The Best in Film Music 1986 - An American Tail (James Horner) The Great Mouse Detective (Henry Mancini)

Max Peter on the best film music of 1986:

In 1986, composer James Horner wrote powerful and impressive scores for different cinematic genres. The American musician composed, for example, the lovely music for Steven Spielberg´s first animated production An American Tail, which was directed by Don Bluth. For Aliens, James Cameron´s entry in the saga of Alien, the artist wrote another stunning score, which went musically in a more darker direction than the more romantic and melodic score for An American Tail

Four years before, director Bluth established his great artistic style in the movie The Secret of NIMH – an adventurous jewel of the genre –, which inspired legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith to write one of his greatest musical efforts of the early 1980s. 
The score for Tail is without question one of James Horner´s very best works of the 80s. Melodic, romantic and exciting. Even though a lot of people considered this score as Horner´s ´´real masterpiece´´ of 1986, Aliens got even more attention and received an Academy Award nomination in the category Best Original Score. The only musical creation for Tail, which earned recognition at the Oscars, was Horner´s song ´Somewhere Out There´ (with lyrics by Barry Mann). The song became one of the most popular ones of its genre and even won a Grammy Award in the following award season.

For Aliens, James Horner had six weeks to compose a thunderous action score. Like the score for An American Tail, the music for Aliens was performed by the famous London Symphony Orchestra. For James Cameron´s action-oriented blockbuster the musician had only four days to record the score at the famous Abbey Road Studios. The music is a mixture of Horner´s darker musical thoughts for film and Jerry Goldsmith´s mastery in action scoring – a few Horner-motifs are very similar to several Goldsmith had written for the first film in 1979 and other science fiction movies of the decade.

Another great animated feature of 1986 was The Great Mouse Detective. Maestro Henry Mancini wrote a fantastic score for Disney´s last animated film before The Little Mermaid (which became a milestone of the genre years later). Especially the great main theme is one of Mancini´s very best – a catchy tune that musically evokes all the greatness and fun of the main character Basil. 

You will notice that the year 1986 had a lot of little film music gems. Apart from the mentioned scores Ennio Morricone wrote one of his most satisfying compositions and one that ´´everyone in Holllywood´´ paid attention in 1986. For Roland Joffé´s The Mission, a masterful British drama film about the experience of a Jesuit missionary, the Italien composer Morricone created a memorable soundtrack, which includes an extraordinary main theme, powerful in its dramatic construction and its melodic value. The cue Gabriel´s Oboe is perhaps the most famous composition of the whole score, and a welcome piece for every concert program since. 

There is only one score of 1986, which is as extraordinary as Morricone´s work for The Mission and that´s the one Jerry Goldsmith wrote for David Anspaugh´s basketball film Hoosiers – one of the greatest sports movies ever made. Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper did amazing jobs in bringing to live their characters. The latest got an Academy Award nomination in the category Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The phenomenal score was nominated, too. Goldsmith combined orchestral and electronic elements within his score. He used recorded hits of basketballs on a gymnasium floor and utilized them as additional percussion sounds. Finally the soundtrack became a musical mirror of the energy of basketball and a rhythmic and melodic masterpiece of film music. Great!
By Maximilian Peter

Folkstone digs!

Foto: Stuart Wilson 
Foto: Stuart Wilson

Folkstone in gold fever: German artist Michael Sailstorfer has buried 30 goldbars worth GBP 10,000 in Folkstone`s Outer Harbour. Once the tide is out people will be able to come and dig for it. Already before the official opening of the Folkstone Triennale on thursday, around 150 gold diggers tried their luck. "I think we might well have a lot of people," said the Triennial curator, Lewis Biggs, with understatement. "It is a participatory artwork. It is about people coming to the beach and digging and possibly finding hidden treasure. Some people will get lucky, some people will not get lucky – and that's life."  However, no one will probably really know how many bars will be discovered and how many remain buried in the end.The piece, called "Folkestone Digs", has been commissioned by the Bristol-based arts producers Situations, an organisation trying to change the perception of what public art can be, its director, Claire Doherty, said. "So often public art funding is spent on a static sculpture or a bauble on a roundabout and part of what we do is to say, actually sometimes a temporary project can have as much impact in the collective memory as something that has been there a long time." Possibly nothing more so than free gold on the beach. Already in 2009, Sailstorfer made a whole city in Germany dig for gold: "Pulheim gräbt", was commissioned by the cultural department of the city of Pulheim in line with the exhibition series "Intervention.Stadtbild" - "Intervention. Cityscape" .The artist buried 28 bullion worth €10,000,- on a 500m2 acre where he then sowed mustard seeds to cover up the site. The intervention attracted several hundred enthusiasts and created a massive media attention for the artist, the work and of course the city of Pulheim. 

