Category Archives: Interviews

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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DOMIZIANO D. CRISTOPHARO.

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Visionary and indie film maker Domiziano D. Cristopharo, took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about how he as a Director/Producer and Writer regards music in his films and his relationship with the composers.
As a film maker are you conscious about music or what style of music that you want for your movie as you are directing on set?

I started my Career in art fields as a singer and also a music producer, so I must say I’m very conscious about the music in my movies. I’m a perfectionist but I don’t like to do the music myself. I prefer collaborate with a handful of composers that share good vibes with me.

 

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When spotting a movie with your chosen composer, do you allow them a certain amount of freedom with their creativity or do you tell them what specifics you have in mind regarding the music?
I only send the movie to the musician once the editing is done. First the movie should have its power and internal rhythm. When the movie works by itself then the music can be an emotional support. I always try to find a common line together, and work towards the right moods required for the film; some musicians love to do a certain style, but this does not always fit the movie style so, it is very important to find the correct sound or style first… then, the musician is free to express himself. And considering the huge amount of international music fest won by the scores of my film, I must say we do make the right choice’s!

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How much time do you give a composer to create a score for your films?
It depends on the result we want. Alexander Cimini needed 2 years for complete the DARK WAVES score, while musicians like Sangiovanni and Susan DiBona in less that one month gave me a complete orchestration ready!

 


I have spoken to a few film makers who are at times reluctant to hand over their film to a composer, do you ever get the feeling that you have worked on this project for months maybe years and then along comes a composer who will score it and could potentially make it better or make it less impacting via his music. Do you have to trust a composer without when you ask them to work on your project?
My choices are never casual, and of course this risk is present… music can improve, add much or nothing to a movie, even destroy it. I had a few experiences with nice composers that just were not the right choice for the movie… but after 2 or 3 attempts I remove them from the commission and I fInd another. I’ll never release a film if I’m not completely satisfied of the result.
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When do you like to bring a composer onto a project, do you send them a script or do you invite them to see the movie in its rough cut stage. And when do you first hear the music they have created, do they play it to you or send you a mock up of a theme or is it at the sessions to record it?
As I said I prefer to send the movie complete, its the best way for any composer to understand the film. A script can be many things. As for when I hear the music most composers send me a sample that then test on the film and if it works we go ahead step by step!

 

 

How do decide what composer is for what film. Is it by recommendation or do you see another movie and hear the music and think that is what I need for my movie?
I usually work with the same people, its the best choice. A successfully team doesn’t need to be changed. I crossed my street with theirs on different occasions, but first I choose a person to collaborate with in first line for the person he is. A good man or woman is more important than a good artist. Then when our energy can be melted in a positive way, we can co-operate. I’m not much into a cold exchange of work because I do Indie films.

Have you a favourite film score from one of your movies or any movie at all?

 


For sure RED KROKODIL, DOLL SYNDROME and DARK WAVES.

My thanks to the Director for taking the time to answer my questions.

OMA MAA.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FROM KRONOS RECORDS.

http://kronosrecords.com/K92.html
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Finnish film maker Markku Polonen has created a stunning looking movie in the form of OMA MAA (HOMELAND). The story focuses upon Finland from the end of the second world war in 1945 through to 1952 which was the year of the Helsinki Olympics and concentrates on the two central characters, Anni played by Oona Airola and Veikko portrayed by Konsta Laasko who against the backdrop of difficult and testing times fall in love, their relationship is tested when Veikko who was wounded during the war becomes ill. Finland had fought long and hard in the second world war firstly against Russia and then against the Third Reich. This period directly after the war years was a difficult time in Finland as they had to re-settle over 450.000 evacuees and also care for war invalids from Karelia. The country also had the task of building 100,000 new homes. OMA MAA is a touching and dramatic tale which is superbly crafted and directed, the movie having a high level of production standards in all areas. The musical score is the work of composer Pessi Lovanto who has created a romantically laced soundtrack that is delicate, sweeping and lush. The composer is one of the most prominent and sought after in his home country of Finland but is most certainly expanding his work internationally. The composer has written the scores for fifteen motion pictures and his approach to writing film music is a fusion of both vintage styles and more contemporary colours and methods. He also has a musical identity outside of the world of film music as Lovanto acts as a conductor and is a talented and innovative arranger. One of his most successful non-film music projects was with the Helsinki Philharmonic with CLASSICAL TRANCELATIONS, where the orchestra performed club classics. He has also been responsible for writing a number of chart topping songs for Korean and Japanese artists such as ARASHI and THE AFTERSCHOOL.

