Tag Archives: GERRIT WUNDER

DEAD MEN.

 
deadddd

I had read a few reviews on this score before writing my own. Many critics compared the composers style to the music that appeared in Italian westerns during the 1960’s and the 1970’s, and although I agree to a certain extent I feel that the musical score for DEAD MEN by Gerrit Wunder, is an original work, of course there are many slices of instrumentation and also sounds that will probably evoke memories of the Spaghetti western era, but honestly this is an original and innovative score for an exciting and at times unusual western. It certainly is not expansive in the sense that it has Copeland-ish, Bernstein or Moross qualities (as in the big country or the magnificent seven) and neither does it boast great sweeping themes, but there is an attraction and a quality to this score that certainly is appealing. The composer utilises an interesting percussive line up and adds to the mix driving and ominous sounding strings which move the score along at pace and add a certain amount of tension and apprehension to its overall sound. If I were to compare it to any other western score I think I would be inclined to say that DEAD MEN is more akin to HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER rather than anything that either Morricone or Nicolai penned for the Spaghetti westerns, in fact it also has affiliations with the style of Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, with their folk/country sounds that were blended with a dramatic style. DEAD MEN has a dark and sinister musical persona, which is relayed via Wunder’s effective use of both percussion and woods which is utilised to underline scenes that include the Apache Indians in the storyline. The composer also makes an effective use of guitar which is featured throughout in one form or another, the instrument can at times be soft and calming and also have to it an almost bluesy or folk orientated sound, but occasionally it takes on a more sinister sound and creates an ominous or uneasy mood. I suppose it is a little like the harmonica in Once Upon A Time in the West, where Ennio Morricone takes a traditional sounding western instrument or a harmless instrument that is associated with the western genre and gives it teeth as it were, twisting and mutating its sound so that it purveys a more threatening identity. Brass too is woven into the work which is blaring and rasping at key points when the action gets into full swing, the composer combines this with percussive elements and relentlessly forthright strings to underline and support the many action sequences within the movie. DEAD MEN is an interesting score, its not your normal western soundtrack, but this by no means detracts from its quality and its effectiveness within the movie and its ability to remain entertaining away from the images on screen. Gerrit Wunder, has scored a handful of movies and each project he has been involved with has benefitted from his talent and ability to successfully enhance and support the images and the storyline without being intrusive, his scores for KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK and CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL both being wonderful examples of what many refer to as being proper film music.

dead

 
For DEAD MEN the composer employs three differing styles, there is a more country music sound and the music that represents the Native Americans which is mysterious and at the same time melancholy. Then the more traditional side of things highlighted by using the strings, percussion and brass. DEAD MEN tells the story of a young man who sets off on a journey to find his Fathers killers with vengeance on his mind and at the same time finds himself trying to protect the Apache tribe that he has grown to love and cherish and fights to re-claim the land and the gold on that land that has been taken from them. It is a nonstop action western, and one that I am sure will become a firm favourite amongst audiences. The score too is an enriching and enjoyable listening experience. One for your collection, available on Spotify and also soon to be released on to compact disc by Kronos Records.

Gerrit Wunder. Talking to the Composer.

Austrian born composer Gerrit Wunder studied classical composition, jazz composition, music technology and film music at the University of Music in Vienna and holds a masters degree in composition. As a freelance and award-winning film- and TV composer, he writes and produces music for major European and American film productions, TV stations and commercials.
image_gerrit-wunder-image

 

Both KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK and
CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL are shorts less than 30 mins in
duration, you however wrote quite a lot of music, so is the
music continuous in both movies and is it more of a
difficult task scoring films that have a short running time
as opposed to say a full-length feature?


Exactly, both movies are scored wall to wall and because of that they felt like full length features to me while working on them. Also the production value is relatively high on both films and they really felt and looked like full length features. Let me put it this way – I have scored movies with running times of over 100 minutes with shorter scores and less thematic material.

What size orchestra did you use for
KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, I ask this because it sounds
quite large at times, with choir in places, some wonderful
brass passages and I love the way you utilise harpsichord
effect and create an atmosphere that is not unlike the music
that we associate with Hammer horror films from years ago,
and at times it is quite Omen like in its style and
sound?

kissthedevilinthedark

Thank you very much, I love Jerry Goldsmith’s scores for „The Omen“ movies. The music budget on both films was relatively high for short films but of course not enough for getting a full sized orchestra. That is why we recorded in sections, meaning we added a group of string players (violins, violas, cellos, basses) and a group of brass players (horns, trombones) to my programmed orchestra. The choir, the percussion and all the rest is just me in my studio. We recorded at Megatrax Studios in North Hollywood with recording engineer Preston Shepard. It is a great location for recording smaller sized orchestras.