The Folkstone Triennale officially opens on August 30 and will run through November 2nd 2014. 

Cultural Award for lifetime achievement awarded to Bernd & Hilla Becher

The image shows Bernd Becher in 1968, while working in northern England photographed by his wife Hilla.

On tuesday, photographer Hilla Becher received the "Großen Kulturpreis der Sparkassen-Kulutrstiftung Rheinland"- " Great Prize of the Sparkassen Culture Foundation of the Rhine-area" for her artistic lifetime achievement. With a trophy money of 30.000 Euros, it is the greatest prize money for culture in Germany. Together with her husband who passed away 2007, Bern and Hilla Becher worked collaborative duo and are best known for their extensive series of photographic images, or typologies, of industrial buildings and structures, often organised in grids. As the founders of what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school’ they influenced generations of documentary photographers and artists, including Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff or Thomas Struth. The foundation awarded the unique lifework of Hilla Becher who, together with Bernd Becher, "was pioneering for the acceptance of photography in art" sais the director of the foundation Christoph Landscheidt. The cultural minister of North-Rhine Westphalia Ute Schäfer appreciates Becher as a contemporary witness of the industrial restructuring. 

Ruhrtriennale 2014

Morton Feldman / Samuel Beckett: Neither - Musiktheater, inszeniert von Romeo Castellucci

Morton Feldman / Samuel Beckett: Neither - Musiktheater, inszeniert von Romeo Castellucci (c) Stephan Gagla

Louis Andriessen: De Materie Musiktheater mit dem Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Regie Heiner Goebbels (c) Wonge Bergmann

Louis Andriessen: De Materie Musiktheater mit dem Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Regie Heiner Goebbels (c) Wonge Bergmann

Lemi Ponifasio: I AM Theater / Tanz / Performance (c) Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Romeo Castellucci: Le Sacre du Printemps. Choreografie für 40 Maschinen mit Musik von Igor Strawinsky. (c) Wonge Bergmann

Bochum, Duisburg and Essen are once again the centre of attention for international artists on the occasion of this years  Ruhrtriennale. It is the first time that the opening premiere of the Ruhrtriennale was held in Duisburg, with the staging of De Materie by the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, a remarkable work of 20th century music theatre.The Ruhrtriennale is the international arts festival hosted by the Ruhr metropolitan area. The venues of the Ruhrtriennale are the region’s outstanding industrial monuments, transformed each year into spectacular sites for music, fine art, theater, dance, and performance. At the center of all this are contemporary artists seeking a dialog with industrial spaces and between the disciplines. A new artistic director every three years provides the festival with ever-new impulses. Under the artistic directorship of Heiner Goebbels, the Ruhrtriennale will become a laboratory and an open platform for current developments of the international world of the arts.
The trieannale runs until 28th September.
Click here for the program and tickets. 

Human Harp at the London Roundhouse

Human Harp LIVE-LAB will take place at the Roundhouse throughout the month of August. Artist Di Mainstone and a team of students, alumni and researchers from Queen Mary University of London; and engineers, musicians and designers from across East London and beyond will collaborate from a pop-up laboratory located on the venue’s 1st floor. Designing, building, testing and performing – the team aim to create a sonic instrument for the 21st Century – The Human Harp. Based on the device used to play the Brooklyn Bridge, the Human Harp clips on to the cables enabling the user to play the structure like a giant instrument. It attaches the person to the structure via retractable strings, and as the strings are pulled the deep vibrations running through the cables are unleashed. By manipulating and twanging these musical strings the user can adjust the pitch, intensity and volume of the structure’s voice. The team thought that if the Human Harp can play a giant bridge, surely it could play an industrial building like the Roundhouse. Visitors will be invited to test twelve new Human Harp instruments that have been developed specifically to play the structure of the Roundhouse. This residency will feature talks, workshops, and pop-up performances.
A short film by the creators project gives an overview of the project.
Further info on the project can be on

Olafur Eliasson - RIVERBED at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark

