fri 31/10/2014

The Seckerson Tapes: Benjamin Wallfisch | Classical music reviews, news & interviews

The Seckerson Tapes: Benjamin Wallfisch

The conductor and film composer sticks up for movie music

Benjamin Wallfisch finds passion in spontaneity

Benjamin Wallfisch was born into an extraordinarily musical family. His father Raphael Wallfisch is a cellist of international repute and his grandmother Anita Lasker-Wallfisch would not be alive today had her cello not served as a refuge for her soul while she was an inmate at Auschwitz. Benjamin did not play the cello but instead graduated from piano to baton in pursuit and fulfillment of his musical passions.

He also fell in love with the cinema and while watching ET take his leave of Elliot in the closing sequence of Steven Spielberg’s classic movie he realised how much of the emotion of that sequence came directly from John Williams’s score. Ben wanted, needed, to do the same and after a seven-year apprenticeship to movie music ace Dario Marianelli he was payed the greatest compliment of all when he orchestrated and conducted what was to be Marianelli’s Oscar-winning score for the movie Atonement.

He now has 43 movie scores under his belt and his latest for Summer in February starring Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens is sure to haunt the airwaves for some time to come. His concert pieces are mounting up, too, and when he’s not conducting a Shostakovich violin concerto he might be caretaking his own. In this audio podcast he vigorously refutes the notion that movie music is in some way a poor relation of the music that daily fills our concert halls and indeed is quick to explain that speed of composition is as vital for him in his concert pieces as in his movie scores. That way lies the spontaneity he so passionately seeks.

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