Roger Bourland: Wolf at the Door (soundtrack)

April 11, 2007

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The Wolf at the Door (1986)
Motion picture with music composed and conducted by Roger Bourland
Henning Carlsen, director; starring Donald Sutherland as Gauguin.

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    Main Title

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    Gallery Reflections

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    Dejection

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    Tahiti

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    Judith’s Bath

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    Leaving Mette

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    Juliette

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    Juliette and Germaine

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    Anna Arrives

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    On the town

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    Brittany

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    Slashed Painting

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    Tahiti Hopes Fade

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    Judith’s Present

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    End credits

I landed this film in an amusing way. The producer decided to throw out the existing score. I have to admit that the original score was bizarre. The filim is about Gauguin returning from Tahiti to show his naughty canvasses and revisit his old girlfriends who are all now raising his children. There were moments in the film where the music was telling you that Martians were about to land, or that a chainsaw murderer was just around the corner. I was hired to suggest music by Debussy, Ravel, Satie, and Mahler to “plug in” to replace the existing score. I told the producer “I’m happy to do this and will, but I bet you I could provide a better product and a better fit.” He laughed and said “Fine, do the opening title music and let me hear it on Monday morning.” It being Friday, I gulped and said “Sure!”

I spent the weekend in Palm Springs writing the first cue (above). I mocked it up with synthesizers and an 8 channel tape recorder, mixed it down to a cassette, and brought it in. We lined it up and played it. He loved it. He seemed shocked. So he hired me to do the score, keeping in mind the aforementioned composers. No quotes were used by the way.

So I had three weeks to do 45 minutes of music: compose, orchestrate, parts, record and mix. People I remember from the session: Mark Carlson played the flute, Jake Heggie is “on” harp (sampled) and synth, John Hall is in the booth catching boo boos.

There was one passage where all the violins did was to sustain a note. I apologized for their boring part. The principal said “don’t worry, we do it all day long.”

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