Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Blessed Bartolo Longo

We produced a DVD on Blessed Bartolo Longo back in 2017.  We had wanted to produce a film on this great saint for a while because the fact that he lost his faith and became more and more sinful, all the way to becoming a satanic high priest, yet turned his life around is such an inspiration for conversion and coming back from sinful ways.  I myself suffered in the past from scruples but Bartolo Longo shows us that even siding with the devil and becoming ordained a Satanic priest, still will not prevent a soul in the end from belonging to God if we just turn to him and repent.  Bartolo Longo also shows us the power of the Rosary.

Screenshot from Bartolo Longo Film


For this music score I used quite an orchestral base with cello solos.  The main thing I remember about this score was using sound effects, something I have started to incorporate into our productions over the past few years.  It really aids the productions and in the case of this film I used whispering voices throughout every séance scenes along with eerie soundscapes.
Screenshot from Bartolo Longo Séance portrayal
It was great.  I really do love this production it's so powerful and effective.

Bartolo Longo is available both on DVD worldwide and through ON DEMAND instantly.  On demand enables you to own and watch this film on any device digitally.


Bartolo Longo:

Bartolo Longo was a 19th century Italian lawyer and a satanic priest whose soul was converted by the power of the rosary. He lived on the brink of hell, preached fiercely against Christ and especially the Catholic Church, with particular venom towards the Dominican order. Although he had been raised a Catholic by his pious mother, it was when he left home to attend university in Naples that he seriously began to doubt the articles of Faith and finally rejected Christianity. He was caught up in the nationalist movement that swept through 19th century Italy and became obsessed with the thoughts and ideas of its ideology. He also became interested in Spiritualism.

Not satisfied by simply attending séances and listening to the messages given through mediums, Bartolo decided that he would receive the answers to his questions direct. His involvement in the occult eventually saw him ordained a priest of Spiritualism.
At his ordination, Bartolo was alarmed when the church shook and great claps of thunder surrounded him. His life then became worse with deep depression and anxiety. He communicated with demons who taunted him with contradictory answers and messages. His emotional and psychological problems led him to finally consult a Catholic professor who told him that if he did not abandon his occult ways he would be damned.

Through the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the recitation of the most holy Rosary, Blessed Bartolo Longo embarked upon a long period of exorcism and confession, rejection of the occult and deep conversion until he was finally reconciled to the Catholic Church.
After discerning his place in the world, and despite a lifetime of difficulties that followed, Blessed Bartolo Longo dedicated his entire life to promoting the most Holy Rosary and love of Our Lady. He continued to struggle but saw the rosary as his way of beating bondage to Satan forever! He built the magnificent basilica dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii and has been lifted up as a very important Catholic figure especially for our times.

Blessed Bartolo Longo by Mary’s Dowry Productions looks not only at the life and journey of Blessed Bartolo, as well as his writings, prayers and example, but the teachings of the Catholic Church on the dangers of the New Age and Occult with important and helpful quotes to assist us on our life journey’s battle for our souls and for the souls of those around us.

https://www.marysdowryproductions.org/bartolo-longo-blessed-dvd-85-p.asp
Bartolo Longo DVD available worldwide.


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Our Lady and the Visionaries of Knock, Celtic Irish Music Score Soundtrack Project

This week has seen me writing the music for our latest upcoming DVD film release "Our Lady and the Visionaries of Knock".  I delayed writing this over the end of the summer break because I knew it would be a large undertaking.  Not only is the film 50 minutes in length, but it incorporates testimonies by several people recounting their experience at Knock.  I knew that this film is packed with so much historical information and I admit that I was a little nervous about getting started.


Much of my music over the years has incorporated a Celtic feel.  I really thought that being able to write completely freestyle in Irish music would be easy, like, unleashing what I keep contained, wanting to write Irish style music.  Writing this score however has taught me that this is untrue.  I do not write authentic styled music, I deliberately fuse instruments and styles so that my music is never predictable.  Writing Old English music comes naturally because I love all the instruments like Lutes, Fidules, Recorders etc, but I never keep to a strictly authentic or restricted theme or realism, I use the old English sound as a starting point and go from there.



As my music tends towards a Celtic feel, I have been influenced by growing up with James Horner scored films, scores like Braveheart, Far and Away, I've always been fascinated by these lovely instruments from Scotland and Ireland.  I was planning to go completely Irish with this.  Right away however I found it really difficult.  I thought about using the Irish style as a stepping point like I do with Old English and this seemed to work but the whole score was a bit of an uphill struggle I must admit.

