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|May 2007 Newsletter from John Scott|
Since my last newsletter time continues to fly. Towards the end of last year Paul Talkington asked if I would be interested in composing music for the 1922 Robin Hood silent film featuring Douglas Fairbanks. I have already composed one silent film score and that was enough. I told him that, in my view, Erich Korngold had composed the definitive score for Errol Flynn's version of Robin Hood. In January Paul contacted me again with news that the City of Nottingham was having a big centennial celebration, they had engaged the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra and I should reconsider. I started thinking - Nottingham, Sherwood Forest, the Sheriff of Nottingham, it all started to make a great deal of sense. I agreed to accept the commission and now I am excited and terrified. It will be my longest film score, over two hours of continuous musics. What is more, it will not be anything like Korngold. The premier will take place at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, on 7th October. The auditorium is quite spectacular.
I have never been a real Gilbert and Sullivan fan. The music and the
words are extremely clever and there is a huge audience, but having had
to play Gilbert and Sullivan in an army band, and being bored to tears,
I could never drum up enough enthusiasm to devote any time to searching
for a deeper meaning within the music. Sonoton, a German record label,
was looking for a conductor to make a cd of selections from the Gilbert
and Sullivan operas and they came to me, I've no idea why. Initially I
turned them down saying that they should find a real Gilbert and Sullivan
conductor because in my opinion it is a very specialized genre. A week
later they came back saying they really wanted me to conduct the recording.
I asked them to let me think about it. I might never be asked to do anything
like this again and it would be really good experience, so I agreed and
for my sins, started studying Gilbert and Sullivan scores. The recording
took place at Angel Studios in London and I really did enjoy the experience.
I flew to Los Angeles on 14th February for two main reasons. The first
was to attend a very special dinner at the Editors Guild. I met John Soh
while working on wildlife documentaries at Metromedia in Hollywood, he
was Jacques Cousteau's editor and producer. John recommended me when Walter
Sharf, Cousteau's composer, became unavailable. It was a great honor to
attend the Editors Guild Dinner as John's personal guest and see him receive
the "Lifetime Achievement Award".
The other reason for this trip was to attend board meetings with the
Hollywood Symphony Orchestra Society. What I did not realize when I became
their artistic director was the time I would be called upon to devote
to the orchestra. Last year I did not compose as much as I wanted due
to time taken up with the needs of the orchestra.
Time was spent on editing and mixing my score for Ted Kotcheff's "Billy
Two Hats" At the time the score was conceived as a mini
guitar concerto. I am considering including the first movement of my Guitar
concerto "Celtic Kingdoms" on the same CD. It should be a nice
I did manage to find time to attend the French Film Festival in Hollywood
as the personal guest of Madeleine Sophie de Jean who just happens to
be the Mumm Champagne ambassador in the USA. They were premiering "La
Vie en Rose" - the new film about the life of Edith Piaf. It is a
very sad story of real tragedy and the music score was composed my very
good friend Christopher Gunning. Well done Chris!
I flew back to London in April to discuss working on a film to be produced
and directed by Geoff Reeve for whom I composed "The Shooting Party'
and "The Whistle-blower". Filming starts in September.
In July I have been invited be attend the Ubeda Film Festival
in Spain. It has become an important annual event and caters
to the film music enthusiast. Last year Basil Polodouris was an invited
guest. It was a fitting occasion for Basil, he was able to see just how
much he and his music are admired. Sadly he passed away shortly after
having returned from the Ubeda festival. This year John Debney will serve
as honorary president. I have been asked to give a class on film music
composition. Other composers attending the festival will include Bruce
Broughton and David Arnold.
That's about it for now. More to come later in the year.
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