Saturday Soundtrack - The Best in Film Music 1984: A Passage to India (Maurice Jarre), Under the Volcano (Alex North), Ghostbusters (Elmer Bernstein), Gremlins (Jerry Goldsmith)

Max Peter on the best film music of 1984:







In 1984, French composer Maurice Jarre won his third Oscar for his score for David Lean´s drama film A Passage to India based on the novel by E.M Forster. Musician Jarre and director Lean had collaborated on Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago in the 1960s, and became one of the most successful composer/director-teams in Hollywood. Jarre, as well as Lean, won the beloved trophy of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for Lawrence (1962). Two years later Jarre took home the trophy for Doctor Zhivago, too. With Passage, the cinematic collaboration between Jarre and Lean continued with another filmmaking masterpiece. Jarre created one of his most beautiful scores; an epic one, which recalls the musical thoughts the composer had when he composed other epic soundtracks for Lean. His score for A Passage to India is an orchestral one, which differs from other compositions of Jarre in the 1980s because he began to favour synthesized music in that decade. Not only Jarre´s musical score won the Academy Award for Lean´s movie, but also Peggy Ashcroft. The at that time 77-year old actress received the Oscar for her role as Mrs. Moore at the 57th Annual Academy Awards. Several weeks before, she and the composer had won  Golden Globes for their work on the movie, too. 

With his music for Under the Volcano, Alex North wrote another musical masterpiece of his career by creating compositions from a psychological point of view. Once again, the American composer, who is best known for his amazing scores for Viva Zapata!, Spartacus, Cleopatra and the legendary composition for Mike Nichols´ Who´s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, went musically deeper in the inside of the movie´s characters musically. Directed by John Huston and written by Guy Gallo, Under the Volcano had an astounding cast, which included Albert Finney and Jacqueline Bisset. Both Finney and North were nominated for Academy Awards – proof of their extraordinary artistic statements in the film. The cue Dance of the Dead can be mentioned as one of North´s most awesome musical ideas and is an example of the musician´s inimitable ability in creating special musical moods for film. His music is breathtaking, sometimes tragic and romantic, sometimes powerful and makes Under the Volcano more intriguing. North´s intelligent work confirmed his status as one of the very best in the business. 

Apart from these two film music gems, there was still more to come in 1984. Elmer Bernstein, the one, who brought us the magnificent music for The Magnificent Seven, wrote a lovely and at times comical score for Ivan Reitman´s hit Ghostbusters. The film´s cast (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis) and the clever script by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were surely two reasons of the film´s big financial success. 
However Elmer Bernstein´s vivid music also brought the essential atmosphere of comedic and dramatic value to the visuals. The composer combined two of his most elaborated musical skills in Ghostbusters: his large-scale writing and his musical capability of being funny. Great! 
Another fun score of 1984 is that from Gremlins. Film music legend Jerry Goldsmith wrote an adventurous soundtrack for Joe Dante´s little monsters. For Gizmo, the cute little creature, the American musician wrote a lyrical theme, which is really as beautiful as it gets compared to the more turbulent cues of the score, and the compositional ideas for the bad creatures. Great, too! 

For Once Upon A Time in America, Sergio Leone´s final film, Italian composer Ennio Morricone wrote a melodic and elegiac score. Deborah´s Theme is the centerpiece of the score, which wasn´t nominated for an Oscar because of bureaucratic problems. The fact that Morricone didn´t receive an Oscar nomination is another mystery in the history of film music; his score is very beautiful and one of the great ones of the 1980s.  

In 1984, Oscar winner Bill Conti wrote music for the smash hit The Karate Kid, John Williams created another Oscar nominated score for The River, and Harold Faltermeyer wrote his most famous piece of music for Beverly Hills Cop (Axel F.). Brad Fiedel also created a memorable theme and atmospheric cues for The Terminator


A very good year of film music indeed!

A floating landmark for Copenhagen Harbour by Junya Ishigami + Associates and Svendborg Architects

