All it takes is a few notes of John Williams’ Jaws theme and the image of a killer shark appears in the listener’s mind.
Hear a moment of Lalo Schifrin’s opening credit music from Mission: Impossible and its not hard to picture a match lighting a fuse.
Such is the power of movie music, an increasingly popular classical subgenre that’s as much visual as audio, said maestro Victor Sawa.
“It is the visual. A lot of times our imaginations are going. When I hear Star Wars, I picture it. The same thing with the Lord of the Rings,” he told The Daily News earlier this week.
In fact, as far as Sawa is concerned, the movie soundtrack is the next generation of classical composition.
“When you look at all the great composers of movies — wow,” he said. “It’s a straight classical field in itself, only they’re making about 10 million more (pieces of music).”
Sawa and his love of the film score will be front and centre Friday and Saturday night at the Sagebrush Theatre for the latest Kamloops Symphony Orchestra performance, The Oscars.
A fitting program given it’s Academy Award season, the KSO will perform a variety of Oscar-winning movie themes that include the works of Williams, Schifrin, Henry Mancini, and James Horner, among others.
Sawa steps in for KSO music director Bruce Dunn to conduct the two granddaddies of movie themes — Casablanca and Gone with the Wind. An added thrill for Sawa is both pieces of sheet music are manuscripts penned by composer Max Steiner.
“They are in the composer’s handwriting,” he said. “This is it. This is like touching original Beethoven No. 9 or something.”
He includes both compositions among his personal favourites.
Sawa loves old movies and new, he said. He also enjoys video games and other facets of geek culture.
Somewhat of a late bloomer musically — he picked up his first clarinet at age 14 — he soon found himself earning scholarships, awards and, ultimately, performed at the White House and Grammy Awards.
He is music director for the Saskatoon, Sudbury and Regina symphony orchestras.
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WHAT: Kamloops Symphony Orchestra presents The Oscars
WHEN and WHERE: Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, at Sagebrush Theatre. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: Kamloops Live! Box Office, wwww.kamloopslive.com