Happy 2022! In SoundTrackFest we want to start the year remembering one of the best film music festivals held in 2021; FIMUCITÉ, which, in its 15th edition, paid tribute to two great maestros of film music: Ennio Morricone and Antón García Abril, also offering an edition full of concerts and contents.
Enjoy the article… and we hope that 2022 brings us lots of live film music with… lots of opportunities to experience it live together! 🎶⭐🎶
In spite of the inclemencies of the pandemic, which continued to bring us a complex 2021 full of cancellations after a horrendous 2020 (read more), there were festivals like FIMUCITÉ, which was one of the few that was held in 2020 against all odds (read more), and which had already announced dates and content months in advance for its 15th anniversary in September 2021 (read more).
Thus, in 2021 we were going to be able to enjoy an edition that paid tribute to one of the greatest film music composers of all times: Maestro Ennio Morricone. The passing away of Antón García Abril in March 2021 and his connection with FIMUCITÉ, were the key to decide to dedicate a monographic concert to the Spanish maestro. A double tribute, fully deserved.
Thus, a 15th edition was built that was not an edition of compromise or survival, with which to tiptoe through 2021 waiting for better times, but we had before us a full deployment of goods, with a total of 7 concerts, 3 days of master classes at the Fimucité Film Scoring Academy and the screening of movies and short films, as a prelude to the awards ceremony of FIMUCINEMA.
Quite a declaration of intentions, where, if we did not raise our heads and look around, it could make us think that the situation had finally returned to normal.
During the festival we offered you a daily summary of the events we attended, with brief comments on the concerts and plenty of photos. Here is a more detailed account of the festival.
The Exconvento de Santo Domingo de La Laguna once again hosted one of the most anticipated concerts of this 15th edition of FIMUCITÉ: the tribute to Antón García Abril, who died in March 2021 at the age of 87, in a concert repeating the format that was so successful last year: soundtracks adapted to choral format with piano accompaniment.
Apart from the main concert of the festival dedicated to Ennio Morricone with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife conducted by Diego Navarro, it can be said that this concert was the one that had raised the most expectation in the audience: both because of the wide cinematographic work of Antón García Abril -which is not often performed live-, and because of the affection that the film music-loving public professes for him. It is not in vain that many people have not hesitated to describe him as the “Morricone of Spanish cinema”.
Anton García Abril has been one of the great masters of Spanish music of the twentieth century, and has had a great link with FIMUCITÉ since its first editions, bearing his name the most important award given by the festival. Therefore, this event was not only a special concert for the public, but also for the festival itself, as could be seen.
The concert tickets, which were available for free upon previous reservation, were not available long ago, making it clear how interested people were in the event. Fortunately, the festival organized the live streaming of the concert for free, so that no one would miss it (see link below).
The concert was divided into two parts, using the short pause between them to play a brief video of Antón García Abril from the documentary ‘El Hombre y la Música’ (read more), and to present the FIMUCITÉ – Antón García Abril 2021 award to the music and film critic Miguel Ángel Ordóñez, director and founder in 2005 of the website specialized in soundtracks Scoremagacine.com, and one of the architects of the wonderful program of the concert. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the event and a thank you statement was read on his behalf. Also was missed the presence of a family member or a representative of Antón García Abril, who could receive the applause of the audience and collect the signs of affection that were professed there.
The concert began shortly after 20:00h, within the walls of the Exconvento de Santo Domingo de La Laguna, originally from the sixteenth century, after a brief introduction by the festival director Diego Navarro. An inner courtyard with a wonderful lighting, which filled with colored lights the architectural elements and trees of the place, hosted the stage. Above the stage, a screen on which posters of the films whose music was being played were projected, so that the audience could follow the development of the concert.
To comply with the strict sanitary protocols, the audience was located in two areas: on the ground floor, surrounding the stage and distributed in chairs that formed small groups with the proper separation between them, and on a large balcony on the first floor, also in chairs organized in small groups, from where there was a great overhead view of the entire place.
The Coro Polifónico de la ULL conducted by Julio Chinea Pedraza, with Satomi Morimoto and Emiko Morimoto at the keyboards -from which came a great variety of sounds to perfectly complement the voices of the choir-, offered us a fabulous concert with an excellent selection of pieces.
