About the soundtrack:
new music accompanies Evans Chan's The Map of
Sex and Love -- Hong Kong's first full-digital feature, which
will be released [in North America] on DVD/VHS by Water Bearer Films (http://www.waterbearerfilms.com/pages/454565/index.htm).
The celebrated production offers an elegant and moving score by "new
classicist" Milos Raickovich (Riverdrive RDP003, $14.00, 15 tracks,
44m 1s). Performed on piano (Nancy Loo) and cello (Dmitry Surikov), Raickovich's
ethereal music [has been nominated the Best Original Score by the Taiwan
Golden Horse Film Festival]…its melancholy atmospheres are supplemented
by cues ranging from art-rock to Portuguese fado to a Cantonese aria."
The CD can
be purchased (US$12) by email c/o Moyung Yuk Lin
It was in a hot afternoon, in Herceg Novi, an Adriatic coast town in Yugoslavia, in summer of 2000, that I ventured out of my father's vacation house (leaving my wife and two children in a deep siesta sleep), that I decided to check my e-mail in a nearby place where one can use a computer for a few Deutsche-Marks (a currency that was newly introduced in Montenegro--a so-called "pro-Western" part of my country).
A message with word "URGENT" in its heading had caught my attention. What can be urgent to anybody in this summer heat? It was a message from my friend, Evans Chan, asking me where I am, and could I arrange an old Catalonian song for his new film. Well, that changed my vacation. From then on, I was composing (without piano), in my mind, while going to beach, walking with my children in night, or talking (or, more often, listening) to my wife.
The original song, El canto de los Pajaros, a Catalonian song, which Evans sent me via FAX and a cassette tape (in a few different arrangements, including a famous one with Pablo Casals), was haunting, but, to my taste, a bit too "square" for the synopsis (which came to me via e-mail). So, I decided to make the main theme mine, and not to quote the song. Since Evans was obviously fixed on the song and its mood, I took the rhythm of its melody, as well as the main melodic contour (general melodic movements up or down), and made my own melody, based on a new, five-note scale, which sounded slightly "Japanese." After this, I composed the main piece, El contorno (Spanish for the contour), a duo for cello and piano. In addition, I provided a set of variations for solo cello as well as for solo piano, to be used in film "as needed," for dialogues, monologues, as connections between scenes or any other moments, and edited in any way that Evans would need them: cut in fragments, repeated, faded out, etc.
The most interesting thing about all this is the fact that I was composing film music based only on the synopsis, without seeing the film. This was, in fact, liberating. I felt the story without the restrains that could have emerged if I saw the film prior to composing.
Once I finished the music, I sent the score to Hong Kong, where it was first recorded in a rehearsal, by Nancy Loo, a very fine and sensitive pianist, and Dmitry Surikov, a Russian cellist with a warm sound and a Slavic heart. Once I heard the rehearsal tape, which really sounded great, I gave a go ahead for the final studio recording. In a way, I was glad not to be there, and to let it happen without my supervision. This way, I sent back my music to the people I trusted (the performers and the director), to mold it as it suits them.
A few months later, Evans
showed me all the film scenes with music (at his Manhattan home, on his
computer). I was amazed how beautiful the pictures are, and how natural
the pace of the story was. In the subway, on the way to my Brooklyn home,
the music sounded anew in my head, but this time, with pictures. -- Milos