The 1939 film classic "The Wizard of Oz" won Best Original Score and Best Original Song for "Over the Rainbow." Film lovers today wouldn't disagree with the accolades.
Ironic then, that it is only just recently that audiences have been able to enjoy the film's every note as the composers originally scored them. This musical phenomenon does not happen at the movies, however. For this experience, fans need only go to the concert hall, which in this case, is on the stage at Wolf Trap's Filene Center on Saturday night.
The National Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Emil de Cou, takes a journey to Oz when the entire movie is shown on wide screens in-house and on the lawn, while the full score accompanies the film live.
"We did 'Wizard of Oz' for the first time in 2005 -- the first performance anywhere. It had never been heard, never been played in public since 1938," said de Cou.
|'The Wizard of Oz'|
|Where: Wolf Trap's Filene Center, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna|
|When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday|
|Info: $35 to $52 in-house, $20 lawn; 877-965-3872; wolftrap.org|
Back then, MGM and the other studios would use several different orchestras on a single film for budgetary purposes, especially in scenes that did not require full orchestral sound. The 2005 performance was the first time in the history of Oz that the same orchestra with same conductor would present the work live.
Not without its challenges, the music must be precise within a quarter of a second.
"It's hard because the orchestra can't see or hear the film," de Cou continued. "They have to be very, very clear ... exactly on track for one hour and 35 minutes."
And that clarity and preciseness is one of the great things about the concert. The audience is able to hear musical nuances that were only ever heard in the studio back in 1938.
"So much of the orchestration is delicate and intricate and sophisticated. When put with the movie, a lot of the details got obliterated by sound effects or dialogue," de Cou pointed out. "I told the orchestra it's important to play as though [the characters] are on stage with us."