Color in music

JOSE ANTONIO CANTON | EL MUNDO.es

Orquesta Ciudad de Granada

Auditorio Manuel de Falla. 21 – II – 2014. Orquesta Ciudad de Granada. Narrator: Larisa Ramos. Conductor: Jose Luis Estellés . Great Compositions from Classic Film. William Walton, Arthur Bliss, Miklos Rozsa and Silvestre Revueltas . Rating: ****

On the occasion of the sixth edition of Retroback Festival in Granada held between 22 February and 2 March 2014, dedicated to the figure of Ava Gardner, the City of Granada Orchestra has done a concert with the performance of four works belonging to the soundtrack of classic films, which will be played again in the opening concert of that festival. The first thing to note is the successful selection of the works for the program made by Jose Luis Estellés, that has conducted them really successfully in every way.

Solo clarinetist in the OCG practically since its foundation, his drift towards the field of orchestral conducting is more than justified given that his great musical personality was always very prominent with his instrument in the Granada Orchestra, this time led from a endearing personal and artistic relationship with his colleagues, who corresponded him brilliantly from the start. Walton’s ‘Escape me never’ Suite, from the movie directed by Paul Czinner in 1935 , has been a substantial advance which allowed us to start enjoying lots of technical details, from which the sound color began to establish itself as the main protagonist of this cinematic – symphonic evening. Estellés has shown its elegance in the ballet that closes this score, showing his mastery of euphonic space, an anticipated upbeat pulse, the expression in his left hand, attention to detail at the entrances and a natural rhythm with the baton, functions to exercise with substantial solvency in the always complicated task that requires musical direction.

These qualities became more apparent in the Attack, Machines and March passages, three movements of the ‘Things to come’ suite by British composer Arthur Bliss, belonging to W.Cameron’s film, where we saw how Estellés got such a musical meaning and acquired such entity, that would be unimaginable to understand this movie without considering the essential functions of his dramatic soundtrack. This was one of the aesthetic achievements of this concert, which would not have been possible without the great conjunction of the musicians who have managed to distill a preparation and rehearsal work extremely well done, in which the woodwinds, percussion and tuba in this case for his deep, powerful and refined emission, have shined greatly.

After the spectacular Molto Sostenuto initiating the ‘Noche de los Mayas’ suite by Mexican Revueltas, compiled by  the great German composer Paul Hindemith, the percussion acquired an unquestionable relevance favoring huge sound color of the orchestra. This culminated in ‘The Jungle Book’, suite for narrator and orchestra by Miklos Rozsa for the movie directed by Zoltan Korda in 1942, in which the colors of this film have been evoked by the listener before the transparent musical interpretation heard in the Granada Concert Hall that has become a precinct where the sounds turned into images with the performance of these musicians in a state of grace and a conductor who has managed to make the best of each one achieving a perfect and hard to compare combination, catalyzed by the excellent job of the actress Larisa Ramos, a regular collaborator with the OCG, fulfilling so far beyond the expectations of the most demanding music lover.

Finally, Estellés offered as an encore, the small piece that serves as the soundtrack of the film “That was not me” by Esteban Crespo, only Spanish competing in the next Hollywood Oscar Academy Awards, whose music has been composed by Juan de Dios Marfil, new librarian of the OCG. The string shined with an outstanding blended sound and ensemble playing in this exquisite and delicate music page, so accentuating the cinematic significance of this beautiful concert.