Hi Jack, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thank you! Great, happy to talk to you.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Ramon Visits the Pulidos”?
Our new album Zorro is a companion to and recording of themes and music I composed for our live score to the silent film The Mark of Zorro (1920). “Ramon Visits the Pulidos” is one of four cuts that were actually recorded in sync to the film. The rest of the album is themes and music recorded “wild,” not in sync, on their own. We recorded this track in one take, so it has a very fresh, “first take” quality to it.
This track is a good example of how we combine composed material and structured improvisation. Themes, melodies, and arrangements are pre-composed and provide melodic material for structured improvisation determined by onscreen dialogue, movements, gestures, and action. These themes and improvisations can be superimposed over each other, giving the whole score musical complexity, continuity, and drive. This track was played to the projected film in the studio. There are no overdubs. As conductor, I help make sure the players hit their entrances at the right time. We all have to know the film really well.
What in particular inspires this track?
In this scene, Captain Ramon of the Spanish troopers comes to visit the suffering Pulido family. He has eyes for the young daughter, Lolita. This track begins with the Pulidos theme, a bittersweet 6/8 that sounds a bit old-fashioned and nostalgic, like the Pulidos themselves, a family of respectable lineage who have fallen on hard times.
Captain Ramon is played by Dr. Jeff Schwartz on double bass. Ramon is boastful and creepy. Lolita, nervous and uninterested in Ramon, is played by Alicia Byer on clarinet. Towards the end of the track, Bass Clarinet enters in the role of Zorro, played by Dr. Charles Sharp.
We also hear excerpts of the Governor theme, dark and menacing, representing Spanish colonial oppression, and the jaunty Troopers theme, representing the colonial rank-and-file. The Troopers, initially a threat, will be won over to Zorro’s side by the end of the film.
Any plans to release a music video for this or any other single?