A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos

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.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos
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.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos
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 Cellist Creates A Little Chaos

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.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos

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.

Listen to Peter Gregson HERE and HERE.

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.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos
You can purchase the A Little Chaos DVD and the soundtrack below:

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Day 250: If I Stay

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Tonight was movie night at the theater. Linda and I have not had many opportunities, between my trip and a cruise that she took, to indulge in this favorite pastime. We had a couple of films we were interested in, and for my first today, we settled on the recent release, If I Stay.

If I Stay stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, and Stacy Keach. It was directed by RJ Cutler and is based on the novel by the same name, penned by Gayle Forman. This drama is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 1 hour and 47 minutes.

Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz), a 17 year old girl, finds herself at a crossroad. Her biggest decision seems to be whether to pursue a musical education at Julliard or remain in her hometown of Portland with her boyfriend, Adam (Jamie Blackley), while he launches his career as a rock musician. And then, in an instant, riding in the car with her family on an icy road, life shifts. There is a horrific head on crash. Mia wakes up to find she is having an out of body experience. She observes the paramedics working intently over her still body, near the demolished car. Confused, not knowing where the rest of her family members are, she follows her battered body into the ambulance and to the hospital.

Alternating between flashbacks that tell Mia’s back story and present day scenes in the hospital, the movie tells of the relationships between Mia and her amazing family, Mia and her musical genius with the cello, and Mia and Adam. Raised by loving and supportive parents, played by Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard, Mia has been exposed to music since her birth. Although her parents tend toward punk rock, her father being part of a band until the birth of Mia’s brother, Mia fell in love with the cello when she was eight. The love of her life is the cello, until she meets Adam.

Adam appears to have his life completely figured out. Already part of a very successful band, before he’s even graduated from high school, Adam is drawn to Mia and the passion she has for classical music. Music brings the two together, and threatens to tear them apart as each desires to pursue their dreams, Adam with his rock band and Mia by attending Julliard, in New York City. Mia’s parents support her decision, no matter where that choice takes her. But Adam and Mia find the strain of wanting to travel down different paths threatening their future together.

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In the hospital, staying near her comatose body, Mia finds she must make a far more difficult choice….leave to be with her family, who have all died as a result of the accident, or stay….and live a much different life than the one she had envisioned. Friends and other family members keep a vigil from the waiting room. Her grandfather (Stacy Keach) bids her a tearful goodbye and tells her to go, if it is too difficult to stay. He also tells Mia that her father left the band because of her, not because of the birth of her baby brother. He sacrificed his musical career because he recognized the gift that Mia had and sold his drum set to pay for her cello.

Adam stays near Mia’s bedside as well, singing a song to her that he wrote, and at last, reading to her the letter from Julliard that she had been anticipating. From a place of deep grief and love, he begs her to stay, and tells her that he will let her go, to pursue her dream, if she will only live.

Linda and I realized quickly that we were the oldest females in the movie theater! We were surrounded by younger ladies. We enjoyed the movie, as did the rest of the audience, as indicated by their responses. The character of Mia, although only 17, was an old soul, and I could identify with her. The film was beautiful to watch as it explored Mia’s relationships. There was much to admire about her parents and their unconventional parenting style. And I enjoyed watching the developing romance between Adam and Mia. They had different backgrounds, different musical abilities and styles and yet their passion for music brought them together and bound them. It is common, among those who have fallen in love, to question the journey ahead when two people seem to moving along paths that will take them far from each other. Does one sacrifice for the other? Do both sacrifice love for the sake of promising individual futures? One of the most beautiful scenes in If I Stay centered around an inspiring duet between Mia and Adam, and impossibly, between the cello and a guitar. That magical scene blended the two young lovers and two seemingly incompatible musical instruments and created something new, something beyond.

The most amazing relationship to watch during the film was the one Mia had with her cello, and ultimately, herself. I love the haunting sound of the cello. It speaks to me, very much like the bagpipes do. The soundtrack for this movie was amazing, because of the cello pieces. Mia loves Adam. And she loves the cello. Much of her indecision on whether to stay and engage life, or leave, rests with what she believes about herself and her future as a musician. During a flashback, Mia’s father tells her, “Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes, the choices make you.” The truth of that phrase resonated with me, and in the end, the choice makes Mia.

This was a very powerful movie, beautifully done. My emotions tumbled from smiles and laughter, to tears and a tightening of the chest. Love is a journey teeming with joy and sorrow, lessons and spontaneity, and yes, choices. Sometimes the best choice is to keep journeying, and see what unfolds.

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