Last night I saw “Planet Earth” at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham. This is the musical to the BBC series written and conducted by George Fenton and played by the Philharmonia Orchestra. Live in the background was a huge screen showing footage from the Planet Earth series.
The whole show was absolutely stunning. The music was timed perfectly over the events happening on screen and the acoustic grandness of the Symphony hall enhanced the whole experience. The orchestra did a fine job, but the real highlight for me was the footage itself – captured over five years with 2,000 days in the field there were some absolute gems ranging from hilarious to heart-warming to the very sad. Highlights for me were the “Snow Leopard” – (some painstaking footage apparently requiring a wait of five months before anyone even saw the leopard) and secondly some incredible slow motion footage during “The Hunter and the Hunted” of a Great White shark leaping completely clear out of the water with an unfortunate seal clasped between his jaws.
The reality is hunting takes place in stony silence, with perhaps only the scuffle of a caribou hoof adding to the drama. I don’t think the hunter is hearing the same timpani roll we heard last night as they move in for the kill. But for the humans watching, it added greatly to the tension and drama and shows what music can do to our emotions.
Almost always without music, and certainly not for the benefit of humans, the majesty of life and planet earth is that these scenes have been playing out continuously from millions of years before we were here and will do millions of years afterwards. Life lumbering on without any higher purpose other than the instinct to exist. Magnificent.
(You weren’t allowed to take pictures, so completely obeying the rules I took this one)