There Will Be Blood with Jonny Greenwood and London Contemporary Orchestra, Roundhouse Summer Sessions – Roundhouse, London, 6th August 2014 3

There Will Be Blood with Jonny Greenwood and London Contemporary Orchestra, Roundhouse Summer Sessions – Roundhouse, London, 6th August 2014



As with the Meltdown Festival earlier in the Summer, the Roundhouse Summer Sessions, which actually debuted this year, prides itself on an eclectic fusion of art and media that is highlighted by its most-talked about and sell-out event: a live scoring of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood which will see not only the London Contemporary Orchestra but also Radiohead’s bassist, Jonny Greenwood take to the stage of London’s Chalk Farm venue.

Attracting cine- and audiophiles from all around London, particularly the more youthful demographic that hold a dear nostalgic love for a band more recently praised for being the most influential artist of our recent aural music climate, this festival has struck some finely tuned chords with this exceptional event.

Having already seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s mastery, I was fully aware of the highly charged and passionately delivered performances from both Paul Dano and Daniel Day Lewis in this bleak oil film set in the southern states of the US, but had little to expect from the LCO and Greenwood when it came to live scoring this film, as this was a new for all involved, with Greenwood keen on a project such as this for a while now, and the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station performance nodding at the possibilities of such a special performance. It was not surprising that of his back catalogue of film scores this Anderson film was the screening opted for rather than the less impactful Norwegian Wood, The Master or even Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin.

As the sold-out headlining night on the programme, Miramax and Park Circus Films arranged this screening which was conducted by the London Contemporary Orchestra’s Hugh Brunt. Incorporating over fifty musicians there was a general cohesive jaw-dropping awe for the talent, live and on screen in London’s Roundhouse. So for those who had not previously been party to the Paul Thomas Anderson treat, they were not going to witness this any finer way. Alluding to the societal issues that surround the oil industry and the ways in which power and greed corrupt humans whilst also addressing religion and how it is far from exempt in relation to these vices of human behaviour, the film is a powerful piece of art, only enhanced by this engaging screening which lured you in, and actually enabled the viewer to be more fully involved in the emotions and storyline than an average viewing. It appears to me that this notion of being distracted due to the movement and active energy on stage is all a premature critique, one which has still to this day not been made real.

The balance between visuals and sound were accordingly struck but this also had a great deal to do with the professionalism and sheer class of the London Contemporary Orchestra who having seen on several occasions, have always outshone. Sitting humbly, modestly and meekly amidst his fellow artists, Jonny Greenwood only revealed his cult persona and one of the alluring factors for this sell-out gig at the very end of the screening, taking a short, unnerving bow, as the film’s composer.

The discord that dominates this score, like my first watch of this film, reminds me yet again of its status as a classic piece of film mastery with a wonderful unsettling score, a film so pronounced and too obvious a reference not to have a clear influence on the filmmaker, on the composer. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, along with the score by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, was a clear reference point but this does not take away from this resounding brilliance, with an end credit sequence that lent itself nicely to the talent of both Greenwood and the London Contemporary Orchestra in the same way that the scene in the bowling alley allows both Dano and Day Lewis to shine. I even think Richard Ayoade enjoyed this masterful performance.

Take a look at some of the other events during The Roundhouse Summer Sessions 

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