© Svendborg Architects

© Svendborg Architects
© Svendborg Architects

Launched by the non-profit organization HOPE- Foundation Junya Ishigami ans Svendborg Architects have won the competiotn to to provide a physical manifestation of the work done by the UN and other international  peace organizations. Their plan for a monumental cloud-like building with a boating lake island will become the "symbol of peace" for Copenhagens´s harbour.  
According to the motto "cloud as roof and ocean as floor" the House of Peace, "HOPE" that was designed as a collaboration between Japanese firm Junya Ishigami + Associates and Danish studio Svendborg Architects, "provides a journey of the senses (...) that takes you back to the purity of being - ready to embrace the world." According to the Architects statement, "visitors will be able to see the House of Peace appearing as a cloud floating in between the sea and the skyline. With its unique appearance from every angle the House of Peace will be present in its own right as an element in the water and at the same time appear as an integrated landmark with a strong iconographic quality as a landmark at Nordhavn. An elegant sculpture which ads artistic value to the whole city of Copenhagen. The building's organic shape and strong simplicity stands out in the harbors otherwise orthogonal and rigid character. The House of Peace captivates the sight by floating on the water as a cloud in the sky as a monument of peace. The cloud shaped sculpture becomes both roof and wall. The water surface will serve as the floor.  The space is thus always filled with new influences and will never twice be experienced as the same.  At the platform in the main room the visitors can board circular boats and enter the silence of the water surface. The boats can drift out into the entire room. The boats are floating seemingly effortless like leaves or water lilies on water. According to the chairman of the HOPE Foundation, Morten Langebæk "the winning proposal meets every bit of the vision of our project. T his is nothing less than an architectural masterpiece. A fascinating, poetic building and an obvious symbol of peace; at the same time a building, a sculpture and a symbol." As mentioned by Langebæk, the space will be one that people will want to visit again and again. "The work is from the outside an expression of a snow-white cloud that seems to float on the water. In its own way it brings nature and the countryside into the city and stands as a positive and welcoming landmark that is obviously related to the concept of peace. The inside of the building is carefully designed to exploit the water and its movements, reflections and colour, light and shadow. The result is deeply fascinating and at the same time peaceful." 
The House of Peace will be constructed in the centre of the Nordhavnen, alongside the recently completed United Nations regional headquarters designed by 3XN, and will be one of the first structures visible to those travelling to Copenhagen by sea.

Otto Piene - More Sky at Berlin`s Neue Nationalgalerie & Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle

Otto Piene The Proliferation of the Sun, 2014 Installation view Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin-Photo:David von Becker
Otto Piene The Proliferation of the Sun, 2014 Installation view Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin-Photo:David von Becker
Otto Piene More Sky Installation view Deutsche Bank KunstHalle Berlin Photo: Mathias Schormann

Otto Piene More Sky Installation view Deutsche Bank KunstHalle Berlin Photo: Mathias Schormann
Otto Piene "Berlin Superstar", 1984 for the opening of the exhibition "Die Zukunft der Metropolen: Paris - London - Berlin", Ernst-Reuter-Platz, Berlin, 1984 Photo: Otto Piene Archive / ZERO foundation

Otto Piene Opening Program "The Proliferation of the Sun ", 1966–67, 25-minute performance with hand-painted glass slides, sound, and five Carousel projectors, Galerie Art Intermedia, Cologne, Germany,  1967 © Walter Vogel

Sadly, last week one of the key artist of the twentieth century avant-garde and one of the founders of the international ZERO movement in the 1960s, Otto Piene past away at age 86, just one day after the opening of his solo exhibition at Berlin`s Neue Nationalgalerie and Deutsche Bank KunstHalle. Even greater becomes the significance and impact of this, the artist`s very last, large scale joint exhibtion: Otto Piene.More Sky. Despite the sudden and unexpected death of the artist, the planned, spectacular sky art event took place outside the Neue Nationalgalerie on Saturday to mark the start of the exhibition. Three illuminated, up to 90 meters high air sculptures in a star shape, including the Berlin Superstar, which Piene showed for the first time in 1984 at Berlin`s Technische Universität, played the night sky of the German capital.
Exploring the enormous breath and experimental attitude of Piene`s early work, the exhibition at Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle presents early stencil paintings, light prints and light sculptures, impressive smoke drawings and fire paintings to show the artist?s experimental approach with the elements air, fire, and light. 
Each evening from 10pm to 3am, the slide installation "The Proliferation of the Sun" will be shown at Neue Nationalgalerie. Originally conceived for a small off space in New York in 1967 and performed that same year in Nuremberg, Cologne, and Dortmund, colorfully shimmering shapes on over 1000 hand-painted glass slides are projected into the open exhibition space, resulting in what Piene calls a “poetic journey through space.” The reconstruction of this spectral color experience will develop a special evocative power in the upper hall of the Neue Nationalgalerie, confronting the architecture of the Mies van der Rohe building with Piene’s idealism and utopian visions.
Born in Laasphe, Germany in 1928, Otto Piene played a definitive role in art’s programmatic new beginning by including elementary natural forces. His smoke and fire images, his light spaces and light ballets stand for a virtually romantic longing for unity with nature.
Otto Piene’s interdisciplinary large projects in public space were pioneering, beginning in the late 1960s in the context of MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, where he served as director beginning in 1974, or his monumental rainbow for the closing ceremony of the 20th Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. Piene’s intense collaboration with natural scientists and technicians opened new perspectives for art that can be found echoed in contemporary positions like those of Olafur Eliasson, Carsten Höller, or Tomás Saraceno.A reprint of the central Piene publication More Sky from 1973 will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König (Cologne) to mark the exhibition.
The exhibition will be on until August 31. More info here.

