Music History

Introduction To Inamorata Music and Composer History

When I was around 14 or 15, I discovered film music.  I was loosely familiar with the genre of film score music, but, largely having a comparatively almost media-starved upbringing till that age, I had never truly had a movie score arrest me and capture my imagination for months and years on end.

The Compact Disc for “Last Of The Mohicans” came in a gigantic cardboard sleeve three times the size of the jewel case as CDs were still new and had to compete with LPs at record stores and get noticed.  I was already a well-trained violinist who had been playing for over ten years, and only one minute after hearing the first Gaelic-influenced dramatic track, I ran and got my violin and learned to play the title track.  I had not yet seen the film, nor had I spent much time listening to other scores.

This began a lifelong fascination with movie scores – at the time, I had no idea the rabbit hole I was perched upon, nor how deep it would go or take me.  Weeks later, I spent hours digging through my parent’s CD collection and strained out every movie score I could.  At the time, my collection was thin – Last of the Mohicans, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Legends of the Fall, and Dances With Wolves were the gamut of my finds.  I listened to them from beginning to end, and then listened to them over and over and over again.

As an already experienced classical musician, I was particularly captivated with the nature and feel of score writing.  Classical was always something that happened hundreds of years before, and it had its own institutions, rules, schools and definitions.  I enjoyed classical music, and as I matured as a musician, was increasingly drawn to music from the Romantic era.  Dark, tempestuous, tragic, heroic, and moody, I found my soul melding into this style in a way I never fully experience with the more rigid and refined forms of Mozart, Beethoven, and the Baroque and Classical eras.

Score writing was people writing new instrumental music that could be played on my violin that had been written only a few years or days before I encountered it, and the often romantic nature of the music fit perfectly with my instincts.  As I matured as a musician, my attention towards and love for the eclectic, sometimes bizarre, but most often unceasingly passionate and intense music from the genre would only grow.

To fast forward through what was ultimately a very long journey, I went from experiencing my first scores to being a self-taught expert on the subject.  It became a bit of my identity in highschool, while everyone else was freaking out about Nirvana, Bush, the Roots, or the album of the week, I was going deeper with this type of music.  Friends would tease me, “there’s more to life than movie scores, Israel!”

There was an accessibility and an understanding and a depth of emotion in it that I craved, and I was entranced with the amount of sheer musical variety inherent in the art form – one could find every strain and influence of music throughout the ages in various types of scores.  It also fed my imagination in a way that set my mind free – I could listen to a score and get lost in it and creative ideas would come to me or my mind would imagine living through the circumstances of the stories – it even became a bit of an imaginary roleplaying device where I would get into a certain type of character or experience merely through listening.  As my musical career grew and I took my music into college, my score knowledge grew and grew.  I had my favorite composers and knew their libraries inside and out and could pick out strains of their influences all around the world.

At this stage I began studying musical theory more and delving into my first compositions.  My love for film scoring grew even more fierce as I encountered true classical and artistic post-modern snobbery – many “artists” or musicians would look down their nose at this art form because it was modern or somehow insufficient because it didn’t have the history of other classical writing, or it was about “feelings.”  Hypocrisy was added to this because many of the “composers” of the day, including ones that I knew personally and were even teaching me, were writing extreme and grossly avant garde and ugly works in keeping with the times – and rashly labeled the appeal and emotion in movie scoring to be simplistic, juvenile, or cliche.  It tightened my grip on what I thought to be beautiful, and connected with a gigantic arc I traveled in my understanding and own personal desire of what it meant to appreciate, discover, find, and ultimately create art.  I became the guy who would rather write a one line song that was simple if it felt beautiful than a grand symphony if it merely claimed to be art by avoiding trends labeled to be simplistic.  There is far more there than I can discuss in this introductory post; suffice it to say I became a fierce defender of the simple and the beautiful and the continued search for beauty in a completely objective sense – how to write in a way that I found beautiful but was also beautiful to someone who didn’t have decades of study or subjective bias.  I would spend hours agonizing and meditating on these questions; I now view it as an incredible battleground and prep for any artistic endeavor I would eventually undertake.

While I majored in violin performance in college (while also double majoring in computer science), I took my first semester of composition lessons.  With the amount I was thinking about, studying, analyzing, reading about composition, I realize in retrospect film scoring was something that was much larger in my life than I even fully realized – I was spending more time on it in my head than people who were paying to study it.

It was not until I started making my own films that I really stumbled into a situation where I had to write my own film scores – and oddly enough, in odd circumstances which provided the tools I needed just at the moment they were most needed – as much as it felt like a forgotten dream, it was such a thrill to finally be able to put into action what I had obsessed over for so many of my conscious hours.  While I do a number of things and don’t necessarily see myself exclusively as a composer, it is such an important part of the process of filmmaking and one I hope to be faithful with and continue to grow in in as many ways as I can in the near future.

Comments