I love movie soundtracks. Listening to the score reminds me of the associated scenes from the film and the music inspires me. Last weekend I watched the movie A Little Chaos, starting Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts and Alan Rickman, who also directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay.
It was my second viewing of A Little Chaos, which means I was able to take in more details and go deeper into the story. I noticed the beautiful musical score on this second pass as well. Heavy on the strings, yet never overpowering, the score perfectly complements this period piece, enhancing the overall mood and the interactions between the characters.
Today I came across a YouTube video featuring a talented young cellist named Peter Gregson. Looking up more info about the musician I discovered, to my delight, that he composed the soundtrack for A Little Chaos. Although I had enjoyed the score while watching the movie last Saturday, I had not yet connected a name with the work. Synchronicity took care of that for me today!
I also learned that it was a synchronous event that brought Peter Gregson to the Chaos project.
Peter was drawn to the cello at a very young age, after noticing a cello case in a James Bond movie, and later seeing another such case at a children’s concert in Edinburgh. He wanted a cello case. His mother decided to get him one, and the musical instrument that fit within it.
Now known as a cellist and composer “working at the forefront of the new music scene”, Gregson has collaborated with other film composers and has released several CDs featuring his own music.
A choreographer from the English National Ballet asked Gregson to write the music for his next ballet, after the musician wrote a cello piece for a previous performance. Peter did so, writing a ballet about water, which he called “complicated, but it’s a beautiful piece, stunningly choreographed.” One night, in the tiny theater where the ballet was being performed, Alan Rickman sat in the audience, watching…and listening.
He approached Peter after the performance and asked him to write the musical score for A Little Chaos. It would be Gregson’s first solo film score. He was 26 years old. Vanity Fair declared it Score of the Year, and it was nominated for the Public Choice Award at the 2015 World Soundtrack Awards.
In an interview, Peter discussed working on the film’s score, “Once we had the whole film laid out, he (Alan) would come to the studio and we would try things. Alan is a very musical man. He doesn’t have the musical language, but he cares a lot about the music. I was very lucky that he was so passionate about the music. He really helped it be another voice in the film. And I would be very lucky if I have the chance to work again with another director who cares about music as much as he did.”
I love the role synchronicity played in bringing Peter Grayson to A Little Chaos, and in bringing me to Peter Grayson. Via YouTube, I enjoyed listening to him play the cello today. He has also done several TED Talks that are available as well. And I pulled up the A Little Chaos soundtrack this afternoon, able to listen differently and appreciate it more, knowing the story behind the music and the composer.
Now 30 years old, this soulful musician has much to offer to the world. I hope other directors who care passionately about music, about giving the score a distinct voice in their movies, will recognize his gifts. I certainly do.
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