TALKING TO JAVIER ARNANZ.

 
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Where and when were you born?

I was born on the 2nd of April 1965 in Talavera de la Reina in Spain.

Do you come from a family background that is musical or creative?

Indeed, in my family there is a lot of musical and creative tradition. We are ten brothers, of whom five know how to play some instrument and we are very connected to the music. When we meet we form an orchestra. three Violins, two Violoncellos and a piano. The Orchestra of St. Nicholas, in honour of my Father, may he rest in peace. Interestingly my father was the only one in the family who did not know how to play any instrument.
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What studies did you undertake for music?

I play the piano, the cello, the guitar and the mandolin.
As a child I went to music and piano lessons, then guitar and currently continue with cello classes in my city’s Music school.
I studied computer science at the university, this made my love of composition finally be liberated, as a dream fulfilled, thanks to computers, with the current sound libraries it is not necessary to have an orchestra to compose soundtracks. Since the year 2000 I have been composing music for orchestra, soundtracks and also electronic music.

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I reviewed recently your wonderful score for BARBACANA which a very emotive and lyrical sounding work for a documentary, how much music did you compose for the project, and how much time were you given to complete the work?
In BARBACANA I composed almost forty tracks in total for the documentary, of which only thirty two were used in the soundtrack. Some were ruled out because they were unable to convey the idea that the producer had. I was composing for two years several sketches and teasers, but most of the music for the documentary I wrote in the last two months. There is a theme “The Flight of the Cranes ” that corresponded to the soundtrack of another documentary, but the director liked it so much for a scene that we decided to incorporate it.

 

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THE GENET’S TALE is also a score that you wrote for a documentary a few years ago, which is superb, how did you become involved on this film?

The director and producer of this documentary contacted me to do the teaser, I did and he was very satisfied with my work. Then he proposed to put the music to all the documentary. Although I had little experience, this was my second documentary, and few media at my fingertips, I finally managed to develop the entire soundtrack in my home studio, with very satisfactory results. The compositions are very emotional and full of sensitivity. Even some very epic and dramatic scenes, which was a style in which I had not had much experience.

 

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What size orchestra did you use for BARBACANA and what percentage of the line up was electronic?
BARBACANA is a work all at 100% of study, composed and arranged in Reaper, in which I have usadosobre all EAST WEST bookstores like Hollywood Strings and Storm Drums II and III. Almost all the instruments of the string, wind, metal and percussion sections are from Hollywood Strings. The percentage I’ve used to create the electronic and orchestral part can be an electronic 20 percent and an orchestral 80%.

 

 


Do you think that BARBACANA will have a compact disc release or will it remain as a digital release?

It all depends on the interest of the listeners, the number of listeners and downloads on the digital platforms. It all depends on the acceptance you have in your digital version.
What would you say are your musical influences, and what composers or artists would you say have inspired you?

 


The soundtrack in general has an epic air because it was what I was charged, but in fact it is noticeable when listening to the various songs that besides Hans Zimmer there are many composers who I have been an inspiration to me, such as John Williams in the track (Joseph and Mary) on BARBACANA and then there is John Barry, James Newton Howard, James Horner, Ennio Morricone and even Beethoven…

 

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You as far as I can see have scored three documentaries, GENET’S TALE, BARBACANA and STORIES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN FOREST, when you are asked to score a documentary do you sit with the director or producer and spot the film in the same way as a feature film, or is the process different when working on documentaries?
Yes, the process of scoring a documentary is just like in a movie. First I detail the scenes and times they want with music and then explain to me what kind of music and want to transmit with the music. Animal scenes are like people, they can be epic, tense, tender or even funny scenes…. You just have to be careful to respect certain natural sound environment, because in a documentary of this type is very important to be heard.

 

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Documentaries I think need more music than a feature film, as there are no breaks for long dialogue scenes etc, but I suppose you do have to be aware of narration, if there is any, is the narration already on the soundtrack when you see the film pre scoring?
Yes, although what I am taught, is not always the definitive narrator of the documentary. The most important thing is to know what the announcer says in that scene. Music must collaborate to finally get the same as the voice.

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How do you bring your musical ideas to fruition, do you use keyboard, straight to manuscript or do you employ more contemporary methods?

It usually takes less time with the keyboard, and that’s what I usually use. Then rectify with the mouse the errors. Depending on the type of song and the style the elaboration process will vary. With Epic Music I work first the rhythm and the percussion that will carry the song: In more emotional music I usually play the piano, and on the piano I start to draw the various instruments. Finally if necessary I remove that piano.

