Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010

The Music Of The Tempest: Techno or Chamber?

Two different soundtracks to two different productions—one quite local, the other quite distant.

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The $20 million film production of The Tempest that was released by Miramax/Touchstone pictures earlier this month my not make it to Milwaukee cinemas any time soon. It’s already been released elsewhere. Despite a huge budget very slick special effects, filmed Shakespeare that opens in limited release isn’t as popular as more contemporary stuff. It runs the risk of hitting home video first, lacking the kind of momentum needed to get it shown in local cinemas.

The release of the film, of course, comes a few months after Optimist Theatre’s inaugural outdoor production last year. The Optimist recently announced that the score for that production, composed by T.J. Hull, is now available for download as CD Baby. The complete score for the Optimist Theatre production runs something like 12 minutes. It costs roughly $10 to download. Anyone who does has the satisfaction of knowing that they’re helping a struggling theatre company survive. 

 

It is interesting, however, to compare Hull’s score for the Optimist production against Elliot  Goldenthal’s score for the film.

The motion picture score has a contemporary Hollywood feel to it . . . very big and monumental with a synth/rock/techno feel to it. It’s very progressive, but destined to feel very dated a few years from now. Hull’s composition for the Optimist Theatre production has more of a timeless chamber orchestra feel about it . . . there’s a kind of simple purity to Hull’s composition that worked particularly well in outdoor theatre. The film score can be downloaded for just under $10 from most online music sites.

 

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