Royal College of Music Student Union Orchestra

RCM Students’ Union Film Orchestra

We were lucky enough to have been invited by one of our lovely friends to attend the Royal College of Music this evening to watch the Students’ Union Film Orchestra perform a selection of cinematic classics.

Conducted by Richard Miller, SFO Principal Conductor, the performance began with Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s suite from Kings Row (1942); a triumphant, rousing soundtrack with more than a little similarity at times to the main section of the evening’s entertainment to come.

Calling International Rescue..

It was followed swiftly by Barry Gray’s opening track to Thunderbirds (1965), which brought back many happy memories from my childhood: Who didn’t try to build the Blue Peter version of Tracy Island? Or build a Thunderbird 2 sand castle on the beach during the holidays? Needless to say, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet were big favourites of mine as a child=D

Next we had ‘The Gift’ – a new piece by Italian composer Alessandro Apolloni – specially chosen by the Royal College of Music to be performed for the first time this evening. It’s a delicate score depicting the blossoming of a loving relationship. You can hear it on Soundcloud here.

The edgy, racing soundtrack of Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho (1960) came next. The mixture of harsh notes and gliding strings throughout was tellingly ominous. The sweeping sections reminded me of the motorbike ride with the fox from The Snowman (1982), albeit without the playfulness(!) The infamous ‘shower scene’ accompaniment was chilling and unnervingly complemented by the piercing thrusts of the composer’s baton.

Before the interval, we were treated to further nostalgia in the form of John Williams’ soundtrack to E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial (1982). The wondrous, uplifting chorus was played off perfectly against the foreboding undercurrent of high tempo notes signifying the government agents’ search for the unearthly visitor.

These are not the droids you’re looking for..

The main event of the evening was a stirring rendition of a selection of classics from John Williams’ Star Wars soundtrack. After the all-too-familiar opening bars of the ‘Main Title’, we drifted through the melancholic dreamscape of ‘Princess Leia’s Theme’, before standing to attention for Darth Vader’s ‘Imperial March’.

A very faithful performance of the ‘Cantina Band’ followed, lacking only the familiar faces of the alien locals. Yoda’s moving leitmotif from The Empire Strikes Back slowed the pace right down again, before the regal ‘Throne Room’ & triumphant ‘End Title’ sequence made use of every last instrument in the orchestra.

John Williams’ score had special significance for the two of us as we tied the knot just one year ago to the title songs from Star Wars.

Wedding Rings

Star Wars inspired Wedding Rings

The final entry in the evening’s programme was Sir Arthur Bliss’ ‘March’ from the 1936 film Things to Come based on H.G. Wells’ 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come. The victorious arrangement brought the altogether memorable evening to a close with a flourish.

We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves thanks to the combination of well-known works and talented musicians and would definitely visit the Royal College of Music again.


The next performance by the Students’ Union Film Orchestra is on the 5th July, featuring music from the James Bond franchise.

2 thoughts on “RCM Students’ Union Film Orchestra

  1. Dirk Wickenden says:

    A heartfelt precis. I wrote the programme notes for the concert, hope they helped to set the scene for the concertgoers and imparted information. Just like to point out, if I may, that you have misspelled Korngold’s name with a C instead of a K. Also, I believe Maestro Miller dispensed with his baton for Psycho. I have to say, for The Murder, the violinists really attacked it with great ferocity, best performance of the cue these jaded ears have heard. Thanks for the glowing review!


    • Dan says:

      Thanks for pointing out the spelling mistake – fixed! That’s what I get for writing a blog post at 3am.. The programme notes were excellent, a very interesting and informative accompaniment to the event, and much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed my mini-review; thank you for taking the time to visit.


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