Fifty years ago, the cinematic masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered. With its technological realism, scientifically accurate depiction of spaceflight, and innovative special effects, the 1968 science-fiction work became one of the most important artistic works of the 20th century. 2001: A Space Odyssey embodies the bold and creativity, serving as a spark of inspiration for many engineers, just as much today as fifty years ago. To celebrate the memorable anniversary of the movie, UMS teamed up with Michigan Engineering, Musica Sarca, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to bring a live multi-media presentation of this daring movie.
This was my first time watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, so I enjoyed watching this classic movie in the Hill Auditorium. However, just like most of the other people that came, we were there for the live accompaniment of the iconic soundtrack. The movie evokes the sublime on its own, but the live music of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra takes the experience to a whole new level. The sweeping classical music that the movie is characteristically know for filled the auditorium, and it brought the nonverbal experience of the movie to new heights.
From the majestic opening of Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra to Johann Strauss II’s intricate The Blue Danube, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra set the mood in the Hill with every dramatic note and every spinning waltz. Maestro Robert Ziegler perfected the timing, ensuring that the soundtrack was brought to life alongside the movie.
Musica Sacra performed the sustained dissonant chords that slowly shifted over time during long space or slow action shots. Under the direction of music director Kent Tritle, the choral accompaniment added to the sense of wonder and suspense that enraptured your attention during the space scenes. With the chorus and the orchestra on the stage throughout the movie, everyone in the Hill Auditorium was able to experience this legendary movie in a breathtaking new light.