Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Composers: Gabriel Yared

Gabriel Yared, the brilliant Lebanese composer, is one of my very favorites. He's been writing music for films for some 20+ years, but primarily in Europe until recent years. I was introduced to his work with his score for The English Patient. I liked the score. Very emotional, full of sadness and beauty at the same time. But I fell in love with his music with two unexpected scores: "Autumn in New York" and "City of Angels". His music is very romantic. Long drawn out melodies, deep textures, colorful orchestration...

City of Angels is only available as a full score on an isolated track on the DVD, so I got a copy of that, and listened to it on my trips to Chicago and Jordan. The element that I fell in love with is that deep low-register electronic stuff, like angels lurking on a different plain that can't be touched by melody, but only sensed by vibrations. Meanwhile, the human character was represented by accoustic guitar and funky electronic rhythms, like there's a beat for life. And of course the emotional stuff was represented by high strings with the melody accompanied by Celli counterpoint (playing another theme under the main theme at the same time). It's one of those scores best appreciated when you're on an airplane in a different mental state between wake and sleep.

"Autumn in New York" has one of the most romantic film melodies played by different instruments like piano, clarinet, and oboe. Oh, so beautiful. Nobody writes lyrical melodies in Hollywood today like Gabriel Yared. These long extended melodies that take unpredicatble turns that your ear can't wait to get to every time you listen to them. You know what I mean? He does this with all his melodies. Always taking unexpected surprising turns.

Yared also wrote the excellent scores for The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain, and most recently, the unused score for Troy, for which he spent a year writing the music, only to be tossed out and replaced by a 10-day hack-job from James Horner, the plagirizing craftsman.

The big non-musical thing that I learned from Yared as a person is the value of formal training. Even though he was a popular working musician (self-taught) at the age of 29, writing for big name singers and musicians, he still felt that at 29, to become a brialliant musician, he had to go back and get formal training. This really inspired and encouraged me in my pursuit of my direcitng fellowship at AFI. Art is more brilliant when it's created with craftsmanship. And Gabriel Yared is a testament to this.

His web site is


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7:42 PM  

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