Here, is a piece of passionate and heroic music for a Salvadorian documentary about an historic man in this beautiful Central American country. I began to have an idea about what I would write when I began to combine two styles of music in my head: "All I Want Is You" by U2 (I’m a great fan!) and the soundtrack of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Neil Diamond that my mother had taken me to see when I was a child.
This is my submission to the TCM's Young Film Composer Competition, 2007. I worked on a 60 seconds excerpt of the initial movie, Beau Brummel. When I created this music, I was also preparing a radio program on French composers in the USA, and the difference between the Nouvelle Vague and its absolute lack of synchronization and the Hollywood taste for extreme synchronisation. Thus, I decided to make music with a high level of synchronization. I put markers at each meaningful movement in the image and organized the music around those markers. The idea of the short samba rhythm for instance at 0'51'', comes from the markers I put on the film at this moment, with a percussion sound, that I looped to find a musical notion... and the musical notion came from the very rhythm created by these markers, that is to say from the image itself!
A great classical piece of music from the French 20th century repertoire: the First Gymnopédie by Erik Satie. As every piece of music of Satie, its very simple but full of mystery. I had the guitar riff looping in my mind and wanted to develop the richness of this music, creating a more explicit version. It turned out to be a piece of love and tenderness (3'20'').
As the closing credits theme for a lively arts TV program, I wanted this theme to sound like a meditative rest, in order to let the program viewer think over what they have been watching in a distant and reflective way. The music had to be light, playful but minimalist (just one note at the time is played, requiring only the right hand on the piano).
Crossroads, a movie by Salvatore Petrosino, New-York. The introductive theme played on basso continuo, orchestra and choir, is the theme for the main character. This protagonist evolves from having wounded and imploring behaviour to having a joyful and cured life, which is depicted through the music that starts off imploringly and finishes expressing deep happiness.. The text, "kyrie eleisson", ("Lord, Have Mercy") refers to characters in the Bible imploring God to have mercy on them. Indeed, this expression has been used many times in religious music. Here, it links the main character's theme to its religious implication, and his sorrow.
Crossroads, a movie by Salvatore Petrosino, New-York. In this scene, Dom, the main character, is having an argument with a priest, having been asked to bear the cross in his town’s Good Friday procession. Dom explains how upset he feels with God who has "punished" him by giving him a son with an inability to speak properly. Here, the music follows the ebbs and flows of the conversation, including when they are paused in thought thinking of their next response. The music mirrors and echoes this pattern. I wanted to create a growing tension through the music that climaxes with... silence. This silence, that falls at the end of Dom's speech gives his voice so much more presence and tension than it would have had without the music. With that in mind, I made music that, with its inner tension and build, could work as an introduction to the main theme, defining the main character.
Crossroads. The mysterious story of the crucifix is being told. The music aims to envelop the speech with mystery and increase the tension as the story reveals that the crucifix has a strange power over human beings, which is expressed via the experience of the main character at the end of the movie. In order to reach that feeling of mystery, the best choice for me was to mix harp and dim brass, sustained by a light line of violins, to add a hypnotic dimension.
Crossroads. Dom meets with the crucifix he is supposed to bear for the Good Friday procession. He feels impressed because its tall and looks heavy. The cross is supposed to have had a special effect on people who had lost their faith in life. The scene is an introduction to the main closing scene where Dom will have a special experience with the cross. Tension arises again as his moments of contemplation are interrupted by the priest talking to him. Tension rendered, in my music, by a tiny and yet continuous presence of wood and choirs.
Crossroads. The "crucial" scene of the movie, when Dom, the main character, is reliving the experience of Christ bearing the cross and nearly being crucified. No external sound or sound effect can be heard. Only the music. It had to be full, excessive, and of course, it had to work strongly clearly with Dom’s character theme that has already been developed through the movie so far.
Crossroads. A light musical interlude as Dom, the main character, is leaving the church, after the quarrel. The music harmonically closes the scene, as relief is required after the tension of the quarrel that reveals the mains character's pain in life.
Crossroads. The main character went to see his son acting in a play at the school's theatre. Just before the curtains lift, he sees a disabled boy in the audience. The music focuses on some piano notes, reflecting weakness and despair, because the scene is touching the character's pain, as he sees his son as a disabled boy too. When the curtain rises, his son appears on the stage, and watches his father leaving the theatre because he fears everyone will see his son as disabled, just as he does. Here, the music utilises the string orchestra to join both characters in pain.
Crossroads. The main character has been through a traumatic experience, and then wakes up and feels cured from his disease, which was looking at his life and his family as a punishment. Now, he welcomes his wife and his disabled son proudly and lovingly. The music nearly occupies all the sound design of this sequence, which is why I allowed myself (and with great pleasure!) to make a symphonic score. Its opening goes deeper in emotion in three steps. First, the violins play the introductory theme. Then, after a retained chord in the sharp notes, coloured with three successive chords from very nostalgic horns, violins come to make a counter voice, again in the sharp (where they had landed anyway), as the contrabasses take large chords of fifths. The tension between these two voices gives more sharpness and width to the emotion, with the central theme then played by the cellos, the perfect voice and warm texture for that kind of context. Finally, the second exposition of the variation opens on this large romantic and epic theme, that strangely reminds me of the Indiana Jones theme tune!!! The never-ending flutes give a shiny and everlasting dimension to the joy the main character has found back in his life. The final part, when strings alternatively re-expose the final chord, with timpani knocking on the tonic and the fifth, with the last chords finishing on a crescendo, was very much inspired by Abbado's (and Jessye Norman’s) version of the 3rd Symphony by Gustav Mahler. This is hardly surprising in this movie where a father learns again how to love life and his son, since Mahler's symphony moves from what Mahler calls "Nature" to the "Spirit", with the last part of the symphony called: "What Love Tells Me".
Pamela Robin's "Al Séptimo Día" (On the Seventh Day). The opening scene shows a man and a woman having sex in a motel room. The women is bored and desperate with her life and her fears... she is also distracted watching a spider walking on the wall near the roof. The opening music sets a revolving, weak and obsessive theme, with the very first notes, conveying the boredom and desperation she is feeling. This theme will follow her during the movie and evolve with her transformation.
A very special moment in the movie "Al Séptimo Día" (On the Seventh Day). The main character is in the bathroom, facing herself and her fears in a mirror. I chose to set this to a very light music with few instruments, including using the piano as the sole main instrument, with the light touch of the bells. It is a very introspective, personal theme.
Al Séptimo Dia. The main character wakes up during the night and walks across her room in order to do some research online. The music uses the character's theme song in a light and mysterious way. The light bells, a fundamental part of the character's musical theme, also remind us of the sound and ting of soft bells that can make children fall asleep, and therefore reinforces the night-time scene in the room.
Al Septimo Dia, by Pamela Robin. In this scene, the main character, Paola, is revealing to her friends that she has cancer. She is worried about dying and at the same time is thanking her friends for their friendship and thanking life for what it has given to her until now. This music is meant to be heard as if it came from the back of the room, from far away. The guitar accompanies Paola's voice, in its weakness, as the piano brings forth the kind of hug that friendship is giving to Paola in this scene.