Saturday Soundtrack - The Best in Film Music 1983: The Right Stuff (Bill Conti) Return of the Jedi (John Williams) Under Fire (Jerry Goldsmith)

Max Peter on the best film music of 1983:










When one looks at the history of film music one will notices that there were two composers who dominated the art of writing music for film and television from the early 1960s. Every year since their careers had begun, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams composed important and revolutionary scores for the big (cinema) and the small screen (television). They established their distinguished musical talents with compositions of extraordinary dramatic power and melodic value. In 1983 Goldsmith as well as Williams wrote powerful music for the big screen, too. Williams, for example, completed the music for the first trilogy of the Star Wars saga. Director Richard Marquand filmed the screenplay by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan and brought the series to a dignified close. For Return of the Jedi, Williams returned to the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, where the well-known London Symphony Orchestra performed the trilogy´s longest score in January and February 1983. The phenomenal soundtrack for Return of the Jedi received another Oscar nomination. His score for the first part of Star Wars (1977) had won the beloved trophy. 
In the same year, Jerry Goldsmith received an Academy Award nomination for his masterful work for Under Fire. Roger Spottiswoode´s film is set during the last days of the Nicaraguan revolution in 1979. It stars Nick Nolte, Gene Hackman and Joanna Cassidy. Even Pauline Kael (1919-2001), a popular film critic of the New Yorker magazine and no fan of film music, liked the score and called it some of the greatest film music ever written. Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny performed Goldsmith´s brilliant guitar solos. His skills appear especially in the cue Bajo Fuego, which is an outstanding piece of music for guitar and orchestra and one of the most popular pieces of the whole soundtrack. 
That Goldsmith didn´t win his second Oscar for that particular score is one of the mysteries of Hollywood. 
The other three scores, which were nominated for Oscars, were Cross Creek (Leonard Rosenman), Terms of Endearment (Michael Gore) and The Right Stuff. The latter, composed by American composer and conductor Bill Conti, won the trophy for ´Best Original Score´. Conti was famous for his work and especially his theme for Rocky (1976). His music For The Right Stuff is spectacular and heroic, and sets a powerful musical statement to the American drama film, directed by Philip Kaufman. 
It´s surely appropriate to mention a – at this time – younger composer of the business, who began to establish his name in the community in the early 1980s. After his score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, James Horner composed further mentionable scores in 1983. Even though he wrote very effective music for Brainstorm, Gorky Park and Something Wicked This Way Comes, his soundtrack for Krull contains one of his best love themes and shows the composer´s most distinguished work of the year.  
By Maximilian Peter

Announcement of 2014 RIBA stirling prize shortlist

London school of economics - saw swee hock student centre by o’donnell + tuomey architects
London bridge tower (the shard) by renzo piano building workshop
Library of birmingham by mecanoo
Everyman theatre, Liverpool by haworth tompkins
London aquatics centre by zaha hadid architects
Manchester school of art by feilden clegg bradley studios

The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist has been announced last week. For this years awards, six new buildings compete against each other, including previous Stirling Prize winners Zaha Hadid and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, while Mecanoo and Renzo Piano Building Workshop have been nominated for the first time.The projects will be judged according to their design excellence and their contribution to the evolution of the built environment. A common theme throughout this years designs is a focus on transformative public structures, intrinsically linked to their respective communities, and offering a sense of optimism in the wake of recent financial turbulence. The winner of the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize will be announced on the evening of thursday 16 october at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London. The judges, who will visit the six buildings and select the winner are: Spencer de Grey – chair (Foster and Partners), MJ Long (Long and Kentish architects), Cindy Walters (Walters and Cohen),Sephen Kieran (Kieran Timberlake) and Sir Timothy Sainsbury.

The nominated architects are listed below:


Everyman theatre, Liverpool by haworth tompkins

Library of birmingham by mecanoo
London aquatics centre by zaha hadid architects
London bridge tower (the shard) by renzo piano building workshop
London school of economics - saw swee hock student centre by o’donnell + tuomey architects

Manchester school of art by feilden clegg bradley studios

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