On Thursday 17 October Film Fest Gent will organise a concert entitled ‘Scoring For Scorsese: music by Bernard Herrmann, Howard Shore, Elmer Bernstein, Philip Glass and others’ at De Bijloke Music Centre Ghent. The programme includes symphonic music from ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Cape Fear’, ‘Gangs of New York’, ‘The Aviator’, ‘The Departed’ and ‘Hugo’, among others. These works will be performed by the Oscar-winning Brussels Philharmonic, conducted by Dirk Brossé.
Martin Scorsese is a director who attaches enormous importance to music in his films and exhibits great diversity in his choice of composers, his use of existing classical pieces or excerpts from pop and rock songs and the works of classical American songwriters. Hardly surprising, since film and music are the two great passions of the director of 'Mean Streets' and 'Raging Bull'.
Further testimony to his love of music can be seen in 'The Last Waltz' (1978), his film about The Band’s farewell concert; the Michael Jackson music video 'Bad' (1987); the episode 'Feel Like Going Home' in the documentary entitled 'The Blues' (2003); the documentary 'No Direction Home: Bob Dylan' (2005); the Rolling Stones concert film 'Shine a Light' (2008); and the documentary 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World' (2011).
Nor should it be forgotten that in 1977 Scorsese directed a full-blown musical, 'New York, New York', starring Liza Minnelli and that he has for years been dreaming of making a major Sinatra biopic.
But there is also the Scorsese whose films perpetuate the great Hollywood tradition of symphonic film scores. It is this dimension of Martin Scorsese’s cinematic work that will dominate the concert to be held during the 40th Film Fest Gent. It begins with his one-off collaboration, for 'Taxi Driver' (1976), with the legendary Bernard Herrmann, a composer who is famous for his collaborations with Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock; the score would turn out to be Herrmann’s farewell, for he died before the film reached the movie screens.
Scorsese made use of Bernard Herrmann’s music a second time, in the remake of 'Cape Fear', but that soundtrack consisted of arrangements by Elmer Bernstein of Herrmann’s compositions for the original 1961 film of the same name. Bernstein later wrote the marvellous scores for 'The Age of Innocence' (1993) and for 'Bringing Out the Dead' (1999). Since then, Howard Shore has taken over the role of Scorsese’s regular composer, writing the scores for 'Gangs of New York' (2002); 'The Aviator' (2004), for which the soundtrack was recorded in Belgium by the Brussels Philharmonic; 'The Departed' (2006); 'Hugo' (2011) and 'The Wolf of Wall Street' (2013) which is expected to be released at the end of his year.
In addition to the selections from actual film scores, the concert will also include a number of classical works that Scorsese used in his soundtracks: the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni in 'Raging Bull' (1980) and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Third Symphony in 'Shutter Island' (2010).