Fimucité 2018: Not from this world

Fimucité is a film music festival that I have attended quite a few times already, and I have enjoyed every edition. In the span of eight days, the people of the Canary Island Tenerife, together with other film music enthusiasts like me, can enjoy multiple film music concerts. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend that many concerts during this year. Like previous editions, there were a couple of interesting concerts before I arrived. The biggest one was a concert by jazz pianist and composer Jean-Michel Bernard. For those interested in what a concert with him would be like, I have written a concert report about an identical concert given during the Krakow Film Music Festival in 2017. Other concerts were based on songs linked to movies, performed by a band with vocalists. The festival usually features two concerts that are performed by students: one with a concert band and the other one with a symphony orchestra. The latter also gives a concert for school children, which is an amazing idea and a great opportunity to teach these children about the concept of film music. Regrettably, they had to postpone their concert for a regular audience from Thursday to the last Sunday of the festival: making it impossible for me to attend. Thankfully the other concerts were worth the long trip.

The concerts

Like previous years, the Tenerife Orchestra gave two concerts in the amazing concert hall called Auditorio de Tenerife “Adán Martín,” with its impressive shape. These concerts are always of high production quality, with a unique program and interesting guests.

September 28th – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

As per tradition, director Diego Navarro took the baton to conduct the orchestra for one concert of the festival. This time it was the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with the music of John Williams. Of course, I am familiar with the famous five tones from Williams’s score, but before this festival, I had never seen the 1977 film. I found it interesting to watch. I noticed that the music in the first half was scarce and also not very interesting to me. It really picked up during the second half, however, and the beautiful music, with which I am familiar, was amazing to hear live. The movie contains a scene where the five tones are played to a spaceship and where the ship responds to them. Those melodic patterns are performed by the tuba and, as a tuba player, I was quite curious if those extremely difficult patterns would be played live. I was so happy when I found out that they were, and it sounded like it should. The tuba player was an amazingly skilled musician and I don’t think I would ever be able to play that part. The music in the finale of the movie is fantastic and the orchestra and choir did the music of John Williams justice, resulting in a very entertaining evening.

© Aarón S. Ramos/Fimucité
Expand concert information
Orchestra: Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife conducted by Diego Navarro
Choirs: Tenerife Film Choir and Coro Polifónico Universitario of La Laguna conducted by Juan Ramón Vinagre

September 29th – The Truth Is Out There

The second concert in the Auditorio featured music from films about aliens coming to earth. Prior to the official concert program, we witnessed the ‘Spanish Audiovisual Music Award’ ceremony. This award is given to a Spanish film composer each year. This year’s winner was Carlos M. Jara, for his music from the TV series Otros Mundos. The orchestra performed music from each of the three nominees, which I thought was an interesting way to introduce their music. Afterwards, it was time for guest conductor and composer Ben Foster to enter the stage to conduct the music from the official program. Most of the music I had never heard live before. The music from District 9 was very interesting to hear, with singer Adé Da Costa adding extra emotion to this piece. “Kanguru” from Arrival was also an amazing piece to hear, during which choir members had to sing the difficult ‘Na na na’ parts, which all fell together perfectly. Theremin player Lydia Kavina returned to Tenerife to perform. She played an important solo for The Day The Earth Stood Still, and also in “Main Theme” from Mars Attacks!!, which was a surprising pleasure to listen to.

© Aarón S. Ramos/Fimucité

The organization had also invited composers to attend this concert. Christopher Young, Ben Foster (who was conducting) and his brother Nick, as well as Laura Karpman were all present. The orchestra performed their music from Species, Thunderbirds Are Go, and the mini-series Taken, respectively. Karpman also received the Fimucite Anton Garcia Abril award. It was the first time I’ve seen a composer receive an award and not give a speech, which was fine with me, since it gave us more time to listen to music.

I really loved this concert. It was another great mix of well-known film music classics and fresh new discoveries for me. The concert’s theme enabled the orchestra to play some rare gems that are rarely performed, if ever.

Expand concert information
Orchestra: Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife conducted by Ben Foster
Choirs: Tenerife Film Choir and Coro Polifónico Universitario of La Laguna conducted by Juan Ramón Vinagre
Soloists: Lydia Kavina (theremin) and Adé Da Costa (African vocals)
Guests: Laura Karpman,  Nick Foster, Christopher Young, Carlos M. Jara and Óscar Martín

Program

  • Spanish Audiovisual Music Award Suite
    • Carlos M. Jara – Otros mundos
    • Oscar Martín Leanizbarrutia – Red de libertad
    • Zacarías M. de la Riva – Tadeo Jones 2: El secreto del rey Midas
  • Harry Gregson-Williams – “Life” from Prometheus
  • Clinton Shorter – “Main Theme” from District 9
  • Alan Silvestri – “End Credits” from Contact
  • Ennio Morricone – Suite from The Thing
  • Jóhann Johánnsson – “Kangaru” from Arrival
  • Christopher Young – Suite from Species
  • Ben Foster and Nick Foster – Suite from Thunderbirds are Go!
  • Jack Nitzsche – “End Titles” from Starman

Intermission

  • Laura Karpman – Suite from Taken
  • Bernard Herrmann – The Day the Earth Stood Still
    • Prelude
    • Outer Space
    • Radar
  • Danny Elfman – Mars Attacks!
    • Main Title
    • The Landing
  • Mark Snow – “Materia Primoris“ from The X-Files
  • Elliot Goldenthal – Suite from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  • Alan Silvestri – “Bud on the Ledge” from The Abyss
  • Joe Harnell – Suite from V
  • Alan Silvestri – Suite from Predator 2 (encore)

Panels and interviews

The Fimucité festival also gives aspiring composers opportunities to learn more about film music. Most guests of the festival pass on their knowledge during master classes. The location where this happens is somewhat removed from the concert halls, but the tram stops just in front of it. Since Tenerife is such a beautiful island, I spent my time doing things other than attending the panels. But if you are interested in these talks, they are open to the public, when the room is not full. Luckily, I was still able to peek into the creative minds of some of the guests because of the interviews I was able to conduct. You can expect interviews with Christopher Young and Nick and Ben Foster later this year.

Conclusion

I can almost write the same conclusion as last year. Fimucité uses a formula that works very well, and they are quite experienced in producing these amazing concerts. Watching a movie with a live orchestra was new for the festival, but like the other concerts, it was well done. Secretly, I was happy that the movie was not in Spanish, but used Spanish subtitles instead. The gala concert also uses a format that they have perfected over the years. It was, for example, shorter than last year, and for me personally the concert was the ideal length. I missed the student concert this year, and that made me a bit sad. I really love going to that concert, but when the new date was announced I had already booked my flights. Hopefully, I’ll be able to attend it next time.

Tenerife may seem far away, but, since it is a very popular destination for holidays, the flights to the island can be extremely cheap. I can still give the same recommendation that I gave last year: This festival is perfect to combine a wonderful vacation with amazing film music.

Photos

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