After an intense first day full and packed of activities, the second day of the festival began early, at 9:00 a.m., in a workshop for children from 6 to 12 yars old called “FMF4KIDS: Watch That Sound” at Pałac Krzysztofory (venue for the rest of the events of the day). There, helped by Jacques van de Veerdonk, younger audience had the opportunity to explore the world of instruments and even compose their own music for a movie. A very interesting initiative.
After that, at 1:00 p.m. “PANEL: Film Music Festivals as a platform for Emerging Talents” was held, hosted by Matthias Hornshuh (SoundTrack_Cologne) with the participation of Mike Riemenschneider (Filmmusiktage), George Christopulous (Oticons Agency), Valerie Dobbelaere (World Soundtrack Awards), Agata Grabowiecka (Krakow FMF) & Pedro Mérida (Fimucité). This panel had many interesting ideas, such as focusing on how film music festivals can be a good meeting point for young composers with people already working in the world of soundtracks waiting to “capture” new talents, or how festivals have to promote new composers through workshops/master classes or even competitions that encourage the participation, or how younger audiences should be involved in the world of soundtracks, either taking part in young orchestras (like in FMF) or having special concerts for kids (like in Fimucité).
Later, at 2:30 p.m. “Q&A: Klaus Doldinger and Jean-Michel Bernard” was held, hosted by Jonathan Broxton and with the participation of Klaus Doldinger and Jean-Michel Bernard. There, Klaus Doldinger talked about his memories working in the movie The Neverending Story that we were going to enjoy in concert at night, and talked about his jazz background. He said that jazz made him good improvising with focus in harmonies and melodies, having over 300/400 music pieces composed, more than he could remember, not only for films or TV series, but especially for shorts or for advertisements. After the Q&A, Jean-Michel Bernard sat at the piano (that was waiting for him on stage from the beginning of the panel), and Klaus Doldinger took a Saxophone he had on his lap, and both started improvising and creating music live, making the audience part of a delightful Soundtrack-Jazz club.
The day was ending, and at 7:00 p.m. one of the highlights of the festival arrived, The Neverending Story movie in concert. The movie was going to have a world premiere of the original music composed by Klaus Dolginder, performed by the Sinfonietta Cracovia with the Cracow Singers and conducted by Christian Schumann, and not the later music changed/arranged for the movie by Giorgio Moroder. During one hour and a half, we were transported to a world of imagination and fantasy, to the kingdom of “Fantasia”, in a movie that’s already a classic, and that has creativity and originality as its main ingredients.
The performance of the orchestra was excellent and the conducting of Christian Schumann was very accurate, sharp and strong, but the incorrect balance of the sound system made the voices of the actors too soft sometimes, so the orchestra overlapped the conversations when both voices and music had to fight for our attention. The sound system configuration should have been improved for a better experience, because unless you could read Polish subtitles, you would miss many dialogues in the movie when music and acting collided. Fortunately, this was completely solved in Sunday’s “Titanic Live in Concert” event, as you’ll read in the next article.
At the end of the concert, while the end credits were screened, Klaus Doldinger appeared on stage and was received with a huge ovation as he started to play the saxophone. A wonderful moment, because during the next 4 minutes, we could enjoy the performance of the orchestra and the saxophone, with all the focus set on them, no images, while they were giving us an intense, rhythmic and joyful sound. Fantastic ending for a classic movie!
Next day the events started soon again, with the second part of the “FMF4KIDS: Watch That Sound” workshop at the Mieczysław Karłowicz’s Music School. Unfortunately, I missed all the events happening in the morning at Pałac Krzysztofory due to scheduled interviews and work, so I had to skip the interesting 10:00 a.m. “MASTER CLASS: How To Sound Rich when the Budget is Low” with Matthijs Kieboom, that gave way later at 12:30 p.m. to “MASTER CLASS: Temp Score – Fight or Surrender?” hosted by veteran Richard Bellis, where he presented insider tips and tricks to deal with temp tracks when composing music for a movie. And the last event before lunch was at 1:45 p.m. “PANEL: Lyrics and Scripts – A Match Made in Film”, hosted by Ray Benett with the participation of Gary Marlowe, Doreen Ringer-Ross, Robert Townson & Ray Costa.
