Rodrigo Leão, Coliseu do Porto, November 28th 2009

Those who regularly read what i go on writing here knows that it’s very rare when i write something which is no a direct commentary on films i watch and that when i get out of that formula i’ve been using for the last 2 and a half years, i usually comment on the very life of the blog, editorial anotations of statistics, or small notes to facts i care about. The thing is, just a few hours ago, i watched a concert, leaded by Rodrigo Leão, one of the composers and musicians i care more about, at the present moment. An i decided to write about the concert, because RL’s music is all about cinema. I once wrote, and i underline it now, that despite his previous experiences as a composor for shors/tvshows/documentaries, he still is, up to this moment, the best film composer we Don’t have. Several elements i care about:

1 – mood – generally speaking, music has the capacity to establish (and hold) a certain environment, even if that’s not the intention of who made it. In cinema, the greatest merit a composer may have is to be able to determine that mood: humour, tension, curiosity – that extends to the notion of suspense. Simple to explain, but it’s quite complex to define all the subtleties of what is intented to went through to the audience. Than, there’s the need to hold that mood. This means that the music needs character, and than it needs to explored well enough to hold that character. Now, as far as i can tell, RL starts the conception of every piece of his music with the mood he intends to it. Preceeded or not by the existence of lyrics, it seems to me that the development of the piece follows the idea of that intended mood (or found mood). In a set like the room where i watched the concert, that’s what we get, that’s where we get in, in that specific enviroment, with different tones and shades. We don’t have the visual strength of the images, but we have the music happening in front of us. RL is a master in this environmental definition, and so it would be specially interesting to see him produce consistently to cinema, associated with directors who understand where the music fits in the film.

2 – class – there is a certain idea of perenity, even eternity, that passes through certain art. It seems to me that what is classic is what is built according to a certain set of rules which we know will work, in any context, time or kind of art. We can appeal to them, because its use gives us the freedom to freely explore practicaly everything we want. It’s an interesting paradox, the aplication of classic rules gives us freedom, as much as the intention to break them forces us to create a similar number of rules, so the work won’t fall apart. Nothing requires as many rules as irregularity. In any case, RL is someone who, being highly experimental in his exploration of moods, looks for classic constructions, in shape, and harmony. At the same time, it seems to me that he is fundamentally an intuitive composer, and therefore original, and this means he does what he feels to be needed, not what has been tested and proved right. So, after all, class is necessarily timeless and inovative. Paradox?

3 – comunity – eventually, in cinema or in concert, music may, and many times is, a factor of aggregation. In this concert i watched (actually my first RL), what he does is establish a mood, and invite us to participate. There’s the joy of the comunion of certain values which, though not explained, are understood by everybody. It’s not as strong and spontaneous as say, participate in the demolition of the Berlin wall. It’s an induced sensation, at the end of the concert we’ll all be as friendly or hateful as we were before (or maybe not), but all art is manipulation. And cinema, like Rodrigo Leão’s music, gives us the sensation that we are part of a group, that of the people who share the pleasure of listening, and seduces to see the images that motivate the music. We need all the films that were Not soundtracked by him.

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