Opening today, the first solo exhibition  by Danish-Iclandig artist Olafur Eliasson will be on view at the  Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Consisting of three spatial sections that each thematize the encounter between Eliasson’s art and Louisiana as a place, physically, architecturally and institutionally engage  with the museum`s unique identity. The focus on the visitor and bodily movement through space is where Louisiana’s identity as a place and Eliasson’s practice as an artist intersect. At the center of the exhibition, Riverbed (2014), a giant landscape of rocks covers the floors as the bed for a stream of water winding through the galleries. Eliasson’s work is about walking, but it also touches on more fundamental questions about how the architectural and institutional framework sets up a playing field for the users.  Furthermore, three recent film works will be presented in the Hall Galelry, capturing his sculptural approach to the body’s movement in space. In Movement microscope (2011) we follow a group of dancers in Olafur Eliasson’s studio on what is otherwise an ordinary working day. In Your embodied garden (2013) Eliasson explores a Chinese garden in Suzhou through the minimal movements of the choreographer Steen Koerner. In Innen Stadt Aussen (2010) we get a double portrait of Berlin in motion. The third station of the exhibition is Model room (2003), a key work in Eliasson’s production that is always adapted to the specific exhibition situation. Here, Eliasson shows around 400 geometric models used in developing artworks. The installation transforms the Jorn Gallery into a workspace, a curated window into Eliasson’s laboratory, revealing the unbroken flow between experiment, process and finished work that distinguishes Eliasson’s method as an artist. The exhibition takes up a discussion of the reality of the museum as an institution and locality, and at the same time focus on local sensory experience in a global perspective.It will be a major intervention in Louisiana’s usual administration of art in space, giving the viewer the opportunity to think about the aesthetic experience as more than just the encounter between subjects and objects- The transitions between inside and outside, culture and staged nature, become fluid and transitory – and the progress of the visitor through the museum becomes a central issue. Eliasson’s exhibition will be an enhancement of our gaze at the museum, at ourselves and at the world.
The exhibition will be on until 04.01.2015.
All images courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and the artist.

1984-1999.The Decade. at Centre Pompidou Metz

Exposition 1984-1999. La Décennie, Galerie 1, Ville, intérieur, nuit, Source: Centre Pompidou-Metz, Fensterfront © Marc Antoine Dumont

Exposition 1984-1999. La Décennie, Galerie 1, Ville, intérieur, nuit Source: Centre Pompidou-Metz
Exposition 1984-1999. La Décennie, Galerie 1, Nature, extérieur, jour Source: Centre Pompidou-Metz

General Idea, PLA©EBO, 1991. Courtesy of Esther Schipper, Berlin. 

No More Reality (Twin Peaks), 1991© Philippe Parreno

Le Centre Pompidou Metz is exploring the Decade: 1984-1999. Based  on Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, the exhibition draws upon this generation of individuals whose anthem is Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit and whose life was marked by the advent of the Internet, the end of history and militancy, and the transition from the reproductive age to that of "unlimited" access. This generation is also the first to revive, in art, remembered stories of pioneers and explorers, disincarnated toons, images of man's first steps on the Moon and Armstrong's distorted voice. Together they define new ways of relating to the world; new forms of experimentation, transgression and re-appropriation which go against earlier (counter-) revolutions.
Over recent years, the generation question has been repeatedly raised on a global scale. Various publications, exhibitions and debates try to pinpoint the critical moment when informal networks of artists, independent curators, galleries, art centres, schools and magazines were formed. These situations laid the foundation for a new exhibition vocabulary, a new way of making art and being contemporary. 1984-1999 tackles a decade that defies definition and disaffirms past attempts to do so. Beyond decennial retrospectives and compilations, it is a biographical space composed of objects, sounds, voices, images, reflections and sensations. Imagined by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster,  the exhibition scape presents itself as an intermediate space, between city and nature, inside and outside, day and night. The exhibition does not attempt to recreate an era nor to sanctify an ideal and lost age, but seeks instead to bring up to date the forms and procedures which anticipated today's artistic creation. Working from a survey of some of the 1990s' central figures (artist Liam Gillick, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, writer Michel Houellebecq, filmmaker David Lynch…), its purpose is to collect objects and sources which survived and inspired the decade, and to create new, non-hierarchical arrangements between art, literature, film, music, architecture and design.
The exhibition is the mirror-image of the spirit of the 1990s, defined by François Cusset as "a world where 'young people' - those at least who reached adolescence in the mid-1980s – faced with an abysmal critical void had to reinvent a means of desertion and inner exile, and make this void in some way inhabitable by shaping counter-worlds and more or less temporary autonomies – a dissolved world wherebeing sad becomes a stand-in connection with the world and is even, as one of them says, 'the only way not to be completely unhappy'."

A work edited by François Cusset (intellectual historian and lecturer in American Civilisation at Nanterre University) accompanies the exhibition.

Curator:  Stéphanie Moisdon, art critic and independent curator

Exhibition design based on an artistic project by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Take a dip in the Thames!

In 2023 the Thames London is planned  to be clean enough to bath in the river, after the arrival of London's new sewage tunnel. Several plans have been created to install swimming pools in the river for the Londoners. Studio Octopi have revised their vision in order to allow swimmer much earlier in the water. Their initial Thames Bath proposal comprised a floating pool that could incorporate the tidal waters of the river, now the plan is to install a pontoon of three freshwater pools in a new location beside Temple underground station. The proposal is focused on London’s Victoria Embankment for now but could occur anywhere along the River Thames. Architect Romer-Lee states: "We have slightly shifted our emphasis from the vision of 20 years' time to the more practical – how we can get this thing sorted in the short-term. It will be a long time before the Thames water will be clean enough, so now we're working with marine engineer Beckett Rankine to develop a bespoke pontoon of three pools fed with freshwater." The Pontoon would be supported by radial arms to avoid creating a pile-up of river debris around the perimeter. Within the pontoon swimmers would find three different and separate pools, which could be transformed in the winter months to accommodate other activities, from gyms to social gatherings. In line with the London Festival of Architecture all Thames Bath proposals are on view at the Roca London Gallery.