The program, skillfully prepared and selected by Miguel Ángel Ordóñez, Jorge Magaz, and Julio Chinea, made a perfect tour through the career of Antón García Abril, divided into small thematic blocks. It is worth mentioning the great work of the composer, arranger, and orchestrator Jorge Magaz, who managed to bring out the full potential of the choir, along with the complicity of the multifaceted keyboards, and the warm and sometimes mischievous guitar of Samuel Delgado in themes such as the wonderful ‘La Lozana Andaluza’.
The concert left us with wonderful and surprising moments such as the suite dedicated to horror movies, which had a fabulous construction and interpretation, accompanied by lighting effects that put us fully into the right mood.
Although the idea of ending the concert with the music of ‘El hombre y la tierra’ was a good one, the rhythmic and polyphonic complexity and difficulty of the piece, which makes even the most skilled of orchestras tremble, meant that its translation to choir did not give the expected result, in a version that did not manage to make up for the power transmitted by the original.
But otherwise, the mythical refrain of ‘Sor Citroen’, which with its joyful and jovial music made us want to start dancing, the suite of ‘The Romanticism of “La Transición”’ with ‘Segunda enseñanza y Anillos de oro’, melodic, lyrical, and very well performed, or the defiant ‘Texas, addio’ with its clear references to the traditional western, were some of the many highlights of the concert, where more than one suite shone with its own entity.
A concert worth reliving again and again, which can be done through the following link (1h 35m 34s):
FIMUCITÉ 15: “Homenaje a Antón García Abril” – Behind The Scenes (1m 08s):
On Friday morning, at 11:00h, the second day of the Fimucité Film Scoring Academy began (the first one, with Eimear Noone and dedicated to video game music, was on Monday 20 – read more). Held at the Chamber Hall of the Teatro Leal, in La Laguna, and entitled “Multidisciplinary Innovation”, had the composers Darío Palomo, Xavier Capellas, and Daniel Trujillo, participating in a round table moderated by yours truly (Gorka Oteiza / SoundTrackFest).
For almost two hours the composers talked about mechanisms through which they face audiovisual projects of such different natures as television, advertising, symphonic and/or electroacoustic genres. A talk that an audience of about 30 people, mostly film and composition students, listened with great attention, and where several of the guest composers made use of the piano available in the room to illustrate the techniques, experiences, and anecdotes that were being told.
Below is a video that summarizes very well the spirit of these conferences:
FIMUCITÉ 15: “Film Scoring Academy” – Behind The Scenes (1m 00s):
And in the evening, at 19:30h, came the highlight of the festival, the concert dedicated entirely to the music of Maestro Ennio Morricone, performed by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife conducted by Diego Navarro, complemented by the Tenerife Film Choir conducted by Juan Ramón Vinagre.
A magnificent program created by FIMUCITÉ in cooperation with the European Film Philharmonic Institute, which included the following pieces:
As usual, the Tenerife Auditorium was the venue for the concert dedicated to the music of Ennio Morricone, which was held on Friday the 24th and repeated on Saturday the 25th with the same program. An auditorium that, due to sanitary restrictions in effect, could only seat less than half of its capacity, which meant that all the tickets for both performances were completely sold out long before the beginning of the festival.
The evening kicked off at 19:35h with the presence on stage of Ana Molowny and Andrés Brito, to present the winners of the 4th edition of the Spanish Audiovisual Music Awards (read more). The winners in the 4 different categories present in the hall (Koldo Uriarte, Darió Palomo, Sergio Jiménez Lacima, Daniel Trujillo), went up on stage to collect their awards and then the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife conducted by Diego Navarro performed a suite comprising the 4 winning pieces.
Perhaps the only thing that could be missing in this block was not knowing which piece was playing at each moment, since it was a suite where all the themes were linked, and not seeing on the screen above the orchestra the titles made difficult to know which one was playing. Later in the rest of the concert, the screen was used to project covers and information of the films that were being played, and thus guide the audience through the program.
