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Writing music for film always has its own particular challenges, but with a story as rich as Jane Hamilton's A map Of the world - a tale that is as deep emotionally as it is expansive in its human detail - the inherent narrative musical possibilities were truly inspiring.
The basic melodic theme (represented on this album by the track a map of the world and referred to throughout the score) was started just as I finished the book, and completed immediately after I saw the first rough cut of the film. I almost had the feeling that the story itself had already written the piece, and that all I had to do was to try to translate into sound the things that were musically implied between the lines of this haunting journey through this special world, a place where these people and the events that transpire to change their lives forever intersect.
With the always supportive and helpful guidance of the brilliant young director, Scott Elliott, my goal was to create a musical environment that reflected the challenges and lessons learned here by the characters, yet one that somehow hovered parallel to them in a somewhat neutral, almost observational way. The intrinsic qualities of the midwestern landscape (the story is set in wisconsin) seemed to suggest acoustic guitar as a prominent presence, marking for me the first time in a film scoring situation that I have also actively played the lead musical voice in a score as a player, as well as being the composer. The basic palette of both solo and accompaniment acoustic guitar, chamber orchestra and acoustic bass (played here by steve Rodby) make up the primary ensemble for the score.
This soundtrack album represents all of the music that is used in the film, with an additional 25 minutes or so of various expansions, improvisations and treatments based on either the actual thematic materials, or the implied sonic and harmonic language that was generated by the score.
I would like to thank everyone involved in this project, especially the creative work done by all of the fine actors; the incredible screenplay written by peter hedges; the fantastic support provided by the editing team of Craig McKay, Naomi Geraghty and their staff; the excellent work done by Gil Goldstein, Steve Rodby and Rob Eaton; and especially Scott Elliott, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall for inviting me to participate in this exceptional project.
Pat Metheny, July 1999