Here’s the third instalment of my project to “re-imagine” some of my favourite movie scenes, with my own music instead of the original score. My first two have gotten quite a few very positive and constructive comments, and I’m pleased that people have taken the time to listen and give me such wonderful feedback! Thanks so much!
For my third outing, I decided I wanted to tackle something non-Western, to see how I would fare with some musical idioms that I wasn’t familiar with. It’s a task that’s handed to many a film score composer when the film takes place in an exotic locale. And to do it right, without “patronizing” the music and culture of the destination, is really quite difficult. But where to go? Well, I’ve always loved the sound of the Indonesian Gamelan … the shimmering, wonderfully out of tune quality that they build into the instruments purposefully, the huge wall of sound that 30 people banging on metal bells and gongs produces, and the intimidatingly complex circular playing structure that, as it turns out, is unique to gamelan composition. OK, there was the challenge, now, what movie? Well, in a twist of fate, after doing “Dead Poets Society” for my first film, I started reacquainting myself with my “Peter Weir Collection”, coming to the realization again (as I had years ago) that the talented Australian Filmmaker was (and is), at least as far as I was concerned, somewhere very close the pinnacle of filmmaking genius. His films are sprawling and gorgeous, a visual feast, made all the more luxurious because he has a slow and steady hand on the camera, letting shots linger so little details catch your eye. He’s also a master of the “… and the music swells …” moment that so few directors get right … a wee bit too over the top and it’s ham-handed, but not quite enough and it’s not the emotional bombshell that it could be … Mr. Weir has utterly perfected that balancing act (which, of course, relies just as heavily on the music swelling like it should, as on the deft visuals) – which is probably why after only 3 attempts, I’ve already done 2 Peter Weir films – he knows how to use film music in a very powerful way!