Last week the 6th edition of the Movie Score Malaga – MOSMA festival was held in Malaga (Spain), which offered 4 concerts from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12.
The festival featured the following guest composers, who were present at the concerts: Gustavo Santaolalla, Anthony Willis, Carlos Martín Jara, Carlos Viola, Dani Trujillo, Daniel García, Daniel Parejo, Eduardo de la Iglesia, Hermanos Ferrando, Javier Bayón, Luc Suárez, Nainita Desai, Paloma Peñarrubia, and Sergio de la Puente.
Gorka Oteiza attended the festival and tells us about it in this special article exclusively for SoundTrackFest.
- Amadeus, Symphony no. 25 in G minor + Rocky Going the Distance + Gonna Fly Now. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Bill Conti
- The Patriot, suite. John Williams
- Schindler’s List, main theme. John Williams
- Braveheart, Freedom. James Horner
- The Mission, On Earth as It Is in Heaven. Ennio Morricone
- Hoosiers, main theme. Jerry Goldsmith
- Rudy, main theme. Jerry Goldsmith
- Mulan, suite. Jerry Goldsmith
- Forrest Gump, suite. Alan Silvestri
- Adú, La enfermedad / Sababoo. Roque Baños
(soloist Cherif Conte)
- Gladiator, Now We Are Free. Hans Zimmer
(with Blanca Fernández, alto. Adriana Moreno, soprano)
- Grand Gothic Suite, Batman Forever / Batman & Robin, suite. Elliot Goldenthal
- The Scout, World Series. Bill Conti
- The Hunt for Red October – Hymn to Red October. Basil Poldeouris
- El Gran Showman – This is Me. John Debney, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul (arrangements, Hermanos Ferrando)
(soloist Luis Regidor Paín)
MOSMA kicked off its sixth edition on Thursday, September 9 at the Teatro Cervantes with a concert dedicated to mystical and epic music in film; music and stories that talk about overcoming, something very close to the spirit of the festival, which once again this year, despite the uncertainty of the pandemic situation, managed to celebrate a new edition.
The concert, performed by the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Arturo Díez Boscovich, started with a piece from ‘Amadeus’ that almost synergistically transitioned to a dynamic and motivating suite of ‘Rocky’ by Bill Conti. A wonderful interpretation, and a declaration of intentions of the pieces that we were going to find in the rest of a very varied concert, of almost two hours of duration, and that offered us 2 encores.
Throughout the concert, Arturo Díez Boscovich acted as master of ceremonies, introducing the pieces that were to be played next, so that even though there was no printed program, the audience always had a reference of the themes they were listening to. In addition, during the interpretation of each piece, its title and composer were shown on the screen, as well as some non-synchronized video fragments that included the most significant moments of the film.
Nearly all the great composers of contemporary film music were represented in the concert, with pieces by Williams, Horner, Goldsmith, Goldenthal, Morricone, Zimmer, Silvestri, or a fantastic Basil Poledouris, who arrived as a gift in the encores, in a fantastic interpretation of The Hunt for Red October, where the Ziryab Choir shone in intensity and precision, despite being already at the end of the concert.
There was also a place for Spanish composers in the evening, with Roque Baños and a short but very good piece from his Goya-nominated soundtrack for ‘Adú’, with the solo voice of Cherif Conte.
If we had to choose the worst moment of the concert, it would probably be a cold and sometimes unsynchronized interpretation of Schindler’s List by the orchestra’s female concertmaster. A piece that is well-known all over the world, and which did not even come close to reaching the emotionality and intensity that the music and the story require.
If on the other hand we had to choose the best moment, clearly we would have to stay with the wonderful and surprising double suite by Elliot Goldenthal for ‘Batman Forever and Batman & Robin’. Almost 20 minutes of grandiose and original symphonic music, where there was room for the waltz, the tango, or the Elfmanian sounds of the primordial Batman, but all of it endowed with the special touch and the magnificent themes that Goldenthal applies to his work. A suite that received the greatest ovation of the night.
In short, a concert that offered us a great start, for a MOSMA 2021 that we had been waiting for so long and that was already running.
