Un Chien Andalou – An Orchestral Film Score
Un Chien Andalou - An Orchestral Film Score, is a one-movement work for small orchestra composed as live accompaniment to the 1929 silent film Un Chien Andalou by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali. Several factors went into my decision to compose a soundtrack for this movie. It is a well known film and it is relatively short at 22 minutes, conditions conducive to increased performance possibilities. Being silent, it allows for continuous or nearly continuous music, so this soundtrack functions as a suite. The film contains numerous contrasting and bizarre scenarios and it boasts sudden shifts in tone and mood, offering opportunities to compose both empathetic and anempathetic music. Finally, the 2003 Filmoteca Español restoration returned the film to its correct frame rate, lengthening the duration from sixteen to twenty-two minutes and rendering unusable Buñuel’s original 1960 soundtrack (which consisted of excerpts from various Argentinian Tangos and a passage from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde). My goal was to produce a score tailored for orchestras of modest size and ability, so few passages make virtuosic demands on the performers. Equally important was to make sure conductors could synchronize the performance: visual cues in the movie are carefully aligned with markers placed in the score. Eliminating the need for a click track means the score can be performed with only a copy of the movie and appropriate projection equipment. I also sought to avoid stylistic dissonance by relying principally on conventional musical tropes such as circus music, romantic themes, jazz and other recognizable styles. “Stylistic dissonance” indicates music composed in a style far enough removed from the film it is intended to accompany that its presence is anachronistic. Since most contemporary soundtracks created for this film are rife with stylistic dissonance, I wanted to create an alternative and more stylistically appropriate response. I created the score in four stages. I spotted the film to calculate all hit points and tempos, then composed a rough draft piano score that I later fleshed out and orchestrated. Finally, I edited the score, corrected mistakes and added small details.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Acknowledgements -- Instrumentation -- Performance notes -- Score -- Vita