Composing Music For Film – BBC World Service – 1963 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
To one degree or another, music has always been an integral part of the film going experience. During the silent era, entire scores were composed and played by pit orchestras (for larger cinemas) or a single piano or organ (for small towns or neighborhood cinemas) in order to convey the emotional intention of a scene being played out on the screen. More often than not though, it was presented as an afterthought, as a certain sonic window-dressing in order to drown out the audience and break up the silence emanating from the screen.
When sound finally came to film, music was again an integral part of the experience, only now that sound was on the physical film itself and was creatively utilized under dialogue or to put specific emphasis on a dramatic scene. But more often than not, it was an afterthought – something quickly composed and tossed in at the last minute to fill in the silent parts.
It wasn’t until the early sound collaborations between directors like Sergei Eisenstein and composers like Serge Prokofiev that music was considered an integral part of the film story and action as film evolved into a more sophisticated art form.
This episode of the BBC Word Service series Talking About music is from the early 1960s; a period music and film had been well-established as a collaborative art for a few decades. Several composers are interviewed. Composers whose work encompassed the concert stage as well as the sound stage. Sir Arthur Bliss, Alan Rawsthorne, John Addison, Willam Alwyn, Malcolm Arnold and Antony Hopkins are interviewed and discuss various projects they’ve worked on as well as the satisfying and frustrating parts to composing for Movies.
The program was recorded and aired sometime around 1963, but may be earlier or later.
Some voices you may not be familiar with. An informative 1/2 hour for a Sunday afternoon.