Thursday 12 December 2019

Ulster Orchestra records feature-length score for first time

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Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

The Ulster Orchestra has recorded a full, feature-length film score for the first time, joining only a handful of film scores to be recorded entirely in Ireland.

The orchestra have recorded the score to feature film ‘A Nightingale Falling’ over two days in Belfast.

Donegal-born composer Graeme Stewart wrote the music for the Mixed Bag Media film.

Stewart likened the score to “an emotional spectator of the film,” and described it as having “a lyrical and a pastoral quality, featuring woodwind and solo stringed instruments, while at the same time becoming much more symphonic when it needs to.”

“I got involved in the film after watching the trailer for ‘A Nightingale Falling’ and I just thought it looked like a really beautifully shot film; I was blown away by what Mixed Bag Media has created from PJ Curtis' book,” Stewart said.

“One of the things which drew me to score this film was that it wanted a score behind it; it needed that sweeping orchestral sound underneath the characters and the locations which have been directed and acted so beautifully.”

The film is based on the novel of the same title by PJ Curtis and is a new historical drama set against the backdrop of a war-torn Ireland in the early 1920s.

The film follows the story of a household and its inhabitants caught up in the politics and hardship of the time. 

Stewart said he is ‘honoured’ to be involved.

It's the first time a feature film soundtrack has been recorded with the Ulster Orchestra so I feel honoured that they will be performing my score,” he said.

“It's great to have the financial backing of Northern Ireland Screen for this recording as well; I'd like to thank them for their support.”

Starring Tara Breathnach, Muireann Bird and Gerard McCarthy, ‘A Nightingale Falling’ was filmed entirely on location in Co. Offaly.

It will be released later this year.

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