From the category archives:

Film music

Didn’t rip off Desplat

March 27, 2012

A composer who deserves all the fame he’s getting is Alexandre Desplat. One of his melodic habits is obsessive chromatic inflection. Then he turns around and does it harmonically, hovering between chords a half step apart. It’s as though he has reinvented the appoggiatura. So, no wonder that I should start getting nervous when my […]

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Why I love movies

June 15, 2011

Watching movies provides me with an instant escape from a hectic day. For someone who works all the time, movies can serve as a micro-vacation. I love movies that take me somewhere far away [escape] that happen in fabulous locations with fun actors and compelling stories. Although, like Stravinksky, I don’t mind watching B movies […]

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Christopher Nolan fan

May 8, 2011

This weekend I decided to have a Christopher Nolan film festival. The films he’s directed include: The Dark Knight Rises (filming) 2012 Inception 2008 The Dark Knight 2006 The Prestige 2005 Batman Begins 2003 Insomnia 2000 Memento 1998 Following 1997 Doodlebug (short) (as Chris Nolan) I watched five of them. I love his sense of plot, […]

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In working with Vladimir Chernov on “Duarte’s Love Songs,” to receive its premiere this weekend, we rehearsed in four different ways: 1) the two of us, just singing unaccompanied; 2) singing in my office with Sibelius notation software playing back the instrumental parts through speakers; and 3) with the actual instruments. What I did not […]

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Although I kept wanting to turn the film off, I watched and enjoyed “The Ghost Writer.” There were no credits at the beginning and I didn’t peak at IMDB. The music was continuously engaging. Who could it be? Not Desplat? No dreamy waltzes. The music was constantly driving forward. My favorite music was the staccato […]

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What music sticks?

February 10, 2011

I was home yesterday with a nasty cold bug and decided to watch movies all day. I watched: Social Network Pineapple Express Signs It’s a Wonderful Life In Search of Beethoven And at the end of the day, what tune was stuck in my head? “Buffalo Gals” from IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. What does it […]

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David Rodes introduced me to James Merrill in 1989. I was to provide a music soundtrack to a live reading of “Voices from Sandover”–a condensed version of the epic poem, “Changing Light at Sandover.” During that time, James and I became good friends, as well as his partner, Peter Hooten, who was also in the […]

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Meeting Mr Howard

June 10, 2010

James Newton Howard visited UCLA this week and presented some of his recent film scores to our students. Even though school is almost out, there was a terrific turn out. I was only able to stay for a portion of his talk, but found him bright, eloquent and enthusiastic about sharing his life and music […]

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80 new cues

March 18, 2010

Our students in the Music History, Culture and Creativity have a final project that involves providing music to a one minute clip of film, excerpted from the actual working print from which Paul Chihara worked. The excerpt is from a famous anime film and has SMPTE time-code streaming on top. The class of 80 each […]

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