Making November

In June 2016, I directed and wrote the score for my first film. I thought I’d write a post explaining why a composer might be interested in making movies …

THE GEEKY PART: In the 18th century, Handel wrote oratorios — musical dramas that took place on stage with a chorus, soloists and orchestra. Arguably, this was the grandest scale of musical drama available to composers at the time. In the 19th century, Wagner brought opera to a whole new vista by incorporating dazzling special effect theatricals and weaving epic mythological plots into three hour-long visual-musical sagas. What is the ultimate dramatic medium now for composers? I feel that cinema has been underexplored by composers as auteurs. What if composers were not treated as subservient to their directors and conceived the entire musical, dramatic and plot arcs for the work? They would need to first learn about cinema, directing, screenwriting, story-craft, which is a life’s work in itself… On top of that their musical skills, counterpoint, orchestration, harmony, language… all of that needs to be in tip-top shape too. Hmm, tricky.  Admittedly, In my first film, I spent more time tackling purely cinematic problems rather than musical ones 

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The Syria I Remember

  In 2010 I took a trip to Syria. In light of current events, I wanted to share some personal impressions and photographs of Syria before the war. 

Aleppo, (Halep) is an ancient city in the north of Syria. Traders and merchants have travelled through this city for over a thousand years. It’s Ramadan.  At night, men haggle over chunks of lamb, women find new hijabs for their daughters, little boys sell coffee and pistachio cake, Beduins ride donkeys carrying birds in cages and cases of bulgur wheat to sell – he sees his friend selling saffron by the street.

“Asalem alakum keef halcum hayati!”

“Alhumdulilah, lesh, Ramadan!”

The souq of Aleppo is situated next to the city’s central citadel. Frankincense from the Gulf wafts, rugs from Iran fill tiny shops. Shopkeepers greet me and invite me in for tea.

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