[PICTURES – Rafa Melgar for SoundTrackFest]
Promising Young Woman, Anthony Willis
Original title: Promising Young Woman
Oscar for best original screenplay 2021 y 2021 BAFTA nomination for best original score
This first section also includes pieces from the scores of How to Train your Dragon: Homecoming and Solitary.
For Sama, Nainita Desai
Original title: For Sama
Nominated for the 2020 Oscar for best documentary, winner of the 2020 BAFTA Award for best documentary and nominated by the British Independent Film Awards for best original score.
This second section also includes pieces from the score of American Murder: The Family Next Door.
Blood, Paloma Peñarrubia
2021 ASECAN nomination for best original score.
The Queen’s Gambit, Carlos Rafael Rivera
Original title: The Queen’s Gambit
2021 Emmy nomination for outstanding original music.
The next day, we continued with the second concert of the festival, this time at the Sala Unicaja de Conciertos María Cristina, performed by the Movie Score Málaga Assemblé Orchestra, formed by 10 musicians, stupendously and efficiently conducted by Isabel Rubio.
The program offered music dedicated to the ‘Stories of women’, divided into 4 blocks of 4 different composers, most of them present there.
The night began with the delicate and melodic work of Anthony Willis, with a delightful composition for ‘Promising Young Woman’ which was followed by music from ‘How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming’ and ‘Solitary’. Next came a block by Nainita Desai, who used the electronic tracks to give additional depth to the problematic, conflictive, and dramatic stories, but with slight hints of positive resolution, which her orchestral music transmitted to us. Here we were able to listen to several short pieces from the documentary movie ‘For Sama’ and from the most watched documentary on Netflix to date ‘American Murder: The Family Next Door’.
As a curiosity, the same day of the concert, it was announced that both composers were nominated for Discovery of the year at the World Soundtrack Awards, and with the music we were listening to in the evening.
Perhaps the least positive points of this first block of the concert were the amount of short pieces that were interpreted, which made the continuity a bit difficult, and the extensive speeches that both composers gave when they went on stage, which although were interesting and added context, were a bit too long as they had to be translated into Spanish.
Next came Paloma Peñarrubia‘s music for the film ‘Blood’. A very original piece, conflictive, tense, and slippery, which moved and oscillated between passion and drama, blurring the unstable lines of sanity with ease. The addition of unusual textures to the traditional orchestral sound amplified that sense of anguish, unease or bewilderment at more than one point. A great and original musical block.
And finally, we had the suite of ‘Queen’s Gambit’ by Carlos Rafael Rivera, who made his presentation with a video message on screen. A great performance of a complex piece with an overwhelming sonority, which despite having only 10 musicians on stage, sounded as if we had a full orchestra. A great success to move this piece in the original program from the third block to the end, and finish the evening with a great dose of energy and positivity.
A very enjoyable concert, which, although perhaps was a bit dense at the beginning, offered us unusual music in a very appropriate format.
[PICTURES – Rafa Melgar for SoundTrackFest]
IA Corrupta [Rogue IA]. Alternative versions of immortal works (Reimagining)
- Entrando en la red – Invasión alienígena.
Tron and Space Invaders, by Sergio de la Puente.
- Lucy in the Sky with Videogames.
Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, Pac-Man, Castlevania, by Javier Bayón.
- El lingote
Sonic the Hedgehog, The Secret of Monkey Island, Mortal Kombat, Wii Theme, Plants vs Zombies, by Carlos Martín Jara.
- El viaje del bloque.
Tetris, by Dani Trujillo.
- Virus Attack.
Resident Evil, by the Ferrando brothers.
- El club de la lucha.
Street Fighter 2, by Luc Suárez.
- Juegos de guerra.
Gears of War 2, by Óscar Senén.
Fin de la anomalía [End of the Anomaly]. Real versions of original pieces (World premiere)
- The Season of the Warlock, Carlos Martín Jara.
- Reventure, Daniel Parejo.
- Call of the Sea, Eduardo de la Iglesia.
- Blasphemous, Carlos Viola.
- Knack II, Anthony Willis.
- Fornite, Anthony Willis.
Epilogo corrupto [Rogue Epilogue] (Reimagining)
Bis. ¡Esparta!. Halo 2, by Luc Suárez and Javier Bayón.
