Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

And now, Shirley Walker in Her Own Words (Walker on Walker, Part One)

Well, it was easier waking up this Wednesday morning than it has been many recent Wednesday mornings...

And now to this entry's point. The people at Film Score Monthly were fans of and friends with composer Shirley Walker, who sadly died suddenly last November. Wanting to commemorate her life and work, FSM's editor Scott Bettencourt has put together "Walker on Walker." Here's Part One, with her discussing her musical youth and her tumultuous first composing gig: ghost-rewriting Carmine Coppola's score to The Black Stallion:
It was a requirement that I use his themes, which I was more than happy to do because I thought they were wonderful. I loved them. I loved them for the horse. They were just bang-on. So I had no hesitation about that. But we were stuck in the quandary about who was going to tell Carmine. Our faces were white about this.

Nobody was going to tell him. I wasn't going to be a patsy and call him up and say, "Oh, Carmine, I'm throwing out everything you did for the island." So, we had to go to [director] Carroll [Ballard] and say, "Look, somebody's got to tell him." And Carroll went to Francis, who was the producer, and said, "Somebody's got to tell your father." And Francis said, "Okay, he's my dad, I'll take care of it." Well, the dynamics in that family were such that it never did taken care of. And, to my horror and DEEP regret, Carmine found out from an old friend, a flute player who'd been hired to do the session, that we were re-recording pivotal moments of the score... Of course, Carmine was explosively furious and called up all of us.
I'd known that Walker's Black Stallion work had been what her longtime friend and colleague Dan Carlin had called "a long and potentially litigious story" (as he said in the liner notes for her score to Memoirs of an Invisible Man), but never knew the specifics until now. Tough start, especially as it ruined the friendship Walker and Carmine Coppola had from working together on Apocalypse Now (she was one of the synth players). But she got to Hollywood, and started finding her niche...which will be covered more in Part Two, next Wednesday.

Here's to you, Shirley Walker. I'm not the only one who misses you.
Tags: music
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