Una entrevista con partitura completa a Pascal Gaigne

(A Interview with Complete Score to Pascal Gaigne. clic on Read More for a basic English translation)

El documental 778 La chanson de Roland (El cantar de Roldán), dirigido por Olivier van der Zee, es una coproducción hispano-francesa que investiga los hechos históricos que se relatan en el Cantar de Gesta, a través de cuatro ejes: el relato del guionista y el director tras descubrir en el País Vasco una placa en homenaje a los soldados vascos que derrotaron al Emperador Carlomagno; la recreación histórica de la campaña del ejército de Carlomagno en el año 778 para la toma Zaragoza; las prospecciones arqueológicas en los lugares donde pudo producirse la batalla de Roncesvalles; y los testimonios de expertos en Historia, Arquelogía, Geografía… Hemos hablado con Pascal Gaigne de la música para este documental, que tiene dos versiones: una larga, para las salas de los cines, y una corta de una hora de duración para televisión. Podéis, si queréis, ver esta versión aquí:

  • El documental combina tu música con la de Richard Wagner para El anillo de los Nibelungos. ¿En qué fase entraste en el proyecto? ¿Ya estaba decidido que se utilizaría música de Wagner o solo eran temp-tracks?

No, no. Yo estuve en el proceso de este documental desde la primera fase, cuando era solo una idea. Al principio la música de Wagner iba a ser solo una referencia, pero también al principio creíamos que no íbamos a poder tener una orquesta a nuestra disposición. Pero por problemas de derechos no podíamos hacer otra cosa que grabar nuevamente la música de Wagner. Fue todo muy complicado. Entonces, surgió la posibilidad de disponer de una orquesta, la EGO (Joven Orquesta de Euskadi), formada por 85 músicos, todos ellos jóvenes y enormemente entusiastas, que dieron mucha energía. Y fue entonces cuando le sugerí a Olivier van der Zee, el director, que podíamos dejar algunos temas de Wagner en la película y que yo me ocuparía del resto.

  • En el documental, tú estás en la narración del presente y Wagner se escucha en las reconstrucciones del pasado. Y sin embargo hay un color bastante homogéneo, es diferente pero no brusco.

Había que establecer una interacción con el material audiovisual logrado en las entrevistas y que estas resultasen al menos tan amenas como las ficciones hechas con actores. El denominador común que comentas es lo épico. La idea de Olivier era que el documental fuese muy instructivo. Había muchísima información que dar y que gestionar. Él se ha arriesgado mucho, porque no es historiador y lo que plantea el documental no sigue la ortodoxia de la historia que conocemos sobre Roncesvalles, sino que propone una hipótesis diferente. Pero fue un alivio que en un seminario con historiadores de prestigio no se cuestionara su hipótesis.

  • Sin embargo, lo épico en Wagner es serio y grave, mientras tu música, siendo también épica, trasmite una sensación más alegre, no en el sentido ligero sino en el de la felicidad…

Las secuencias ficcionadas explican hechos históricos, y Wagner (aunque sea algo que es anacrónico) da esa solemnidad y seriedad. Pero el documental es también la historia del amor por la Historia, de la pasión de sus investigadores, de la gran recompensa que supone para ellos el descubrimiento de nuevas pruebas. Por ello llevé a su terreno una música feliz, abierta, expansiva, que también contagiara a los espectadores.

  • Hay una escena, la más importante (cuando se recrea la batalla de Roncesvalles) donde Wagner desaparece y tú, que siempre has estado en las secuencias del presente, ocupas el espacio. ¿Qué sentido tiene eso?

No lo sé, la verdad es que no fuimos tan racionales. Intuimos que vendría bien a la secuencia.

  • Pienso que de alguna manera, al explicar una versión alternativa a la tradición, es una manera de reflejar la alegría o felicidad de los historiadores por haber llegado a esa conclusión tras sus investigaciones, y en cierto modo les regalas a ellos ese momento histórico…

Sí, visto así funciona bien y tiene su lógica. Yo también estoy muy feliz con este trabajo. Más de 30 minutos de música que tuve que hacer en unas tres semanas. Es un tipo de música diferente a lo que me suelen pedir en el cine y la verdad soy como un actor que siempre hace comedia y tiene ganas de explorar otras facetas. Lo hago poco a poco, a medida que me dejan… espero que la gente la disfrute.

© Conrado Xalabarder y MundoBSO, 2012

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A Passage to Nepal Interview with Pascal Gaigne

(haz clic en Read More para acceder a la traducción en español)

This week opens Katmandú, un espejo en el Cielo, directed by Iciar Bollaín, that tells the story of a young teacher who volunteers at a local school in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Soon she discovers the extreme poverty and a bleak educational landscape that also leaves out the neediest. After a marriage of convenience to legalize her status, she embarks on an ambitious educational project that will lead her to a struggle that will test her own strength.

