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Benny Hill meets Brahms

Sometimes, just sometimes, one can be working on composing music for a commissioned piece and the inevitable and unavoidable happens. The composer is overcome by a grace so profound and SO good that they have no choice but to question life and consciousness. The seismic, cerebral event is so powerful and inappropriate that they start reliving terrible events of their life in an effort to tamp down the further development, riffing if you will, of the initial electrical impulse. Like pouring holy water on brain waves ablaze... because nothing is more embarrassing than belly laughter at the expense of an out-of-tune cantor. For the assailant and the subject alike! We'll revisit that one later.

When I was writing Grüve for Orchestra I set out to take care of the appropriate steps in mapping out a scene: I watched it a few times with and without the sound design, discerned a starting tempo and potential points on the timeline where music could be accented or *gulp* subtracted from the scene, read through the brief from the producers, allowed myself the freedom to feel everything and journaled those thoughts, chose how many instruments would be in the ensemble, which player or section might have the melody when, and so on.

As I spotted the film for the 2nd or 3rd time I noticed a momentary shift of the mood and rhythm of this one scene. A moment when the heroine's pup leaps into the air a la Wyle E. Coyote and has his clock cleaned while snatching the magic crystal from its flight path. The meter change was plain as day. We could be in 3/4 for just a moment! Long enough for me to sneak in the 'ya da dum' from the Brahms Lullaby. Despite how seriously I was taking the task of composing this piece I just couldn't let this moment in my life go unrecognized; forgotten forever because of a fear of being 'out of bounds'. Well, I did it! I think what makes it so fun is the instantaneous nature of the thematic shift amidst the peril of the scene. And, whether this little je ne sais quoi made it through to the final edit or was just for my own enjoyment never to be heard by others, imagination and a little risk breed progress.

I hope you find the use of the Brahms Lullaby and the Benny Hill style trombone and trumpet rips to be enjoyable. And if not, please enjoy the rest of the soundtrack!


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