Saturday, April 21, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

To infinity and beyond: Florida Orchestra takes on Pixar catalog

The keys to Pixar's animation domination are myriad: narratives that deftly seduce all ages (Up, Finding Nemo); cutting-edge images that advance the form yet retain unmistakable warmth (The Incredibles, Wall-E); exceptional vocal turns from bold-faced actors who understand they're working for one of the greatest Hollywood studios of all time (Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in the Toy Story canon).

And yet just as crucial for the success of the Disney-owned blockbuster machine has been the music, almost always a rousing array of symphonic whimsy and sweet pop songs, all conjured by playful, compassionate leaders of the film-music field.

An orchestral tour of Pixar music not only made sense but seemed money-in-the-bank mandatory. So kudos to the always-game Florida Orchestra, which will bring "Pixar in Concert" to the Straz Center in Tampa on Friday and then the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Saturday. All 14 Pixar movies will be represented via both music and accompanying movie clips on a high-defintion "big screen."

Appropriately enough, the shows will be guest-conducted by Lawrence Loh of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; one of his popular programs with the PSO is "Bringing Music to the Lives of Children." Not that Pixar's scores are merely kid stuff; a century from now, a lot of this will be regarded as the finest "classical" music of the 21st century.

Four composers have scored music for Pixar films. Here's a quick look at the work of each.

Randy Newman (Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3, Monsters University) First, a bit of news. After Newman's recent show at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, I had a chance to meet the 70-year-old Rock Hall of Famer, who has scored more Pixar movies than anyone else. When asked if he'd take the job for the just-announced Toy Story 4, he said, "Yeah, I'm going to do it." So there's that! Newman's rompy music for Woody and Buzz is his most iconic; if you don't hear You've Got a Friend in Me, I'll eat my cowboy hat. But just as good is the brassy clatter of big-city and big-corporate life he captured for Monsters, Inc. And when Cars gets to the town of Radiator Springs, Newman merges a dusty Western shuffle with Aaron Copland grandeur, especially on the wonderful road-trip piece McQueen and Sally.

Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) Yes, he's related to Randy: They're cousins. But their styles vary wildly, as Thomas opts for fluid, New Age-y sounds, whether capturing the unsure world of the deep blue sea (Wow from Nemo) or deep black space (Define Dancing from Wall-E). There's heart in his compositions, and yet there's a burbling meditativeness, as well.

Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Cars 2) Giacchino is Pixar's resident musical impressionist: He mined John Barry's James Bond music for The Incredibles and Cars 2; he went puckishly Francophilic for Ratatouille; and he honored buddy Randy Newman for the music in Up, which, it should be noted, WILL MAKE YOU SOB WHEN YOU HEAR IT.

Patrick Doyle (Brave) The Scottish composer (who has also done the music for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Thor) was brought in to help tell the story of crazy-haired Highlands wild-child Princess Merida. This is rousing, horse-clomping stuff, although here's hoping the Florida Orchestra also does the song Touch the Sky, a gorgeous girl-power anthem and a particular favorite of my crazy-haired wild-child young daughters.

Contact Sean Daly at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife.

     
     
Comments
RIP Avicii, an EDM superstar who helped break rave culture in America

RIP Avicii, an EDM superstar who helped break rave culture in America

Here's all you need to know about this decade's explosion of electronic dance music in America.In September of 2011, Swedish DJ Avicii played a late-night show at a nightclub on Ulmerton Road in Clearwater.By June of the following year, he was headli...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Producer and DJ Avicii has been found dead

Producer and DJ Avicii has been found dead

Avicii, the Grammy-nominated electronic dance DJ who performed sold-out concerts for feverish fans around the world and also had massive success on U.S. pop radio, died Friday. He was 28. Publicist Diana Baron said in a statement that the Swedish per...
Published: 04/20/18
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a...
Published: 04/20/18
New Hot 101.5 Summer Jam bringing Meghan Trainor, Liam Payne, Alessia Cara, more to Amalie Arena in Tampa

New Hot 101.5 Summer Jam bringing Meghan Trainor, Liam Payne, Alessia Cara, more to Amalie Arena in Tampa

A new radio mega-festival is on its way to Tampa Bay.Hot 101.5 on Friday unveiled plans for its inaugural Hot 101.5 Summer Jam, June 29 at Amalie Arena.Based on the lineup, it sounds like a proto-version of the Jingle Ball. Best New Artist Grammy Win...
Published: 04/20/18
Joey Fatone’s hot dog food truck is coming to Plant City this weekend

Joey Fatone’s hot dog food truck is coming to Plant City this weekend

We're still a few weeks from Justin Timberlake's nearly sold-out concert in Tampa. Until then, you'll have to make do with Joey Fatone's hot dogs in Plant City.Timberlake's 'N SYNC bandmate has a burgeoning wiener empire in Orlando, Fat One's Hot Dog...
Published: 04/19/18
Huge concert week in Tampa: Foo Fighters, Kenny Chesney, 98 Rockfest, more

Huge concert week in Tampa: Foo Fighters, Kenny Chesney, 98 Rockfest, more

PURE NIRVANA: Foo FightersDave Grohl may be America’s last unquestioned rock god. He’s played with Kurt Cobain and Jimmy Page, Tom Petty and Trent Reznor and St. Vincent, and he also leads a pretty decent group — perhaps you’ve heard of them — called...
Updated: 4 hours ago
SoundBytes: Steel Panther, Surfer Blood, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and more

SoundBytes: Steel Panther, Surfer Blood, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and more

— Florida's own indie rockers Surfer Blood are returning to Crowbar on Aug. 24, with the Blonde Tongues opening. Tickets are $13 and up. Click here.— Hair metal satirists Steel Panther are coming to Jannus Live on Aug. 16. Tickets go on s...
Published: 04/18/18
Shinedown’s Barry Kerch talks Jacksonville, rock festivals, the demons that inspired their new album and more

Shinedown’s Barry Kerch talks Jacksonville, rock festivals, the demons that inspired their new album and more

There was a time in the lifespan of Shinedown when Barry Kerch wasn't all that keen on festivals."Backstage for the bands has gotten a lot better," he said by phone before Shinedown was set to play a biker festival in Arizona. "It used to be an extre...
Published: 04/18/18
The Flaming Lips have a Record Store Day beer. Here’s where to get it in Tampa Bay

The Flaming Lips have a Record Store Day beer. Here’s where to get it in Tampa Bay

It's no surprise the Flaming Lips are behind one of the most unusual collectible items this Record Store Day. This is a band, after all, whose past Record Store Day stunts include an album encased in a life-size chocolate skull and another infused wi...
Published: 04/18/18
Review: Jason Isbell breathes life into masterful lyrics at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Review: Jason Isbell breathes life into masterful lyrics at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday, and a more deserving recipient you'd be hard-pressed to find. He's the best songwriter in America, and it was nice to see that reflected in a way the straw-spined Grammys never will.But if you want to ta...
Published: 04/18/18