It was 19:50h when we entered the long-awaited music of Ennio Morricone, and we did it this time from the voice and not from the baton of Diego Navarro, who took the microphone to tell us what the Maestro had meant to him musically and spiritually, mentioning the text he wrote for SoundTrackFest in tribute and memory of his death in 2020 (text that can be read here – see more).
Then, he let the music speak for itself in a great start of the concert with The Untouchables in ‘The Strength of the Righteous’ accompanied by the complicity of Guillermo Pérez Alberto‘s harmonica, continuing with an orchestral, soft and melodic ‘Ness and his Family’, which was contrasted with the sinister and rhythmic ‘Al Capone’, honoring the historical character. The melancholic ‘Death Theme’ with the great saxophone of Kike Perdomo, and the intense and powerful musical crescendo of the ‘End Title’ closed a great initial block.
Next, an agile and fast ‘Viaggio from STANNO TUTTI BENE’, with renaissance touches and a delicious mandolin by Gonzalo de Araoz, gave way to the great ‘Theme from NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO’ with a soft piano that filled us with melody and feeling, to lead into a second round with a saxophone full of sensitivity and delicacy. This same saxophone added a touch of color to the ‘Suite from LE CLAN DES SICILIENS’, accompanying the sonorous polyphony provided by a rock combo loaded with a wonderful rhythm and swing.
Before reaching the intermission, the soprano Carmen Acosta came on stage for the piece ‘METTI UNA SERA A CENA’. While the interpretation and the rhythm of the orchestra was perfect, it should be noted something that was general in the rest of the concert with soprano, who offered a register and a tone more typical of an opera, and not the one that Morricone’s pieces needed. While the professionalism and ability of the soprano are beyond doubt, it is true that her interpretation in the themes in which she participated was not entirely accurate. The following day, in the second performance of the concert, a certain improvement was noted, coming the performance a little closer to the feeling of the original pieces, although without completely reaching them.
And so when it was about 20:30h, the intermission arrived, to continue the show again almost at 21:00h with the revolutionary music of Novecento. First we listened to the majestic ‘Romanzo’ where we could enjoy the intensity provided by the choir, then the intense and conflictive ‘Regalo di Nozze’, to finish with the magnificent and choral ‘Il Quarto Stato’. Perhaps the only drawback we could put to this block were the pauses between pieces, which slightly cut its narrative tension.
Diego Navarro then took the microphone and made the presentation of a soundtrack that for him has always had a special meaning: THE MISSION (1986), which had a great interpretation by the orchestra and choir, in a very complete and very well developed suite.
As we approached the final stretch of the concert, we reached the block dedicated to ‘C’ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST/ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)’, beginning with the mythical ‘L’uomo dell’armonica’ where the mastery of Guillermo Pérez Alberto took all the protagonism of the piece. We continued with ‘Addio a Cheyenne’ where the orchestra emulated the sound of a horse together with the melancholy of a farewell, to finish with ‘Arrivo alla Stazione & Finale’ which offered the final climax with the participation of the soprano.
It was already past 21:40h and the audience wanted more, so the applause made the orchestra and the choir get back to work to offer three encores with the music of Malena, The Mission, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, ending the concert almost 15 minutes later with applause and ovations to the artists.
A great concert where a wonderful Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife conducted by a tenacious and precise Diego Navarro, along with the complicity of the Tenerife Film Choir conducted by Juan Ramón Vinagre, knew how to concentrate very well the essence of Maestro Ennio Morricone; not an easy task considering the vast work of the Roman genius.
As usual in FIMUCITÉ, the concert was recorded and will be rebroadcast in the future by RTVE (Spanish Public Television), thus being available to all audiences for free.
In the meantime, we leave you with a brief video-summary of the concert:
FIMUCITÉ 15: “Érase una vez Ennio Morricone” – Behind The Scenes (1m 45s):
On Saturday morning, and again at 11:00h in the Chamber Hall of the Teatro Leal in La Laguna, the last conference of the Fimucité Film Scoring Academy began, being in this case the veteran and experienced film music divulgator Conrado Xalabarder (MundoBSO), in charge of giving a lecture entitled “Knowing the past to face the future” where a historical analysis of the evolution of the narrative discourse of music in the audiovisual language was made.
