LETTERS IN FREEDOM
Three extremely respectable friends are sending me messages full of tender curiosity.
I am working on three new different movies and from here I try to tell you what cannot be explained
FOUR – THEME OR NO THEME…THIS IS THE QUESTION
The director – let’s call him “A.” – requires 2 pieces, maybe 3 for the whole movie, and they have to be different among themselves. In addition, a 4-5 minutes piece for closing credits is required.
Normally what A. thinks is the same I think and feel. We have been working together for a long time and we do understand each other. The movie is curt, harsh, concise. Dramatic. I owe A. a lot. I’ve learned so much from him, maybe he doesn’t even know how much and what he has taught me about cinema.
The first piece (I quote A.’s words) “has not to be a comment, it has to create “complicity” with the story”. This is what happens: at about half movie there is a character, a woman, telling another character, a man, a story. It is a long monologue, quietly recalled – she is remembering, she is recalling an event dating back to many years before – a strange events sequence, the listener is more and more curious and upset by the story…
Now what I tell you does not mean we superficially decide how and where to arrange music etc. We have watched his movie together, twice. I have watched it again alone as I got a copy. We have extensively discussed about the movie, about how it is, what it provokes, if I liked it and why. Without saying a single word about music. We both knew what the movie would have needed.
The music participation is a very emotional one, as you might have understood. It’s delicate. It is not a big movie where you need violins. Maybe there will not even be violins, nor cellos. The sound will be whispered and limited. That’s it. It is a matter of strictness and I don’t feel ashamed to say it is also a matter of authenticity, of truth.
Truth meant as lack of rhetoric, nothing is ready-made.There is just discretion, discretion, discretion.
It is necessary to outline some fragments with something more that only sounds used in a certain way do have. In this perspective, interpretation, that is to say the execution, is crucial. Maybe a small ensemble, all solo artists, will play the score…
We have decided not to use any music piece for closing credits. Opening credits will be on the scene and some music could perfectly fit, but we agree that it is definitely better if the movie simply starts without any curtain or framework. The music is not aware of what the movie is to tell nor wants or can pretend to or mislead through a piece telling something to distract the audience attention from what is going to happen.
In this case music is not all-knowing. I mean if I write a music, a theme, be it nice or not, and I place it in the opening credits, then you listen to it again six or seven times even reorchestrated or in different versions, then I betray both the movie and the story. This is not the movie we are facing.
It is likely, or actually sure, that the film score will not be one to be whistled or softly sung when leaving the movie theatre…
This is part of the work of a cinema composer too, being able to step aside with conviction. You can not always have a big orchestra, loud and constant music, restless, and following the whole story or hitting images with pedantict illusory cleverness…
So the first piece…
Yes, it could be a theme. But it has to get into the character tale…made of events far back in time…it is not worth thinking whether it will be a melody or, better, a theme, it has not to charm the listener… The expected quality is suggested by a poem by Giulio Caproni, the great poet from Leghorn…
“Mia mano, fatti piuma:
fatti vela; e leggera
muovendoti sulla tastiera,
sii cauta. E bada, prima
di fermare la rima,
che stai scrivendo d’una
che fu viva e fu vera.
Tu sai che la mia preghiera
è schietta, e che l’errore
è pronto a stornare il cuore.
Sii arguta e attenta: pia.
Sii magra e sii poesia
se vuoi essere vita.
E se non vuoi tradita
la sua semplice gloria,
sii fine e popolare
come fu lei – sii ardita
e trepida, tutta storia
gentile, senza ambizione.
Allora sul Voltone,
ventilata in un maggio
di barche, se paziente
chissà che, con la gente,
non prenda aire e coraggio
anche tu, al suo passaggio.
And this is the music.
The sax is played by Pasquale Laino, wooden xylophone is played by Vittorino Naso, the accordion is played by Fabio Ceccarelli. Three precious friends and musicians I am very attached to and to whom I owe much. I have played the piano.
Ciao and see you next time.