Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
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Walker on Walker Part Five: Phantasm and Lies

And once again, courtesy the Film Score Monthly people, Walker on Walker: Part Five. This week, Shirley Walker discusses scoring the animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) and orchestrating Brad Fiedel's largest-scale orchestral score, True Lies (1994).

Lovely detail about Phantasm: the text for that score's wonderful choral stuff is, I kid you not, the names of Walker's music staff sung backwards. Walker relates:
I wrote out all of the names, and I divided them into syllables. I had two-syllable names, one-syllable names, three, four, five, etc. So as I was going along in the flow of the music-writing, I thought, "Okay, I need three syllables here," or whatever. It had nothing to do with any linear, textual concept...it was just, how many syllables do I need at this point? Then I get this call from Doug Frank, because of course they have to clear all this kind of stuff. They'd had a bad experience with somebody...I don't know if they put swear language in backward, or they did a Morse code that said "F-ck you," or whatever studio it was...you know, all that kind of stuff that film people try to get away with.

So he said, "Shirl, I need to talk to you about those...what are those lyrics gonna be, that the choir's gonna sing?" And I just lied to him. I said, "Oh, Doug, it's a very obscure, ancient choral language. It really isn't even used anymore...but it's just, you know, it has the right feel. I think it'll sound really cool." And he was, "Okay, fine."
More at the link.

And now a bonus that makes NO sense unless you know the Mask of the Phantasm score! Back in a mid-Nineties issue of Film Score Monthly, editor Lukas Kendall mentioned Walker's practical joke/tribute in the Mask of the Phantasm chorus ("Want to sing along?" he said), and that inspired me to write my own version of the opening chorus!:
[two bursts of ominous percussion]
We're repeating
Just reciting
Orrrrrrating isn't so harrrrrd!

These are just words
No re-al mean-ning
We recite names (and backwards, too)
And make like singing
These are just names
We're recognizing
Our loyal staff
By vocalizing
Tags: music
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