‘Brooklyn’ composer on Irish music nod, keeping ‘Non-cheesy’ score – The Hollywood Reporter


BrooklynThe composer of s wanted the score to make a nod to Ireland and evoke emotions, but not too much.

Oscar-winning film by director John Crowley stars Saoirse Ronan as Eilis, an Irish immigrant in 1950s New York who adapts to life away from his family while falling in love with an outspoken plumber. The film opened in theaters on Friday.

Brooklyn Composer Michael Brook has had a busy and varied career, having written the scores for films such as In nature (2007), The fighter (2010), Charlie’s world (2012) and the next Elle Fanning star About Ray.

Brook spoke to Hollywood journalist on his efforts to keep Brooklynthe score of “not cheesy,” Crowley’s surprising comments and his memories of working with David O. Russell. To hear the score of Brooklyn, Click here.

How did you first approach wrestling Brooklynthe score of?

A big goal that John had was, we wanted to highlight the emotion and inner state of mind of Eilis in a non-tacky way, which is tricky. (Laughs.) In a way, you have to refer to a common musical vocabulary, but he was very keen to avoid hitting the nail too hard, like me. balancing the score, making it emotional and slightly unpredictable – in some ways those goals conflict slightly, so that was a big part of our creative struggle.

What motivated the choice of instrumentation?

We wanted to give a little sense of place between Ireland and America, but in a subtle way. We didn’t want to do standard Irish or Gershwin-y type tunes. But we wanted to give those things a nod, so there’s a bit of mandolin in a lot of Irish sections, and there’s a bit of clarinet or double bass in the American parts.

Did you know traditional Irish music before?

In fact, because I had made the records for Real World Records with [Irish singer] Iarla Lionaird about 20 years ago he insisted on taking me to ireland to go see all these traditional artists perform or meet them so i had this amazing one week crash course on irish music which was amazing . In that sense, I was aware of it. But it was surprising that the Sean-nos song has traditionally been an unaccompanied song, and it’s almost like poetry sung in a certain way.

Michael Brook, composer of “Brooklyn”

How much entry made [director] John [Crowley] have?

When we started, about a third of the way through, everything was going really well, and I felt like, “Well, we’re almost done.” (Laughs.) And then John said, “But now, see in this part here, can we polish that up a little bit, and what can we do to make it stand out?” So it was a very sculpted approach to the creation of the score. And neither of us knew exactly what we wanted, so the musical conversation went back and forth a few times, and it ended with something that is definitely the product of our two. involvement to a large extent.

Was there a key difference between this movie and others you’ve worked on?

A big difference was the recording with a bigger string section at Abbey Road in the Beatles Hall which was awesome. For me it was a really exciting and enjoyable part. With the piano, we sampled the piano and I thought to myself, “Sounds pretty good. ” [But then] we thought, “Why not record the part with a [human] player? ”The difference was so shocking to me – probably naive. The big lesson was that the more humans, the better.

What was it like working with David O. Russell on The fighter?

It was a great experience, actually. I think I was a little hectic about that. He probably went through a phase when he was younger, and it was nice to work with him – really smart and very perceptive about things. I think people naturally want to hear the stories about the fireworks, and there were no fireworks. It was just a solid, enjoyable project and a great movie.

What has been your experience with Sean Penn scoring In nature?

It was hard, not because it was hard. It was one of those projects we were short on time for. (Laughs.) They were mixing the movie at Skywalker, and I was trying to stay one step ahead of the mix. (Laughs.) Make new marks or change them or record different parts. Music is such an important thing for [Sean]. He’s like a lot of directors I’ve worked with, where they like music, and they’re a little intimidated because they don’t have a technical musical vocabulary. What I think is better if they don’t, actually. I prefer to talk only about emotional goals.

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_Ryan Gajewski


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