What musical education and training
did you receive, and what instrument did you concentrate
upon whilst training?

I studied classical composition, film music, jazz piano and arrangement at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria and hold a masters degree in composition. My instruments are piano, violin and the viola. Although I began studying music fairly early in my life, I personally don’t think that it is important to have a profound musical or classical education in order to become a good composer. Education definitely has pros and cons. The more one studies the more one tends to compose with the brain – but the most important thing is writing music with your heart and soul. Music is emotion. It took me a few years after earning my degrees to re-learn how to compose with my gut again not so much with my brain and knowledge.

poster-6

 

Was writing for movies always
something that you wanted to do and what would you say was
your earliest recollection of any kind of music?

My father, who is a music teacher, tells me that at age four I’d be climbing on the kitchen table, pretending to conduct whenever he was playing Strauss’ „Also Sprach Zarathustra“ on his sound system in the living room.
I was fourteen or fifteen when I first wanted to become a film-composer. But it took me quite a few years to finally end up in Los Angeles, where I reside since five years. Austria’s film business is very small and there are not many opportunities.

unnamed

How much time were you given to score
CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL, and how many times did you watch
the movie before you began to get a fixed idea about what
music you would compose and where the music would be
placed?

I think I had a few weeks for each of the movies. Maybe 2-3 weeks to compose the score and do mockups (computer versions of the score for the filmmakers to listen to) and then another week to produce the score, which means doing the orchestral recordings and the mixes.

19188

Rupert Gregson Williams was credited
for writing the score for POSTMAN PAT THE MOVIE, what was
your involvement on the soundtrack?

I have worked with Rupert a few times so far and am very thankful for that. He is an excellent and experienced composer and great human being. On „Postman Pat – You’re The One“ I contributed some cues to the score, mostly the chase music. My credit was „additional music composer“.

You have worked on many documentaries,
what would you say were the main differences between scoring
a documentary as opposed to working on a motion picture?

Well, that definitely depends on the documentary. I don’t really make a huge difference between those genres myself while writing and treat everything pretty much on a case by case basis. For some documentaries I worked on, especially on some nature documentaries, I sometimes got the opportunity to compose orchestral hybrid tracks that did not differ much from typical feature film scores. Then, on other documentaries, the music was supposed to be more sparse and not so „emotional“ or tense – but really, it totally depends on the films. It varies greatly.

You were also involved on shows such
as Dancing stars, were you musical director and arranger on
this?

large_image_gerrit_wunder

Yes, I spent the first few years of my career as the music arranger for the Austrian version of „Dancing With The Stars“. We had a 30 piece live orchestra on the show every week and I arranged well known songs in all different kinds of dance-styles . It was a lot of fun.

Are there any composers in film music
or indeed classical music that you think have inspired you
or influenced the way in which you might approach a
project?

Yes of course. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sergej Prokofiev, Elliot Goldenthal, Ennio Morricone and of course John Williams, just to name a few. I love many works by Hans Zimmer and most admire his ability to reinvent himself and always stay fresh and cutting edge sounding. This is for sure one big principle of mine. One can not always achieve it – depending on the filmmaker’s needs and wishes – but that’s definitely a „leitmotif“ in my own work.

When working on a movie how do you
bring your musical ideas to fruition, by this I mean do you
use piano, write straight to manuscript, or use a more up to
date method or maybe a mix of all three?

carlee%20baker%20in%20creatures%20of%20whitechapel

Well, I tend to compose all the main thematic materials and musical motifs on the piano and write it down using pencil and paper. Then I usually type the material into „Sibelius“, a music notation software program and print out those pages full of ideas. Once completed, I sit down in my studio in front of all my computers and use this material to compose, orchestrate and mockup the whole score directly in my DAW (digital audio workstation), so I can properly play all the cues for the director to give feedback.

 

 

I am glad to say that both KISS THE
DEVIL IN THE DARK and CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL are available
for collectors, did you have any involvement in the
compilation of the music tracks for both releases?

Yes, I sent Mikael Carlsson, the album producer, my suggestions. He then brought in a few of his ideas and that was it. But since there was only 30 minutes of score in each of the films, we ended up using almost every cue.

6bc1c8d825cccb2f6dbc4efe3b7f8264

Johnathan Martin directed both KISS
THE DEVIL IN THE DARK and CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL, did he
have any specific instructions as to what style or sound
that he wanted for his movies and was there a temp track on
either of the movies to act as a guide?

