The Godfather score was composed by the legendary Italian composer Nino Rota. The Godfather score was composed by the legendary Italian composer Nino Rota. 'The Godfather' starred Marlon Brando (above). the score was composed by the legendary Italian composer Nino Rota. (Photo: The Godfather Live)

'The Godfather' gets new life with an offer you just can’t refuse

Fans will hear iconic, haunting score performed live during screening.

When "The Godfather" was released in 1972, it was greeted with acclaim both for its storytelling and its music. The score was composed by Italian Nino Rota and included music from Carmine Coppola, an American composer and the father of the film's director, Francis Ford Coppola. The score ultimately won a Grammy, and perhaps more important, has remained in the public's conscience ever since.

This last point is what Justin Freer is betting on with his new show "The Godfather Live," a film screening with live musical accompaniment that's currently on a world tour.

Freer, a Huntington Beach, California native, is the founder and president of CineConcerts, a company dedicated to the preservation and concert presentation of film, TV and media music set to picture. He also conducts the orchestras for many of the shows (Shih-Hung Young, a conductor and violinist from Taiwan, will take over later in the year), and said that after forming CineConcerts a few years ago, it occurred to him that "The Godfather" would be perfect for a live musical accompaniment.

"I adore the movie and I adore the score. I think it's easily some of the best music in our art form," he told From The Grapevine.

The Godfather Live brings the award-winning film with a live musical accompaniment to audiences around the world. 'The Godfather Live' brings the award-winning film with a live musical accompaniment to audiences around the world. (Photo: The Godfather Live)

So, he worked to bring his idea to fruition. "About a year [after forming CineConcerts] I took a crack at it. I spent several months restoring the score, receiving some very kind and very humbling help from Mr. Coppola," Freer explained.

In February the show finally premiered at London's Royal Albert Hall, and since has also appeared in Los Angeles and Chicago. Upcoming shows include stops Freer is especially excited about. Philadelphia, where his godmother is from, is a city he is very familiar with. The show makes a stop there June 26. Jerusalem, where the show will be appearing on July 18th, is a city Freer has never been to but has always wanted to visit.

"Working with the Jerusalem Orchestra is going to be so much fun. I've always dreamed of visiting the city. Some of my closest friends, family, colleagues – they've all said it's such a beautiful city, so I'm really excited about that one."

Justin Freer is an acclaimed composer and conductor who is also the founder of CineConcerts, which is producing The Godfather Live.Justin Freer is an acclaimed composer and conductor who is also the founder of CineConcerts, which is producing 'The Godfather Live.' (Photo: The Godfather Live)

For Freer, live music enhances an already near-perfect symbiosis of image and sound. "The film can be incredibly well made, well shot, well acted, and all the things that 'The Godfather' truly is, but the moment that you hear this amazing music that Rota came up with, you have another one or two or three or even 10 more elements of visceral, emotional coverage. So in a live environment, where you're physically connected to the music, it makes the experience all the more powerful."

A majority of the time, Freer works with orchestras in the city or region where the film is screening. It's a way to introduce a local element and a chance to keep the tour fresh. "It gives us a chance to reset, so to speak, and enjoy a brand new collaboration with new players all around the world," he explained.

The show will continue on its whirlwind tour in the fall, appearing in New York, Paris, Berlin, Zurich and a whole host of other cities in Europe and Russia.

"It's a very cool, fresh way to view a film that's been a classic for over 40 years. It's sort of reinventing itself," Freer said.

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