This talk, which was very interesting and didactic, was broadcast live by SoundTrackFest through Facebook Live, and can be viewed again at the following link (1h 49m 32s):
In the afternoon, and this time at 19:00h, came the second performance of the concert ‘Once upon… Ennio Morricone’ which had the same program as the previous day, except for the ceremony of the Spanish Audiovisual Music Awards and the interpretation of the suite with the winners.
Already on the last day of an intense 15th edition of FIMUCITÉ, we started in the Espacio Cultural La Granja, where at 12:15h began the last concert of the festival ‘Las Chicas Del Coro’. This concert already had its debut on Sunday 19 at the Exconvento de Santo Domingo, and today it was repeated again, to musically close the festival.
The Coro de Voces Blancas del Conservatorio Profesional de Música de Tenerife under the baton of Juan Ramón Vinagre, and accompanied on piano by Ana Belén Gutierrez Salas, offered a wonderful concert with a great variety of choral themes beautifully adapted and arranged, and masterfully interpreted by the young but skilled voices of the choristers (a female choir between the ages of 15 and 23
As can be seen, the film music program, specially selected for the occasion, included pieces by European composers such as Nicola Piovani, Diego Navarro, Bruno Coulais, or Michel Legrand, leaving room for a compilation of well-known musical film themes such as “The Sound of Music”, “La La Land”, “The Greatest Showman”, “Pitch Perfect” or “Sister Act”, among others.
A concert that filled with joy, color, positivity, and energy the last minutes of the festival, and that not only had as protagonists the voices of the girls but also their choreographies, which were very successful and applauded. The concert was reciprocated by an enthusiastic audience, which did not hesitate to offer multiple ovations of appreciation, both in the final part and during & after the encores. You can not end with a better taste in your mouth!
You can enjoy the videos of the concert offered at the Exconvento de Santo Domingo on Sunday 19 here:
Las Chicas del Coro (1h 26m 47s):
FIMUCITÉ 15: “Las Chicas Del Coro” – Behind The Scenes (1m 17s):
In the evening, at 19:00h, the Espacio Cultural La Granja hosted the ceremony of the FIMUCINEMA awards with the following list of winners (more information):
- FIMUCINEMA Alex North Award to Best Original Score for a Fictional Feature Film: Marvin Miller and Ralf Wengenmavr for ‘Jim Knopf und Die Wilde 13’.
- FIMUCINEMA Award for Best Original Score for a Documentary: Josué Vergara for ‘Out of the Blue’.
- FIMUCINEMA Award for Best Original Score for a Short Film: Saba Alizâdeh for ‘Navozande, le Musicien’.
- FIMUCINEMA Award for Best Original Song: Marín Moore for ‘El Baile del Estornino’.
The event was streamed live and can be viewed here (30m 16s):
I would not like to end this summary of the festival without highlighting the enormous effort made by the organization to ensure that, whenever possible, its concerts reached as many people as possible through streaming, thus overcoming the capacity limitations and travel restrictions that were still going on due to the pandemic.
Here you have some links so that you can enjoy the concerts broadcasted in this format (Electric Arcade – A VGM History, Las Chicas Del Coro, and Tribute to Antón García Abril) together with the live broadcast of the FIMUCINEMA awards ceremony.
Additionally, below you can see a collection of videos of the festival in a “Behind The Scenes” format, dedicated to each and every one of the concerts:
The saying goes that “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, and it seems that this has been the effect of the pandemic in FIMUCITÉ.
Once again this year, and for the second consecutive time in the middle of the pandemic, the festival has managed to turn difficulty into an art and complications into an opportunity, resulting in a 15th edition that has overflowed with varied and quality content: a total of 7 concerts – mainly spread over two weekends -, multiple film screenings and awards ceremony at FIMUCINEMA, in addition to the 6th edition of the Fimucité Film Scoring Academy training activities. You can’t ask for more!
The bar has been set very high for the next edition, but… who said fear? We are sure that the festival team will be able to surprise us… once again!
Article and pictures by Gorka Oteiza