Screenshot from "Braveheart"
Today, Saturday, I have completed the long score and although it was hard, it's turned out great!  I'm using my old "Saint Thomas Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot" music score as a template but have added in new instruments like bagpipes and Irish Flute.  Using the Irish Flute also gave me the opportunity to use the pitch bend for a real authentic feel.  I'm also using Heronica from Vocal Codex female voices for the first time too.  

Vocal Codex
This new film tells the entire account of the apparitions at Knock and made it clear to me for the first time who was there and what occurred.  This film begins by putting the events of Knock in context with the history of Ireland, the Reformation and why the Eucharist is linked so importantly with these events.  This film should be released over the next several days.  For more information visit www.marysdowryproductions.org 

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Calming Reflective Music, New Soundtrack Album, Water of Life, by Bernadette Bevans


Over the past several years people have asked about the music from Mary's Dowry Productions and I have tried to find time to answer their requests and make some of the music available on instrumental CD album.  I began with St. Etheldreda: Abbess of Ely as this was one of my favourite music scores at the time.
St. Etheldreda Soundtrack CD Album.
The soundtrack album has been through many title changes, track name changes and cover designs until a few months ago I re-labelled all soundtracks from Mary's Dowry Productions under the series banner: "Calm Your Spirit With Music", giving each individual album a subtitle and volume number.  There are only 6 album titles in this series and I've just completed the last one which I reckon will be the final album in this series.  I prefer to write freely with music albums and to take a soundtrack out of context from a film is difficult because a lot of the music is underscore so quite quiet and needs a lot of adjusting.  

6 CD Soundtracks Available.

I love the music from each film, some of my best work takes place within the context of a Mary's Dowry Productions film but I feel that I cannot have over 80 CD albums available.  Also, some of the scores were written in different programs so it's difficult to go back to the raw project to accomplish an instrumental track.

St. Piran of Cornwall DVD
I am pleased to announce that my latest soundtrack album is now available and it's one I've been wanting to release for a long time - the music score for St. Piran of Cornwall.  I wanted to do this because the music in it is absolutely lovely.  

NEW CD Soundtrack Album - The Music from St. Piran of Cornwall Film

I like writing music with a Celtic feel and I felt so free when I wrote this score.  Because we do not see St. Piran of Cornwall DVD very much because it is one of our lesser known saints, I feel that the lovely music in this film is lost but now on CD album it has a greater chance of being heard.

For the cover I chose a scene from Cornwall and also something that shows a lot of the sea because most of the scenery for this film is of the sea, rock pools, water.  The subtitle for this album is "Water of Life".  This album is "Calm Your Spirit With Music: Volume 6: Water of Life" and the 6th and probably the final installation of music soundtracks.  The soundtracks available now to date are from the following films:

St. Etheldreda
St. Margaret Ward
St. Cuthman of Steyning
St. David of Wales
St. Joan of Arc
St. Piran of Cornwall.

It's an interesting selection and one that came about due to circumstances and timing.

The Calm Your Spirit With Music series fuses instruments and soundscapes to create a contemporary, mystical and reflective mood which is both uplifting and meditative and tells a story.  Each volume presents a music soundtrack taken from an individual film but enhances it for audio CD.  As each track builds upon the next you are absorbed in a journey of peace, prayer, thought and memory.  This album is taken from the music soundtrack from Saint Piran of Cornwall film.  It was inspired by the stunning visuals of the sea, water, hills, landscapes, harbours and ancient Celtic England and Ireland.  Let the sounds of piano, Celtic harps, mystical winds, wooden flutes, mysterious horns, sounds of the sea and orchestral undertones absorb and uplift.  Perfect as background music, or for chilling out, for becoming lost in thought, prayer or to simply absorb yourself in the tunes these original soundtracks will help unwind and calm.  

Track Listing:

Track 1 - Water of Life (3:23)
Track 2 - You Will Draw Water From the Spring of Salvation (2:52)
Track 3 - Like Cold Water to a Thirsty Soul, so is Good News From a Far Country (2:42)
Track 4 - Buriana, Purest Lily (7:57)
Track 5 - The Tin Mining Saint (7:20)
Track 6 - Surely God is Good to Those Who Are Pure of Heart (1:43)

This CD is now available through www.marysdowryproductions.org 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Saint Thomas Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot, English Martyr, Reformation, Henry Garnet, Catholic Films and Music

Because we acquired so much footage for various upcoming films last year, in our great enthusiasm, we have had a backlog of productions to put together, many of which I have been looking forward to writing the music to.  This month we have been working extra hard to catch up and I recently completed the music score for "A Simple Soul: St. Mary Mazzarello" DVD.  This completed the films recorded for in January 2017: St. Don Bosco, St. Dominic Savio, St. Jacinta Marto, St. Mary Mazzarello, and just left us with a couple remaining from our filming day in March 2017. 
Screenshot from St. Don Bosco Film, filmed for in January 2017, Now available.
We moved straight on to our outstanding production "St. Thomas Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot" which I have been looking forward to as I love the English Martyrs.

