heart. That’s why we need it, that’s why we make it, and that’s why I am grateful to people like James Newton Howard, for sharing his God given talent with me (us).