Last week I attended hadara's recital. Unfortunately, things didn't pan out as smoothly as they could. The tech guy was way out of his depth, forcing her to show her clips on a computer monitor rather than on the big screen. I considered this minor; I'm a filmmaker, I've dealt with so many technical problems over the years that it's like watching a movie with subtitles; after a while you don't even see them. However, the performance of her "A Song of Fire and Ice" trio was unfortunately compromised by the musicians. The trio itself was beautiful; I particularly liked the 'Riding,' 'Promise' and 'Red' movements, but it was hopelessly marred by awkward pauses and the performers missing their entrances and whatnot. I can't blame her at all for her disappointment about that.
However, the former portion of the recital, when she showed the clips that she scored, was very impressive. I had heard some of the music on a CD that she had given me several months ago, but it was really something to hear them within a scene.
It was her scoring of a scene from Spider that impressed me the most, as she delineates both the inherent tension in the scene and a character's inner conflict, each in opposition to one another but never contradicting one another. The score plays the his decision without being too obvious about it, and while making sense musically. That was really something. There was quite a bit of range on display, from the dissonant strains of said Spider cue to the Medieval flavored material from A Knight's Tale. I thought it also interestingly ironic that the most modern sounding of all of her tracks was for the silent feature The Show (a very funny clip).
As a demonstration of her ability to find the emotional truth of a piece of film and create music for it, the recital was a complete success. I felt that in some cases, the way that she went about scoring some of the scenes was much more satisfying manner than what actually ended up in the respective films; this was definitely true of the finale of The Bourne Identity. The Moby song is okay, but the emphasis on the characters in her cue made that scene much more evocative. And while I appreciate what Cy Coleman was doing with his Family Business score, I don't think that the music in that film was as relevant to the story as it should have been. The piece she wrote for it works much better than anything in the film for that very reason; she was once again playing to character in context; in this case Jesse's quirky worldview and how its allure is seducing of Adam into it, all while being illustrative of the sunrise depicted in the film.
A film composer always has to go for what will be most effective in a scene, but there are many ways to approach a score. From what I've seen, hadara's strength is her concentration on character over event, meaning that she goes for the emotional truth of a scene first and complementing screen action second. While she had an established artistic identity that is apparent from clip to clip, each example was unique to the scene itself. This is becoming more and more rare in today's world of Media Ventures/Remote Control "one score fits all" and speaks well of her compositional ability, but I wonder if filmmakers, who have gotten so used to such a generic scoring approach, will recognize this ability. But as a film music enthusiast, I eagerly await seeing what happens when she gets to Los Angeles.
I'll sign off with one of her other userpics because... well, you all know how I feel about cats.