Third concert of the festival, performed by the Movie Score Málaga Assemblé Orchestra masterfully conducted by Joan Martorell at the Teatro Cervantes, which offered for two hours a wonderful tribute to video game music divided into two blocks: the first with pieces from mythical video games ‘reimagined’ (according to the program, due to a “corrupt AI / virus”) and the second with world premieres of current video game soundtracks, mainly by Spanish composers, who were present in the venue.
The orchestra was complemented by a rock combo, pre-recorded electronic tracks, and the participation of most of the composers featured in the concert on stage, who could be seen frantically enjoying their creations. And it was well deserved!
It would be impossible to highlight a single moment of the concert, since it had multiple really creative, surprising, and fresh pieces. Especially in the block of re-imaginations, where all the pieces were presented with a video in which the composers themselves explained in a fun, crazy, and ingenious way, what we were going to hear. Special mention to the graphics that accompanied each and every one of the pieces, both in their introduction and execution, as well as the lighting effects that we saw on stage, which introduced us even more in this bacchanal of video game music, which at times did not have much to envy to the famous ‘Video Games Live’ tour.
The concert had a great start with the versions of Sergio de la Puente for Tron, respecting and expanding the original sonority, and above all we should highlight the creativity with which he developed Space Invaders, a game that has no soundtrack beyond some “slight beeps”, and that in concert took shape to offer an orchestral experience that was complemented with the characteristic sounds of the arcade machine.
Javier Bayón‘s delicious, mournful, and psychedelic suite for Mario-Zelda-Pacman-Castlevania, gave way to Carlos Martín Jara‘s stupendous version of Sonic and Monkey Island, sprinkled with excerpts from the Wii theme and Plants vs Zombies. Special emphasis should be made on the version that closed this block with Mortal Kombat, and that increased the musical madness of the game by having the composer himself coming on stage, taking a microphone, and starting to narrate the names of the characters but “Spanishized”, along with the movements of the game in a rhythmic and joking way, while the orchestra played at full blast.
Fabulous musical and aesthetic duel between Dani Trujillo and Daniel García in the reimagining of Tetris. The well-known game, where you have to fit the pieces correctly in order to win, was transferred to the musical aspect, and both composers competed with each other to try to fit their version of Tetris to the public.
Great version of the Ferrando brothers (Nacho and Jorge Ferrando) for Resident Evil, where the evil virus was the musical protagonist, in a gloomy, dark, and guitar version of the soundtrack, making it clear that good does not always triumph over evil.
Luc Suarez on guitar, accompanied by the full power of the orchestra, brought a wonderful rock touch, aggressive, dynamic, and very powerful, to a video game that deserved no less: Street Fighter 2. And for dessert, we had the Hollywood style symphonic music of Oscar Senen, tense and nervous, for the intense Gears of War 2.
After the anomaly of the reimagined and “corrupted” versions of video game music, the second block of the concert began with the symphonic and magical music of Carlos Martín Jara for The Season of the Warlock, followed by a great music of Daniel Parejo for Reventure and the great “orchestral soundscapes” of Eduardo de la Iglesia for the world of Call of the Sea. In the last part we could enjoy the interesting music of Carlos Viola for Blasphemous, and the multiple melodic and dynamic pieces of Anthony Willis for Knack II and Fornite.
And here comes perhaps the only weak point of the concert, as this final part dedicated to the current games became a little dense at times, especially when short pieces followed one after the other in a somewhat mechanical way, leaving the audience a little off balance and without references, and giving rise to some awkward silences of seconds between pieces.
But returning to the positive part, which was almost everything else in the concert, I would like to highlight once again the impressive conducting work of Joan Martorell, who managed to put cohesion throughout the evening in a disparate and diverse set of pieces and styles, where symphonic music was constantly mixed with a rock band and pre-recorded electronic effects.
As a funny point, indicate that the “virus” that supposedly corrupted and gave rise to the reimagined pieces, did not want to miss the end of the party and managed to sneak an unexpected sports broadcast on the PA system of the venue through the director’s headphones.