Screenshot from Bartolo Longo film, filmed in March 2017 and now available.
In March 2017 we filmed for Bartolo Longo, St. Margaret Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Claude de la Colombiere and the Sacred Heart in England, and St. Thomas Garnet.  

Having these productions outstanding for so long has put us very behind so I was keen to get onto the music score for St. Thomas Garnet as soon as it was edited together and to bring us closer to our goal.

Saint Thomas Garnet
Approaching this music score I was not dubious at all because I have written for so many characters from this era.  I loaded my palette with several sounds from the era such as Nykelharpa, Harpsichord, Alto Recorder, Koblikzek, Baroque Guitar, Frame Drum, Medieval Soundscapes.  This gave me lots to draw upon.  I decided to begin the opening titles with drums and an upbeat tempo, leading with Nykelharpa and harmonizing with piano, strings and filling with several other instruments.


Baroque Guitar in Era II
It's been a while since I used frame drum but I used to use it a lot for St. Swithun Wells, St. Nicholas Owen, St. Richard Gwyn and others that we produced several years ago and I always found that they very much enhanced the atmosphere; the drums I have are so realistic that it's like actually hearing a frame drum from Elizabethan times.
St. Nicholas Owen: The Priest Hole Maker DVD
The music score for St. Thomas Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot took me a few days to compose.  As well as being upbeat and very interesting, historical and factual I found that there were several places that were poignant such as re-visiting St. Anne Line's story, Fr. Mark Barkworth's last words at the gallows, St. Nicholas Owen giving himself up to save Fr. Henry Garnet when they were hiding in priest holes.  I learn a lot from our productions and I again learned a lot about the era of the Gunpowder Plot and was inspired by these wonderful Catholic priests who gave their lives to bring the Sacraments to the persecuted Catholic of England.  Being immersed in this era has filled me with inspiration for our English Martyrs once more!

Saint Thomas Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot is now available on DVD worldwide.

NEW DVD St. Thomas Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot.



Saturday, 14 July 2018

Mary Mazzarello, Salesian Sisters, Don Bosco, A Simple Soul: St. Mary Mazzarello New DVD Release.

Having completed the music score for our new production 'A Simple Soul: St. Mary Mazzarello', we are pleased to release this new film on DVD.  I spoke in my last post about writing the music score for this and having tested the masters and gone through a long post-production process I find myself very inspired by this saint.  I knew nothing at all about her before making this film.  


St. Mary Mazzarello - founder of the Salesian Sisters

We filmed back in January 2017 for St. Don Bosco and we also obtained enough footage so as to produce separate DVDs on Saint Dominic Savio and Saint Mary Mazzarello.

Saint Don Bosco DVD - Founder of the Salesians
There were times over the past year and a half when we thought about just leaving it at St. Don Bosco, we have such a backlog and a lot of work that sometimes it overwhelms us.  In the end we decided that their stories should be told in film and that we would work hard to complete these other two productions.  I am so pleased we did as both of their stories are so beautiful and inspiring.

Screenshot from 'St. Don Bosco' production

  St. Dominic Savio is of particular interest with his vision of England and I am always surprised at how many saints point back to England as Mary's Dowry and the importance of her re-conversion to the Catholic Faith one day.  

