That scary music in your movie trailer this Halloween is more than likely "BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA" by composer Wojciech Kilar...
By David Davila (Playwright / Songwriter)
When I was ten years old, I was really into Winona Ryder, and Aaron Copland, and Mary J Blige. Okay, Mary J has nothing to do with this story, but my obsession with Winona and her cult-classic-goth-glam of course led to my deep desire to watch Franis Ford Coppola's adaptation of BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.
I didn't understand the movie, but for some reason I was obsessed with it. I was obsessed with the actors, the costumes, the weird accents, and of course the music! I loved the music so much that I asked Santa for the soundtrack, and he happily brought it Christmas morning.
Oh yeah... about Aaron Copland. I was really into Romantic and Modernist orchestral music back then, since my fifth grade music teacher, Audrey Chapman (rest in peace), had me competing in district wide music memory competitions. I could name a Tchaikovsky, Copland, Beethoven, or Rachmaninoff piece in less than one second. It was pretty impressive.
Arts education in Texas is really good y'all!
So when I heard this:
("Vampire Hunters" from Wojciech Kilar's DRACULA)
I was blown away.
I knew it was something special. I knew it was something big.
In the twenty years since BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA was first released, it's been featured in horror and suspense movie trailers over and over and over. Movies like 12 MONKEYS, WHAT LIES BENEATH, UNDERWORLD, and PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN. I thought it would become a classic, and I was right.
Strange for a ten year old to think things like that, but I knew what classics sounded like. I had memorized Beethoven's 5th Symphony, and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and Ravel's Bolero, and I knew that BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA was something like that.
Of course it was years before I ever thought to pay attention to who wrote the music for BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA. It wasn't until one of my college professors at the University of North Texas, Harold Heiberg, instilled in me a pride in knowing music literature that I suddenly felt the need to look up the composer of BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, and every other piece of music that he ever wrote.
The composer in question is Wojciek Kilar, who is still alive and writing music. He was born in Poland in 1932, and studied composition with the famed teacher Nadia Boulanger. Kilar's written dozens of film scores, orchestral scores, choral masses, and piano concertos, and after collecting his recorded works for a decade I've become a big fan!
You remember Nadia Boulanger, she also taught Philip Glass, Aaron Copland, Astor Piazzolla, Burt Bacharach, Virgil Thompson, Quincy Jones, Gian-Carlo Mennotti, George Gershwin, Soulima Stravinsky, Charles Strouse, Daniel Pinkham, and the list goes on...
He's written a lot of sacred music, and although most classify him as one of the "Holy Minimalists" like Arvo Pärt, Gorecki, and Morten Lauridsen, his works tend to fall on the scary side of religion - dealing with scary bible stuff like, I dunno; HELL.
Some of my favorite recordings are his symphony for September 11th (Semptember Symphony), his mass for world peace (Missa Pro Pace), and his Requiem (Requiem Father Kolbe.)
Why am I going on about this? Because it's Halloween! Duh!
If you really want to freak out your trick-or-treaters you should add the Wojciech Kilar channel on Pandora and take your Halloween to the next level! Now check these out!
(creepy and wonderful... Kilar's ANGELUS)
(More from DRACULA... a love theme)
(Kilar's massive, yet minimal orchestral/choral score to the Biblical Exodus)
... and now for the "HALLOWEEN" 90's jam of the week. When I was in seventh grade, this video scared the S**T out of me... Mostly because the edited version on MTV had a creepy message that the film was missing footage every few seconds. The edited version was because of all the boobies, but I thought it made the video even more creepy by making me wonder why the footage was missing in the first place. This version of the video isn't missing footage... and in keeping with the religious theme of today's blog, this song is about becoming closer to God, through the act of beastiality.
DAVID DAVILA is half of the song-writing duo Havrilla & Davila, author of the Tex-Mex plays ADAN Y JULIO, MEN OF GOD, CREDO, REQUERDOS OF MY LIFE, and AZTEC PIRATES AND THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF LIFE ON MARS. He is a self proclaimed Voxist, a Diva enthusiast, and founder of Lone Star Theatre Co. Catch the premiere of David Davila's TALES FROM HIGHWAY 281 at the INTAR Theatre on Nov 17th. www.daviddavila.net
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