And we can’t end this article without mentioning the last piece of the evening “Sparta! Reimagining Halo 2, by Luc Suárez and Javier Bayón”, with a blast of adrenaline and energy that had the two composers giving their best on guitars, followed at the same level by an unleashed orchestra, to end the concert in its highest point.
In short, a wonderful concert and we would almost say that is an essential concert for video game lovers, which we hope that the festival can publish online, as it did with the concert of re-imaginations of the maestro Morricone last year. I think all who attended were left with the desire to relive those moments again, and to capture the infinite details that the composers put in each and every one of the works.
Undoubtedly, the best concert of MOSMA 2021, with a format that clearly offers freshness and originality, with very high levels of quality, and where both the composers and the audience enjoyed to the maximum.
LEVEL UP!! 👾🎶👾🎶🔝🔝🆙🆙
PROGRAM (to be verified)
- Brokeback Mountain – Orquestal
- Brokeback Mountain – A love that will never grow old
- Promised Land – Secret Memories
- Suite Iñarritu – Amores Perros y Biutiful
- The Last of Us – All gone
- The Journey
- Rio de las Penas
- Te quiero, te espero
- Diarios de Motocicleta – De Ushuaia a la Quiaca
- El Libro de la Vida – The Apology Song
- El Camino del Mío Cid
- The Last of Us 2
- Ando Rodando
- No sé qué tienen mis penas
- Pa Bailar
Last concert of this year at MOSMA, where, accompanied by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Málaga conducted by Arturo Díez Boscovich, and violinist Javier Casalla and guitarist Juan Cruz Luqui, had the Argentine musician and composer Gustavo Santaolalla making a review of his entire career, with a selection of his songs arranged for symphony orchestra and some of his soundtracks. In addition, there was a world premiere of some musical pieces from the soundtrack of the video game The Last of Us and its sequel The Last of Us II, among others.
The concert, which was held at the Teatro Cervantes, started 20 minutes late due to the composer’s delicate health condition, and kept the audience expectant and doubtful of its realization, but Gustavo Santaolalla was received with great applause and gave a great concert.
His powerful voice and his characteristic acoustic/electric/banjo guitar playing, accompanied mainly by his violinist and the sounds of the string section of the orchestra, were the predominant note of the evening.
As a point of improvement, it should be noted that Santaolalla, the main protagonist of the concert, sat too far inside the stage, blended with the orchestra, not allowing a good part of the right half of the stalls to see him, because he was covered by the conductor. Probably, changing his position with the first violin would have made the evening much more enjoyable for a large part of the audience.
The symphonic versions of ‘Brokeback Mountain’, Iñarritu’s movie suite composed by ‘Amores Perros and Biutiful’, or the dynamic and agile ‘The Motorcycle Diaries – From Ushuaia to Quiaca’, contrasted with the themes ‘El Río de las Penas’ – a rhythmic piece based on the Argentine carnavalito -, or the intense ‘No sé qué tienen mis penas’ where Santaolalla projected his voice a capella while playing a drum, reminding us of the chants of South American shamans.
The evening left us with fabulous moments such as an energetic ‘Ando Rodando’ or a powerful ‘The Apology Song’ from the movie, ‘The Book of Life’, which Santaolalla dedicated to those who were not among us for multiple reasons, and asked the audience to imagine them sitting in the empty seats that had to be left in the theater due to security measures.
The concert, which lasted just over an hour, was short and ended with ‘Pa Bailar’, which delighted the audience with its dynamism and rhythm.
At the end of the evening, and to the applause of a standing audience grateful for the music played, Gustavo Santaolalla received the MOSMA Maestro 2021 Award from the director of the festival, Juan Antonio Vigar.
[PICTURES – Rafa Melgar for SoundTrackFest]
Once again this year, MOSMA has shown that it is able to combine quantity and quality, offering 4 concerts with a wide variety of themes, covering the tastes of all audiences. We can only thank the organization and the Festival of Malaga for being able to celebrate this 6th edition, taking into account the current unstable conditions. We hope that next year we will be able to enjoy a “normalized” 7th edition, where we will have those encounters and master classes, which we miss so much.
Article and pictures Gorka Oteiza
Additional pictures Rafa Melgar