How much does a long-term collaborative process between composer and director influence the establishment of the former as an author? Give examples as appropriate.
In this essay I am going to explore the unique collaboration between director and composer and how much a long-term collaborative process between the two can influence the establishment of the former as an author. An author, in this case, stands for an authority actively shaping the film’s story and message but at the same can be understood as an author of music, I will try to consider both factors. In this process I want to begin with filmmaker’s general relationship to music, then while answering the main question I will give examples of the European collaboration of Theo Angelopoulos and Eleni Karaindrou, focusing on their approach of using music in new ways, as well as examples from the more known collaborations between Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann and David Cronenberg’s collaboration with Howard Shore. Furthermore, I am going to include conclusions from my personal experience I have had with my friend and director Nuno Miguel Wong. Concurrently this Essay is not an analysis of the music in the films of the above-mentioned collaborations, but rather focuses on their distinct working relationship and how it might have affected their musical approach and productivity.
To fully understand the relationship between a filmmaker and a composer, it is helpful to take a closer look at the filmmaker’s position towards music in film in general; these can of course differ substantially from one director to another. It seems, one must think, that the complete narrative and emotive potential of film music is not yet fully recognized and appreciated in many film productions, even further there seems to be a presence of an actual irrational fear of music from many directors and producers in today’s cinema and in the past. There could be several reasons for that: First of all the director has to leave well-known territory when entering the world of music for film, he might have a clear Idea what he wants the music to say but he has almost no control over the way the composer translates this into music. But it might as well be the very treacherous nature of music itself that scares filmmakers, as it has a significant impact on the film. Werner Herzog formulated it as follows:
An Image does not change per se when you place music behind it, but ... certain qualities and atmospheres in the images ... could be seen more clearly when there was certain music playing. The music changes the perspective of the audience; they see things and experience emotions that were not there before.
With the use of music the filmmaker has to reveal a subjective opinion on the films’ contents, protagonists and themes. So the music might reveal one of the most personal insights into the filmmaker’s mind, while at the same time the actual process of creating music is still mysterious and impalpable for most...