It’s official. It finally began! After so many months of hard work, the ball was already rolling, and on May 17th 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Krakow Film Music Festival started with a big press conference attended by: Abel Korzeniowski, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Trevor Morris, Robert Townson, Andrzej Kulig (Vice President of Kraków), Robert Piaskowski (Programme Director of KBF) and Paweł Pawlik (Vice Programme Director of RMF Classic radio).
Everybody stated that is not easy to keep a festival going for 10 years, and even not easier to grow more and more with every edition, but Krakow FMF got it! Trevor Morris, who was also a guest of the festival some years ago, said he maybe knew the key to that success, as he hasn’t encountered such and enthusiastic and committed audience anywhere else: “When I first entered Tauron Arena some years ago and saw 15.000 people clapping and cheering, I thought it was the Rolling Stones who was performing that night, but no… it was me!”
At 1:00 p.m. “MASTER CLASS: Musical notation – new opportunities” by Mateusz Bień was held, talking about software for score editing with computers, followed later at 2:00 p.m. by “MASTER CLASS: Sell It! – The Art of Custom Trailer Music” with composer Joep Sporck, winner of last year’s Young Talent Award.
At 3:30 p.m. “PANEL: Independent Critics in Film Music” was held, hosted by Ray Benett and with the participation of Eleni Mitsiaki, Jonathan Broxton, Gorka Oteiza (SoundTrackFest) & Peter F. Ebbinghaus, talking about how is to be a film music critic, the path followed, past experiences, and all spiced up with curious anecdotes.
Later at 5:00 p.m. was time for the “MASTER CLASS: How to Create a Big Cue From a Scratch” by Trevor Morris, where he gave insider tips to compose a cue, making a very clear recommendation: “Keep it simple, try to find the simplest melody you can to convey what the movie or TV series needs, and then, you’ve got it! You can make it faster, slower, change the instruments, sing it by a chorus. The soul is there!” He also said: “When I compose for image, and I’m stuck and don’t know how to continue, I look in detail to the picture. Everything is there. All the information you need to compose is there. Look what the camera is doing, how it’s moving. How is the acting, the script. All those details are in the movie and it’s not by coincidence. They were expressly put there by someone to say something. So use them! Analyze them!”. Very interesting and informative masterclass.
Later at night, at 8:00 p.m., was the time for the big concert of the day “The Music of Abel Korzeniowski” at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, being the first time the polish composer conducted a whole concert with his music, and that had the emotional component of doing it in his hometown where he grew and studied. Abel, who left to the United States 11 years ago to build a career, that has been very successful there, was very glad to have the opportunity of such a concert and after a brief speech and a ceremony where he received the keys of the city of Krakow, the concert started.
This was the whole program of the night:
The concert was performed by Beethoven Academy Orchestra and conducted completely by Abel Korzeniowski, having a solo violinist most of the concert standing and playing on his left side. Piano and violin were the main instruments of the program with dedicated solo passages. The first part lasted about 50 minutes (1 hour 5 minutes with the ceremony) and 40 minutes where dedicated to Penny Dreadful, whose music was tense, dark, tragic and revengeful, with some moments for light, hope or love like the waltz dance of the protagonists, followed by 10 minutes of Romeo & Juliet, soft, delicate and sensitive.
I was hoping for a rollercoaster of emotions, switching from the dark to the light music Abel has to offer, but the first part, although it had very good quality in the performance and tone, had so much Penny Dreadful in it that left me a bit expectant for what was to come.
In the second part, the beginning was strong with the power of Nocturnal Animals followed later by the sensibility of A Single Man, where the violin didn’t shine as it should. Fantastic W.E. and graceful Escape from Tomorrow, a very low budget movie with incredible music by Abel, ended the night with the piece Grand Finale. An appropriate title to keep in mind for the night. After a big round of applauses and a standing ovation (with a full auditorium), Abel decided to go for an unplanned encore with a soft and hope filled waltz theme from Penny Dreadful, in a concert that ended at 10:30 p.m. after two hours of music. Maybe the concert could have had a different structure in the program, carrying people’s emotions and feelings up and down, but nevertheless the night offered what we were expecting, a quality concert, performed from the heart of a grateful and visibly emotional Abel Korzeniowski, that everybody enjoyed.
Doing a full recap… What a schedule for the first day! So many events packed in a program that could be enough for a mini-festival. And…. this has just started!
Gorka Oteiza (SoundTrackFest)