Last Sunday, March 26th 2017, a special music concert was held in the 20th edition of the “Malaga Film Festival – Cinema in Spanish“, which was already reported in the following news (read news).
Gorka Oteiza (SoundTrackFest) attended the concert and left us the following summary article.
At 7:00 pm on Sunday, March 26th, the closing concert of the “Malaga Film Festival – Cinema in Spanish” called ‘Variations (Film music in Spain)‘ was held at the Cervantes Theatre of Malaga, which had sold out all tickets the previous day, although later in the hall we could see a pair of almost empty rows (surely derived from invitations that were not used).
As you can see, of the 11 themes included in the program, only 4 belong to Spanish composers, something that does not seem very logical considering the “Cinema in Spanish” tagline that the Festival of Malaga has. This has generated controversy in the social networks, and has been extensively discussed on the web MundoBSO (follow link-1, link-2 and link-3), but it is not the object of this article to delve into it.
Now, it is true that it’s surprising to see Star Wars, Indiana Jones or Game of Thrones in a program of a festival named “Cinema in Spanish”, under the premise that some of their scenes were shot in Spain, when in the concert what is appreciated is the music and not the images (if at least such scenes shot in Spain had been projected on a screen over the orchestra while the pieces were played, it could be a little bit more coherent, but that was not done, since there was no audio-visual projection synchronized with the interpretation of the pieces).
I know that several Spanish composers have shown their disagreement with this program (either publicly, either anonymously or by private messages), and it is true that if the San Sebastian International Film Festival has been 4 years organizing a concert only with music from Spanish composers (read article of 2016’s concert), ¿Why could not the same be done in the “Malaga Film Festival – Cinema in Spanish”?
It has been argued that this concert is a prelude to the MOSMA (to be held in July 2017) and that therefore its thematic and program is more similar, but in that case, this concert with the current program, perhaps would have made more sense outside the Malaga Festival and closer to MOSMA, for example in the month of May.
Therefore, without dedicating more space of this article to discuss whether there should be more Spanish composers in the program or not, it is appropriate to leave the idea there, so it can be used for future editions and future concerts that are programmed within the Malaga Festival.
And now speaking about the concert, at 7:05 p.m. the Malaga Provincial Symphony Orchestra (OSPM) began the evening, under the careful guidance and expert eye of Arturo Díez Boscovich, a good connoisseur of the orchestra, which he has conducted on more than one occasion.
The first theme was Tadeo Jones – Zacarias M. de la Riva, which started with a lot of percussion, perfectly synchronized; giving force to the piece before the entrance of the brass section, and that even had a musical wink to the original Indiana Jones near the end.
Then a brief pause followed, where the director presented the concert and the program, explaining that film music is suitable for concert halls, and that the barrier between classical music and film music is increasingly more diffuse nowadays, not only for the quality, but also for the technical and interpretative complexity of the pieces.
Following, The Others – Alejandro Amenabar was played, a theme that lasted about 4 minutes with two different parts; a quiet introduction in the beginning, to give way to a terror jump in the second part.
And almost without pause, a solo piano began to interpret in a gentle way El Hijo de la Novia – Angel Illarramendi, that after beginning with a soft the melody, it started to be wrapped subtly by the strings section, to generate a dance in the music and a shift of protagonism between both, all under the attentive and expressive direction of Arturo Díez Boscovich. A perfect balance of both instruments, with a point of strength and the exact tone on both sides, which was complemented by a harp and by the woodwind section. A delicious and an exquisite musical surprise.
Thus, we arrived to the first theme of the block of the concert dedicated to foreign composers with Lawrence of Arabia – Maurice Jarre, which offered a very good and enjoyable version, giving way to a love piece of Star Wars – Attack of the Clones – John Williams (Across the Stars), where the audience could appreciate in the music what Arturo Díez Boscovich explained before beginning: two parts of theme / counter-theme, expressing the love of the protagonists, but also the prelude of the suffering that is to come. An exquisite piece, delicate and beautifully executed by the OSPM.
The next piece was a nearly 10-minute suite of Doctor Zhivago – Maurice Jarre, where all the significant themes of the soundtrack were collected, completing a brief musical narrative of the film, which had a fabulous interpretation, as it could be felt with the great applause granted by the audience at the end.
Following, In the heart of the sea – Roque Baños was played, where the string section rightly went up and down with the intensity of the melody, to give the feeling of being balanced by sound waves. But apart from this, the piece had a discreet performance, due to the feeling of having the brass section slightly out of tune with the rest of the orchestra sometimes.
When the concert was reaching almost one hour, Conan The Barbarian – Basil Poledouris was played, but not the well-known action theme, but the soft and brief theme of love, which did not reach three minutes, to make way for Indiana Jones and the last crusade – John Williams that had an almost perfect interpretation, where the metals excelled bringing energy and speed.
And thus we arrived to the last two pieces of the night, now in the block dedicated to television, with Game of Thrones – Ramin Djawadi first, in a theme of just over 2 minutes, where the percussion prevailed too much at times, slightly fading the responses from the wind section.
In order to finish, Murray Gold‘s Doctor Who was performed, where the drummer took the rhythmic reins of the piece from the beginning, making Arturo Díez Boscovich change his pose to give a slight rest to the baton, while the orchestra accompanied and wrapped the sound of the drums.
And so, when we’ve had about 1 hour and 10 minutes of concert, brief breaks and explanations included, the evening ended, an evening which had become short, and where the audience did not stop applauding asking for more. In response to this insistent request, the orchestra performed Indiana Jones and the last crusade as an encore, and like the director said, leaving the theater with Indiana Jones’ music in our heads, is a good way to go back home with batteries charged.
And so, with the batteries loaded and wanting more, we left the Cervantes Theatre shortly after 8:20 p.m.
The concert was highly enjoyable, of a superior quality, with a Provincial Symphonic Orchestra of Malaga (OSPM) very accurate in the interpretations of the pieces, and with an impeccable conducting from Arturo Díez Boscovich, who shaped every piece with the rhythm, strength or subtlety that required, uniting the great sound of the orchestra.
It was missed to have more suites or to have pieces of a higher duration (as happened with Doctor Zhivago from Maurice Jarre, which lasted almost 10 minutes and was impressive, or El Hijo de la Novia from Angel Illarramedi, which lasted around 6 minutes and was delicious), since most of the themes were quite brief.
As it was already mentioned at the beginning of the article, a program where only 4 of the 11 songs correspond to Spanish composers, does not seem to be the most appropriate program for a film festival that has the “Cinema in Spanish” tagline, so maybe a greater balance should be sought in the program for successive editions, or better yet, prepare a complete program only with Spanish composers.
Now, regardless of this fact, and focusing on the musical quality, the concert was impeccable, and in fact the only blame was that it was short, leaving us wanting more, and demonstrating that film music is gaining more life and more public outside theaters.