The afternoon started at 3:00 p.m. with “MASTER CLASS: Composing Jazz Scores” with Sean Callery, where I was present when Sean had some technical problems with the equipment, as he wanted to give a very practical master class with keyboards connected by MIDI to his laptop, showing how to compose and change the mood of a scene on-line. But technology didn’t play on his side that day. Anyway, he could show some clips and explain how he approached composing the music for Homeland or Jessica Jones in a Jazzy tone, and at the end, he got the computer connection working and could perform some live samples. Nice conference which, unfortunately, could have been much better.
At 4:15 p.m. it was the time for one of the big moments of the day, “Q&A: Giorgio Moroder” hosted by Krzysztof Sokalla with Giorgio Moroder, where the composer talked about his projects for films, but also about his music collaborations and his experience as a music producer, with many anecdotes to share in such a long career, including the extended conversation that was recorded when collaborating with Daft Punk, where only a few minutes were used for the song (expect a director’s cut sometime!).
Later at 5:30 p.m. was the last panel of the day called “PANEL: Working on a deadline for TV series” hosted by Mike Todd with participants Atanas Valkov, Sean Callery, David Kurtz and Jamie Forsyth.
Then the night arrived, and at 8:00 p.m. was time for the Cinematic Piano concert at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre – Theatre Hall S2 (a smaller venue than the main concert hall) that was nearly full.
The show started, and there on stage was composer Jean-Michel Bernard alone in front of the audience, like Gary Cooper in High Noon, with the piano as his only “weapon”. But a piano in Jean-Michel’s hands can be a dangerous weapon, because as soon as he started playing the first piece, you could see that the night was going to be special, full of known tunes, with clever improvisation, funny references, and agile and skillful fingers moving along the keys of the piano. Being true to the facts, Jean-Michel was not completely alone, as he had the help of Sara Andon playing flute, his wife Kimiko Ono singing beside him, as well as Jan Stokłosa playing cello in some pieces.
The performance was splendid, with many variations introduced by the flute/cello/voice complementing the piano, in a very extensive and interesting repertoire. And maybe that was the only weak point of the night; the duration of the concert was nearly 2 hours non-stop, and perhaps 20 minutes shorter could have resulted in a more enjoyable concert. Nevertheless, fantastic piano performance by Jean-Michel Bernard, who showed the full extent of his art & craft.
The complete program of the night was as follows:
After the Cinematic Piano concert, the night still had more content waiting for us, with a special outdoor party called “DANCE2CINEMA: Midnight Express Party with Giorgio Moroder” at 10:00 p.m., where DJs overlooked the Jan Nowak Jeziorański Square from a tubular stage expressly prepared for them. Laser lights, smoke effects, and loud music were all over the place, with crowds dancing frantically.
And just minutes before midnight, Giorgio Moroder appeared. At that moment film music jumped in the streets with “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun (1986), “What a Feeling” from Flashdance (1983), The NeverEnding Story (1984) or “Together in Electric Dreams” from Electric Dreams (1984), in a night where other big hits from David Bowie or Daft Punk were also “DJed” by Giorgio Moroder. And the best of all, besides the fantastic music played, was the energy Giorgio was sharing with the audience, showing he was enjoying as much as us. You could see him cheering, shouting, singing and waving his hands, encouraging people to clap and follow the rhythm of the music! Wow!… What a feeling!!!
Another big day had ended, but we had to save some strength, as the best was yet to come with the big gala concert tomorrow Saturday!
Read about it in the next article, to be published very very soon.
Gorka Oteiza (SoundTrackFest)