Sunday 12 November 2017

Writing New Medieval Music for Thomas Cromwell: The King's Architect New DVD

We have been getting slightly behind with our productions, I suppose getting older we are a little slower than we used to be.  This weekend however we decided that we must catch up with the backlog of productions we have outstanding and knuckle down to finish them.  The new music score on my 'to do' list has been 'Thomas Cromwell: The King's Architect'.  It's a shorter film to our 'Thomas Cromwell: The King's Collaborator' which was aimed for a more religious-minded audience. 

Thomas Cromwell: The King's Collaborator DVD
The DVD is available here
The DVD became so popular on Amazon to a general audience that we decided to produce a separate DVD that was a little more generalised and would be clearer to those not coming from a religious viewpoint.  The film has been a long time coming and will make a great addition to our catalogue.  It will be nice to have the two DVDs available, they are actually quite different to each other.  I love writing Medieval-themed music because I love the instruments. 

Medieval Instruments
As with all the music that I write, I write freely so aim for a 'themed' sound rather than a perfectly correct and realistic-to-the-period score.  I dedicated this weekend to getting it done and really enjoyed myself with added sound effects.  The thing I find most difficult when composing a 30 minute score is knowing how to keep the audience engaged in the plot.  I've written many scores for our mainly spiritual productions and it's easier for me after 10 years of doing it to create the right prayerful and spiritual sound.  I can allow myself to write large sections of contemplative, very thought-provoking themes which are quite atmospheric and I find this wonderful to have the opportunity to do. 

This is our first production which is aimed firstly at a more secular audience and I knew I did not wish to be too sentimental, meditative or slow in case this was misunderstood as 'boring'.  I found this weekend that adding a lot of sound effects like horses, cavalry, fire, crowds, machinery, really aided the picture and greatly enhanced the interest in places.

Medieval Cavalry - I used the sound of this in this new production score
I am still getting so much out of ERA II samples by Eduardo Tarilonte.  For this score I made sure I used the small plucked psaltry as I don't get to use it very often.  It sounds so of that era and I actually used it in a few places as a lead instrument.  I coupled this with Tenor Viola da Gamba and Lute and fused them Nylon Guitar and added upper harmonies with a Baroque Guitar.  It blended an ancient and contemporary feel which was just the thing that was needed. 

I used a Psaltry instrument in this production - more than usual
Whenever the Church was mentioned, or monks or monasteries I drew upon Altus and Mystica both the Voice and the Phrases.  I like to fuse a subtle soundscapes with an Ethereal voice, I find it makes the listener stop and think. 

Mystica - by Eduardo Tarilonte; Beautiful female choirs used in this score
I found that rather than the narrative being simply informative, it lifted the words and added a more serious significance to them and I believe at times it drew home the history of England and kind of reinforced what was being said.  I saved Mystica until at least two-thirds of the way through the production when Saint Etheldreda's tomb was mentioned.  Up until this point I had only been using male voices.  The sudden addition of female voices again grabs the attention and in an more subtle way underlines the significance of Saint Etheldreda's story in the whole history of the Reformation.

Saint Etheldreda: Abbess of Ely - we also have a DVD on this wonderful saint!
The DVD is available here
I have just finished the score and write this as it is mixing down and running through with added compression.  The room is filled with the sounds of Medieval England.  I am thrilled that 'Thomas Cromwell: The King's Architect' is finally complete!

Thomas Cromwell - the Focus of our next production.
For more information about our historical DVDs visit our website 

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