If film music is your thing, you’re in for some serious gems as composers take their work from the cinema to the stage.
Music and films are inseparable. Even back in the day when films were still stumm, the screenings weren’t a silent experience as piano player provided live improv to the moving images – something you can still enjoy at Graf von Bothmer’s concerts at various venues in Berlin. This month, he’ll present two silent films, Robert Siodmak’s Menschen am Sonntag and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Der letzte Mann, accompanied by newly composed music. And Von Bothmer is not the only one. For a few years now, local event calendars have been boasting an increasing number of concerts, taking the images away for the music to be appreciated live and on its own. Of course, no column about film scores can get away with not mentioning one of Hollywood’s reigning kings of soundtracks, Hans Zimmer. You can love it or hate it; you could argue it’s too simplistic, and that he’s an emotions-to-the-max one-trick pony. However, you have to give him credit for having influenced literally every blockbuster score since his colossal Inception hit cinemas in 2010. In any case, if you want to get hit by massive sound walls spanning from The Lion King to The Dark Knight, Zimmer is your best bet this month. Scott Lawton’s Oscar-oriented programme at Philharmonie is a little more diverse, drawing from classic scores like Casablanca and also throwing a little action and sci-fi into the mix with The Da Vinci Code and Star Trek.
However, it’s the 1990s that sold the soundtrack format as something cool. From Pulp Fiction to Garbage’s “#1 Crush” from Romeo and Juliet, to Placebo’s “Every You Every Me” from Cruel Intentions. Even TV shows went for it and listed soundtracks as one of their merchandise must-haves. With her song “I’ll Remember You”, Sophie Zelmani was chosen to underscore the corniest TV romance of the late 1990s: that of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and her vampire boy toy, Angel. In some cases, the song got even more credit and fame than the films themselves. Giorgio Moroder, of course, brought this to perfection, winning three Oscars for “Flashdance… What a Feeling”, “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun, and for his Midnight Express soundtrack, the first electro arrangement to be awarded with the Hollywood trophy. Embarking on his first European live tour, the producer extraordinaire surely won’t withhold his film score treasures from his Tempodrom audience. Having won an Oscar trophy for composing “Things Have Changed” from the Wonder Boys soundtrack in 2001, Bob Dylan’s contributions to films are – just like his discography – endless, and he probably could live a decent life off these royalties alone. Instead, Dylan’s constantly been on his aptly named Never Ending Tour since 1988 which includes a stopover at Mercedes Benz Arena.
Since the start of his career, Jim Jarmusch has always been one to pay as much attention to the visual as he did to the audible. For his 2005 film Broken Flowers, the US director decided that Mulatu Astatke’s vibraphone tunes were the perfect road trip music for Bill Murray’s ride through the US countryside. To this day, the meditative jazz arrangement is part of his set list which you can enjoy at Astra Kulturhaus this month.
Mulatu Astatke Apr 1, 20:30 Astra Kulturhaus, Friedrichshain | Sophie Zelmani Apr 1, 21:00 Columbia Theater, Kreuzberg | Bob Dylan Apr 4, 20:00 Mercedes Benz Arena, Friedrichshain | Graf von Bothmer Apr 5, 18:00 Passionskirche, Kreuzberg | Giorgio Moroder Apr 12, 20:00 Tempodrom, Kreuzberg | Scott Lawton’s Oscars der Filmmusik Apr 21, 20:00 Philharmonie, Mitte | The Music of Hans Zimmer & more Apr 28, 19:30 Admiralspalast, Mitte