 


Did you select the cues that were released on BARBACANA and GANET’S TALE, and do the releases contain the full scores or are they just representative of both?
In BARBACANA I removed some of the short cues, but for GENET’S TALE the release contains the full soundtrack. In BARBACANA I have added a cue that had been discarded, and I felt this was unfair, sometimes the likes and the dislikes of the composer and the editor are not always the same. And since it could not appear in the film, I made the decision that it should be released on the recording of the soundtrack.

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What have you lined up for the future?
I have two documentaries in sight which are very close to each other, one will be on the migration of birds and the other has not been made clear to me as yet. I continue studying, and I’m learning to play the Violocello which I play very often. The idea is to play in the orchestra of the School of Music as a hobby, even some day play along with this orchestra for one of my compositions.

 

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STARDUST.(2007).

 

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I have for a long time been meaning to write about the music for the movie STARDUST which was composed by Ilan Eshkeri, this large scale fully symphonic work is a soundtrack that I have returned to numerous times over the years and also have sat and watched the movie over and over and found it entertaining each time. Its an enjoyable fantasy swashbuckler and the score is as magical and exciting as the story line and the adventure that is unfolding on screen, The composer fashioned a beautifully melodic and dramatic soundtrack for the movie and it is in my very humble opinion a contemporary score but posses that sound that atmosphere and that rich and lush musical persona that we associate with days gone by in film music history, it is grand and powerful, wistful and romantic but above all it is an inspired and affective soundtrack that one will never tire of. Released in 2007 the movie and the score are still as attractive and fresh as they were when I first heard them, it is an accomplished and also a polished and wonderfully inventive score, the composer employing dark and driving strings which at times are accompanied and supported by pounding percussion and mysterious sounding themes that entice, engulf and fully engross the listener. The composer said of the film and the score.
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“Stardust was my second film with director Matthew Vaughn. He gave me the script before the film went into production and the first piece of music I wrote was to one of Charles Vess’ illustrations in the original graphic novel. The illustration is called flying ship and the music is called flying vessel. I was writing on the set of the film which was really unusual and fun. I found it really inspiring to walk onto the set which was magnificent and awe inspiring. I wrote many themes for the movie but many of these didn’t make the final score. I worked closely with the band Take That on the song for the film RULE THE WORLD. The final minute of the film’s score is an intro to the song based on Gary Barlow’s chords. There are also elements of the song which relate to the score. ‘Take That’ were amazing to work with”.

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The small English village of Wall conceals a mysterious secret, because through a gap in a wall that surrounds the village is the entrance to the Kingdom of Stormhold, which is realm filled with magic and what many think are fantastical creatures such as Unicorns. The Kingdom is filled with Witches and spells, it is a realm that is as beguiling and fascinating to mere Mortals as it is dangerous and evil. Tristan Thorn is a young inhabitant of the village and to impress his young lady vows to cross over into Stronghold to recover a falling star for her and if he returns She in turn promises to marry him. To the Young man’s surprise the falling star is more than that but is a celestial Princess who’s name is Yvaine. She is a fiesty individual and soon makes it quite clear that she is not beat pleased at being knocked out of the sky and brought down to earth and subsequently kidnapped. After a while Tristan and Yvaine realise that it is not only Tristan that wants to have the falling star as many others join in the hunt for it. Soon the unlikely couple find them selves pursued by Sky Pirates with their cross dressing Captain (Robert De Niro-in a tutu), warring heirs to the throne of the Kingdom and a trio of evil witches who plan to capture Yvaine and cut out her heart so they may eat it and rejuvenate their bodies and looks, giving them eternal youth and life.

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Tristan has to fight on all sides and battle against swords, deception and sorcery in this exciting and exhilarating adventure romp.

 

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The composers score lends much to the action scenes and also gives much support and enhancement to the romantic scenarios and adds greater depth and atmosphere to the movie as a whole, the thundering percussion and blaring horns in cues such as LAMIA’S LAIR for example is stunningly commanding and fearsome. The composer also gives us a fearful and foreboding piece in the cue LAMIA’S INN, which at first begins in a somewhat light mood, but soon develops into something a lot more sinister as the cue progress’s where we are treated to a slowly building ominous motif that slowly and deliberately increases in both tempo and volume into a booming and unstoppable tour de force for strings, low woodwind and percussive punctuation. I cannot recommend the score and the movie enough, with its impressive cast and fantastical settings and storyline, it is now I think a classic.