 

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THE COMPOSER ON THE SCORE.
Interview with John Mansell.
Can I begin by asking you how you became involved on Oma Maa?

“I have made music for three films before for the production company Solar Films, the biggest one in Finland. Their producer Rimbo Salomaa, with whom we had worked on a previous film ”Unexpected Journey”, wanted to bring me in to this project as he though my style would work well with this world. So I had the luxury of getting a direct call from the producer.”

The score is very melodic and lush in places but also contains some nice jazz sounding cues, what size orchestra did you use for the recording?

“We used a professional Finnish orchestra called Tapiola Sinfonietta which is about 45 players. I did the jazz cues separately and had drums, bass, guitar and piano pre-recorded elsewhere. This style of jazz, called foxtrot in it’s time, was rather popular in Finland at the time when the story takes place. I also had one folk-style violin to do some solo lines on top of the orchestra to give a slight folk-music vibe in places.”
At what stage of the production did you become involved, and was the director specific as to what style of music you should compose and how much time did you have to complete the score?

“They had shot the summer scenes in July-August of 2017 and were to shoot the winter scenes in March 2018. I was brought in in November 2017 and started discussing initial ideas with the director. He had some preferences and reference tracks he liked and I began to make some demos of the main themes based on that. He likes the oboe a lot so I put that in quite a bit. Also he made it clear that its a melodrama and that I should not shy away from being lush in the right places. It always takes some time to come up with a core idea you believe is strong enough to carry many repetitions but once that is done, it gets a lot easier and the score begins to write itself. I got a cut of the film (minus the winter scenes) in early January 2018 and wrote all those cues in January and February. Then after the winter shooting they edited those scenes in and I wrote some new music for the inserted scenes. So actually we had plenty of time considering how quickly film scores have to be done sometimes.”

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How much music did you write for the movie and is the entire score on this Compact disc or is it a selection of cues that are representive of the music in the movie and did you have any part in assembling what cues were to be used on the release?

“The CD has all the music I wrote for the film. Being an European indie film there is not that much music compared to a fantasy or animation but if you see the film I think you’ll agree that it’s a good idea since the music really has some meaning and impact when it comes in after a period of no music.”
Was the movie temp tracked at all and do you find the use of this tool by film makers helpful or distracting?

”I had made demos in the early phase and they used those for the edit. I was really happy that they didn’t use much temp music as it often presents a real problem for the composer. ”Temp track love” is a major challenge to the composer and the sooner we can get rid of the temp track the better. I usually try to avoid this by writing demos beforehand which they can use in the edit or submit some of my own music from previous films for that purpose as it’s much easier for me to replace my own music than John Williams’ music.”

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You conducted the score, do you normaly conduct all your own film music and also do you carry out the orchestration?

”I conduct my own scores whenever possible. Sometimes when done abroad it’s not practical if the players don’t speak English so then it’s better if a local conductor does it. I had an assistant in this project who cleaned up my midi files from my Cubase sessions I had used to make demos for the director but then I orchestrated the cues myself after that. Orchestration is something I really enjoy and consider a bit of a speciality so I like to do that myself if time permits.

MAD MACBETH.

 

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The exceptionally talented Italian born film director Domiziano Cristopharo , created his own personal a version of MACBETH in 2017. The aptly titled MAD MACBETH was set in a futuristic timeline, with its appearance being more like films such as to MAD MAX and SALUTE TO THE JUGGER than the original vision of the great English play-write. The film which was shot in KOSOVO in locations such as half decaying buildings, deprived areas, refuse tips and scrap yards, has a rawness to it that is uncomfortable at times, its industrial and desolate appearance purveys an atmosphere that depicts an uneasy and tense mood. I think we are all familiar with MACBETH which is a story that is already dark and apprehensive. MAD MACBETH succeeds in retaining the darkness and also the violent and mysterious persona of the original play, but the director puts his own original spin upon proceedings, and although Cristopharo sticks to the plot or at least fragments of it and uses these as a foundation to his screenplay the film maker is successful in bringing the story into a post apocalyptic and uncertain time period whilst at the same time giving it a more Lovecraftian feel.

