Thursday 14 November 2019

Music Tracks for "England: The Dowry of Mary" Film

I have not been feeling very inspired lately to write music.  Whether or not it's because I have burnt myself out with our latest film on John Henry Newman, launching it in time for his Canonization, or because we then had a holiday of just chilling out which is very rare, and I cannot seem to get back into writing, I don't know.  

New saints October 13th 2019
This week I decided that our next production "England: The Dowry of Mary" needs to have some progress made with it!  So I took the bull by the horns and cleared my desk so that I could actually get to my computer.  Now with a clear working area I decided to write some tracks based on "Olde England".  This is my favourite thing to write, I have always loved the sound of Old English instruments like recorder, lute, harpsichord, Baroque guitar, so I use them all the time as pretty much the foundation of my composition style.  

Because "England: The Dowry of Mary" film is going to be even longer than our Newman film I decided to take a similar approach and write some tracks in advance as that worked well with the longer Newman score.  So, I called the first track the original title of "Tracks for Dowry film 1" and set to work.  I am enjoying using all my favourite instruments and improvising what inspires me when I think about the history of our country.  As the film begins with Glastonbury, I have always found this a fascinating place.  I pictured the Glastonbury Tor in my mind and wrote what I felt.  

I write best when I hit record and improvise, then I go over what I have written layer by layer adding in more improvised subtle harmonies with other instruments so that the piece grows.  Today I have embarked upon a second piece, this time leading with the Baroque guitar.  I don't usually lead with the Baroque guitar.  Most of the time I am writing a live underscore to narrative and I find that it's a bit overpowering as it requires quite a high velocity in order to be heard.  Because I am writing audio tracks that can be worked with and lowered in volume if needed, I have felt free to pretty much do what I want.  So today I have written a 4 minute track led by Baroque guitar and moving into other lead instruments such as Alto Recorder and then harpsichord.  

The piece today has four separate sections with each of these instruments intertwining themselves around the rest.  I have filled out the entire score with strings, Symphonic choirs and a variety of soundscapes and it has come together quite nicely.  I now have two pieces written so am feeling better about the upcoming film score for this latest film.  This film will be a great project bringing in twelve years worth of productions on English saints and Martyrs. 

The Martyrs Collection 1. Each individual film has a full music score composed directly
 I have already decided to draw upon old scores for this film as much of the martyrs and reformation history will be covered in the context of England as the Dowry of Mary.  We also have presentations from The Shrines of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead and Our Lady of England, Storrington.  
The statue at The Shrine of Our Lady of England, Storrington

Presenting from the Priory gardens in Storrington
Spoken presentation requires no music so this is a different type of film score that leaves me more free to draw upon both audio, SFX, new music and new music tracks that I am currently writing in advance.  Some of the presentations even have bells ringing in the background from the Shrines which worked out great!  A very long and complex project but it will be so worth it, I cannot wait to have this film complete!  I just know it's going to be a great film but the process of "allowing yourself to be used" as an instrument to produce the film is always a very exhausting thing.  

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