The Symphonic Band of Valencia under the baton of Pablo Marqués, offered a film music concert in September, which included music by the Valencian composers Vicente Ortiz and Óscar Navarro (read more).
Our collaborator Frederic Torres attended the concert and leaves us this summary.
On Sunday, September 18, the Symphonic Band of Valencia, offered a concert at the Teatro Principal of Valencia, Spain, one of the most emblematic coliseums of the capital of the Turia, as a summer farewell, in an open day organized by the Federació de Societas Musicals de la Comarca Ciutat de València, which brings together thirty-four different formations, and which could be accessed by invitation (it is worth thanking in this regard the management of Domingo Carles, President of the Ciutat de València District).
The long line of public, anxious to get one of the invitations, showed the expectation generated by the concert, configured exclusively from cinematographic works including compositions by John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Andrew Lloyd Weber, but also by the Valencian composers Vicent Ortiz and Óscar Navarro. Their works were, at the time, the most interesting and novelty of the program, given how difficult it is to listen to musical works that go out of the pre-established margins from the programming of authors such as the aforementioned, as popular as recurrent.
The Band, conducted with conviction by Pablo Marqués, opened the concert after 19:30 hours in the evening, with a medley of Williams composed of various more or less known works of the composer, such as ET, The Extra-Terrestrial, The Empire Strikes Back and Jaws, which also included lesser-known pieces from his career, such as some of his overtures for the various Olympic Games in which he has collaborated, or the central theme of the television series Amazing Stories, known in Spain as Cuentos Asombrosos, a Steven Spielberg production for the small screen in the mid-eighties.
The arrangements of the Dutchman Johan de Meij were also part of the concert; a specialist in the world of symphonic bands, for which he has made numerous adaptations and compositions (his is the Symphony No. 1 “The Lord of the Rings”, presented long before the release of the successful film trilogy by Peter Jackson, and, therefore, prior to the sublime and great work composed by Howard Shore). Among his arrangements are those carried out with numerous scores by Ennio Morricone, from whom the concert also offered a suite entitled ‘Moment for Morricone’ composed of themes belonging to famous spaghetti-westerns such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or Once Upon a Time in the West (one of the most perfect and operatic works of the late Roman master), as well as other themes such as The Clan of the Sicilians, unusual in this type of suites.
The international part, to call it somehow, was culminated by a medley of themes from the musical The Phantom of the Opera, by Weber, and by the interpretation of the immortal central theme of Schindler’s List, by maestro Williams, giving the fortuitous circumstance of being the second time the theme was played that day in València, since in the morning it had already been heard at the Palau de les Arts, by the ADDA Orchestra under the baton of Josep Vicent, as an extra to the concert given as part of the Contemporary Music Festival, ENSEMS.
In that same morning concert, the Alicante-born Óscar Navarro had presented in Valencia (two days after its absolute premiere in Alicante) his symphonic poem, ‘Alí y Cántara’. A beautiful and precious composition that pays homage to the origin of the name of the city of Alicante (based on popular legend, and therefore without historical foundation), in which it is musically narrated, between arabesques and impressionist trimmings (that dawn with which the work begins, which refers so inspiringly to the sea dawn of Claude Debussy’s masterpiece, The Sea), the tragic love story of the two protagonists of the title of the work, when Almanzor triumphs as the suitor chosen by the father of the princess, which will lead to the suicide of the couple in love.
The request for the composer’s presence that same evening on the occasion of the performance of the elaborate and extensive suite of his award-winning composition for ‘La Mula’, fairly nominated for the Goya for best score, was prevented by his forced departure to Madrid to record a novel Overture with the RTVE Symphony Orchestra, composed in tribute to Odón Alonso, scheduled for the following day, the 19th.
Introduced by a festive opening, the music of ‘La Mula’ touches on all the styles in its subsequent dramatic development, which director Marqués knew how to execute with energy and demand. So it was Vicent Ortiz the only composer present, whose suite for the 2019 film ‘La Banda’ was premiered.
Ortiz, who is in the news due to the premiere of the movie La Vida Padre on Spanish screens since the end of September, surprised everyone with a delicate dramatic music introduced by the soloist pianist, signifying a declaration of principles as far as the cinematographic language itself is concerned. Far from presenting a composition of more accessible characteristics to these formations so typical of the Valencian lands, he offered a suite of high lyrical gradation, which again demonstrates that Ortiz is, along with Navarro, one of the best talents of the Valencian musical scene. This is evidenced by their participation in projects of a higher category as the inclusion of both in the team of orchestrators and assistants to Hans Zimmer himself in a blockbuster of the size of ‘No Time to Die’, the latest James Bond film released in cinemas around the world. So, it is normal that the expectations were placed before in the execution and listening of the works of these two Valencian talents, rather than in the works of Williams, Morricone and Weber mentioned above.
To top off the party, the Principal Theatre enthusiastically received, as an encore, the pasodoble that Miguel Asins Arbó, another illustrious local film composer, created for La Vaquilla, the well-known film by Luís García Berlanga, so that everything would remain at home. In case there was any doubt. A magnificent initiative that we hope will have thematic continuity in future projects of the Banda Simfònica de València.
Article by Frederic Torres
Pictures by Francisco Herrera