Alexandre Desplat’s concert in Barcelona (Thursday 12/22/2016)

Yesterday, Alexandre Desplat gave the first of the two concerts he’s going to conduct in Barcelona, at L’Auditori, with the OBC (Symphonic Orchestra of Barcelona and National of Catalonia).

SoundTrackFest was in the concert last night, and although in a few days a full and detailed summary article will be published (after attending the second concert today Friday), so far, here is this brief article from yesterday’s concert.

The program was as follows:

FIRST PART (40 minutes)

Twilight – New Moon Love

Girl With a Pearl Earring – Suite

Stephen Frears – Suite (Philomena & The Queen)

The Imitation Game

Ghost Writer – Suite

The Grand Budapest Hotel


Intermission (20 minutes)


SECOND PART (45 minutes)

Godzilla – Selection

The King’s Speech – Suite

Pélleas et Mélisandre for Flute and Orchestra

Birth – Orchestral Suite

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Suite

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Suite

[Encores Un Heros Très Discret & Coco avant Chanel]


The concert started with Twilight, a short piece, which was well performed but did not give the audience chance to set the ambience for the concert.

The Girl With a Pearl Earring suite was perfect, with flutes giving their best and a brass section bringing color at the end, but it showed one of the problems that all the suites would share; these suites were not really such, but a collection of separate themes with pauses between them, which in some cases started, gained strength and then ended abruptly, breaking the rhythm in a tense moment, and giving a sense of disconnection that confused the public.

To highlight from the first half of the concert The Imitation Game, which was musically very coherent and well interpreted, and the Ghost Writer – Suite, which although had three blocks / acts, a first one showing action, a second that insinuated conflict and a third that performed as a thriller solving tension, had a lot of strength and cohesion, and were among the best of the first half of the concert.

This first part ended with a failed The Grand Hotel Budapest, a piece that could have been playful and funny, but that lost all the joy, sparkle and charm that has in the film and in the CD, to be decaffeinated and too orchestral, without excesses, or twists or counterpoints (where, for example, the mandolin did not stand out and those sounds so characteristic of the Oscar-winning soundtrack, were not felt).

Alexandre Desplat in Barcelona 2016-1


In the second part the start was a bit better, with a brief and soft Godzilla that did not get to the audience, but then raised the mood with a very good interpretation of The King’s Speech.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was another of the suites to highlight from the second half along with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, although in this second case it was evidenced again, and now with more intensity, that the different blocks of the suite cut abruptly the action and the musical fluency, where the desirable would have been to have them linked.

A pair of encores that Alexandre Desplat presented speaking without a microphone, made it impossible to understand what he was saying except being near from him in the patio. In fact, the composer did not address the audience throughout the concert except on rare occasions, which had the same problem of communication and only created confusion.

Alexandre Desplat in Barcelona 2016-2


A concert with a fabulous orchestra that did everything it could, but a concert that seemed to need more preparation (or understanding), despite the three hours of rehearsal that had been done that day and the rehearsal of the previous day.

The feeling of having a Desplat tired and in a hurry (maybe those three hours of rehearsal had something to do with it), and eager to end the night, didn’t let us enjoy his music as we expected.

I hope today Friday we can enjoy a concert “different” to the one performed yesterday, which was correct but not enthusiastic, and that failed to get to an audience eager to dive and get lost in the music, but that was not able to do so, because didn’t felt a complicity between the director (and creator of the music), and the orchestra, not delivering the feeling the audience expected.

Alexandre Desplat in Barcelona 2016-3