Clubbing and humorous. John Powell at the ICE Congress Center in Krakow [RELACJA]

  • The 15th Film Music Festival was held in Krakow from May 23 to 29. Several concerts were held as part of the event, including “Kilar | Glass” and “Composers4Ukraine”
  • The most significant point, however, was John Powell’s solo concert, which took place on May 28 at the ICE Kraków Convention Center.
  • Paul, who first came to Poland, specializes in animated cinema, creator of music, among others “Shrek”, “Kung Fu Panda” and the trilogy “How to Train Your Dragon”. He also has feature films to his credit, including those from the Jason Bourne series and “Han Solo: Star Wars Stories.”
  • An artist who also got Wojciech Kilar, playing the evening’s host, before fantastic suite shows full of typical English humor with anecdotes and stories. He turned out to be a great announcer.
  • More such reports can be found on the homepage of

Not every film composer can say he’s part of global pop culture, like Ennio Morricone (unfortunately passed away), John Williams and Hans Zimmer. However, there are more respected soundtrack makers out there, and John Powell is one of them. She is a trendsetter in Hollywood nowadays, although the artist himself does not hide that the dream factory is not always on his way.

Powell, b. In 1963 in London, he graduated from the local Trinity College of Music, he began his adventure with cinema in the nineties, and quickly built a very strong position, especially in the field of animated cinema. And this was not the case, as he proved to have a great talent – not only in writing catchy tunes, such as “Shrek” and Runaway Chickens (both in collaboration with Harry Gregson-Williams), but also in creating cool, dazzling melodies. Action, while being light and humorous – after listening to her it’s really hard not to smile. “Italian job.” , films about Jason Burnie or “X-Men: The Last Stand.” When needed, his notes pump real musical adrenaline.

Composer Powell entered Olympia 2018, writing the music for the movie “Han Solo: Star Wars – Stories”. He did this in collaboration with John Williams, who composed the main theme. And although the film itself did not live up to expectations, mostly commercial, Powell’s work was received with great enthusiasm by the majority of fans. It is mature music, building an elegant bridge between tradition and modernity, very effective and innovative, as well as not without humorous elements.

“John Powell Music”, Krakow Film Music Festival 2022 – FMF

The composer was due to attend the Krakow Film Music Festival two years ago, but a pandemic stood his way. We were finally able to bring it to Poland this year for the 15th Jubilee which took place on May 23-29. The concert venue, ICE Kraków Congress Center, ensures that everything is not only well heard, but also seen. This is what happened.

However, before the composer invited the audience on a journey through the world of his diverse, and not only cinematic, works, they heard the obligatory, slightly prolonged thanks from the organizers, along with the awarding of the Wojciech Keller Prize.

I’m a little scared. I have some music for you to play today, but after listening to it, you might change your mind about giving me this award

Powell admitted, for the first time, but not the last, to laughing at the audience.

I’m going to talk a lot today, so I won’t talk much here. Maybe let’s get this party started already?

– He suggested.

“John Powell Music”, Krakow Film Music Festival 2022 – FMF

John Powell concerts aren’t quite the same as other music and movie events. On the one hand, of course, yes, because we hear themes and suites chosen by the composer from his rich production (in this case not only filmmaking), and on the other hand, not necessarily. Because although composers are adept at telling stories and anecdotes, like Zimmer and Williams, Powell is a true master at it. After a two-and-a-half hour meeting with him, you can even get the impression that he missed his date and should have his own comedy talk show.

Powell is not the lead conductor of the musical – his friend and longtime partner Gavin Greenaway, who led the Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Polish radio choir, stood on the podium – each of the tracks performed during the concert was preceded by a few minutes announcement. Classical composers are very serious people, film composers are very wealthy. Today I hope to give you something in between – it started with the announcement of the first piece, the first suite of “Wycig Szrów”. It’s a piece so fast, the orchestra really hates me,” he said after he finished. – This trombone solo is the hardest trombone solo ever. In America it is forbidden in several states.

The artist was not limited to music only. – Traffic jams are horrible here. I hear a lot that Los Angeles is the worst in the world. This is not true – commented on the driving conditions in Krakow. – The question everyone asks me: “Why do you do so many animations?” – He said in front of the booth from “How to Train Your Dragon 3”. “Because directors and producers in live-action movies are crazy,” he admitted. And so almost all evening.

“John Powell Music”, Krakow Film Music Festival 2022 – pic. Gavin Greenway Holly Seidels – FMF

The announcer was the announcer, but the most important thing here is the music. We discovered what an accomplished and versatile composer Powell is. Yes, he put a lot of adventure into the world (wings from Part Two and Three from “How to Train Your Dragon” or from “Peter. Expeditions to Neverland”), but he also gave his lyrical side (“Love Theme” from “Two Weeks for Love”) ”) or filled with tension and action (theme from “Bourne Identities”). Sinfonietta Cracovia played a gritty role, and the Polish radio choir in the middle of the composition delighted with every verse sung.

– You may have wondered what inspires the composer…love? tournament? Sorrow? Yes, but the real answer is chicken, he admitted. – I’m vegetarian and chicken is like me. You will hear the chicken-motivated composer – announced the wing from the movie “Runaway Chickens”. Audacity again.

The chicken, or rather the chicken, is back on another premiere – a live, never-before-seen song from “Here Solo,” “Chicken in the Pot.” Next to the soprano singer Holly Siddles, a stage with… Roast chicken was installed on the stage. The composer told the circumstances of the song – he only had a picture with two characters at his disposal – a tall alien and a little alien who looked like a roast chicken. We also learned that the song, sung by Sedillos in the Hutt language, is about an alien who specifically wants to eat an alien because it looks like a roast chicken.

In all, as many as three of Han Solo’s aforementioned compositions came – also Lando’s Closet romance and the signature fugitive Mine Mission, for which Powell was nominated for a Grammy Award. Sam is not a collector of prizes, and he definitely deserves more than he’s worth.

Powell, who played bassist on three songs – he played bass, viola and cajon, emphasizing his lack of talent for performance – also showed his more serious side. Written with Gavin Greenaway, the world premiere of “The Joke is Told” from the opera “An Englishman, A French and An Irishman” tells the story of the three most famous gay writers of the 20th century who posthumously meet in Heaven. Once again, the scene is stolen by Holly Seidels. However, while performing “Victory is Ours” from “Prussian Requiem,” Powell recalled that the world this composition was talking about, the world before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, had not changed much. One man can destroy a person’s life just because of his arrogance, and 100 years later people still do it.

“John Powell Music” was a fascinating event that followed the tradition of the best solo concerts in the history of the Krakow Festival, along with performances by Joe Hisaishi and Alexander Deblatt. John Powell showed that good cinema music stands up for itself straight, without the need to prop up the parts of the movie shown on a big screen. However, the concert did not end its adventure with the Krakow Film Festival of Music – a day later “FMF4Kids: How to Train Your Dragon – Live in Concert” was held at the same venue where the composer was a special guest. The Beethoven Academy Orchestra and Krakow Philharmonic Choir led by Ernst van Tiel provided all the music from the famous live animation, along with the picture. Perhaps imitating the “Lord of the Rings”, we will also see two more parts of the trilogy in Krakow.

The article was written as a result of Onet’s sponsorship of the Krakow Film Festival Music.

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