It takes a well-rounded person to be able to recognize a Mahler or Shostakovich symphony from the first few measures – if at all.
But with “Harry Potter”?
The first few notes of “Hedwig’s Theme” are instantly recognizable as the stuff of “Potter” films.
The Wichita Symphony Orchestra hopes to capitalize on that recognition with a special concert it’s putting on at 8 p.m. next Saturday, called “The Music of Harry Potter and More.”
“A lot of times, people say, ‘Oh yeah, classical music, that’s not really my thing,’ but film music falls in a special category,” said Daniel Hege, conductor for the symphony. “It uses classical music devices ... that have an emotional impact, yet it’s all played by a symphonic orchestra.”
The concert will be bookended with “Harry Potter” film scores – both written by John Williams, whose music the orchestra has found exceedingly popular this year.
The show will open with a suite of themes from the second film, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” and end with music from the first movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
In between, the Symphony will feature tunes from other John Williams-scored films, including “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Shrek,” “E.T.,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” and “The BFG.”
“We did our John Williams spectacular last April – that really sold well, and there was just so much to choose from,” Hege said. “Film scores are great for orchestras to play. They’re not easy; they’re a challenge for the orchestra members. It really gives something for the listener to dig into.”
Hege said he hopes the “Harry Potter” music, which he says has “a lot of color and drama,” will draw new faces to the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, perhaps ones who have never attended a Symphony concert before.
“We would also hope that this film music that people hear played by a big orchestra would maybe be an entrée to listening to more symphonic music by Shostakovich, Beethoven, Wagner or Brahms,” Hege said. “A lot of the film composers ... got a lot of their ideas from the serious symphonic composers.”
The Symphony will begin rehearsing for the concert on Friday – then they will perform the music the following day.
“These players in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra are top-grade musicians, so they come in with their parts already learned for the first rehearsal,” Hege said. “We’re just tweaking and fine-tuning.”
Tickets to the concert, which range from $41 to $75, are still available at www.wichitasymphony.org.
The Music of Harry Potter and More
What: The Wichita Symphony concert featuring music of John Williams
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7
Where: Century II Concert Hall, 225 W. Douglas
How much: $38-$75. Tickets available at wichitasymphony.org, by phone at 316-267-7658 or at the symphony box office.