Sound of Cinema: Zbigniew Preisner

Presented by Tom Service. As part of the BBC's Sound of Cinema season, Music Matters this week includes an interview with the Polish film composer Zbigniew Preisner, whose collaborations with the director Krzysztof Kieslowski on films such as Dekalog, The Double Life Of Veronique and The Three Colours Trliogy brought him international acclaim. Preisner's latest work, 'Diaries of Hope', premieres in London in October. And Tom is joined by the historian Mervyn Cooke and composer Jocelyn Pook to discuss the challenges facing classical composers in the film industry.

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45 minutes

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Sat 21 Sep 2013 12:15

Zbigniew Preisner

Regarded as Poland’s leading film composer Zbigniew Preisner is best known for his collaborations with the director Krzysztof Kieslowski – including the Three Colours Trilogy (Three Colours Blue, Three Colours White and Three Colours Red), the visionary 10-part series for Polish Television Dekalog and The Double Life Of Veronique

Tom Service speaks to Preisner about the coincidences which have defined his career, his close relationship with Kieslowski, and his controversial view that the profession of the film composer is in its final years.


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Zbigniew Preisner

Preisner: Diaries of Hope at the Barbican 12th October

BBC Sound Of Cinema

Britten the film composer

Benjamin Britten became a member of the General Post Office (GPO) film unit in 1935, aged 21. Britten worked for the unit on short documentaries promoting the GPO’s activities, including his first collaborations with the poet WH Auden on films as Night Mail and Coal Face

The composer Colin Matthews (Music Director of the Britten-Pears Foundation) tells the story of how a young Britten became involved in music for screen, and of his experimentation both with music and with the recording of sound effects for the films.


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Britten 100

Aurora Orchestra perform music from the GPO films 29th Sept


The National Film and Television School

With four permanent departments - production, camera, editing and sound - the National Film School (as it was first named) opened in 1971 on the site of the Beaconsfield Film Studios in Buckinghamshire, the historic home to silent movies of the 1920s, and the likely meeting place for Britten and the GPO’s Alberto Cavalcanti. 

Earlier this week Tom went to the NFTS to meet Dean Humphreys, head of Post-Production, Chris Auty, head of Production, and three student composers (David Pearce, Lyndon Holland and Arran Price), and discovered a unique approach which sees students from all disciplines continuously collaborating on film projects in an environment akin to the early Hollywood studios.


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The National Film and Television School

Film Music: A discussion.

The film music historian Mervyn Cooke and composer Jocelyn Pook (Brick Lane, Eyes Wide Shut) join Tom to talk about changing trends in film music - setting Britten’s approach in the context of other British composers of his generation like Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton, discussing the dangers of the industry standard temp track, and giving their opinions on the current and future state of music for the big screen. 

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Jocelyn Pook

Mervyn Cooke


Role Contributor
PresenterTom Service
Interviewed GuestZbigniew Preisner
Interviewed GuestMervyn Cooke
Interviewed GuestJocelyn Pook