My favourite original soundtrack: John Parish, Will Gregory and Debbie Wiseman...
Filmic, a festival celebrating the intricate relationship between film and music starts in Bristol this week featuring talks and concerts by Philip Glass, The Jesus and Mary Chain's Douglas Hart and more. John Parish, Debbie Wiseman and Will Gregory are also among the artists appearing – all musicians with various associations with the cinematic. Here they talk us through their favourite soundtracks, and we offer a few of our own...
Musician John Parish on Ennio Morricone's Once Upon A Time In The West...
You could pick one of a number of Morricone's scores for Sergio Leone's westerns, the music and images are so inseparable, but I think this is my favourite. The majestic distorted guitar of the main theme, the loping banjo of ‘Addio a Cheyenne', the heartbreaking and unmistakably Morricone voices. Leone lets the music dictate the pace of the film and uses it to frame impossibly long, stunningly beautiful – and harsh – scenes. I can't think of a more symbiotic director/composer relationship.
John Parish is a British songwriter, best known for his collaborations with PJ Harvey. He will discuss and perform his upcoming ‘Screenplay' album at Filmic on 14 March...
Composer Debbie Wiseman on Max Steiner's Gone With The Wind...
The melody of 'Tara's Theme' is timeless – a soaring, romantic, heart-stopping theme that deserves its enduring appeal. I believe that a good film score should be a rounded, memorable, satisfying composition that effortlessly serves the film. It should have emotional directness and enhance the action on screen. The score is a powerful force in connecting the emotion of the film directly to the heart of the audience.
Debbie Wiseman MBE is a composer for film and television. Her work includes the 1997 film Wilde, and 2011 Channel 4 series The Promise. She performs selection of her compositions on piano in a rare live concert as part of Filmic on 14 March...
Goldfrapp's Will Gregory on Don Ellis' The French Connection...
The five big film composers of the last century for me are Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Bernhard Hermann, Lalo Schifrin, and Nino Rota. Much has been said about them already, so I want to talk a little about the largely forgotten Don Ellis, an innovative composer and big band arranger from the 60s and 70s. The opening-titles music to this film is a great introduction to him – only a minute long, it packs one hell of a punch. Something like eight trumpets, some of which he modified to play in quartertones, provide a diabolic fanfare against jagged electronics and a primal drum beat. It is a totally new vision that goes on to infect the entire film with an elemental mood of violence and obsession. And he manages to do that rare thing, which only the great film composers can: to sound uniquely like himself and perfectly underscore the film.
Will Gregory is one half of Goldfrapp and recently wrote his first opera. He speaks and performs at various events throughout Filmic, starting with a performance of his ‘Drokk' collaboration with Portishead's Geoff Barrow on 21 March...
Plus five selections of our own...
Jóhann Jóhannsson - The Miners' Hymns
Solemn, stirring and funereal: the Icelandic composer's score to Bill Morrison's elegy to the mining communities of north England is as integral to the film's mournful tone as its black and white archive footage.
Yann Tiersen - Goodbye Lenin!
Whether he likes it or not, Yann Tiersen is always likely to be best known for his stellar film soundtrack work, which has brought out both the joie de vivre of Jean Pierre Jeunet's Amelie and the autumnal, nostalgic (or should that be ‘ostalgic'?) melancholia of Goodbye Lenin!.
The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald)
Like Sebald's novels, The Caretaker's soundtrack to this semi-documentary is haunting and enigmatic. Bathed in warm fuzz, taken on its own it plays like a series of ghostly, warped piano ballads heard through murky layers of time. Or something like that.
Various Artists - Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola compiled a near perfect compilation of ambient interludes and hazy pop to compliment the nocturnal mood of her second feature. Especially good are Kevin Shields's four contributions, the last new music we had heard from him until this year's m b v.
Alberto Iglesias - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Atmosphere, of course, is everything in Tomas Alfredson's glacially paced adaptation of John le Carre's espionage novel. Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias' score was integral to the film's repressed cut-it-with-a-knife tension.
For more information about Filmic and to book tickets, click here.
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