Renowned German Composer works with Manila Composer’s Lab
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
The Goethe Institut Philppinen brought renowned German composer Pierre Oser to collaborate with the Manila Composer’s lab. They have been working to create a live soundtrack for the film I DON’T WANT TO BE A MAN screening in the 7th edition of the Silent Film Festival. The fest runs from August 23-25, 2013 at the Shang Cineplex Shang Rila Plaza, featuring silent films from 6 countries, which include Japan, Germany, Italy, U.S., Spain and the Philippines.
Entrance to these screenings are free, on a first come first served basis. But in order to ensure you are able to get your tickets you may contact the respective participating cultural offices such as the Japan Foundation, Phil Italian Association, Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes and the Film Development Council of the Phil. Raymond Red’s KAMERA OBSKURA originally produced by Cinemalaya represents the Philippines.
The Silent films are provided with live music by today’s cutting edge musicians which include: SINO SIKAT (Italy), EARTHMOVER (Spain), SPY (Philippines), RAZORBACK (U.S.) and PULSO (Japan).
Pierre Oser works as a composer and conductor in the cities of Mainz and Munich. He has created soundtracks for different European TV organizations and productions. Among his works are live telecast of silent films for international festivals and concert halls. Oser dispels the modern notion of silent films, “Its exciting to know there’s a silent film fest in your country. The tradition of music for silent movie has been around for more than a hundred years. Most important thing is that the silent movie was never silent. It was always accompanied by small or bigger groups (of musicians).”
According to him the silent film tradition is closer to theater roots, “The ideal of silent movie is to have live music. It’s very important to understand its live music. Its in the tradition of music theater. Its not like sound film because it s another kind of art. Silent movie is a special kind of art in the tradition of Music Theater.”
Oser explains, “The music has the rule to make the interpretation of the pictures, of the ideas of the director. This is very important to understand, it’s not the same. We also have the chance to work with young composers from U.P. and (Manila) Composer’s Lab and we have young musicians a small group. We’ve created music especially for that film.”
I DON’T WANT TO BE A MAN is directed by Ernst Lubitsch who received an honorary Oscar in 1947 for his distinguished contribution to the art of the motion picture. And was nominated 3 times as Best Director. Goethe Institut Philippinen Dir. Petra Raymond said, “We have a lot of films in our archives that we are excited to show for this and future editions. And we are very grateful to have BROTZEIT the German restaurant here in Shang Rila plaza as our sponsor for this festival.”
The Manila Composer’s Lab was founded by Professor Jonas Baes in 2009 as an organization of young composers and performers dedicated to the development of new music in Southeast Asia. Baes also studied music in Germany and has written extensively on sociology of music among indigenous peoples like the Iraya-Mangyan.
Baes said, “It’s a great honor to be part of this project and I’d like to thank Frau Raymond and Pierre. The Manila Composer’s Lab is a small pool of young composers and young musicians and it’s a great experience for the first time in our lives to work directly with Silent Film which never escapes our imagination.”
The preparations according to Baes have been happening for some time, “Months before Pierre arrived we’ve already been discussing what music we’ll be writing. That will be kind of a challenge for us composers. We are reminded of the time in 1918. That’s the time they just ended the war. Among the best compositions that came out in contemporary Europe at the time was Stravinsky, the soldier’s story. Having that in mind we put up an ensemble that is reminiscent of that ensemble. We also have a violin a trombone and a clarinet together with a piano and a cello.” Baes laso credited the work of composers: Alexander John Villanueva, Marie Luise Calvero, Feliz Macahis and Pat Rodriguez.