Kraków continues to delight, with gorgeous weather and insightful experiences, not to mention pure entertainment. I stopped by the festival centre at lunchtime to sit in on a discussion called ‘Afterlife of Film Music. Led by Robert Townson, with guest composers Joseph Trapanese and Heitor Pereira, along with pianist Jean-Michel Bernard, we were given insight into the extended life of film scores, themes and cues. While not a new idea per sé (indeed the example of Korngold’s theme from The Prince and the Pauper becoming the inspiration for his Violin Concerto was noted), there is more scope for composers to return to past works, or re-arrange works by other composers, for the concert hall, recordings and alike. It was interesting to hear about the joys and challenges of taking contemporary scores and making them fit for live performance, and a thrill to have Jean-Michel perform for us an improvisation on Alex North’s ‘Love Theme’ from Spartacus and Bernard Herrmann’s theme from Taxi Driver; an unexpected treat.
Heitor Pereira talked about the challenge of taking what is quite often an improvised ‘in the moment’ melodic line/performance, and reverse notating it so that it can be captured and performed again by an ensemble/soloist at a later date. Selections from his latest score, for the Angry Birds movie, were premiered tonight alongside pieces from his scores for The Smurfs, Despicable Me and Minions.
It was to the Tauron Arena that we headed for tonight’s Animation Gala, which featured a lengthy and extremely enjoyable programme of music from some of the biggest and best animated features in recent years. Along with Heitor Pereira, we were also treated to music by Harry Gregson Williams, such as Arthur Christmas, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and Shrek, which the composer himself conducted.
Festival favourite Diego Navarro conducted his impressive music for Capture The Flag, while our main conductor for the evening – Frank Strobel – led the brilliant Beethoven Academy Orchestra through such classics as Frozen, Pocahontas, Anastasia, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Beauty and the Beast and How To Train Your Dragon. The orchestra was joined by the voices of the Polish Radio Choir and a selection very talented soloists for the song selections.
I was struck by the scale of this festival once again, and the ready appetite of the almost capacity crowd in the arena. It seems if you put on a show in Kraków, they will come. It’s wonderful to see people getting behind this festival, truly the best of its kind in the world.