It was over tea and a long conversation about our shared love for fantasy fiction that author Valerie first shared with me the story of The Color of Music. When I first read the story of Esme, Kurkle, and the whole band, I was immediately transported. Sitting in her London home in Fulham I could hear the sound of the wind and I knew what the band should sound like.
We began by talking about Val's own musical inspirations and I made a playlist of all her references from The Lord of the Rings score by Howard Shore to Vivaldi and The Beatles. At first, I was intimidated as they are some pretty big musical shoes to fill! But also I'm a big listener of film scores and I had my own references to bring to the mix.
Here are just a few things that inspired me in the creation process.
- Firstly one of my favorite composers is Harry Gregson-Williams who scored The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. In particular, the piece he wrote as the children were leaving London titled, 'Evacuating London.' There is a moment at around 2 minutes in where a voice carries the children away on a new adventure, it's somber and inviting and magical all at the same time. I felt like the music of Kurkle and the band should be the same!
- One of my favorite artists of all time is Imogen Heap, who often uses her voice as not only a melodic top line but as instrumentation, rhythm, and texture throughout her work. I felt that the voice was going to be very important to carrying the story. Especially the moment that Esme is introduced to the band's music for the first time. I wanted the score for The Color of Music to have lots of vocals layered throughout to bring a human and imperfect quality to the work.
- Lastly, the book takes us all over the world, to Bulgaria, Scotland, Argentina, and more. So I felt that the instruments used in the music couldn't just be stringed or typical orchestral instruments but instruments that would be unfamiliar to the ear. One instrument I used is called a Shruti box which is a drone instrument from India.
If you haven't yet, head to read chapter one of the book right now and listen to just some of the music that was written especially for the story.