6 Catholic Founders DVD


'A Simple Soul: Saint Mary Mazzarello' is available as a single DVD but also as part of a new box set, 6 Catholic Founders.
A Simple Soul: St. Mary Mazzarello NEW DVD
It can be purchase online through Mary's Dowry Productions, or through Amazon or Digitally through ON DEMAND.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

A Simple Soul - Saint Mary Mazzarello - Founder of the Salesian Sisters - Music Score Project

In January 2017 Mary's Dowry Productions filmed for four new films: Saint John Bosco, Saint Mary Mazzarello, Saint Dominic Savio and Saint Jacinta of Fatima.  Now, a year and a half on, we are still suffering from a backlog of productions but are knuckling down to get them done!  In 2014, Mary's Dowry Productions had fourteen new releases!!  It's slowed down a lot, I'm not sure if it's just that we're getting older or are just so busy.  Anyway, this year has been so slow but we have done a lot of filming.  It's no good having about 8 productions' footage just sitting there though, so we decided to just get them done.  This week has seen us working on St. Mary Mazzarello production - the last from the January 2017 filming day and I am happy to say - it is currently mixing down!!
Saint Dominic Savio DVD, Mary's Dowry Productions

Saint Don Bosco DVD, Mary's Dowry Productions

Jacinta of Fatima DVD, Mary' s Dowry Productions

In all truth, I wrote the entire music score in just one day today.  That's rare, sometimes I can spend hours on just 3 minutes, but I took away all pressure and just enjoyed it.  I used a lot of improvisation methods so much of it was just playing in and adding to what I'd written.  It was really fun.  The main instruments, besides my usual base of strings, soundscapes, Trilian Bass, harp, guitar, was to use Celtia again by Eduardo Tarilonte.  I'd not used these fantastic female voices since I wrote the music score for St. Julian of Norwich.  They're so gorgeous and inspiring.  Whilst I was waiting for the video file, I wrote an introduction with pizz strings and doubled these up with Baroque Guitar from Era II.  This kind of made it's own interesting fusion sound - very nice.  I was looking for soundscapes to add atmosphere and I used Ancient Spirits and Ancient Tree from Forest Kingdoms - all Eduardo Tarilonte.  This added the right depth of mystery when approaching St. Mary Mazzarello's story.

Screenshot from Mary' s Dowry Productions DVD 'Saint Julian of Norwich: England's Mystic'

The rest of the score was straightforward and I found the story of this wonderful saint very inspiring and uplifting.  It was nice to re-visit St. John Bosco but from the perspective of the Salesian sisters, I not only learned about Saint Mary Mazzarello but more about Saint John Bosco too.

One thing I did use was Nykelharpa from Forest Kingdoms, or Era II, I forget which one.  I'd not used it before but it was great and had a realistic click for each key press.  I gave this the lead for a while in the middle of the score then switched to harpsichord.  The result: the sound of a long time ago, the sound of very pleasant interesting underscore - perfect!

Nykelharpa - Instrument used in 'A Simple Soul: Saint Mary Mazzarello'

We are moving straight on to completing our new film on Saint Thomas Garnet, English Martyr, it will be great to switch into Medieval mode - that's my all time favourite.



We are now up to working on the productions we filmed for in March 2017.  Still behind schedule, but making progress.  For our NEW WEBSITE and listing of everything available please visit: www.marysdowryproductions.org 

I will speak about my latest CD Album release - Calm Your Spirit With Music Volume 6: Water of Life in another post - this is the last of my Mary's Dowry Productions soundtrack series and focuses on the music score I wrote for our production in Saint Piran of Cornwall. I love it!


Monday, 25 June 2018

Saxon Saints of the Catholic Church, Mary's Dowry Productions, Catholic Films, Family Films, Spiritual Music

To date I have written over 80 music scores for Mary's Dowry Productions.  With each of our films, music plays such an important role and each films music score is composed directly to picture.  I start out with a completed production with narration but no music and it's my job as music composer for Mary's Dowry Productions to lift the film off the screen and into people's hearts as it were.  Music creates a connection, spiritually and emotionally, with the viewer.  The first music score I ever wrote was for our production on Saint Philip Howard and it was the longest composition I had written because until this point I had been writing music albums for many years, each containing shorter tracks.  

Saint Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel DVD
To embark on a full music score was different because I had to connect with the story as it went along, the narration, the places for quiet etc.  It was less free than writing a CD album but the music still grew and evolved itself.  There were some places in the film that were sad, others biopic, other places exciting and this all gave direction to me as to where to take the score.

Because Mary's Dowry Productions initially came about through music and music to Catholic film, we always leave space for music in each of our productions.  Sometimes this will be with longer introductions, scenery breaks, meditation or prayer.  This is what makes our productions unique.  Over the past 11 years I have approached so many different films from Saxon England, Italy, The Reformation Period, Nazi Germany, Ancient Rome, Modern Friaries.  Each saint's story is unique and each of our productions has its' own atmosphere and theme.

In this post I will talk about the Saxon Saints of England I have written for.

