Live performance of film music has had a place at the Ghent Film Festival for more than two decades. But for its 35th anniversary, the fest is pulling out all stops with multiple concerts, all featuring music originally written for movies. Among the highlights:
- On Oct. 12, fest music director Dirk Brosse will conduct the Brussels Philharmonic and three choirs for an evening of John Williams music;
- On Oct. 15, composer Gabriel Yared will pay tribute to the late filmmaker Anthony Minghella by leading a 12-piece chamber ensemble through music Minghella loved (“Betty Blue,” “The Lover”) and that Yared wrote for his films (“The English Patient,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Cold Mountain,” “Breaking & Entering”);
- On Oct. 16, Clint Mansell will combine the Sonus Quartet and a five-piece rock band to collaborate on music Mansell composed for Darren Aronofsky’s films (“Pi,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “The Fountain,” “The Wrestler”) and others; and
- On Oct. 18, the World Soundtrack Awards ceremony will include mini-
concerts of the music of Dario Marianelli
“Atonement”) and this year’s lifetime achievement award winner Angelo Badalamenti (“Blue Velvet,” “A Very Long Engagement”).
“Composers want to write music that fits with the image, but that also has an independent level of performance,” says Brosse, a Ghent native with his own thriving film and theater music career. “It’s the dream of every film composer to have their music performed on the concert stage.”
Brosse’s all-Williams concert will feature not only the usual “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” themes, but also a number of unusual scores designed to showcase the composer’s ability to write in various styles, from avant-garde (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) to multiethnic (“The Terminal,” “Memoirs of a Geisha”).
Yared wanted to honor Minghella, who died in March, with music played by a small ensemble: 10 strings, two woodwinds and a soprano voice. “It sounds more transparent, much more intimate,” he says.
“He was my soulmate, my dearest friend in life. Professionally, he was the only director who challenged me, always asking me to explore new horizons. I want to make people aware that he is alive, in my heart and soul, and through the music I will be playing.”
Mansell says his hourlong concert “will encompass all the elements that I use in my music, from the electronic side to the more orchestral,” and adds that he rearranged the music to give the concert an overall journey of its own in mood and pace and emotion.
At the World Soundtrack Awards, Brosse will conduct the Brussels Philharmonic in a new 25-minute suite from Marianelli’s Oscar-winning score for “Atonement,” then turn the podium over to Badalamenti for a first-ever concert of his film music, including a suite from the David Lynch-directed “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks.”
Singers Beth Rowley and Siouxsie Sioux will join him for vocals on “Velvet,” as well as suites from “City of Lost Children” and the new “Edge of Love.” Badalamenti will play piano and synthesizers. “Music that can step outside of the film on its own is a beautiful thing,” he says.
Badalamenti joins Elmer Bernstein, Sir George Martin, Maurice Jarre, and lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman as one of a handful who have received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the fest.
“I feel so privileged to be included in that company,” he says.