Last week Film Fest Gent and Brussels Philharmonic completed the recording of the anthology of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s oeuvre in Flagey. The recordings include fragments from ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’ and ‘The Revenant’ and were led by music director of Film Fest Gent Dirk Brossé. The recorded compilation-CD will be launched during the 43rd Film Fest Gent and the 16th World Soundtrack Awards on 19 October, where Sakamoto will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Japanese film composer is known for, amongst others, ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Mr. Lawrence’ and ‘The Revenant’. Much of his film and TV work has been released on different CDs, but so far no album existed that compiled the best of his work in this genre.
Sakamoto was already a celebrated rock-popstar in Japan, with influences ranging from Bach to Kraftwerk. But it was the 1983 film ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’ that put Sakamoto on the worldwide map. Next to starring alongside David Bowie as an actor, he wrote the original soundtrack for this film which earned him a BAFTA Award. Many awards (such as a Grammy, Academy Award and Golden Globes) later, Sakamoto has grown to be a phenomenon in the world of film music. His track record includes collaborations with Oliver Stone (‘Wild Palms’), Pedro Almodovar (‘High Heels’), Brian De Palma (‘Snake Eyes’) and Alejandro G. Iñárritu (‘The Revenant’).
Patrick Duynslaegher, artistic director of Film Fest Gent: “Sakamoto’s work revealed him as one of the most inventive film composers of our time. He conceived a blend of melodies, synthesizers, traditional orchestral music, drum tracks, sound effects and unusual musical colours.” In the case of the music for ‘The Last Emperor’, Sakamoto places the erhu, pipa and guzheng in the center of the orchestra. This use of both traditional Chinese instruments and a symphonic orchestra, illustrates the unique style of Sakamoto. Patrick Duynslaegher: “Out of the striking contrasts of musical styles and cultures, he created scores that stand out and will never stop to fascinate and enchant us.”
For more than 10 years already, Brussels Philharmonic and the Flemish Radio Choir are the orchestra-in-residence at Film Fest Gent. Earlier recordings include albums with the work of Angelo Badalamenti, Cliff Martinez and Alan Silvestri. The Sakamoto album will be launched during the 43rd Film Fest Gent and the 16th World Soundtrack Awards in the Capitole in Ghent.