Simon Denny solo show "New Management" at Portikus Frankfurt

Having been offline for a week - in a couple of weeks you will know why - we are returning to Frankfurt where good shows are on right now. One is Simon Denny’s new body of work at Portikus that ranks among the most ambitious the artist has developed to date.

Over the period of one year, the artist researched and developed an intricate project that has grown to considerable dimensions – both physically and in terms of its critical content. For two months, the monumental gallery space is turned into an homage to technology, communication, and the relentless need for innovation. Simon Denny has produced an embracing and multi-faceted installation that functions as a documentary of the South Korean technology giant Samsung and its global success story. The exhibition’s title, “New Management”, refers to the legendary management philosophy that Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of the Samsung Group, infamously introduced in the early nineties. “The New Management” principle was first proclaimed in 1993 at a high-level executive meeting at the Kempinski Hotel Frankfurt Gravenbruch near Frankfurt am Main International Airport. Lee flew in his entire top management from around the world for a three-day conference, emphasizing the need to globalize and preparing his employees for a new philosophy of change he was going to introduce in order to turn Samsung into a global market leader in all its sectors. This seminal meeting became known within the company as the “Frankfurt Declaration”.

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue “Simon Denny. New Management”, published by Mousse Publishing.

Saturday Soundtrack - The Best in Film Music 1985 Back to the Future (Alan Silvestri) Out of Africa (John Barry)

Max Peter on the best film music of 1985:

Back to the past! 1985 was the year, in which the first cinematic part of one of the most adventurous and amusing film series of the last forty years premiered in American cinemas. It was a science fiction film, directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by none other than Steven Spielberg. The motion picture, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, was one of the highest grossing films of the year and a milestone in entertaining filmmaking. The movie was called Back to the Future (!), for which composer Alan Silvestri created an outstanding time travel score.
Both composer and director had collaborated on the funny movie Romancing the Stone, which premiered in March 1984, for the first time and although Steven Spielberg didn´t like Silvestri´s first score for Zemeckis, the director committed the big project Back to the Future to the composer from New Jersey. In contrast to his music for Romancing the Stone, Silvestri was tasked with composing a score of grand and epic orchestral power. His musical score for Back to the Future contains perhaps the musician´s most famous theme, a thunderous march that perfectly underlines the adventures of the time travel protagonists Marty McFly and ´Doc´ Brown. Apart from the energetic main theme, which offers a legendary melody with a lot of brass and percussion, and captures the essence of the film in a single cue, the composer created miscellaneous action cues that evoked his typical 80s action music style. In that year for his score in Back to the Future, Silvestri was on the list of the top composers and became an alternative choice for action and adventure movies. 

1985 was also the hour of birth of one of the all-time film classics. Out of Africa was directed by legendary director Sydney Pollack and was Hollywood´s ultimate romantic drama film of the decade. No director/producer team could imitate the extraordinary emotional force of the love story in a film since. Out of Africa stars the marvelous and two-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, and also Robert Redford and Klaus Maria Brandauer. The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography (David Watkin) and Best Music, as well as three Golden Globes, including Best Picture, Supporting Actor and Original Score. English composer and Oscar winner (The Lion in Winter) John Barry wrote the romantic score in his incomparable musical idiom. His main theme sets the tune for the African landscape and the film´s visuals, and is surely Barry´s most famous.
Apart from Barry´s compositions, the film gives place for source music: Mozart´s Clarinet Concerto and traditional African songs are important ingredients within the film. The score´s popularity was the reasan why in 1997 the famous film music label Varese Sarabande released a rerecording of Barry´s award-winning work. Composer Joel McNeely conducted the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, which was a beloved orchestra for rerecording in the late 1990s, and did a very good job in recording the music. Great!

With Back to the Future and Out of Africa, Alan Silvestri and John Barry composed two outstanding scores of the 80s. However, other established composers also worked hard to find the right musical material for the cinema. 
James Horner, for example, wrote the music for Cocoon, Maurice Jarre created his all-electronic score for Witness, and Jerry Goldsmith composed two stunning scores, one for the action hit Rambo: First Blood Part Two and the other one for Joe Dante´s science fiction fantasy Explorers. The latter is an adventurous score in a good temper and contains many great themes and motifs for the family-oriented science fiction fantasy. 
By Maximilian Peter

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