LETTERS IN FREEDOM
THREE – I ADMIT I AM AT A DEAD END
I admit I am at a dead end.
My small project to tell you about the path of a composer – me – from being employed to the end of the composition and recording of a film score, now seems very difficult to me, or greater than my storytelling skills are.
What I mean is that focusing on such a complex and imponderable process such as creation itself, makes me find very it difficult to write about it. My years of educational experiences are not enough to describe such a process, since my direct contact and the time I have spent with composers and sometimes listeners who are not musicians, is different from a written description, of course.
I should provide such a number of audio examples or movie clips to explain the countless composition options, to show how dramaturgic and music issues have been faced and solved throughout the history of applied music and words would be too many or too few to do so. There are many shades and it is complicated to describe what a composer perceives when making certain choices, it is definitely a fascinating but extremely arduous topic. Talking about the reason why a theme is picked and one is not, how can you do that without listening to everything that came to one’s mind, eventually developed until choosing just one theme because it’s the only possible one? Or, on the contrary, excluding any theme presence, be it because in your opinion the movie does not need it or because the director does not want any theme. How can one generically describe this process without showing different scenes from a movie to understand why there is no theme? What is meant by “non-theme”? Is it random music? Is it without a theme? Is it coloristic music?
As I’ve already said, to me writing for a movie is not different from writing “absolute music” – to use an expression coined by Ennio Morricone to define music conceived with total freedom, without a final application. The difference is that my ideas are triggered and influenced by the images messages, that is to say by a movie subject, by the way that story has been translated into images, by the acting mode, by the chosen or achieved director’s cut. Many elements make up and contribute to the creation of the real core for music inspiration. Which hopefully arrives…
But then…in the end I would have shared a perspective, only one, mine. My method, the one influencing my sensitiveness, as well as anything my technique and knowledge make me express. It would be nice to see and understand the way and how much different music and composers with different backgrounds can face and interpret the same movie with approaches and conclusions incredibly far from each other.
Many years ago, in Paris, a three minutes movie was played and assigned to three composers who had to musically interpret it. The three composers were Francis Lai, Michel Legrand ed Ennio Morricone. Legendary musicians. The short movie showed Paris waking up, from the sunrise on the empty city to its gradual rising. Ennio Morricone told me that the musical parts written by his colleagues were beautiful, flowing, melancholic and full of joie de vivre, whereas his piece started with the orchestra tuning, the slow eventual harmonic construction the orchestra creates around the A note and then a bright and rich, in terms of timbre, orchestral movement started from here, filling the images.
Unfortunately I haven’t listened to those pieces but this is what I was earlier referring to: interpretation variations are countless and can all be extraordinary visions of the same thing.
If I find a way to keep talking about film score composition I hope I will find you here, listening and reading. In the meantime I would like to thank you and send you kind regards.
Here are three listening suggestions.
I was talking about three different composers. You can find below three scores they have written. Scores I do love and that well represent their composers and their related peculiarities.
End of Chapter Three