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'A Christmas Carol', the carol composed by Alan Silvestri and performed by the FSO

During the celebration of the Fénix tour, the Film Symphony Orchestra recorded the legendary carol 'A Christmas Carol', composed by Alan Silvestri. The New Yorker is one of the most renowned film music composers, especially for his works on 'Forrest Gump' (1994), the 'Back to the Future' Trilogy (1985, 1989 and 1990) and several titles for 'The Avengers'. The creative couple that he formed in 1984 with Robert Zemeckis, and which continues to this day, is considered, along with that of Williams and Spielberg, the most stable relationship between musician and director in the history of cinema.

23 films between cinema and television allow us to highlight the success of this combination that began with 'Behind the Heartn Verde' (1984) and has reached 'The Witches', a film based on Roald Dahl's 1983 classic that we were able to see in theaters on October 30, 2021. Of the 32 titles that Zemeckis has directed, 23 feature Silvestri's performance, a figure that shows the good health of this collaboration.

Who is Alan Silvestri?

Born in New York, March 26, 1950, Alan Anthony Silvestri is a famous film music composer, raised in Teanech, New Jersey, as part of a family of Italian descent. His grandparents, originally from Piedmont, took care of him in his childhood, and although his family was not linked in any way to music, his interest in this branch of art developed from a young age.

Who is Alan Silvestri?
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He began with drums and percussion instruments, later expanding his range to wind instruments, such as the bassoon, clarinet and saxophone. Eventually, he became a jazz guitarist. He was part of his high school orchestra playing, precisely, wind instruments and guitar.

In 1965 he entered the prestigious Berklee College of Music to take jazz classes., but two years later he ended up in Las Vegas to tour as guitarist and arranger for the R&B band Cochran and the CC Riders.

Alan Silvestri's musical style

His training in percussion and his heterogeneous skill as an instrumentalist have forged his musical style, with a combination of 'modern' instruments, such as the guitar, drums or piano, mixed with great orchestrations. In addition, he has also written magnificent songs that have become part of some of his scores. He has always been fond of melodic rhythms, sometimes with a certain Latin flavor and other times jazzy.

Alan Silvestri's works as a composer

Shortly after 1965, he would cross paths with Bradford Craig, who was a lyricist for Quincy Jones, and ask him to help him orchestrate the music for a film he was working on, The Doberman Gang (Byron Chudnow, 1972). This would be Silvestri's debut in film music, which he would repeat in one of his sequels, The Amazing Dobermans (1976).

Back in 1987, he still had to demonstrate his talent in cache productions unrelated to his participation in the successful saga Return to the future.

In the context of his collaborations for inconsequential films such as GaveAce Rebels, The flight of the Navigator either Delta Force, he enrolled in a project that catapulted his career: predator by John McTiernan. Relegated for a long time to various bootlegs of great sound quality, the original score confirms not only the gifts for the explosive symphonism trademark of the house silvestrian, but ended up convincing the public and critics.

The 'Main title' of this work, a dark march dedicated to percussion and brass, sprinkled with electronic rhythms, which has become one of the most famous songs in his filmography. Partly for that reason, four years later he also participated in the second part, 'Predator 2' (1990). The score of these two films moves between disturbing and distressing sounds, musically balancing the suspense that invades the film, after the appearance of the alien. A good part of the 70 minutes of score travel along the paths of ambient music, half-hidden between dialogues, to enhance the terror of the unknown. An ungrateful style marked by the violent staccato of the main theme.

After having highlighted action films, Silvestri began working in 2011, for Marvel films, with the music of 'Captainn AmErica: The First Avenger. The New York composer's theme was the first to appear in other films in the Marvel cinematic universe, which returns in The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Precisely for the saga 'The Avengers', which began in 2012 and has been under the direction of Alan Silvestri for eleven years, what they have called the 'avenging leitmotiv' was born, 'The Avengers'. The song, which has become a musical symbol of this group of heroes, has two different melodies, which are used depending on the action, at different moments in the film. Additionally, Silvestri designed a leitmotif for each character, except in some cases such as Hombre de Hierro, for which AC/DC chords sounded.

