Wednesday, December 21, 2022




By JONMAN492000

December 13, 2022


The English began screening in the UK on BBC2, its already got people hooked, and your score plays a big part in creating the moods and setting the scene for the story. How did you become involved on the project?

Iain Cooke, a fantastic music supervisor I had collaborated with on “Watership Down” reached out. He said there was this wonderful project he thought I would be a good candidate for. Fortunately, Hugo Blick, its director agreed, and we soon started talking about aesthetics and music.

As soon as the music begins on the soundtrack album there are for me at least references to Morricone and other Italian composers who worked on Italian westerns, in the background I heard wah wahs etc and later in the score there was a whistler in the background.  But then there is more of a traditional Hollywood western style in certain scenes. Was this something that the producers or the director discussed with you and were keen to be the foundation of the score?

I am sure there’s all of that, and many other possible references. But all those colours came in a non-conscious way. I think as movie lovers, and film music lovers, all those references live within us already and, eventually, they become part of our language in an organic way. As opposed to trying to quote the great masters. However, we shared and discussed many movies and scores with Hugo. From Martin Ritt’s to Clint Eastwood’s works, and from Mahler to Barry.

The series is told across six episodes, so how did you score the series as separate episodes, or did you work on it as you would a movie?

Hugo kept saying “This is a six hour movie” and he was right on that. I conceived the entire score as a single large structure. Of course, within that there’s a complex script -and musical script-of intertwined sub-plots.

What size orchestra did you have for the score and where did you record the music?

From a chamber octet, for most of Episode four score, to an eighty-five-piece orchestra. We recorded in Budapest and Madrid.

How many times did you watch the film before you began to formulate any ideas about the placing of the music?

I started formulating ideas even before there was any footage. From chats with the director, from reading the scripts, from watching story boards, etc…Then I watched each episode many many many times (that is more than fifteen  times each).

The soundtrack also contains a handful of songs, is it difficult working the score around these or vice versa?

Hugo is very detailed and well-organized director. All the needle drops were already included in the scripts. So, I felt completely natural to interact with all of them.

How much music did you write for the series and is most of the score included on the soundtrack release which will be on Silva Screen records UK?

The show had about forty minutes per Episode. Except in Episode six  where we’re have about fifty five minutes. That is a lot of music, so we had to make a shorter selection for the album. With I am extremely happy with. I deeply believe that some pieces should never be extracted from the scenes they we created for. Since, they only work in counterpoint with it, and not so much as a stand-alone.

Did you have an active role in selecting what music from the score was to be included on the soundtrack release?

Absolutely. It was my selection later approved by Hugo.

What’s next for you?

I am now wrapping two commissions for the concert hall which I will have to also conduct. A little break from the movies before jumping back in again after the new year.

My thanks to the composer for answering my questions.

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