Review: Polar, at Symphony Hall
The great British public has a voracious appetite for films about the earth’s polar region. Millions of us have been watching seven hours’-worth of amazing footage of the Arctic and Antarctic in weekly instalments of the BBC’s Frozen Planet.
But the popularity of Sir David Attenborough’s series didn’t deter thousands of people attending two performances of Polar for another 70-minute serving of remarkable footage taken by four intrepid film-makers.
Polar was presented in high-definition on a giant screen but with a vital extra ingredient – a live soundtrack performed by the CBSO.
Even the most expensive surround-sound domestic hi-fi can’t match that!
John Harle conducted the orchestra, helped to select music to accompany the film and composed some of it as well.
Crisply-played selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé preceded the film.
The soundtrack selections were witty, amusing and sometimes intensely moving. Stravinsky’s Circus Polka was a perfect fit for the mighty polar bears, while the penguins’ ungainly waddling was neatly counterpointed by his elegant Scenes de Ballet.
The humpback whales revealed a solemn terpsichorean grace when accompanied by Pachelbel’s Canon and the scintillating aurora borealis’s unearthly beauty was matched the mysticism of Rautavaara’s music.