The Church of Saint Cuthman of Steyning, Saint, in Steyning, Sussex, Mary's Dowry Productions

Filming Saint Cuthman of Steyning, Mary's Dowry Productions, Catholic Films
The first one was Saint Cuthman of Steyning and it was such fun.  This was using my old music setup, straight out of college in my bedroom with some basic VSTs I had acquired during the course of college.  One of these sounds was Pizz Strings, a gorgeous sample from Vienna Orchestra which immediately sounds as if an auditorium is being filled with many strings on pizz.  This was the foundation for Saint Cuthman of Steyning and because much of the film was filmed with a cart on top of the downs, the atmosphere is light and humorous. 

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Filming Saint Cuthman of Steyning, Mary's Dowry Productions, Catholic Films

When I start a music score I do it layer by layer so I record one layer of music, for example the pizz strings, and improvise in for about 15 or 20 seconds.  Then I tidy it up, play it back and then add another lay, full strings, or banjo or whatever.  I add multiple layers of harmonies and sound until I am happy that it is full enough sounding and I move on, in sections between 10 seconds and a couple of minutes.

I have a particular fondness for writing for Saxon Saints such as saint Cuthman of Steyning.  I can get to use very ancient, often strange or exotic instruments.  I don't like to be predictable, I have my own sound and style, so I will fuse in many things, hints of history but also atmospheres of contemporary.   

Saint Cuthman of Steyning statue, Steyning, Catholic, Church, Catholic Films
 When we filmed for Saint Cuthman of Steyning film, we visited Steyning where his church and statue are.  There were some lovely images and stained glass windows which were beautiful and these are some of the photographs I took from our trip.  



We spent a couple of days up on the Sussex Way, the South Downs, and visited another church which was very old, all in the search for good scenery, old buildings, graveyards as well as the relevant places of Saint Cuthman of Steyning's life.  We also filmed on another day some visual re-creations, soundless, that portray some of the events in his life.  All of this beautiful imagery which came together to tell Saint Cuthman's wonderful story, inspired me when it came to writing the music.

Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Sompting, Sussex.




Other Saxon Saints which we have produced Catholic DVDs on include Saint Piran of Cornwall, Saint Etheldreda of Ely, Saint Bertha, Saint David and more.  I would like to talk about writing the music for these films in later posts.  For now, focusing on Saint Cuthman I remember I used the pizz strings for a lovely uplifting atmosphere and after the credits there was about a minute of scenery, butterflies and bees against some gorgeous flowers which we acquired in the same area.  With panoramic shots of the South Downs interspersed with Saint Cuthman, his mother in his cart and an array of sheep it makes for a lovely opening sequence.

Saint Cuthman persevered on his journey across the South Downs until he stopped at Steyning to build a church.  There is one part of the film where he had a vision in the midst of the building-process and we use light effects to represent the Good Shepherd coming through a door like a glorious apparition.  It was a lovely opportunity for atmospheric, meditative and spiritual soundscapes, I only had a limited number back then.  The music in this section is reflective and empowering, it brings the sense of the rich spiritual aid which we receive every day and every time we ask, from Heaven.  I used ancient strings and wind instruments alongside this so the atmosphere is ancient, English, Saxon History but very rich in the spiritual with an aid to reflection and prayer.  

Saint Cuthman of Steyning DVD, Mary's Dowry Productions www.marysdowryproductions.org 

Writing the music for Saxon Saints is wonderful, whenever we film for one I get excited and pleased at the prospect of the music I can write.  A lot of my music CD albums are this kind of style so it comes easy for me.  I love these types of instruments you can use.

To date I have made available on CD 5 soundtracks from Mary's Dowry Productions films.  I'd like to make as many as possible available because the music is similar to my CDs which are very popular, but each album has the essence of a particular saint and hence the unique atmosphere of that particular production.  Saint Cuthman of Steyning music score is so uplifting it was requested so it's one of the 5 I have available.  All my music soundtracks are under the series heading "Calm Your Spirit With Music" and Saint Cuthman is Volume Two, subtitled, Joy in Service.

Calm Your Spirit With Music: Joy in Service - available from Mary's Dowry Productions
www.marysdowryproductions.org
The complete music soundtrack from Saint Cuthman of Steyning

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Saxon Saints of Catholic England from Mary's Dowry Productions. We hope to produce many more in the future.  For now, take a look at our website to browse our DVDs and music CDs!

To hear exceprts from this album visit my you tube channel.  You can also watch the FULL FILM for free via our Mary's Dowry Productions You Tube Channel.