5 Questions with Dario Marianelli

Varese Sarabande released the soundtrack to Everest via digital retail and CD this past Friday.  We sat down with composer, Dario Marianelli, to discuss his compositions on the soundtrack.

1. Describe The Everest soundtrack on Varese.

2. Did the director give you any interesting instructions or feedback to help you create the tonal palette?

A: My initial instinctive approach to the score, which the director liked and encouraged me to follow, was to have a calling voice, a distant siren call. It is at the same time a voice that represents the ancient goddess-like mountain, but also a luring and irresistible calling to one's own shipwreck.

The opposite point of the musical compass is the possibly arrogant, "conquering" attitude of the mountaineers, a kind of macho, go-getting approach to nature, which is reflected in a much more propulsive, percussive and energetic musical idiom.

3. Which scene did you score first and why?

A: On this particular occasion I decided to progress in order, and scored the very opening first, then carried on with the rest.

I wanted to find my way into the story, step by step, and go on the same journey as the adventure evolved.

4. What other soundtracks of yours were released on Varese?

A: ‘Everest'

‘The Brave One’

‘Goodbye Bafana’

‘Third Person’

‘Everybody’s Fine’

5. What kind of ensemble did you use to record the score?  Did you use any interesting or unusual instrumentation or soloists who deserve a shout-out?

A: I recorded very early on my trusted singer, Melanie Pappenheim, who has been my vocal muse a number of times. The same tune that I wrote for her, to be my "siren call", was also played by two wonderful string players, in many variations: Caroline Dale, and David La Page, with whom I also have worked on several other movies.

I recorded the orchestral score with a group of strings and several brass players, some of the brass textures were designed to take advantage of the sheer power of brass instruments, especially when they play chord clusters. There were moments where I tried to evoke a sort of primal, raw power, as for example when Beck finds within himself the strength to get up after being left for dead, and I tried to build a sense of surging pressure with the blasting brass instruments.


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