A few months ago I excavated from a basement closet a box of my old albums. I wasn’t surprised to rediscover that a large portion of them fell into the category of movie soundtracks. The oldest one was for Jaws. It may have been the first album I ever bought with my own money, way back in 1975. The unforgettable, simply evoked dread of the famous theme predicted a brilliant career for its composer, John Williams (pictured), just as the decision to proceed with such a minimalist score signaled the genius of director Steven Spielberg.

Not far behind in age and permanence in my brain—and the brain of virtually every other cinemagoer of that era—was the soundtrack for Star Wars. Saturday Night Fever was in there, too, though I may have moved to 8-track by the time it was released. I listen to The Godfather from time to time. And the collection still builds, through Blade Runner, Mike Oldfield’s orchestral version of his “Tubular Bells” used in The Exorcist, Hans Zimmer’s simultaneously opulent and haunting score for Gladiator, and too many others to name here.

Just writing this, I’m reminded how the music for some movies touches me in a deeper, more long-lasting way than the films themselves. Which would be more emotionally evocative, I wonder: Listening to a recording of the late, great James Horner’s score for Titanic, or watching the film stripped of his pulse-quickening “Hard to Starboard,” the “percussion-heavy, pulsating motif that corresponds to the peril and danger the characters endure during the sinking.” I loved Leonardo DiCaprio’s and Kate Winslet’s performances in the blockbuster, but Horner is the one whose climactic, romantic and terrifying notes cause their acting to land home in the audience’s hearts.

POPS: Hollywood Hits

Saturday, September 21, 8 p.m.

Kentucky Center for the Arts

Tickets and Information

A great privilege it is, then, to attend when a talented, dedicated orchestra commits to bringing those tracks to life in the context of a state-of-the-art venue.

That’s the opportunity being offered by The Louisville Orchestra, which invites you to relax and enjoy an evening of film and music as its world-renowned musicians and acclaimed conductor Bob Bernhardt perform classic movie themes with selected film clips in the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

Take our Soundtrack Survey by Sept. 13 to be eligible to win a pair of tickets

In association with Schirmer Theatrical/Greenberg Artists, the Orchestra will present Hollywood Hits from some of our most beloved and timeless cinematic treasures, including:

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The Pink Panther
  • “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • “Peter Gunn” from Peter Gunn
  • “Colonel Bogey March” from Bridge on the River Kwai
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • “The Best of Bond” from Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only and Thunderball
  •  “Superman March” from Superman
  •  “Great Westerns Suite” from The Magnificent Seven, How the West Was Won, Silverado and Dances With Wolves
  •  “Star Trek into Darkness Suite” from Star Trek: Into Darkness
  •  “Out Of Africa – Main Title” from Out of Africa
  •  “The Big Movie Suite” from Gone With the Wind, Ben Hur, Laura, Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, The Way We Were and Rocky

If you love films but REALLY love some of the music that goes into the great ones, this concert is for you.

By Joseph Grove, managing editor