Alan Silvestri's awards and prizes

This great musical director has been nominated twice for the Academy Awards, for Best Original Motion Picture Score Forrest Gump, released in 1994. As well as Best Original Song, for Believe, which can be heard in the film The polar Express. Likewise He has been nominated for the Golden Globes twice.. Again for Best Original Score for Forrest Gump, which Hans Zimmer won that year for The Lion King and also for Best Song for The polar Express.

In the same way, Silvestri has been nominated four times for the Grammy Awards. Of them, it has won two, one in the category for Best Song Written for a Film, Television or Other Visual Media, again for Believe, and the second for Best Instrumental Composition, thanks to Cast Away End Credits of the movie Cast Away, in 2002.

After the great success of Forrest Gump, in 1995 he received the Richard Kirk Award; In 2002 he was awarded the Henry Mancini Prize for his work, and more recently, on September 23, 2011, he was awarded the Max Steiner Film Music Achievment Award, presented by the city of Vienna, on the occasion of the annual film music concert, known like 'Hollywood in Vienna'.

The success of the duo Alan Silvestri – Robert Zemeckis

The score of Return to the future (1985), is one of the most recognizable of all time, a masterpiece of cinema. A year before filming began, Zemeckis gave him 24 hours to compose a piece that he liked for the film. After the heartn green, and he liked it so much that since then they have become an inseparable duo.

The soundtrack of Return to the future It mixes compositions created expressly for the film with compositions by renowned singers and groups. Some experts mention that it is one of Silvestri's three best works and in clear competition with John Williams, he managed to make an entire generation's hair stand on end listening to the leitmotiv of the movie. In the words of the composer himself, “at that time he was fulfilling his dream of creating a powerful soundtrack with a large orchestra.”

In the second part, Back to the Future 2, the composer continues in the same line, reusing the main theme and contributing new themes, also grandiose and frenetic. In the third part of the saga, Zemeckis directed Silvestri as he would an actor, seeking to evoke emotions and treating each piece of music as a character.

The success of the duo Alan Silvestri - Robert Zemeckis
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The couple's work had its next big success with Whohe cheated to roger rabbit (1988), a project by Steven Spielberg, directed by Zemeckis, in which we see an unleashed Silvestri, who gives free rein to all his ability to compose fast-paced music, continuing with the style of Return to the future and punctuated by continuous moments of 'mickeymouing', very adjusted to the crazy jumps of the protagonist.

In the case of Death becomes Her (1992), the composer draws with music the sarcasm offered by the film and gives it black humor with a dark but at the same time fun main theme. To give way to what would be considered one of his masterpieces. With Forrest Gump (1994), is capable of making any viewer cry, so It has become one of the best soundtracks of all time, with original music accompanied by selected songs, composed between the 50s and 80s.

The last two stellar collaborations between Silvestri and Zemeckis are Contact (1997) and Nashipwreck (2000). In the first, with an overwhelming sensitivity, he makes us travel, just as he has explored almost all film genres, in this case science fiction. And in the second he explores the contrasts once again. Barely without music, the score of Nashipwreck It lets silence become music and its main theme combines the epic with a powerful sensitivity for drama.

Alan Silvestri's Christmas Carol performed by the FSO

Alan Silvestri and the FSO have forged a long relationship and issues such as Avengers: Endgame, and Back to the Future They are usually on the orchestra's set list. The New York composer once told our director, Constantino Martínez-Orts, that the FSO was at the level of the best American orchestras of the genre and suggested, at the time, that he record the OST of Return to the future.

Constantino Martínez-Orts, director of the Film Symphony Orchestra, has congratulated Christmas and has sent his best wishes to all the orchestra's followers. He has done it through his social networks, with the recording of the mythical Christmas carol by Alan Silvestri recorded at the Christmas concerts in Madrid, on the Fénix tour, the best soundtracks and film music in concert.

And he has done so by paying tribute to one of the most acclaimed composers in the history of film music, for his combination of styles and his ability to adapt to each collaboration.