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Cristopharo, again turns to the impressive acting talents of Merita Budakova and Hailil Budakova who both give entertaining performances that are also believable. The movie contains a number of scenes which are violent but I have to say this is far from gratuitous or over done or violence for the sake of it. It also has to it a mysterious and shadowy air which keeps the audience on its guard at all times. Maybe not one of the easiest movies to sit and watch but one that will leave any audience with lingering memories. For a movie made on a relatively minimal budget the production values are of a high standard with the costumes and also the make up being of an above average standard, exemplary cinematography and an outstanding musical score.

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The music for MAD MACBETH is dark and brooding and thickly laced with atmospheric and mysterious musical passages, the score is the work of the highly talented composing duo Salvatore Sangiovanni and Susan DiBona. Although they work as a collaborative each has their own particular unique musical voice and together are responsible for penning numerous film scores and television soundtracks. The music for MAD MACBETH is powerful but in a low key fashion, the composers marking and enhancing the many moods of the movie, creating a rich and colourful support for its compulsive storyline. The soundtrack will be released very soon on KRONOS RECORDS who also released the composers excellent score for THE TRANSPARENT WOMAN which was a homage to the musical world of Italian Giallo and also saluted the likes of Morricone, Cipriani, Nicolai etc

 

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Susan DiBona.

Born 18 February 1974 in New Haven, CT.
Composer for film and television, conductor, pianist, educator.
Winner, Global Music Awards 2015 Silver Medals for Composition/Composer and Original Soundtrack Film&Television. Study of Piano and Theory with Leopold Godowsky III, nephew of George Gershwin, piano with Thomas A. Martin. Study of European Languages (Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish, French, ancient Greek) and Literature at Barnard College/Columbia University, New York. Study of cello, viola bassoon, organ, flute. Participated in NYU/ASCAP Buddy Baker Film Scoring Workshop, New York University. Study of Latin American Literature at Connecticut College. Susan has conducted the Berliner Symphoniker, Studio Ensemble of New York Philharmonic, various studio recording ensembles in Berlin and Italy, Choir The Art of Contrast (Berlin), Neuma/Ensemble for Medieval Music (Berlin), and various church and studio choirs. Has toured as assistant musical director and orchestrator for musicals in USA and across Europe. Vocal coach for Star Search television show, Germany.
Performances in venues such as Berliner Philharmonie, ICC Berlin, Woolsey Hall, Lincoln Center, Goodpeed-at-Chester, Theater of St. George’s College, Buenos Aires, Nikolaisaal, Potsdam (Germany). Performed private Gershwin recital at the Godowsky Estate in New England. Has written many scores for popular primetime television series and movies broadcast in Europe and the Americas. Her feature films have been shown in international cinemas and at festivals such as Comiccon, Cannes, Berlinale, Fantasia Film Festival, Filmfest Hamburg and Filmfest Oldenburg. Currently producing and composing for film projects in her own music production studios in southern Italy. Member of the Faculty of Classical Piano, Accademia Musicale Cameristi di Laos, Santa Maria del Cedro, Italy.

 

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Salvatore Sangiovanni.
born 14 August 1980 in Praia a Mare, Italy.
Concert pianist, jazz pianist, composer, educator.
Winner, Global Music Awards 2015 Silver Medals for Composition/Composer and Original Soundtrack Film&Television. Education: The Royal School of London, Diploma in Piano Performance, as well as private study of piano performance with Maestro José Lepore, following the pianistic school of Claudio Arrau. Currently working towards Doctorate in Concert Piano Performance and historical performance techniques with Gianmaria Bonino at the Conservatorio di Alessandria, Italy.
Master class in jazz piano performance with Michael Camilo (Juilliard).
Winner of 15 international piano competitions. Participated in master classes in orchestration, Russian piano technique, film music composition, and orchestration. Composed 4 original operas which have toured in Italy and Czech Republic. Jazz performances in concerts and festivals across Italy. 2015 USA concert premiere performing Liszt Sonata in B-minor and compositions of Susan DiBona in Gagnon Auditorium, Clinton, CT, USA. Performed private Gershwin recital at the Godowsky Estate in New England. Has conducted Orchestra Cameristi di Laos, Italy; Chamber Orchestra of Ostrava, Czech Republic; Chamber Orchestra Città di Priverno, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Calabria.Besides performing virtuoso classical piano repertoire and jazz, he currently works as a film composer for various documentaries, shorts, and features for Italian independent productions and national TV. Founder and Artistic Director of the state-accredited Accademia Musicale Cameristi di Laos, Santa Maria del Cedro, Italy, associated with Conservatory of Music of Alessandria.
I spoke to the composers about MAD MACBETH.

