By Ray Bennett
KRAKOW – Themes from some of the most popular television shows in the world rocked the impressive new Tauron Arena here on Saturday as the Krakow Film Music Festival celebrated the exciting vibrancy of music for TV series.
An enthusiastic crowd of around 15,000 greeted familiar themes from shows such as “Downton Abbey”, “The Borgias”, “House of Cards”, “Vikings” and “Game of Thrones”.
Many of the scores’ composers were on hand to perform or conduct their themes and cues with several performed in concert for the first time against video clips from the shows.
Diego Navarro, director of Filmucité, the Tenerife International Film Music Festival, conducted several pieces performed by Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Polish Radio Choir.
Jeff Beal kicked things off as arranger and conductor of a collection of themes from HBO shows including “Band of Brothers”, “The Pacific” and “John Adams”, “Six Feet Under” and his own “Rome” and “The Newsroom”. He returned in the second half of the concert to conduct his evocative “House of Cards” cues plus themes with echoes of the Middle East from the new miniseries “The Dovekeepers” that featured Andon’s haunting flute.
Michael Giacchino’s epic music for “Lost” followed and then Atli Orvarsson’s “Chicago Fire” theme with the visceral growl of Tina Guo’s cello and Nordic tones from singer Hilda Örvarsdóttir that raised the hair on the back of the neck.
The moving quiet and breathtaking fury of Bartosz Chajdecki’s dynamic score for Polish TV war drama “Misja Afghanistan” led to the elegant poignancy of John Lunn’s piano on his theme and cues for “Downtown Abbey”. Trevor Morris brought the first half to a close as conductor of his sinuous themes filled with intrigue for “The Borgias” and the majestic sweep of “The Tudors” that included the moving lament for Jane Seymour.
With the click of scissors and the shriek of a butcher’s knife sharpened on steel, Daniel Licht (with percussionist Norman Kim) added to the wry and sinister sounds of bow-strings on xylophone and glockenspiel for his score for “Dexter”.
Then came the rush of Lukasz Targosz’s exciting score for “The Pack” with a video clip from the show that showed a man drowning informed by the lovely voice of Anna Karwan (pictured top) and Tina Guo’s vivid electronic cello as it gripped the jagged edge of grief.
Blood spilled on the big screen as Clive Owen employed his scalpel in a clip from Steven Soderbergh’s “The Knick” while the orchestra provided the incisive bite of Cliff Martinez’s imaginative score ahead of the two Beal pieces.
Trevor Morris took the baton again for a show-stopping performance of his “Vikings” score with its pounding clamour and chanting chorus boosted by Guo’s guttural electronic cello and topped by the high Norse calls of the splendid Einar Selvik (pictured above with Guo and Morris) as he drew evocative cries from a travik lyre and tegelharp.
Diego Navarro stepped to the conductor’s podium for a performance of the captivating theme from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” by Ramin Djawadi with all its depth and resonance infused with the richness of Guo’s regular cello.
Djawadi took to the stage with the other composers and soloists to accept sustained applause from an obviously delighted audience.