I am working on Comforting Skin right now, and this is an emotional, dark and unusual story. I am fortunate that I have been given an early start with the music so I have plenty of time, and I have a director who is given me the chance to live with it for a while before I get going.
So for the past couple of weeks I have been alternating between tons of listening, writing and thinking.
I love the chance to listen to things I have not yet had time to listen to.I am digging in the repertoire of Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Helmut Lachenmann, Hans Werner Henze, Jacob Druckman, some Ligeti and some Boulez. I am also taking the time to discover composers I had heard of, like George Rochberg, Georg Frederich Haas, Ulrich Leyedencker and Gerard Grisey.
As I listen to these composers my imagination gets stimulated and taken to new places. As a result I have done more than 30 short demos for the director, which has cemented the fact that we are on the same page.
The music in this film plays a very large and important role in the narrative. The film is very emotional and dark and unusual, and the director wished the music to be more avant-garde as well.
So I have spent a lot of time writing down my thoughts on the characters and the story. Just words sprinkled on paper, things like “delicate”, “tragic”, “fragile”, “unhinged”, digging and digging to clarify what the function of the music will be, because the music’s role is not so obvious in this film.
For me, these words are important; they clarify my goals for the score, the concepts I must reach. And once I find those few words that properly define the concept, I can easily write.
But without a clear goal for the concept of the score I would write without a clear purpose, only instinct. Sure, I do rely on my instincts, but I prefer to balance it with clear, identifiable goals.
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