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The 12th FMF: Songs from Disney Films

Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Vaiana and Coco – these are just some of Disney’s iconic films, the songs from which will make up the repertoire of the spectacular event of the 12th Krakow Film Music Festival – on the 17th of May 2019, Disney in Concert: The Magic of Music will fill the space of TAURON Arena Kraków. “Animated films and fairy tales are the worlds I love very much... It will be a magical evening”, promised Michał Szpak, one of the soloists of the concert.

The laurel wreath of American animation, based on full synchronisation of the drawing with the sound, falls to Walt Disney, the legend of animated film. Cinema theorists unanimously note that Disney was a born leader and entrepreneur with extraordinary intuition, but he did not know music, was not a director and could not draw. “He called himself a pollinator of ideas or an orchestra conductor who, although he does not play any instruments, directs the entire ensemble”, wrote Paweł Sitkiewicz. History judged this attitude in two ways – some saw it as charlatanism, others saw it as a source of film mastery and artistic vision of animated cinema. This vision also concerned music, which was based on instrumental sound imitation, but at the same time was a key element of the plot.

The earliest sign of a new approach to sound in animated film was the 1928 Steamboat Willie, based on the new Cinephone sound technology. The score was created in the Disney studio, in parallel with the animation boards. It was deprived of the sounds of nature and sounds coming directly from within the frame, in favour of music that takes on the features of the characters on the set. Almost every element of the action was synchronised with the rhythm of a particular melody – the controversial scene in which the famous Mickey Mouse moves on board a steamboat to the rhythm of the song “Turkey in the Straw”, “playing” consecutive phrases on the animal characters encountered on the way, has become legendary. It was through this character that Disney anticipated the arrival of a new era in animation history, including moving away from dialogue, the creation of characters using acoustic effects and sophisticated playing with sound. Soon after, the productions coming out of the studio began to resemble ballet and film symphonies, where song became an important character and an important narrative medium.

We will bring you the most beautiful melodies from Disney’s classic and latest hits in May 2019 during the 12th Krakow Film Music Festival, as part of Disney in Concert: The Magic of Music. Friday evening's repertoire will include hit songs including “Let It Go” from Frozen, “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King. This will be the first time the FMF Youth Orchestra – an ensemble composed of outstandingly talented students of Krakow music schools, founded five years ago especially for the festival – will play for such a large audience and in such a serious production. This year the orchestra will join forces with an international group of young talents associated with FIMUCITÉ, our sister film music festival in Tenerife, selected by friend and ambassador of the FMF – Diego Navarro.

The performance will also feature soloists – Natalia Nykiel, Michał Szpak, Katarzyna Łaska, Magdalena Wasylik, Marcin Jajkiewicz, Antek Scardina and Amelia Andryszczyk. “On that day, I’m not only going to sing, but also become one of Walt Disney’s characters”, Michał Szpak announced (we will hear him perform, “Out There” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame). “Singing film songs with a symphony orchestra creates moments that you remember for the rest of your life”, added Natalia Nykiel, who will interpret, among others, “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King. “I remember singing ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ from a Bond movie at the FMF a few years ago. To this day, I feel that moment with all my senses, when I was standing on stage and I thought that this was the moment worth living working hard for, worth dreaming about. This year I will have a unique opportunity to perform “How Far I’ll Go” from Vaiana, for the first time with a symphony orchestra. Every time I sing it, I feel like a little girl who actually stares “at the edge of the water” and feels like something is calling her. This year’s FMF will surely intensify this feeling, and I can’t wait!” emphasised the vocalist.

The musicians performing on the TAURON Arena Kraków stage will be led by American-Finnish baton master Erik Ochsner and Monika Bachowska, associated with the FMF Youth Orchestra since the beginning of its existence. “The Krakow Film Music Festival is a family I get to know better and better every time I visit this city", says Ochsner, who conducted the world premiere of Mary Poppins in Concert at the Sydney Opera House a year ago. “I am honoured and at the same time excited to work with the future of world classical and film music – the young instrumentalists from the FMF Youth Orchestra", adds the conductor.

Join us for a colourful, moving and emotional Disney in Concert: The Magic of Music at the 12th Krakow Film Music Festival, on Friday, the 17th of May 2019.

Text: Maria Wilczek Krupa