Marvin Hamlisch & The Informant! – Doug Bauman

Last Saturday, October 10 at 2 pm at the Waterworks Cinema, Marvin Hamlisch and the PSO hosted a special screening of “The Informant!”, for which Marvin wrote the original score. Prior to the screening Marvin discussed many aspects of his composition and lead a Q&A with the audience who were there to see this special screening.

I took this photo while he autographed a poster of the movie “The Informant.”

For me, he opened up a world of introspection into the aspects of the film score that accompanies movies; ideas I had never really thought of before. First, he discussed the notion of the two different kinds of film score, underscore, and open air. Underscore is written to be played at a slightly lower volume played while the actors are talking; the other being music played out in the open.

Apparently this movie had 53 separate ‘cues’ or separate pieces of music which are played throughout the movie. He indicated that at first, it took him a few weeks of thinking about how he would start, especially considering the movie is a comedy, and the music would be a key aspect in that role.

Mr. Hamlisch indicated that he hadn’t written a score for 10 years before this, but now he might consider doing more.

One person asked if he uses modern computers to compose: He indicated that he doesn’t even read email. He said there is nothing wrong with that technique for composing, but that he does it the old fashioned way: pen and paper, pen so that he can scratch out sections that don’t work out.

Someone asked if he had seen the movie (perhaps meaning the movie WITH the music), but he immediately exclaimed, humorously, that he’d seen it 1000 times. He basically plays the movie before him, just like a DVD, so that he can think of ideas to compose the music, and ways to make sure that the scene, and the music are the correct length. For him, composing film score was sort of like that saying, purportedly of Michelangelo, that goes: well, to make an elephant, I take away from the stone, and what remains, that’s the elephant.

After his talk, we all saw the movie. What an enhanced experience to know the kinds of things to listen to after hearing his talk. Indeed the music really did make the movie!

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