Posted on Saturday, December 26th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
At the very least, each of Clint Mansell’s movie scores strengthens the film it accompanies and at the very best, his music works extraordinarily both in the picture and as standalone listening. With Lux Aeterna, his most astonishing cue from the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack, he managed to write one of the most beloved, discussed and arguably overplayed pieces of film music in the medium’s entire history.
After a career in the band Pop Will Eat Itself, Mansell’s first two scores were for Darren Aronfosky‘s Pi and Requiem for a Dream, and he’s gone on to write the music for every one of Aronfosky’s films since. That will continue, unsurprisingly but still thankfully, with Aronfosky’s next movie, Black Swan.
If you’re not up on Black Swan, and perhaps know it only as the film where Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are going to have an ‘intense’ bedroom scene, we’ve done our best to cover all news about the film here at /Film. Some good holiday time reading for you there.
During a recent interview with Little White Lies magazine, Mansell explained his ‘embryonic’ concept for the Black Swan music:
One of the main ideas we’ve got is building the entire score out of elements from Swan Lake. I mean it would have to be vastly screwed with, but that’s a starting point. Sometimes we’ve had ideas in the past and you put them into practice and they just suck, so we’ll see.
That wouldn’t be the only influence that Swan Lake has exerted upon Black Swan. Indeed, Swan Lake is the ballet within the film, and the third act of Swan Lake is sometimes referred to as The Black Swan. Hopefully without giving away too much, there’s also some deliberate similarities between the characters in the film and the ballet.
If you’d like to listen to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and familiarise yourself with some of the material Mansell is working with here, there are several versions available on Last FM.
Mansell’s score for Moon is my favorite soundtrack of the year, outwardly simple but perfectly judged and always compelling, evocative and deep-reaching. Will he be reteaming with Duncan Jones for Source Code? The Little White Lies interviewer went there also and Mansell told him:
Well I think Duncan is a terrific guy, he’s really talented and I’d love to do more films with him. I suppose the problem could be that you don’t know what the studio is gonna want and they might look at the the rest of his team, me included, and we might be seen as not having the experience that the studio is looking for. So it might be a case where Duncan has to do what it is he has to do so he can progress.
That’s not a very encouraging outlook, I’m afraid, reminding me that me we might well live, view and listen in a world of cinema where Duncan Jones could be forced to compromise by his producers, and where Clint Mansell is not considered a safe, let alone bankable, composer.
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