Oscar Martin Leanizbaruttia, an interview with the composer.

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As far as I can see you have scored two motion pictures, both of which contain very powerful soundtracks. How did you become involved on these projects?

 

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These projects were both communicated to film maker Pablo Moreno, who was contacted by Goya Prod. SA. He then contacted me as part of his team, I am very grateful to him for giving me this very big opportunity.

 

 

 

 

You were first clarinet in the Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Valladolid, was it here that you decided that you wanted to become a composer?

 

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Well, I learnt a lot listening the tone and the colours of the orchestra playing my clarinet with my musical partners, and it was an enriching experience, but really the thought to become a composer was earlier, when I was fifteen I wrote my first composition and from that day, to become a composer was on my mind, and whilst I was studying clarinet all the time the idea of becoming a composer was growing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are in fact studying music at the Royal High Conservatory of music in Madrid, but have been writing music since 2013, as well as composition what other musical studies are you undertaking?

I started my studies in 1996 when I was 7 years old, and from that year (except four years that I stopped my music studies) I was studying music, in total four years of elementary level and a further six years of middle level with specialized concentration in clarinet, and then four years of high studies (degree in Composition) which will be completed this May 2017. At the same time, during these past years, I´ve done several courses on film scoring, conducting, and I´ve composed different small pieces, but the biggest piece was the youth mass for orchestra and choir from the WYD in 2011 “Hoy y siempre, Señor”

 

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POVEDA is a wonderful score, in which you create so many themes that are both delicate and haunting, how much time were you given to score the picture and what size orchestra did you employ for this project, and what percentage of the score was performed on conventional instruments and what percentage was created using synthetic instrumentation, and was it the same orchestra on LUZ DE SOLEDAD?

Well, because of the low budget of the film, it was impossible to contract any musician, so all the music in Poveda is digital, in Luz de Soledad it was extremely necessary to record a violinist a violist and a soprano, because the digital sounds for soloist aren´t so good to be put into a film.

The main themes were created two months before the film was completed. In mid – October the final cut of the film was sent to me, and because of I was attending classes in Madrid, I had to plan my time the most way I can; In total composing the film score took five weeks, but these weeks were alternated, one week attending classes in Madrid, the following week working on the film, the next in classes again, and for two months it was like this. Regarding the size orchestra, although it was digital, I composed the music in a template of a big orchestra, with soloist of wood winds, powerful metals, and a big string section. Careful equalization was necessary to get the sound the best way. This was also the way with Luz de Soledad, with the same digital orchestra, except the real soloist being recorded.

 

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The director of POVEDA and your other assignment LUZ DE SOLEDAD is Pablo Moreno, did he have any set ideas about what direction you should take when it came to the score, and was he involved in the final decision of where the music should be placed etc. within the movie and had he or the producers of the movies installed a temp track, if so did you find this helpful or distracting?

From the beginning, Pablo Moreno had a clear concept of the film, and he explained this to me in detail, but he did not employ a temp track. I am very grateful to Pablo Moreno, although he showed me the concept of the two films, he trusted my judgment, so as I was creating the score, I was showing him my work, so if something didn´t work, he was able to tell me and we could change it.

What is your opinion of the increased use of electronic support, samples etc. within film music today?

I think that if used correctly, all of them are a very powerful tool, because it composers to make a realistic mock-up, on the other hand, composers like Steve Price or Zimmer, etc. Make very intelligent use of the synths and electroacoustic tools in order to create new sounds and atmospheres and I think that combining them with the power of the “classic” sound of the orchestra, can give us a very wonderful result.

 

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Do you think that orchestration is an important part of the composing process and although the scores were both digital, do you conduct at all?

As I said, digital sounds created the music. But if it was necessary I´d conduct the orchestra, and it´ll be a very exciting experience, I have conducted in the past. The orchestration is a very difficult part of the composition, because a very good theme can be lost with a bad orchestration with bad results, and a bad theme can be made better with a good orchestration. Orchestration is a craft an art form very much like, counterpoint for example.

Who was the guitar soloist on POVEDA?

The guitar solos were played by myself, but with the use of digital libraries.

The scores have been released for collectors, did you have an active role in selecting what music would go onto these releases?

Yes, I did. When the producers told me that a compact disc of the films soundtracks were to be released. I selected the different parts of the soundtrack that I thought would be interesting to be released for collectors of film music and people who saw the movies and liked the music.

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What composers would you say have influenced you or inspired you when it comes to scoring motion pictures?

Well, I like a lot the style of James Newton Howard, for example, but I am also attracted to the music of John Powell and Hans Zimmer, obviously, John Williams is a big influence for myself and many other composers, and the Spanish composers Oscar Navarro and Fernando Velazquez are also high on my list. But little by little I’m strengthening my own style and developing my own techniques, although there are several composers whose style I am very attracted too.

Is writing music for movies something that you have always wanted to do?

I can say yes to that question straight away, because from when I was a child I liked the movies and the music from them very much, I also loved to experiment composing music, so when I got the opportunity to study film music and work on films it was for me a dream come true.

 

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Did you perform on either of the scores?

Yes, all the notes and interpretation of the music that sounds (although it was digital) was recorded and mixed by me.

Who performed solo violin on LUZ DE SOLEDAD, the sections which feature the violin are so emotive?

The violin was played by the excellent violinist Cristina Baquero Rejón. Who Is a friend from my childhood, who I spent many years studying in Palencia Clarinet. Now she has finished her studies in violin in the High Conservatoire of music of Oviedo.

 

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What are you working on now?

At this moment, I am working on the ideas for the next film of Pablo Moreno “Red de Libertad”. Which should start production in early March, and I think it´ll be an amazing work! I will compose the music next July (I think) and for this project fortunately, I will have enough money to record the score with an orchestra.

 

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