One more year and as we announced a few weeks ago through the following article (link here), on Saturday September 17 at 12pm, it was a concert of film music at the Velodrome Antonio Elorza San Sebastián ( colloquially known as Velodrome of Anoeta).
This concert was included in the programming of the Festival of San Sebastián / Donostia Zinemaldia, already the fourth consecutive year we can enjoy film music as an integral part of the programming of the San Sebastián International Film Festival, and consolidating the presence event at the velodrome for the second consecutive year, after having stopped at the site for the first time in 2015.
The concert was organized by the Basque National Orchestra, the Orfeón Donostiarra, SGAE Foundation and the Festival of San Sebastián / Donostia Zinemaldia with free tickets, which had to be previously removed in offices and points of official information about the festival.
This meant that the capacity of the velodrome was almost complete (3,000 people according to official data of the festival), with a good percentage of children and young people, despite having had a rainy day which does not encourage people to this type of concerts.
A group of film music fans went to the place, known from other festivals and events, which with the Basque composer Joseba Beristain (http://www.josebaberistain.com/) and galician composer Nico Casal (http://www.nicocasal.com/) enjoyed the concert together.
Among the other familiar faces from the event, apart from the invited composers who will be mentioned later and we can see in the photo above, was José María Benítez, record producer at Quartet Records (http://www.quartetrecords.com/), specialized in editing soundtracks, which had conducted a master-class with Alberto Iglesias at the festival a few days before, and took the opportunity to attend the concert.
Notably also it featured the surprise presence of late composer Federico Jusid (http://www.federicojusid.com/), who joined the group at the door of the velodrome, that did not participate in the concert as a guest composer, but he did as an aficionado, as he was at the festival to support the promotion of the film Neruda, as the author of its music.
From 11: 30am you could see people coming to the site in stages, through a single gateway, but without having to wait excessive queues. However, the output of the concert was performed by the same place, and there they that considerable traffic jams and waiting occurred, raising questions whether the place is properly prepared for an emergency evacuation, such as a fire.
Leaving this issue aside, I think it could be improved for the next edition, let’s focus on the concert, which began at 12 pm, regular as clockwork.
The event began with a brief presentation by the director of the SGAE Foundation, Manuel Aguilar and the director of the Symphony Orchestra of Euskadi, Oriol Roch, who stressed the involvement of both organizations in the dissemination of film music, both in the festival area and outside it, and invited the public to go to the movies and these concerts, which are proliferating more and more frequently throughout the country
Next, the three composers present at the event: Joan Valent, Pascal Gaigne and Sergio Moure, had words of thanks to the audience for coming on such a dreary, rainy day, and the Orchestra and Choir for hours test carried out to make this concert possible.
And without further ado, he gave way to music, where the planned program was fulfilled to the letter, as previously announced, and as they came on the paper delivered at the entrance to the velodrome.
The first work was a suite of Alatriste from Roque Baños, which lasted approximately 20 minutes, and started with a percussion timbals and the emergence of a fabulous Orfeón Donostiarra at the concert, starting with concern and tension a suite well crimped and orchestrated, representing the wide variety of songs that includes the soundtrack of Alatriste. Accompanying music, you could see a montage of images projected on the screen of 400m2 installed on the orchestra, assembly was much more successful than the previous year this year, and that was suitable for all audiences in most of its moments.
While the scenes that appeared on screen did not always correspond with the music that was playing in the suite (which unless you’re a fan and know very well the soundtrack can not come to appreciate), visual themes and musical part were related quite well. Thus, if the suite had a part of tension and drama, on the screen appeared a battle, or if the music took a more intimate and sentimental speech in a scene screen couple who accompanied him looked. A success with respect to what we saw last year, which was carried out by Carlos Rodriguez agency Morgan Crea.
As little niggle, commenting that the suite at times was a bit long, and perhaps had agreed to reduce some of its duration, although that did not stop to enjoy the great music Roque Baños until the last note.
After a brief pause, he gave way to the next topic, a suite of My Big Night composer Joan Valent and arranged by Roman Gottwald, about 15 minutes (which perhaps could have reduced a little). The suite began cheerful, fast, light-hearted and jovial manner, using jazzy and drum beats, perfectly fused with the sound of the orchestra, creating an interesting counterpoint to the theme of the previous suite we’d just listen.
At this time of the concert, and we could appreciate the great work done by the director David Hernando Rico in front of the Symphony Orchestra of Euskadi, which was great throughout the whole performance.
It notes that the sound of the velodrome got was excellent, as was the previous year. It is difficult to equalize and balance the sound of an orchestra and a choir as a whole, and even more in facilities that are not acoustically prepared for these representations. Now, with the placement of a long dark on both sides of the stands and behind the screen and the orchestra fabrics, and columns of properly located and amplified sound, we could enjoy the concert as if you were in a real auditorium.