How did you become involved with MAD MACBETH?
Domiziano de Cristopharo, with whom we have worked on various projects (including Mad Macbeth, Pieces of Me, etc), called us and asked if we were interesting in scoring this film.
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Your score is very dark in its sound and style, were you given any specific instructions by the Director as to what route you should take musically? –

He gave us some references to 80s and 90s films, but for the most part, we were allowed lots of creative space. We see the score as an homage to those action movies done by composers such as Basil Poledouris, Cannon Films productions, Vangelis, hairspray heavy metal, plus old action and crime shows we used to watch on TV. There’s a lot of irony in it.
There is also the use of guitar within the score, did you and Susan perform on the soundtrack and What size orchestra did you utilise and what percentage of the score was performed by synths?
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We performed every bit ourselves. The only actual instruments are flute and voice, the rest are samples and synths.

How much time did you have to complete the score? –
We finished the score in 10 days, plus 2 days of mixing. The film is about 90 minutes long, and our actual score contains over 80 minutes of music! The harmonic structure was improvised to the film in real time, all first takes from start to finish, then we went back over it, taking turns like a game, and added more layers of instrumentation as we saw fit. It was probably the most fun we’ve ever had in the studio.

 

 

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TALKING TO COMPOSER PASCAL ESTEVE.

 

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Can I start by asking what would you say inspired you to become a composer?

I was inspired very early by the music of cinema because one of my aunts had a cinema in the south of France. From an early age I went into this huge room and I watched the same movie several times. I was seven years old. When I went home, the music of the film went through my head, I went to the piano and played it. Very quickly, I felt the need to imagine another music, the desire to compose began at that time.

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Was film music always a career you wanted to pursue or were you just wanting a career in music and film music became part of this?

Music was everything that mattered to me. I wanted to live this art and could not imagine doing anything else. I only thought about it and spent most of my time working on my piano, doing scales like everything else. Whole hours. I worked my instrument up to ten hours a day. After having taught, I decided to compose because I felt the need to be creative and not just to remain an interpreter.

 

 

 

What musical education did you have and did you focus upon one area or areas of music whilst training?

I had a very classical education. I studied piano and harmony with Jeanne Vidal who was a pupil of daisy Long then returned to the conservatory in Toulouse and finally in Paris with Aldo Ciccolini. There were, of course, classes of harmony, that of chamber music. But the piano remained the essence of my concerns.

Were any of your family musical at all?

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Unfortunately I was the only one to make music. My father was a regular soldier and I think he’s always been disappointed that I’m not following his path. I was basically encouraged by my mother, besides, my father never came to support me when I was competing and was not going to see the films for which I composed the music. The strangest thing about all this is that as far back as I can remember I’ve always heard music in my head.
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Would you say that contemporary film music is less melodic or not as theme based as movie scores from the 1970’s and back to the 1960’s?

Contemporary film music may be less thematic than that of the 70s or even the 60s. That said, I think there are styles of music that go with the times. Nowadays it can be less or more minimalist. I think for example of the beautiful music written by Michel Legrand. As beautiful as they are, they are representative of a cinema of another era.

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Are there any film music composers or indeed musical artists that you find particularly interesting and for what reasons?

There are many yes! It is always a delicate question because to name names is also to forget. But I find for example the work of Ennio Morricone exemplary. He is an immense composer, one of whom immediately recognizes his style, although he has evolved and adapted throughout his career. There is also Gabriel Yared who still signs remarkable orchestrations, Philippe Glass who was the first to introduce a repetitive structure. Iglesias who works a lot with Pedro Almodovar is a very good writing technician in that he really has the orchestration skills. Its invoice is always elegant and efficient and fits perfectly to the image. I also really like the melodic potential of Georges Delerue. Moreover, shortly after composing the music of Yvonne’s perfume, Colette Delerue phoned me spontaneously in the middle of the night (she called me from Los Angeles) to tell me how much my musical writing reminded her of her Husbands music. It had touched me so much that the companion of such a musician calls me to tell me that. It’s a nice memory

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When you begin to work on a movie, what is the first order of practise for you, by this I mean do you like to develop a central theme or do you work on smaller cues before creating the main core theme?

