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Sherlock Holmes: A Musical Mind – Report * 17 August 2015


Featuring music from some of the many screen incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, as well as pieces of classical music directly and indirectly referenced within the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles' original stories, Sherlock Holmes: A Musical Mind featured the debut of David Arnold and Michael Price's score for the BBC Series within the hallowed rotunda of the Royal Albert Hall.

Barry Wordsworth conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra, with the concert introduced by Matthew Sweet, accompanied by readings from the original stories by Mark Gatiss - delightfully, both were dressed in period costume, and between pieces sat in rich red leather chairs on the left side of the stage, soaking in the orchestra in what was most likely the best pair of seats in the house.


Opening with a thunderous rendition of Hans Zimmer's main theme and further selections from the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes movies, the concert encompassed selections from Patrick Gower's score the classic Granada series, the Frank Skinner's music from the Basil Rathbone film The Voice of Terror and Miklos Rozsa's Main Title for Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.


Amongst all the scores came pieces that appear in one form or another within the pages of canon. Some revealed intriguing insights into the mind of Holmes, particularly the ethereal work of composer Orlande de Lassus, while others extrapolated the performances of Irene Adler, with mezzo-soprano Christina Rice (Again, in period dress) performing pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rossini. Violin soloist Jack Liebeck appeared throughout the concert, but delivered a fantastic, no doubt exhausting rendition of NiccolòPaganini's Violin Concerto No.2 - 3rd Movement 'La campanella' that brought the house down. The classical pieces wrapped up with a bombastic rendition of Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries, included based upon Holmes and Watson's mad dash to a Wagner night at the conclusion of The Adventure of the Red Circle - we're no doubt assuming they enjoyed the piece as much as we did. 


The concert concluded with an elaborate suite of pieces from the BBC series, beginning with the Main Title, before segueing into John's Theme, swiftly followed by Moriarty's Theme. The most thunderous stage of the piece featured Prepared to Do Anything, the dramatic closing moments of The Reichenbach Fall, with gigantic percussion that eclipsed that heard on screen - all of which instantly dropped off as the music returned us to the immediate aftermath of Sherlock's apparent suicide in Blood on the Pavement. That acted as the perfect lead into Irene's Theme, before the suite concluded with the galloping thrills of The Chase from A Study in Pink.

Within the grand space of the Royal Albert Hall, this concert provided a real treat thanks to its mix of the classic and contemporary - a selection that in many ways reflected the character of Sherlock Holmes to near perfection.


Sherlock Holmes: A Musical Mind is available to listen to on BBC iPlayer until September 14 2015, on the links below.

Part One

Hans Zimmer:
Discombobulate; The Mycroft Suite; Zu viele Füchse für euch Hänsel (arr. Robert Ziegler from 'Sherlock Holmes')

Orlande de Lassus:
Osculetur me Osculo; Super Flumina Babylonis (4 part)

Patrick Gowers:
Baker Street Reunion; Irene Adler (from Granada TV's 'Sherlock Holmes')

Una voce poco fa (The Barber of Seville)

Aria: Ah Tanya, Tanya (Eugene Onegin, Act 1)

Patrick Gowers:
Holmes in Europe; The Death of Sherlock Holmes (from Granada TV's 'Sherlock Holmes')  


Part Two

Frank Skinner:
Music from 'Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror'

Violin Concerto No.2 - 3rd Movement 'La campanella'

Miklos Rozsa:
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes - Main Titles

Wagner: The Ride of the Vakyries

David Arnold & Michael Price:
Sherlock Suite (from BBC TV's 'Sherlock')

[All images ©  BBC/Chris Christodoulou]