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    2010-05-20 - 2010-05-22

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Tan Dun in a duet with Leszek Możdżer and a monumental concert featuring the greatest musical hits of Shigeru Umebayashi, as well as Howard Shore in the special guest role at a special screening of the third part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy – all of these await the cinema lovers who on 20-22 May will be taking part in the 3rd Film Music Festival in Kraków.

This festival is special. Imagine yourself on a warm May evening under a starry sky, sitting in the middle of a huge meadow and listening to music being performed live while watching shots of your favourite films. In such “natural circumstances” cinema’s magic is twice as potent.

This year’s edition (already the third) of the Film Music Festival is a showcase for, on the one hand, large scale productions from the Chinese film industry (House of Flying Daggers, Hero, The Banquet, Curse of the Golden Flower), and on the other – the intimate and lyrical face of Asian cinema (In the Mood for Love, 2046 et al.). And, in the grand finale, there’s The Lord of the Rings. Return of the King – the last part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy. This is how the series of performances of Howard Shore’s complete score will reach their conclusion.

Heroic Błonia

Thursday’s inauguration ( 20 May, 9:30pm) on Kraków’s Błonia promises to be... heroic. Tan Dun – winner of an Oscar for the music to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will be presenting The Hero Concerto to the world for the first time, in a version specially prepared for Kraków’s festival. Telling the story of a warrior Nameless, the film is one of the biggest Chinese hits of recent years. During the concert, the Sinfonietta Cracovia orchestra and the Pro Musica Mundi Choir will be led by the composer himself, and appearing in the soloist’s role will be pianist Leszek Możdżer. So, at the beginning of the festival, we’ll be able to hear how the styles of East and West can be blended. Tan Dun was born in China, but has lived for years in the United States – and this can be heard in his compositions. Apart from the music to the film Hero, extracts from another majestic tale – The Banquet – will be presented on this evening.

On a Love Note

A monumental concert featuring the biggest musical hits of Shigeru Umebayashi, composer of the music for such films as Curse of the Golden Flower or House of Flying Daggers will grace the second evening ( 21 May, 9:30pm) at Błonia. The aforementioned titles are – like Hero – pictures by the highly rated Chinese director, Zhang Yimou. The Japanese composer’s soundtracks for Zhang’s films contain a healthy dose of atmospheric, oriental sounds. The violins, cellos and guitars merely provide a backdrop for the authentic Asian instrument: bamboo flutes and the Chinese erhu, dizi and yangqin. But this evening contains more than just monumental works. Things will certainly be getting cosy, sensual and intimate, thanks to the other films: In the Mood for Love and 2046, directed by Wong Kar-Wai, director of such film hits as: Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and My Blueberry Nights. Melancholic screen shots by this Asian expert on passionate yet unrequited love, Shigeru’s enticing notes and beautiful May all around… But the icing on the cake will be the world premiere of the music for the film A Single Man. This event is doubly important. The composer of the soundtrack to the debut film of Tom Ford (fashion designer, Gucci star) is to a large extent the Cracovian composer Abel Korzeniowski (recipient of a nomination at the 2009 Golden Globes for this music). The whole concert will be conducted by one of the most skilled film music composers of the young generation, the British Benjamin Wallfisch. He has written (and conducted) orchestral music for seventeen significant films (including Robin Hood, Agora, Moon and Pride and Prejudice), and also Dario Marianelli’s soundtrack for Atonement, winner of an Oscar, Golden Globe and Ivor Novello Award in the Best Original Film Score category. The vocal parts will be performed by highly rated Polish soprano Ewa Małas-Godlewska – her voice, blended with the voice of American countertenor Derek Lee Ragin, was used in the film Farinelli. Also presenting themselves on the stage will be the Polish Radio Choir and the AUKSO Orchestra.

There Is Only One Lord

Saturday’s grand finale will prove that there is only one lord…the Lord of the Rings. The Oscar-winning soundtrack to the film The Lord of the Rings. Return of the King will be ringing out on 22 May (9:30pm). The performance of the last part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy will have a special significance. In the audience will be sitting someone for a long time anxiously awaited in Kraków, Howard Shore – composer of the music for all the film’s parts. Shore’s composition displays a unique vision and carefully thought out construction with an innovative approach to the presentation of the screen image. The performance of the complete score was quite a challenge. It has involved a 300-strong cast of performers: the Sinfonietta Cracovia orchestra expanded to symphonic proportions, a combination of the Pro Musica Mundi Choir, Pueri Cantores Sancti Nicolai Boys’ Choir and long term Howard Shore collaborator, mezzosoprano Kaitlyn Lusk. In the United States it was written of this soloist that she negotiates a musical scale with “elfin simplicity”. And the vocal parts certainly aren’t the easiest, for they will be sung in special languages created by Tolkien: Quenya, Sindarin, Khuzdül, Adûnaic, Black Speech and Old English. Another long term collaborator of Howard Shore – Swiss conductor Ludwig Wicki – will be helping to get to grips with Tolkien’s world. The evening promises to be quite… fantastic.

Disney – Musical Realm

Times change but one thing has remained constant for years – the Children’s Realm is ruled by… Disney. Let’s see this for ourselves on Friday 21 May at Kijów.Centrum, where there’ll be three concerts (1pm, 3pm, 6pm) addressed to the youngest cinema lovers. The programme will present the songs of Alan Menken from famous Walt Disney productions, such as Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Hercules and the studio’s latest animation: The Princess and the Frog. The soloists are stars of Polish entertainment such as Natalia Kukulska and Kuba Molęda.

Just like last year there’ll be a chance to meet the festival’s special guests in person during the specially prepared Festival Academy on Kraków’s Main Square, and for the first time, in cooperation with the Pod Baranami Cinema, film zones will be opened up, presenting the films that the composers – special guests at this year’s edition of the festival – created music for.

This synthesis of sound and film will lead to us immersing ourselves in a world of visions and emotions. Without the assistance of teleports or time machines and aided by a touch of imagination, we’ll be visiting distant countries, be transported into historical times and meet fairy tale creatures. It’s worth embarking on this journey. (Artur Jackowski, monthly “Karnet”)

See more at: www.fmf.fm