Collage Filme 2

Howling coyotes and shining armour

The closing concert of Klosters Music “And the Oscar goes to …” on August 4 at 5 pm in the concert hall of the Arena Klosters offers plenty of excitement and great emotions. Some sequences of Oscar-winning films such as “Atonement” or “Dances with Wolves” can also be seen. The soundtrack of more than 15 films, played by the City Light Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kevin Griffiths, evokes memories of moving cinematic experiences.

Film music needs space to unfold. The film must give the music time to develop,” says Ennio Morricone. The famous Italian composer only needs a few notes in his epic soundtrack to the spaghetti Western “Once upon a time in the West” to pump up the tension to bursting point in the big showdown. Morricone composed the music before the film was shot. His former schoolmate Sergio Leone asked him for simple but highly memorable tunes. The composer also liked to imitate animal sounds, for example in Leone’s “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, in order to capture the atmosphere of the setting as accurately as possible. The howling of the coyotes in this film shot in 1966 even became the theme tune.

The film music evening “And the Oscar goes to …” starts with mighty brass fanfares with which Miklós Rózsa’s colourful score gave the necessary impact to the monumental film “Ben Hur” from 1959, which won eleven Oscars and was shot with 50,000 extras. You can almost see the shining armour of the gladiators and the dust in the arena.

Maurice Jarre creates a totally different sound in “Lawrence of Arabia”, the film which helped this French composer to make his international breakthrough in 1962. The oriental-influenced main theme is inspired by Édouard Lalo’s Piano Concerto in F minor. “Lara’s Theme,”  from the romantic drama “Dr. Zhivago”, shot three years later and originally played on the balalaika, even became a musical hit in its German version (“Weisst du, wohin?”). But film music not only creates a certain atmosphere, it also serves to define the main characters. Probably the most famous figure instantly recognisable by music is James Bond. John Barry didn’t even create the catchy “James Bond” theme, but developed it from a song in an unreleased Indian musical by his colleague Monty Norman. The cunning English bandleader turned it into a cool guitar riff, the tension of which is heightened by sharp brass interjections. But even sweet melodies such as the “John Dunbar” theme in “Dances with Wolves”, which starts with a trumpet fanfare and is spun out by strings, came easily to Barry.

Perhaps the most versatile film composer of all is the American John Williams. From the melancholy music for “Schindler’s List” to the effective scores of Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones” films, from the lush, late-romantic soundtrack to “E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial” to the “Hedwig’s Theme” from “Harry Potter”, which begins simply and shimmers in the middle section. With his music for “Star Wars” (1977) Williams brought about a revival of symphonic film music and structured the plot through the use of leitmotifs. When the brilliant main theme starts up, the youthful hero Luke Skywalker can’t be far away. And when the mighty drum-driven “Imperial March” can be heard, one can sense the heavy breathing of Darth Vader.

04 August, 5 pm, Concert hall, Arena Klosters
City Light Symphony Orchestra, Kevin Griffiths (Conductor)