When I’m working on a film I’m not necessarily trying to establish a main theme or secondary themes. I do not have a method or recipe for that. The music imposes itself suddenly and completely. I do not hear a melody that I will harmonize but the whole in its total structure. This is a pretty difficult process because it can happen for hours without anything coming as it can come right away.

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How much time do you like to be given to write a score for a movie, or is every project different?

Mostly we have five to six weeks to complete the score, but this kind of exercise is rare. I think that all the composers wish to have a maximum of time but this is far from being the case in France. Often we only get five or six weeks to write the music and carry out the orchestration. This may be sufficient depending on the content of the orchestral score. For example, writing the score of Confidences too intimate took me three weeks. But being in a state of emergency is good. I wrote my first music for the feature film in three weeks as well. I did not have any more delays because the music had to be written originally by Michael Nyman and the studio recording date being fixed, I had to work day and night to deliver 40 minutes of orchestrated music with several themes and music styles. I happened to have more time, to be part of the project when the film was not yet shot as for THE Widow of Saint Peter. This allowed me to start writing on the screenplay,

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I think your first scoring assignment was in 1991 when you wrote the music for a short entitled DE L’AUTRE COTE DU PARC how did you become involved on the movie?

DE L’AUTRE COTE DU PARC , was not my first short film. At the time I was taking drama lessons and a student of the course told me that one of his friends had just finished his film and was looking for a composer. We met and then reworked another project for which I had asked Ivry Gitlis to perform the score of the solo violin. A kind of rapsodie.
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THE WIDOW OF SAINT PIERRE was I think an interesting movie and your music helped it so much, what size orchestra did have for the movie and where did you record the score?

For the widow of Saint Peter the orchestra was quite important. A hundred musicians. It was an ambitious film with beautiful actors but the score should not in any way look like a Wagnerian orchestra. What counts is the way we write the orchestration and not the number of musicians. To give an example that everyone will be able to understand, in the second concerto of Rachmaninov the composer has shown economy of means. Apart from thirty strings, he uses wood and brass by two apart from horns and timpani. That’s all ! And it’s one of the most beautiful scores for piano and orchestra that has a phenomenal scale. Another example in his famous requiem, Mozart takes only thirty performers. It’s just wonderful because it’s remarkably well written. The main thing is that the music sounds great and that is the orchestration that gives this feeling of uniqueness and consistency. We can therefore obtain a certain power with a minimum number of performers
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You have worked with director Patrice Leconte on more than one movie, does he have a hands on approach when it comes to the music in his films or does he allow you a certain amount of freedom to things? the score before maybe suggesting?

We worked four times together. Patrice Leconte attaches great importance to music. Very soon he listens to music before shooting and sets the film with a temporary music as do a lot of directors. For him, music is essential to the narrative process of the film. Patrice gives indications and leaves free the composer, he is not elsewhere musician but simple music lover and knows how to stay in his place. That said it is very easy and pleasant enough to collaborate with a guy like him because he has a very precise idea of ​​what he wants. This avoids going in all directions. I remember working with a director who after three weeks of writing had phoned me in the middle of the night to ask me if the style of writing that he had asked me was finally a good choice!

I was looking at you credits and I noticed that you more or less stopped scoring movies in 2008, have you ceased working in film or are you focusing upon other genres of music at this time?
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It’s an embarrassing question. Writing for cinema requires total availability and phenomenal energy. My mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and I took care of my recently deceased godmother, who was also affected by this same disease. Today I finally recover my life.

What would you say was the purpose of music in film?

It depends on the film and the director but generally the music is the perfume of the film, the inside of the characters. In the image a comedian can say a sentence and think something else. The music can at that moment reveal what the character has in the head. It plunges us from the opening credits in the flesh of the film, it remains an essential element even if one can think that everything remains important in the cinematographic process. The music remains the inseparable couple image / sound. I think it’s because the music was in the days when the cinema was silent, the voice, the reflection but also the emotional actors.

 

 

Were any of your films tracked with a temp music track, if so do you think that this is helpful to the composer or do you think it is distracting?

