“The Song of Names” “offers a really great palette for music,” says composer Howard Shore. “It covers 50 years,” including the periods before, during and after WWII. And the story involves “a virtuoso violinist, so the music score onscreen and the score itself were very appealing to work on.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Shore above.
Directed by Francois Girard, the Sony Pictures Classic release centers on a man (Tim Roth) haunted by the disappearance of his best friend (Clive Owen), a violin prodigy, before a 1951 concert that would’ve launched his promising music career. When he discovers his friend might still be alive, he searches the globe to find him.
Before Shore ever saw the footage for the film he delved into his own research, “filling my mind and intellect up with the period and the music that we chose for the onscreen performances.” He also had to call upon his own past for “the pivotal scene in the film,” set in a synagogue outside of London. “I had to go back a bit in my history to that period, my being brought into the synagogue at that time, my relationship with my father,” he explains. “It became a very personal story for me” that “brought me a little closer to my father.”
That personal relationship influenced his score for the entire movie. “It definitely affects my music if I find those relationships,” he says. This music “was in my DNA,” so his scoring this film was all about “rediscovering it and bringing it out.”
Shore has won Oscars for scoring the opening and closing installments of Peter Jackson‘s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy: “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001) and “The Return of the King” (2003). He picked up a third trophy for “ROTK” for Best Original Song (“Into the West”) and earned an additional nomination in Best Score for Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo” (2011).
Besides those Oscar plaudits, he has worked on many other classics, collaborating often with Scorsese (“After Hours,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Departed”), Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “Philadelphia”), David Fincher (“Seven,” “The Game,” “Panic Room”), Tim Burton (“Ed Wood”) and most frequently David Cronenberg (“The Brood,” “Scanners,” “Videodrome,” “The Fly,” “Dead Ringers,” “Naked Lunch,” “Crash,” “A History of Violence,” and his Globe nominated “Eastern Promises,” to name a few).
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