Finding a Film Composer: a 21st Century Method.

"Film music should have the same relationship to the film drama that somebody's piano playing in my living room has on the book I am reading." 

Igor Stravinsky.

Tom Wexler and I were sitting by the fire one winter’s evening in my cottage in Coxwold, opening our second bottle of wine, when the subject of the film’s music first came up. 

I knew that I wanted a score for Macbeth that would serve as a sonic signature for the film, setting an overarching mood rather than underscoring every emotional shift and I knew that I wanted the music to feel contemporary and distinct while cognisant of the play’s C17th origin. I knew what I wanted, but I hadn’t heard anything that felt close.

Twenty minutes later - thanks to Google and iTunes - we were listening excitedly to the opening bars of US composer Gregory Spear’s Requiem. I fully expected the serendipity of the moment to be broken by the next track, or to realise that the wine, and our growing enthusiasm, was amplifying its possibilities but no, it was and continued to be, perfect. 

The next day I laid down sections of the Requiem into our rough edit and, for a few weeks, I lived with it. My affection for the music and my certainty of its place in the film grew. At the same time, I became increasingly conscious of the entirely insubstantial cyber-relationship between our film and the potential composer of its music. 

Fortunately, various emails, a Skype call, and a visit to New York to meet and talk in person all breathed life into the hyperlink. Gregory was charming and erudite and interested in the project.

So, in October last year (2016) Tom Mattinson and I listened as Greg conducted a small ensemble in the beautiful auditorium of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in Harlem, NYC. This recording, along with sections from the Requiem, has created a soundtrack for Macbeth which delights me.