I stumbled upon a fantastic little video the other day, and my friends and I have been discussing it at length. Before we move forward, take a look:
Now, I basically agree with the narrator on all points except for one: there is one memorable Marvel theme. Alan Silvestri’s theme for Captain America:
This is a character theme at it’s best: memorable, triumphant, larger than life. It shows up frequently, even in some of the movies the video criticizes, such as The Avengers, when Captain America saves the Jew:
I particularly love the soulful violin that harkens to Schindler’s List. I’ve always argued that Silvestri does a great job at going for the emotion when he doesn’t have much room to work with (because of sound effects, pacing, whatever). What do you think? What is your favorite Marvel score?
Last summer, I had the opportunity to work on an incredibly ambitious, dramatic sci-fi webseries, The Partitioned. Set in a dystopian future, The Partitioned is more a character study than anything else, even though it has heaping helpings of action. As such, I jumped for joy. How often do you, as a composer, get to write character themes these days?
I wrote a few themes that served the story well, but easily my favorite is Eeli’s Theme. When I first saw the episode where she was introduced, she struck me as so out of place from the grungy, oppressive tone of the show. Sure, we notice almost right away that she knows how to defend herself, but there is an innocence and untouched beauty that one did not expect. It almost felt like a fantasy for a brief moment, rather than dark, gritty science fiction. As a result, I tried to get away from the shows typical musical identity of gritty marcato strings, found percussion and Omnisphere, and instead introduced her character and theme with a solo flute. It worked better than I hoped for and I fell for the melody so hard that I later developed it into a full theme, complete with a B section:
I can’t tell you how much fun it was to work on this amazing show. We all grew together as artists. I definitely learned a lot about what to do (and not to do!) in a way that Film Scoring school, useful as it was, couldn’t prepare me for. It also helped me to find ways of being creative on a tight deadline, especially when a large body of music was needed. I am looking forward to working on season 2, because it is only getting better and better.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the show. It’s entirely free to watch on youtube!