And returning to the concert, the next topic was a suite of Lobos de Arga from Galician composer Sergio Moure, who started strongly in the string section of the orchestra, adding metal post, to create the climate of tension that images us they were showing, and corresponding to the plot of the film. A very balanced and very complete suite which in less than 10 minutes, performed a wonderful musical narration of the film.
However, we must point out that the projected images for Lobos de Arga gave a sense of lower quality light level and at the level of resolution with respect to the images projected in the previous two blocks, as if they had been picked from a source lower quality video, but is an effect that was not seen again in the rest of the concert.
Finishing the terrifying suite, joy and childlike color music Dream Thief (Ametsen Lapurra) from Pascal Gaigne filled the room, looking back, contrast and balance between topics selected for the concert. The Thief of Dreams is an animated film in 2000, accusing her age in computer graphics (simple by today’s standards, though resultona), but exceeded with the musical note section through the great work of Pascal.
With a total of about 15 minutes, and divided into two parts, the suite began narrating what happens in the bedroom of the protagonist when the light goes out, with a touch of innocence and gaiety at times, interspersed with lighter counterpoints something darker, symptom of what was to come.
After a brief pause, the orchestra gave way to the second part of the suite, more gloomy and dark, where the metal section was the protagonist at first, with trombones and trumpets in all its glory, and very correct french horns, but little successful in some specific moments. In this second part, which was gathering pace and energy towards the end, almost the entire orchestra had to work hard, because at some point participated in another suite.
Next, we come to one of the most anticipated by the veteran public Velodrome points, Jose Nieto suite for the Libertarian film, about 15 minutes. Here, the Orfeón Donostiarra spared no effort to transmit the energy of the song “to the barricades” fabulously integrated and orchestrated music composed for the film, and played with force and vigor by the string section, clothing perfectly to a Choral Society fully delivered.
And by the end, the icing on the cake, two themes of the late Basque singer Mikel Laboa used in the film La Pelota Vasca, adapted and orchestrated by Carlos Puig-Hatem, and already have been interpreted in previous concerts by the Symphony Orchestra Euskadi and the Orfeón Donostiarra.
This time, we had the voice Baritone, Jon Imanol Etxabe, as “substitute” for Mikel Laboa (if possible replace somehow), which made an interpretation of the very faithful lyrics and much feeling.
The first song, Txoria Txori, classic of Basque contemporary music and about 4 minutes long, was accompanied by images of various landscapes of Euskadi; mountains, coasts and cities, resulting in a montage like something out of a promotional tourism video. A valid decision, but I think a bit unfortunate because it created some confusion about whether you really were watching scenes from the movie-documentary La Pelota or not, and also detracted force the message conveyed by the lyrics.
The second theme, Baga, Biga, Higa, lasted approximately 6 minutes, and a more successful and very agile assembly, which interspersed planes events with plans protagonists of the political life of Euskadi of the time, baritone reciting his verses to the accompaniment of the orchestra, to receive strong response from the choir, like an echo returned his amplified words polyphonically. Great!
And with this song the concert was over, after about 1 hour and 25 minutes of music, with the audience standing ovation, but resulting in a very curious situation. Without having been a long time since they began the applause, and without the director left the stage, the orchestra sat, the head turned, and began performing again the subject Baga, Biga, Higa, with the video again projected on the big screen, to the surprise and dismay of all attendees.
It is unusual for an encore to repeat the last piece, let alone almost no time to finish the applause, giving the feeling that there was a hurry to offer an encore and conclude the concert. Still, this did not prevent enjoy that extra, which had sounded so well made few moments.
One more year, we left very happy event, both the musical quality of the orchestra and choir, as well as the organization and the velodrome equipment, and all at an unbeatable price: free!! … thanks to the effort! Euskadi Symphony Orchestra, the Orfeón Donostiarra, SGAE Foundation and the Festival of San Sebastián / Donostia Zinemaldia.
We hope that this great initiative that helps bring film music a little more to everyone, will return again next year !!
Acknowledgements – To Pascal Gaigne for securing invitations for the group of people that went from from out of town to enjoy the concert.
To end this article, and as a curiosity, here are some videos (of the many that are available on the Internet), where you can see the Orfeón Donostiarra and Mikel Laboa, singing the two themes that splendidly we performed at the end of concert from the documentary “La pelota Vasca”.
Txoria Txori – Mikel Laboa & Orfeón Donostiarra
Baga, Biga, Higa – Mikel Laboa & Orfeón Donostiarra