Cine Concert at Alliance Française de Singapour

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24th June marks International Music day and amongst the many vibrant events Alliance Française de Singapour is holding in celebration of it is a Ciné-Concert performed and presented by a collective of musicians. The collective titled Selfish Independent Artists consists of Tsumugu Misugi (violin), Nat Ng (piano), Mervin Wong (viola) and Chantel Foo (emcee). Together, they performed original music that I composed to accompany three movies: Le Mélomane, by Geoges Méliès (1903), Doggone Tired, by Tex Avery (1949), and The haunted house, by Buster Keaton (1921).


When Alliance Française de Singapour gave us the exciting opportunity to perform live music against three very old movies, I decided to embark on the challenge of re-interpreting these movies with new music. We wanted to create a refreshing take on these movies, in a way that does not look to the past, but presents them in a new light.

Composing music to these three films is a challenge because I have to score new music that is capable of bringing out what is happening on picture that has been created literally in a previous century. The Méilès and the Keaton both have a witty undertone to them, but this is exploited more with the backdrop of the early 30s industrial America in Keaton’s The Haunted House. With Avery’s Doggone Tired, we have decided to present it as a silent movie, and re create an original score to the playful animation.

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When it came down to scoring these three short movies, I had a very short turn around time, with less than 5 weeks to compose about 45 minutes of music (in the film and TV industry, it can even be days or even hours to score a complete an entire cue!). Hence I chose a very lean instrumentation of a piano trio (violin, viola, piano) but this trio would perform in a very special way that they are supported by an electronically prepared soundtrack. A lot of the music to these monochromatic silent films would be accompanied by pianists in screening venues. We wanted to pay homage to that tradition of improvising or creating new music, yet showcase it with our own refreshing take on how we would imagine it to sound if these films were created today.

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