NO MAN’S LAND
For the sixth consecutive year, Berwaldhallen is collaborating with Orvar Säfström and Underscore Productions. This year’s long-awaited film concert is all about the fantastic heroines whose great exploits and musical motifs are etched in our memories. A memorable event for film music lovers featuring Alien, Star Wars: Rogue One, Lord of the Rings, Terminator and Princess Mononoke.
The concert is streamed on Berwaldhallen Play and broadcast on Swedish Radio P2 October 2nd 2020.
”There was a queen who resided over the sea, whose like no one knew of anywhere, exceedingly beautiful and great in physical strength.” That’s how Brunhild, a shieldmaiden and a queen, is described in the medieval Germanic epic poem Nibelungenlied which inspired Richard Wagner to the opera tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen. In Wagner’s operas, Brünnhilde is a Valkyrie, a mighty figure who takes those who die in battle to the domain of the gods.
The famous Ride of the Valkyries from the second part of Wagner’s opera cycle, Die Walküre, opens this concert with music for the heroines of the silver screen. The Ride has both inspired film composers and been used itself in films, perhaps most memorably in Apocalypse Now. Joe Hisaishi imitates Wagner’s heroic music in the film Ponyo, but his soundtrack to Prinsess Mononoke is sombre and melancholic, fitting to the film’s warning message about humanity’s destructive effect on nature.
Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are both colourful and daring characters with extended life in printed comics before they made it big in cinemas, most recently portrayed by Gal Gadot and Brie Larson, respectively. Rupert Gregson-Williams’ music for Wonder Woman includes the theme written by Hans Zimmer for Gal Gadot’s introduction as Wonder Woman in the film Batman v. Superman. Both films also feature renowned cellist Tina Guo, herself a film music regular.
When Pınar Toprak set out to write a theme for the character Captain Marvel, she wanted it to be recognisable after the first two notes. Heroes are often connected to the perfect fifth, a two-note motif or interval often played by the French Horns. In director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Hans Zimmer tied the minor third to the lead character. Toprak leaps into Captain Marvel’s theme with the more uncommon minor seventh interval.
Even though it has been twenty years since actress Sigourney Weaver last portrayed her on screen, the one role she is most often associated with is Colonel Ellen Ripley. The Alien films have all featured different composers. This concert features music from the first three, composed in order by Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and Elliot Goldsmith.
Another iconic heroine of the silver screen is Sarah Connor of the Terminator films. In Terminator 2, she fights alongside her son John and the android T-800, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, to prevent a nuclear disaster. Like the character Sarah Connor, Brad Fiedel’s rhythmically charged main theme is also among the most memorable in recent times.
Characters that haven’t reached the stardom of Ellen Ripley and Sarah Conor – or Buffy Summers and Katniss Everdeen, for that matter – are nonetheless worth mentioning in a concert like this one. Mad Max: Fury Road centres not so much on the titular Max, as on Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furiosa, who rebels against the sadistic dictator in whose army she used to serve.
Finally, the intergalactic diva Plavalaguna of The Fifth Element secretly guards four magical artefacts, but is probably best remembered for her vocal number in said film: The aria Il dolce suono from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor that crosses into 90’s-flavoured electro pop by the film’s composer Éric Serra. It is performed here in an orchestral version with the concert’s own prima donna: Sabina Zweiacker. She has appeared several times already in Berwaldhallen in acclaimed performances like The Dragonborn Comes from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that have made her a worldwide celebrity.
Text: David Saulesco
Header image used by kind permission of 20th Century Fox.
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is known worldwide as one of Europe’s most versatile orchestras with an exciting and varied repertoire and a constant striving to break new ground. The orchestra’s high-quality music making as well as its collaborations with internationally renowned composers, conductors and soloists have been rewarded with numerous prizes and accolades.
Permanent home of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 1979 is Berwaldhallen, the Swedish Radio’s concert hall. In addition to the seated audience, the orchestra reaches millions of listeners on the radio and the web through Klassiska konserten i P2. Several concerts are also broadcast and streamed on Berwaldhallen Play and in Swedish Television, offering the audience more opportunities to come as close as possible to one of the world’s top orchestras.
“The orchestra has a unique combination of humility, sensibility and musical imagination”, says Daniel Harding, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007. “I have never had a concert with the orchestra where they haven’t played as though their lives depended on it!” The orchestra is also proud to have Klaus Mäkelä as its Principal Guest Conductor since 2018.
The first radio orchestra was founded in 1925, the same year that the Swedish Radio Service began its broadcasts. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra received its current name in 1967. Through the years, the orchestra has had several distinguished Music Directors. Two of them, Herbert Blomstedt and Esa-Pekka Salonen, have since been appointed Conductors Laureate, as well as Valery Gergiev, a regular guest conductor and co-founder of the Baltic Sea Festival.