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Loving Music through Cinema


~ For the first time, A Musical Promenade features a guest contributor, Bramana Putra. As one of the younger generation of musicians, he wrote this short yet quite detailed review of last Saturday’s concert “Classical Goes to Cinema” at Teater Jakarta Taman Ismail Marzuki. I am delighted that someone answers my invitation I posted in the blog, and even writes in English. Happy reading!


Watching movie in cinema in the weekend is a popular activity for our society, regardless their background. This weekend, hundreds of audiences also get a chance to watch footages of some award winning movies presented by Jakarta Concert Orchestra. Sounds strange? They did present the movies through their performance titled “Classical Goes to Cinema”. This event was one of The Resonanz Music Studio program, the parent of JCO, BMS (Batavia Madrigal Singer) and the other affiliates. The author main comment’s was that they were successfully step ahead to popularize symphonic music to the society.

That initial conclusion was based on some observations. First of all, let us going back to the event itself, a giant screen was provided on the stage to display movies footage when the orchestra played the music. Therefore it was natural when the audiences focused on the screen instead on the orchestra and the other performers. In our common sense, it was a total failure if the audiences were not focused in the performers, since this event was a live art performance. Let me explain this way.

We should often find a concert in orchestra form themed movie soundtrack. In this case, soundtrack is a song which particularly composed to support the movie. On some occasions, people (might be a novice audience) can identify the song easily, but not the movie. Songs served in “Classical Goes to Cinema” concert were excerpt from symphonic music composed far before the movie created and originally did not have any relation with the movie. When the movie got popular, the music got popular too because when the audiences remembered the scene, they were also humming the music too and it quickly stick in their mind. Therefore the audiences learned to love symphonic music through a visual medium, a movie; and that’s why the author said that the concert was a success. The audiences enjoyed the movie footages and they learned to love symphonic music.

On the performers’ side, it was not an easy work to achieve above goal. Beside they have to practice those excerpt technically, they should have a unified interpretation; an interpretation that amplified the acts on the movie. The concert started with patriotic theme from William Tell Overture. Led by Avip Priatna as the conductor, JCO played those pieces thoroughly and they were able to develop a majestic opening. Following was the performance of soloists, Tenor Pharel Silaban on an Italian libretto “La Donna è Mobile”. He sang it brightly and casually, not in a very fast tempo which served as the success key to attract audiences. The first half of the concert was closed by a Waltz from Swan Lake Ballet by Tchaikovsky. It was challenging to play a thick Tchaikovsky piece with limited number of players from JCO. Author felt that on some parts, the orchestra interpreted the pieces not in uniformed way, players busy to face technical matters. And also in this occasion they have very limited room to express their character since they should follow the movie atmosphere.

The second part of concert continued with more thrilling themes which involve choir like Dies Irae and Lacrimosa from Requiem by Mozart. BMS as the partner choir not only produced appropriate dynamics and phrasing, but also presented deep expressions which truly amplifying the thrilling atmosphere. The following collaboration between orchestra, choir and mezzo-soprano Heny Janawati broke the tense through an arrogant style performance on aria Habanera by Bizet. The rhythmic tango style paired beautifully with the soloist thick melody. The climax of this concert was achieved at the ending song “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana by Orff. The choir massive power helped the orchestra a lot to cover some instrument sounds vacancy at that moment, especially on the wind and percussion line.

In total, there were 19 songs performed, all were accompanied by the movies footage in a precise duration. And this was also another challenge both for the performers and the artistic team, how to display both music and movies in parallel. Unfortunately some of the movies footage might not suitable for children since it contain violence and sadistic scenes; they did not show any precaution before the concert started. The last disturbing thing was the sound system usage in this concert. On the first half, there were some parts when the sounds were not balanced. Instruments with higher notes covered the other instruments with lower notes and it changed the original instrument sound color.

Personally the author felt satisfied with the overall performance as well as the other audiences who were amazed by this new concept of orchestra concert. And again the most important thing was symphonic music should also take part on our music industry development.

 

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