Thoughts on Raiders of the Lost Ark (IN CONCERT!)

Hi everyone, I’m back!! I finally got home yesterday from my nearly week-long visit to Vancouver, British Columbia. And boy what a trip it was! I went to the Vancouver Aquarium, walked down to the harbor (on the one day it didn’t rain), saw the Olympic Cauldron, and heard a lot of great research papers (I was visiting for a musicology/music theory conference). At the end of my trip, this past Saturday night, I got a special treat: the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presented Raiders of the Lost Ark in concert! Meaning as the film played on a large screen, the orchestra performed below it.

This performance took place in the Orpheum Theater in downtown Vancouver and I had great seats. I was in the lower balcony, center section (row 11), which meant I was looking straight at the screen.

I’d always wanted to hear the score for Raiders of the Lost Ark performed live because 1) It’s by John Williams and 2) It’s by John Williams! I will turn up to hear any of his music in concert given the chance, and I was not disappointed.

My favorite moment (and I knew it would be) was the “Map Room” scene when Indy plots the REAL location of the lost Ark of the Covenant (Belloq, Indy’s rival, used a staff that is too long so the Nazis are actually digging in the wrong place). That piece of music has always been one of my favorites and the performance was so well done that I had goosebumps all over (I’m happy to report there was generous applause once the scene finished).

I should point out that the performance was not an exact duplicate of the score as heard in the original film. The biggest difference was a lack of choral voices. While they don’t play a huge role in the score, there are voices heard in several key moments in the film (primarily the “Map Room” and “opening the Ark”, and very briefly when the Ark is revealed for the first time in the Well of Souls). While the difference is audible, it didn’t diminish the quality of the film in any way.

If you get the chance to see Raiders of the Lost Ark in concert, please take the opportunity and go see it, you will not regret it!

I’m nearly adjusted back to Eastern Time (after spending a week on the West Coast) so I should be back to my normal Disney posts very soon! -Becky


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