Well, Jonathan doesn’t use temp music, which is a great choice. But he of course had his ideas in terms of style and sound. He loves it „big“ and loves Richard Wagner. Of course we did not want to sound „dated” and so I tried to create my own modern sounding hybrid horror movie score for each of the films.

Do you conduct at all, or do you
prefer to supervise the recording of a score from the
control box also do you or have you performed on any of your
scores?

Yes, I always perform on my own scores – mostly keyobards, piano, harpsichord and violins/volas or electric violins. I know how to conduct and have done it before but am not very good at it, nor do I like it very much. I definitely prefer sitting in the booth supervising the recording whenever the situation and budget allows. Thank goodness my good friend and collaborator on certain projects, William T. Stromberg, is a fantastic (grammy nominated) conductor.

Do you orchestrate all your music for
film, or at times is there no time for this because of
deadlines etc. And you use an orchestrator?

Yes, I have composed and orchestrated all of my scores by myself so far.

 

You completed your score for a western DEAD MEN, can you tell us something about the film or the score?

Rupert Gregson-Williams, whom I had been working with in the past, introduced me to director Royston Innes. Rupert thought I would be the right fit for this movie. Royston and I got along really well from the beginning.

Did the director have a clear idea of what style or sound he wanted for the movie?

There were not many temp tracks used, but Royston was specific in what he wanted. He wanted a raw, dark sound – more of a modern version of the old “Italian Western” sound versus the “Americana sound”. Very suspenseful, propulsive and dark at times. Royston’s notes were always very helpful, and we sort of developed this sound together. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning until we found it.

 

What size orchestra did you utilise for the score?

We had a small brass- as well as a small strings section for certain cues. We had the fabulous Chris Bleth playing all sorts of Native American and ethnic woodwinds and James Roberson playing all guitars, dobros and mandolins. I played all solo viola and electric viola parts as well as weird plucked strings and prepared pianos.

How much time did you have to compose the score and where did you record it?

I think I had about 3-4 months to finish the score. We recorded the ensembles at Megatrax in North Hollywood and the single players at my studio in Santa Monica as well as Rupert’s studio at Remote Control Productions.

 

What is on the Horizon for you work wise?

 

geritt I refrain from talking too much about not completed or not yet released projects because anything can happen at any given time in this crazy and most adventurous business we are working in. At the end of the day no one ever knows what tomorrow will bring.

CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL.

 

 

19188

 

Another wonderful release from Movie Score Media, and yet again it is a score that most probably would not have seen the light of day if it were not for this now renowned soundtrack label. The film is an interesting take on the Frankenstein story. Set in the squalid and eerie Victorian London of 1888, we see Jack the Ripper causing terror and mayhem stalking the streets of the fog shrouded Metropolis killing and dismembering the victims so that She can supply her Master Dr. Frankenstein with the vital organs and body parts for the unspeakable creation that he is hoping to bring to life. The attacks that Jack is carrying out become high profile and the authorities and the inhabitants of Whitechapel are becoming increasingly aware that it is Frankenstein who is behind them, thus Jack is sent to do one last dire deed and obtain one last but vital part that will give life to the creature. This is a somewhat perverse and twisted slant on Mary Shelley’s infamous tale and brings together some of the most iconic figures in Horror history in a fashion that has never been imagined before. Directed by Jonathan Martin who also was responsible for another recent short film KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, he is a multi-award winning film maker who gained much recognition for his work on the short film AN EVENING WITH MY COMATOSE MOTHER. 2016 has been a particularly busy year for Martin as he worked on both KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL and a handful of music videos which included MY ETERNITY, DEMONS, and GRAVITY. The musical score for CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is the work of composer Gerrit Wunder who also scored KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK which was released earlier this year by Movie Score Media. Like his previous score for director Martin, CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is a fusion of both symphonic and electronic styles, but saying this I am of the opinion that the symphonic approach and content definitely has the upper hand, the composer making effective use of strings and percussive elements throughout and fashioning a chilling and tense work that for me anyway evokes the sounds of both the Hammer horror classics and those marvellously atmospheric Universal filmic masterpieces with the now iconic monsters such as The Wolf man, Dracula and Frankenstein’s creature from the 1930,s and 1940,s. CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL I personally feel is more of a developed and structured score than KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, there is more thematic material present and the composer seems to have created a far more robust and powerful sound and style for this particular assignment. There is a darkness present that is laced with hints of romanticism throughout, with the composer providing the film with some elegant and haunting moments some of which are performed on harpsichord and solo violin.

