We Are Movie Geeks | By Michelle McCue
From Paolo Sorrentino, the director of Italy’s Oscar foreign language winner THE GREAT BEAUTY comes YOUTH, about two longtime friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps.
The film features an original score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, who first met Sorrentino when his composition “I Lie” was used in THE GREAT BEAUTY.
Fred’s most popular composition, “Simple Song #3,” is also written by Lang. Referred to throughout the film, it is the piece that the Queen has asked him to conduct – a piece he has vowed never to perform again. “Fred Ballinger wrote this beautiful music for his wife,” Lang explains. “It’s clearly a love song, but only Fred is aware of its history. The Queen of England wants to hear it is because of what it means to her personally, but Fred can only hear what it means to him.”
Not all of the music that Lang contributed to the movie was written for a traditional orchestra. Some of the most original and unconventional compositions came about as a way to reveal a bit of Fred’s essence. “For a composer, every sound is available to be sculpted,” explains Lang. “When he eats a candy and he crumples the wrapper, that’s music. There is a powerful moment where he goes out into the forest and conducts what we call the ‘wood symphony.’ He hears sounds of the birds, the trees and the cowbells and that’s an opportunity for him to imagine that he is at the center of the sonic universe. He has told everyone that he does not make music anymore, but in that scene he allows himself to play only for himself.”