Saturday 2 December 2017

Ioanna Arcensis, Saint Joan of Arc, Film Soundtrack, Music CD, New Release and Cover Design

Continuing on re-working all of the music soundtracks I have available on CD so far, I re-visited 'Calm your Spirit With Music: Volume 4' this week - the complete soundtrack for Saint Joan of Arc film.  I love this soundtrack, it's so mysterious, moving, emotional, bold and uplifting.  It is difficult to express the full extent of the content of this album and there does not seem to be as much interest in this as in my other CDs, yet the music is one of my favourite scores.   I spent a while redesigning the artwork for this album.  The first step was the sub title, I wanted the title to reflect Saint Joan subtly and to continue the theme of all my other CDs.  I was going to subtitle the album 'Power & Mercy' reflecting the powerful people of her time who captured and betrayed her but in the end, I decided on 'Trust & Mercy' because really, Saint Joan's trust, even whilst being told that the Church had forsaken her and cast her out, still trusted.  The new artwork is as follows:

Calm Your Spirit With Music Volume 4: Trust & Mercy CD
It also took me a while to sit and listen to this album whilst trying to name the tracks to reflect the theme/mood behind each.  I had to find the relevant track in the film and decipher exactly what was going on and what I was writing about at the time.  I really enjoyed it actually as I had forgotten how inspiring Saint Joan of Arc is.

The Track Listing is:

Track 1: Joan (4:15)Track 2: The Lord is My Strength and My Shield (4:10)Track 3: You Are My Witness (4:40)Track 4: God in the Midst of Battle (7:36)Track 5: The Saviour of France (7:08)Track 6: Betrayed (3:31)Track 7: God Alone (4:47)Track 8: A Noble Heart, A Heart of Fire (5:38)Track 9: You Are the Light of the World (2:30)
The music is both meditative but has movement too.  The blurb took me a while as I find it difficult to describe my music as it seems to be in a category of its own, especially this album.  I was inspired overall at the end of the music how Saint Joan of Arc was an example of being victorious in battle both physical and spiritual.  She really is a light in the darkness.

For the cover image I went for this beautiful scene which was French but also reminded me of our trips to Parham House when we filmed for several English Martyrs.  To me it captured a real atmosphere of Mary's Dowry Productions and atmosphere is very important to us.  To have an atmosphere that is right and correct on the cover of this album will help aid in translating what is inside, a very beautiful and moving score which I think everybody will enjoy.

My Journey with Saint Joan of Arc:

I never really liked Saint Joan of Arc, I think she has been portrayed badly, especially with 'the voices' that she heard.  I am not interested in the idea of battle, France, her being wrongly accused, I just never really connected.  We produce our films mostly for ourselves, and also to give me an opportunity to write music for a project that is very worthwhile.  I find that the process is a unique encounter with each saint.

The Beginning:

It begins for me editing the audio narration of the script that has been recorded.  The overall story is always inspiring and gives me a clearer idea of the saint and where they are coming from, especially if I did not know much about them before this point.  A while passes after this whilst the film is being edited but then one day the Avi file is popped on my desk and it's up to me to write a music score for the film, to capture the atmosphere/essence of the saint and the spiritual message of the film.  I never have a plan, I like to sit back and just see what happens.  I was intrigued with this film as we had not planned to make it but my sister decided we must produce a film on this saint after reading about her and being inspired.

First Steps - The Right Atmosphere

My first step was to load in some medieval drums and some war horns.  I was also looking for some mystical soundscapes to capture saint Joan's visions and voices.  Once I got started, the atmosphere really became spiritual and I was inspired by the saints' faith.  As the film progressed I came to understand that saint Joan's voices were not odd but profound.  With the right atmosphere on a story, the right message is portrayed and I think we managed it with this one.  The music in a film, especially about a saint, is very important, it cannot be creepy, overpowering or tedious.  An great element of spirituality is needed.  The last thing that needs to happen is for the listener/watcher to be put off the saint.


The drums and horns combine well with moving strings and subtle soundscapes, voices, choirs to give a very peaceful and mystical atmosphere that's extremely moving in places.  It also keeps a little tension in the setting of war but not in a barbaric or intrusive way, but still in a spiritual way, like a subtle threat but with the atmosphere of the Lord's presence.  I shall look at a couple of the tracks from this album below.

TRACK 2: The Lord is my Strength & My Shield

In this album, I entitled track two 'The Lord is my Strength and My Shield'.  This is the part of the film where saint Joan is visited and is very moved.  I used a particular heavenly soundscape on this, I cannot remember which, but I brought it in every time throughout the film whenever the voices were mentioned.  I was pleased because it kept the voices/visions mystical and supernatural and not creepy or weird.  This was important to me because my personal experience before this film of saint Joan of Arc was of a slightly crazy person but having worked on this film and encountered her, I see her now as more of a strong woman, strong in Trust. 


Track 6 is called simply 'Betrayed'.  In this part of the film Saint Joan helps win the battle, she is owed everything, yet they decide to sell her to the British in utter betrayal.  I was horrified at the level of betrayal in this, having built up the score emotionally of all saint Joan's efforts and sacrifices for France, to be betrayed like this afterwards.  My sister portrayed Saint Joan in the film and I used a long full string sequence for this and I remember when I wrote it I was very moved, connecting with the saint as well as my sister in a way.  It hit home that saint Joan was a lovely person and being treated so badly.  The result (as it always is when I tap in to extreme emotion) was a very very moving sequence, atmospheric, mystical, poignant.  It might be my favourite track.

Overall, I love this soundtrack and I am pleased to be presenting more and more of the music from the films onto CD.

Calm Your Spirit With Music Volume 4: Trust & Mercy is available now from

Contemplative, absorbing and mystical yet fused with spiritual contest and powerful emotion this new album takes everything that is faith and history and unites it to music.   With the ethereal chants of spiritual choirs and distant church bells, the sprinkling of delicate harp, expressive cello and passionate drums and horns, this album is both fresh and contemporary, reflective and brooding.  Allowing the mind to meditate in peace but at the same time stirring the senses to hunger after righteousness with reflective use of strings, flutes, guitars, piano, soundscapes and more.   These tracks are taken from the full music score written for 'Saint Joan of Arc' film in 2016 and presented here as a musical chronicle of conviction, hope and supernatural ambience.  Very moving, uplifting and absorbing.  

Saint Joan of Arc DVD

Saint Joan of Arc DVD is available also from Mary's Dowry Productions and through and

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