I’m not bothered by this kind of exercise. To give you an idea, when you have a first feature film projected with the music of Michael Nyman who just had an Oscar for ‘the piano lesson’ and you have to rewrite the whole score, it is seasoned with fear. Temporary music, on the other hand, can help to give an indication, a color, an artistic direction. It gives the general mood, a kind of idea of ​​what might be appropriate. But be careful, you watch twice a sequence with a good temporary music, this is not a problem. But if you watch five or six times this sequence working perfectly, it will be very difficult to get used to other music for the editing team and sometimes for the director. This is the problem of some filmmakers or editors who can not get away from a temporary music. After a while, when the composer delivers the music written for the film, it can be perceived as a kind of lie … Fortunately I never had this kind of problem.

 

 

MAN ON A TRAIN is such an atmospheric score, I think I am right if I say you fused both symphonic and synthetic elements in the score, what is your opinion on the increased use of samples and synthesised sounds within scores?

For the score of Man on a Train I wanted to approach the composition in a completely different way. I did not want to start from a narrative idea to compose the music of this film even if in the end, there is a melody and a narration. I started from the idea that there is in this story, the meeting of two worlds totally opposed to each other. Two worlds that we find in the main characters. So I recorded Dobro guitar sequences that I cut and then glued as a puzzle while mixing them with a symphony orchestra. A bit like mixing the life of Johnny Hallyday and that of Jean Rochefort in the film. This is imposed on me from the reading of the scenario and it was validated by Patrice Leconte. Writing a totally “classical” score would have served the film. The tandem music image is extremely powerful. The same musical passage used on a different sequence will express an entirely different thing. Some images of staggered on the setting of the music give a different intention. What is needed above all is to stay right. Generally the sound design gives a lot of body to the score. It may be too much used systematically to “save” or to give a force that was not able to give the composer to the writing of the orchestra.

What is your principal instrument for working out your musical ideas?

My main instrument is my body. My emotional, my hyper sensitivity. I do not create music by putting my fingers on the keyboard. it is built from within, the paper, the keyboard are only the expression of the internal phenomenon of which I do not know the nature and which always surprises me.

 

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Do you orchestrate all of the music that you write, or are there times when you may use an orchestrator?

I never used an orchestrator and I do not know if I’ll be able to do that one day. I know that many do it to take more projects and earn more money also by subcontracting or even having musicians who write in their no. But it’s an important part of the creation that escapes them. I often see for scores released in the USA, three sometimes four orchestrators. The result is often good because they are great technicians of orchestral writing but one can wonder who is the father of the work? Who can really say who wrote The_Dark_Knight_This is a bit like asking Picasso to sketch out a drawing and Pissaro to put some color on it … Then there’s the overwhelming command and the the way to answer it is to delegate, it’s a kind of outsourcing. I do not understand how you can sign a job while using the work of others …

 

 

Have you a preferred studio where you record your music?

I really like to record in the Guillaume Tell studios, this former cinema turned into recording studios. In addition, it has a huge room that can accommodate large formations. There is a special atmosphere in this place.

There has been a lot of discussion amongst collectors about the use of the DRONE sound in film scores recently, is it music or is it sound design, and is it just a trend do you think?

This is a trend, I am sure.

 

 

How much of an impact on the score does the budget have?

Harmful. The film music budget remains the poor child of cinema in France. Producers really think about it once the film is found and if there have been significant overruns they are cutting back on the music budget. Many recognize how important music is, but they give little consideration to this position.

At what stage of the production do you like to become involved, does it help to have a script or is it better to become involved at the rough cut stage and how many times do you go over a movie before you begin to decide where music would be best placed?

We obviously can not know where the music will be placed on the image when reading a script. Generally this is chosen with the director. But editing a temporary music can also be put to the image for several reasons. On too intimate confidences Patrice Leconte and his editor had placed the music most often when the characters spoke of their past or their emotions. Very quickly I found that it did not really work and I took on me, placing the music when the actors were in their reflection. This was immediately validated by the director.

 
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Can you tell us what you are working on at the moment?

Currently I have just finished writing a book, a first novel which I also wrote adaptation for the cinema. I would be very happy to present this project to a young American director… I have just finished writing a play. I also wrote the music of a ballet. The cinema is starting to miss me a bit but I want to come back with a nice project!

 

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We are also missing Maestro Esteve, and I for one look forward to his return to scoring motion pictures, let us hope that a worthy project is waiting in the wings for him, so we can one again hear is eloquent and haunting themes and his emotive and atmospheric musical tones.