25
September 2020
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Cue of the Week: “The Foyer”

This week’s music from Lady Usher is short but sweet. Well, short but macabre. Once the heroine has entered the Usher domain, the visuals become dark and oppressive, and the music shifts accordingly.

One great thing about a string quartet is the ability to convey agitation in a very intimate, almost claustrophobic way. (Whereas a full string section sounds both richer and more distanced, by nature.) We’ll hear more of this sound as we continue into the creepier parts of the score.

18
September 2020
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Cue of the Week: “Arriving at the House of Usher”

In this moody cue from the film Lady Usher, Morgan arrives at the foreboding mansion of … well, see the title. The score’s string quartet is joined by harp, adding a hint of delicacy to the disquieting setting.

The romance theme introduced earlier recurs throughout, here more subdued in its hopefulness. (Spoiler alert: at this point in the film, the carefree times are behind us.)

04
September 2020
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Cue of the Week: “Departing by Train”

After saying goodbye to her bestie, Morgan hops on a train to pursue her troubled boyfriend Roderick, who has mysteriously disappeared into the House of Usher. (Sound familiar?)

This music accompanies the departure with a mini-scherzo for string quartet — optimistic and determined, but with some agitation. The mood turns creepier as Morgan emerges onto a desolate, dusty road.

(Sharp-eared obsessives will notice a minor-mode restatement of Morgan’s theme from the prior “Romance” cue.)

14
August 2020
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Cue of the Week: “Tidings From Home”

This week continues the music selections from the score of the film Lady Usher.

This understated cue plays during a foreboding discussion. As dialogue music, its two jobs are to 1) establish the mood and 2) not be so busy as to interfere with speech. A rising and falling viola solo creates a sense of uneasiness about what’s to come.

07
August 2020
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Cue of the Week: “Romance”

This week I begin sharing music from my fourth feature film collaboration with George Adams, Lady Usher. This one is relatively recent, score recording having wrapped last December.

A modern re-setting of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the movie opens with a romantic vignette of the two protagonists.

The theme introduced here, as a lyrical prelude for guitar and string quartet, will recur throughout the movie in darker form as the plot unfolds.

17
July 2020
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Cue of the Week: “The Queen’s Birthday”

Cortopia’s Down the Rabbit Hole wraps with the anonymous adventurer confronting the Queen of Hearts at her birthday party. This week’s music accompanies the showdown.

My concept for the score was something celebratory, but evocative of the Queen’s ornery persona. For the latter, I used the contrabassoon, the bassoon’s larger sibling, who here periodically intrudes upon the regal strains of the strings and harpsichord.

Listen to the music at the usual places below.

Spotify:

Apple Music:

YouTube: (no subscription required)

03
July 2020
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Cue of the Week: “The Keep of Hearts”

The King of Hearts has had way too many tarts. Late in Cortopia’s VR game Down the Rabbit Hole, the player contends with a king who has grown to epic proportions.

I wasn’t super subtle in my musical characterization of the over-fed monarch: he gets a tuba solo.

Listen to the music at the usual places below.

Spotify:

Apple Music:

YouTube: (no subscription required)

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