Pascal Gaigne
Pascal Gaigne

This film is reminiscent in some points with the sort of movies with which the great David Lean signified himself, particularly what regards the minimum storytelling in a huge context and scenaries. There are not, of course, thousands of extras and a whole country up in arms for the actions of a foreign character, but in somewhat it resembles it, though on a much smaller scale: here, substantiated in the fight against wind and tide of a woman with everything against her while suffering not few adversities. We are sure that David Lean would applaud this film as much as we had not only because it tells a minimal story in a maximum context but because there is a musical narrative and use in the score of Pascal Gaigne that reminds us (not musically, but in some of intentions) the wonderful creation of Maurice Jarre for A Passage to India (1984). We have spoken with the composer about his work in this film.

  • How did you arrive to the movie?

Alberto Iglesias was the first choice of the director, but eventually he could not do it for his commitments. Then Icíar Bollaín called me. It was quite unexpected that she did, because although we had worked together in Flores del otro munds (1999), it was long time ago and that was not a totally fluid experience. So I was surprised, but I loved the story and this time to work with her has been impressively easy. I had, though, quite little time to compose, just two or three weeks. I had just finished Verbo, where I worked almost for 9 months… thus, in movies, you can never predict how things will go. Everything had to be done very quickly, but Icíar facilitated greatly the process. I worked from an almost completed editing of the film. While watching the film, I almost was listening the music that was needed. I composed the music with a little ensemble of 15 strings, Chinese flutes (by Javier Paxariño), Nepalese Indian percussions and a modern instrument called Hang (performed by Íñigo Egia), which sound I love, plus solo violin and Nikelarpa (Xabier Zeberio) and piano (Javier Pérez de Azpeitia).

  • What were her instructions?

Well, we thought it was best to avoid the typical ethnic music, and that would work best an European music with an ethnic touch. The protagonist is from Barcelona, and the music should be more of the character than of the landscapes and adventures. There are scenes, of course, that ethnicity was inevitable (the wedding scene, for example), but in general we seek a more universal and less local tone. We had also quite clear that all the music should be contained and austere, because the characters are too.

  • As the film begins, however, we heard an ethnic theme, though moderately…

Yes, there is a very simple Oriental melody at first. Very simple and naked. I had not references, but I looked for a simplicity like the principal theme of L’amant (1991) by Gabriel Yared, and the music of the first sequence of The Last Emperor (1987).

  • This is a musical theme, however, that explains nothing in particular nor advances events. It looks more like a runway that places the viewers in the geographical context.

Yes, we would not disclose anything at that time. It should be the film itself which was going to explain what would happen. Anyway, I do not enter into that game of explanations for the remainder of the film. I held not into passion or romantic criteria, for much the protagonist falls in love or gets passionate. For example, in her relationship with her husband. I do not underline it with music because the center is she, and the story of her marriage is secondary.

  • There are, in fact, a lot of contention even where many others would expand musically: in the scenes where they pass through the amazing landscapes, for example.

We wanted to go very cautiously, to avoid losing the absolute reference of the film, that it is she. With the music I moved into the land of consciousness and unconsciousness, but focusing it on her. In the landscape scenes you mention, it is clear that music is more open and larger than in the rest, but moderately, because the context is sufficient by itself to be explained. However, the characters are austere and austere should also be the music.

  • I have the feeling, however, that the music maintains a certain distance with the character. There are scenes, the less important, where music comes into her actions. However, in the strongest there is not a single note of music.

I did not want to fall into the gimmicky, because the obvious is obvious and there is no need to recharge it with music. Icíar and I agreed on that. The drama is sufficiently exposed in the film, those scenes did not need violins!.

  • Still, there is a dramatic effect especially interesting. Usually, a character that runs out of music at a sensitive time gets exposed and alone. But here the opposite happens: she gets stronger without the music!

That was our intention, to focus it all in her fight, not to tuck her emotionally. She is a character that goes through many difficulties, but she is a strong and determined character.

  • It reminds me the sacrified scenes from A Passage to India, where the magnificent landscapes had no music, for not missing the real purpose of the music or distracting. And, as in Lean’s film, as the resolution happens, then there is music in the big way. The final theme is wonderful, and praises the protagonist.

Because, as you say, the worst is over. And all that restraint and caution gets in the form of our homage to the protagonist. It is something the music owed her.

  • Congratulations, you have made a good work

Thanks, I am very happy of having collaborated in this film.

© Conrado Xalabarder y MundoBSO, 2012

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