AUSTIN WIND SYMPHONY TO PERFORM SELECTIONS FROM KING KONG VS. GODZILLA IN OCTOBER
The First Ever Performance in North America of Akira Ifukube’s Music for the 1962 Film
Source: The Austin Wind Symphony
Special Thanks to Patrick Phillips
Godzilla fans in Texas are in for a real treat. For the first time ever in North America, musical selections from Akira Ifukube’s score to KING KONG VS. GODZILLA will be played in concert by the Austin Wind Symphony. The suite of music will be arranged by SciFi Japan’s own John “Dutch” DeSentis.
Fresh off of a recent concert dedicated to the music of HARRY POTTER, The Austin Wind Symphony is a small, but dedicated orchestra which specializes in only film music and performs in South Austin at the Bethany Lutheran Church often to sell out crowds. While the ensemble is only about 50 members, the church setting allows the music to boom and is fitting considering that many film scores have used a church as a recording area for these same acoustic reasons.
The group itself is extremely passionate about what they do. Commented the group’s founder and conductor, Patrick Phillips, “As conductor of the Austin Wind Symphony it really is a thrill and a privilege each week to work with a group of dedicated (volunteer) musicians that are willing to be challenged. Film music has its own complexities, and is just as demanding as Bach, Mozart or Stravinsky… I often get shot down by more classically trained musicians for my strong feelings regarding the significance of the music in motion pictures.” He also adds that this ensemble goes to bat for film music, discovering that when their audience leaves each concert, they do so knowing what was just performed, and with the memorable motifs of such legends of the screen as John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith fresh in their mind.”
The upcoming October concert will feature the likes of John Williams and Danny Elfman, but Phillips was looking for a little something else as well: “As I was preparing and selecting the music for The Austin Wind Symphony’s upcoming ‘Creature Features’ concert, it occurred to me that the ‘King of the Monsters’ wasn’t among them. I have always been a fan of the Godzilla films, and was moved to do an internet search for existing Godzilla music written by the late Akira Ifukube.”
Much to Phillips’ dismay however, finding existing music to anything by Akira Ifukube proved to be a fruitless effort. Just as he was thinking of throwing in the towel, he came across John DeSentis’ bio on SciFi Japan which stated that he was working on transcribing the score to the original GODZILLA. Phillips tracked DeSentis down and contacted him via his Music MySpace. Originally, Patrick wanted to merely use whatever transcriptions John was writing at the time. John countered with an offer to write something exclusively for the orchestra. After some talk, it was settled upon that KING KONG VS. GODZILLA would be the movie to be showcased. There are several reasons for that decision; one is that the movie is arguably one of the most popular in the entire Godzilla series and one of Ifukube’s best efforts of the 1960s. Another treat to this is the fact that nearly all of maestro Ifukube’s music was taken out of the American release of the movie and replaced with some decidedly out of place stock cues from the Universal Studios film library.
John DeSentis has blocked out a proposed suite which will definitely include the very popular “Main Title” track as well as several others. As it looks right now, the suite of music will be 5-6 minutes long. For John, this represents the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to bring the work of Akira Ifukube, his favorite composer, to ears that might not be entirely familiar with him. It also represents a great opportunity to collaborate with fellow musicians who share a common love of film music.
Indeed, it is that attitude towards the subject that has allowed the Austin Wind Symphony to flourish and attract fans with their incredible performances. Checking egos at the door, these musicians love the opportunities they have to play music in which people know and love from their favorite shows and films. Phillips adds, “The very music that so many people simply take with a proverbial grain of salt, is crafted under extreme schedules, and then recorded sometimes as soon as one week before a film makes it to the big screen… In a lot of ways, these men and women are the very heart and soul of the project, creating the emotional balance that allows us to laugh and to cry right along with the characters on screen. This is a unique gift that deserves audible attention and respect. The Austin Wind Symphony presents these scores, this time without the coverage of Hollywood sound effects wizards, and dialog.”
No doubt, the opportunity for Godzilla fans to hear Akira Ifukube’s work played live in concert is a rare one indeed. If you happen to live in Texas, you won’t want to miss this concert. The concert will also feature selections from JAWS (1975), BATMAN (1989), and a special STAR WARS tribute as part of its programming.
Austin Wind Symphony presents: “Creature Features” Hosted by Fangoria TV’s Horror Host Professor Griffin! – October 19th – 8:00pm at the Bethany Lutheran Church in South Austin, Texas. Admission is $8.00 for adults and free for children. For more information, visit the Austin Wind Symphony website.