geritt

It is an accomplished and polished work that is an interesting listen and a pleasurable one too. The release opens with the swirling and highly tense cue CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL which is the opening theme for the film, the composer seems to have put everything into this piece, racing timpani, booming percussion, driving strings and fierce, intense sounding brass, which open the score wonderfully and prepare us for what is to follow. Track number two is an interesting piece, LONDON 1888 JACK THE RIPPER also has a kind of sweeping or swirling persona to it, strings again are the main stay instrumentation, with sporadic flourishes from harpsichord, and punctuation stabs being supplied by the brass section, there is also a brief appearance at the start of the cue of choir or at least breathy voices, which add a foreboding and chilling element to the composition. The composer also weaves an organ into the proceedings that is eventually overwhelmed by hissing and driving strings that end in a crescendo that is filled with apprehension and dread. The composer employs an almost classical approach within several of the cues, by this I mean the orchestration evokes the style of Bach or at times has hints that could be associated with Mozart, which cannot be a bad thing. The score for THE CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is superbly rich and darkly alluring, it also has some highly effective action led interludes which as I have already stated do at times have a certain affiliation with the style and sound that has become associated with the films of the Hammer studios and created by composers such as James Bernard, Don Banks, and their like. The work is also augmented and further supported by the use of choir which it self brings a sense of urgency and impending doom to the soundtrack. There is however a style and sound present that is fresh and original and the various styles when fused and combined all complement each other and work as one to go into the creation of a score that is excellently thematic but at the same time highly atmospheric and affecting. This is one to add to your collection. Do not miss this release.

Creatures of Whitechapel
Screamworks Records
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Format: Digital
Music From
Creatures of Whitechapel (2016) [Short Film]
Music By
Gerrit Wunder

Available from
Screamworks Records Website

Track Listing
1.
Creatures of Whitechapel
1:41
2.
London 1888: Jack the Ripper
2:52
3.
Bring Me a Heart
3:22
4.
Dinner for Two
4:05
5.
Streets of London / Capturing Mary
3:03
6.
Frankenstein’s Laboratory
3:34
7.
Love Remembers
2:16
8.
Sonata for Harpsichord
3:25
9.
We Are Gods Now
1:37
10.
All This for What?
1:25
11.
Such a Beauty
3:10

Total Album Time:
30:30

KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK.

KISS THE DEVIL

I hope that like some collectors I am not blinkered or anti when it comes to new composers, after all if we did not listen to the likes of Brian Tyler, John Ottman and others of this generation where would film music be now. I am always pleased to see a new release from Movie Score Media or their Scream works label as it invariably will be by a lesser known composer or a completely new one. The Screamworks latest release is KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, music by Austrian born composer Gerrit Wunder. Wunder studied classical composition and also jazz composition at the University of Vienna where he also studied, music technology and film music. He has written music for a number of major European and American film productions and also writes for TV stations and commercials. He worked with veteran composer Mike Post in the States on LAW AND ORDER and also collaborated with Rupert-Gregson Williams on POSTMAN PAT-THE MOVIE and is now involved in scoring a new western TV mini series DEAD MEN. The score for KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, is not your typical horror score, yes it is dark and at times sinewy, gothic sounding and creepy but it also holds within it a more romantic and richly melodic side. The composer utilising strings, brass, percussion and also choir to great effect, there is also a slightly upbeat and hauntingly affecting side to this work with solo violin creating an off beat and rather unsettling mood. I love the way in which the composer creates a dark and somewhat foreboding atmosphere but alongside this he intermingles a melodic and reassuring musical persona. This for me is a score that evokes the works of past Horror score masters such as Les Baxter, James Bernard and to a degree Harry Robinson, by this I mean yes it is a horror score but it also contains a lushness and a lavishly romantic sound that is fragile and delicate. In some ways it also reminds me of the early works of composer Christopher Young as in HELLRAISER and also HAUNTED SUMMER.  I can also hear a style that is not dissimilar to the one employed by  Daniel Licht  on CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT. Wunder also utilises  harpsichord giving the score a chill and a spidery sounding effect which sends shudders up ones back when listening to it. There are tender and subtle tone poems interwoven into the score which appear as is from nowhere, adding mystery and an atmosphere of mysticism to it. The end theme is particularly attractive again Les Baxter comes to mind with a lilting theme performed over a slightly upbeat backing.  An accomplished work and one which I highly recommend, this is a must for any self respecting soundtrack collector.