On July 16, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) filled Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with the sounds of George Fenton’s Planet Earth. In 2006, BBC premiered the television show Planet Earth to very positive critical reception. Each episode features footage of different places on earth. While some focus on the flora and fauna and some on the animals of the location, each episode consistently provides a close look at the beauties of the natural world.
George Fenton composed the score for each of these episodes and in a two-day limited engagement, conducted the BSO as they performed the original score for a variety of clips from the television show. As the orchestral music swelled, sequences from Planet Earth were projected onto a screen in high definition.
Before each different composition, Fenton would introduce the clips that were about to be shown. From “Gone Fishing,” which followed various groups of dolphins, to “Caves,” which presented an extraordinary look into some of the worlds most beautiful caves, the sequences covered quite a lot of territory in the nearly two hour program.
Sequences such as “The Hunter and the Hunted” and “The Snow Leopard” were particularly fascinating, as the staccato composition reflected the animal’s stop-and-go movements as they followed their prey.
Mezzo-soprano Haley Glennie-Smith’s contribution to particular pieces was especially beautiful. In the only piece that was not composed by Fenton (Gershwin’s “Wish You Were Here! (Nice Work If You Can Get It)”), Glennie-Smith’s voice gave a genial tone to the sequence, which featured the a look at the work of the wildlife filmmaking teams, without whom Planet Earth would not exist.
The event highlighted the beauty of both music and the visual, especially when combined in one cohesive presentation. Fenton’s compositions reflected the moving images beautifully.
— Christina Warner, Managing Editor