Wednesday 27 April 2016

Exclusive Anne Dudley Interview

Anne Dudley
Anne Dudley
You may not have seen Anne Dudley on screen, but her work on Poldark is as important as any actor's. Anne is the multi award winning composer who scored the evocative soundtrack for Poldark. Anne has had a hugely successful career in music. She studied at The Royal College of Music before embarking on a long and successful career, composing the soundtracks for dozens of films and television series (The Full Monty, Jeeves and Wooster and most recently Billionaire Boy are amongst her many credits). Anne has also worked as a producer, has released three albums of original classical music as well as the many soundtracks she has written, and has worked in pop music, playing and arranging music for the likes of Robbie Williams, Seal and Elton John.

Anne has had much critical acclaim over the years.She won an Oscar for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score for The Full Monty in 1998, a film for which she also won a BRIT Award. Anne won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1986 for Peter Gunn and was the first BBC Concert Orchestra's Composer in Association in 2001. In addition to this she has had much commercial success (most recently the Poldark soundtrack entered the classical charts at number 2), was made a Fellow of The Royal College of Music in 2004 and awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent in 2011.

Poldark Soundtrack
The Poldark Soundtrack
The Poldark soundtrack captures the beauty of the Cornish landscape, the wild rebellious nature of Ross Poldark and the romanticism of the story. It beautifully compliments the struggles, hopes and loves of the characters on screen. We were therefore delighted when Anne agreed to answer some of our questions.

Poldarked: You said at The Royal Television Society’s Anatomy of a Hit lecture you approached Mammoth Screen about composing the score for Poldark. What made you want to compose the score so much?
Anne Dudley: At first, all I knew of Poldark was that it was a stirring tale set in Cornwall in the 18th century. What really got me interested were Debbie’s amazing scripts which brought the setting and characters vividly to life. I knew then that this was something I could do – exploring my penchant for “Englishness”, romanticism and history.

P: Which track or theme from the Poldark soundtrack is your favourite and why? 
AD: I have a particular liking for the “Resurgam” theme. Francis is forced to close the mine and chalks the word on a blackboard. Throughout the scene it is Elizabeth who emerges with dignity and grace. Ross explains to Demelza that the word means “I shall rise again”. This seems to be a recurring theme of Poldark – resilience in the face of overwhelming odds. Musically I like the long solemn melody and the throbbing bass line.
Anne Dudley, Oscar
Anne with her Oscar
pic: Classic FM

P: Which track or theme from Poldark was the hardest to compose and why?
AD: I suppose the title theme is always the greatest challenge – so much to convey in 40 seconds! I thought the idea of a “folky” violin against an accompaniment of string
orchestra might represent the character of Ross – fighting against the conventionality of his upbringing and class. We had several versions of the theme – at one stage it was much slower.

P: How much detail did the production team give you in their brief and how much freedom do you have to do what you want with the music in a production like Poldark

AD: There’s lots of detailed discussion about what the music should do – where it should occur etc. In the end though it’s down to me! As I thought it would be it’s exactly my sort of thing – romantic, thematic, pastoral, sometimes quite dark and stirring.

P: You’ve said you write at the piano, but once drafted, is the music you write all played again by other musicians? Or do you use emulations or mixture of the two? 
AD: I compose at the piano, do some demos on synths and samples in order to have discussions with Damien and Karen (producers) and then orchestrate it for piano, harp, solo violin and string orchestra.

Anne Dudley, Jack Farthing, Debbie Horsfield, Damien Timmer  at the RTS Anatomy of a Hit
Anne with Jack Farthing, Debbie Horsfield & Damien Timmer
at the RTSAnatomy of a Hit lecture. Pic via RTS
P: Do you write all the music for Poldark from scratch or do you rely on ideas you’ve already got?
AD: Some themes reappear. Some are associated with particular emotions, but for each episode I tailor every cue to the scene.

P: What can you tell us about the score for series 2? Are you introducing many new themes? 
AD: There are some new themes as new dramatic threads arise.

P: What qualities do you think make a good composer of scores for film and television? 
AD: Versatility, adaptability, a thick skin, patience, resilience and an ability to work on your own for ages!

P: You have won an Oscar, amongst other accolades, but what do you consider to be your best work and what else would you like to achieve?
AD: I try and make the thing I’m working on at any given moment the best thing ever. It’s what keeps me going! There’s always more to achieve.

Anne is currently working on the soundtrack for Poldark series 2.
You can find out more about Anne and her work at her website and follow her on Twitter @annedudleymusic

Buy the Poldark soundtrack here.

Find out what Anne had to say about Poldark at The Anatomy of a Hit lecture at the Royal Television Society.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.