Composing music under film is as old as film itself. It leads the viewer emotionally and prepares him for what is coming or heightens the emotional impact of the visual. I recall teaching a class at the University of California, Los Angeles, titled composing to picture. And also giving presentations of how music affects film, first playing the scene without and then with the music scored for the picture. Gasps would invariably come from the viewers, never anticipating the amazing difference the music would make. However, a piece of music is usually perfect for a scene when the audience is hardly aware of its presence. It is also interesting to note that when I purposely placed a completely wrong piece of music behind a scene, quizzical looks and groans would emerge from the viewers showing how culturally we are tuned to certain musical styles with visuals.
Exploring the fusion of film and music, is what the Nevada County Composers Sound & Vision Festival at the Miners Foundry is all about. While filling a niche, this event highlights the diverse categories of these collaborations with documentary, animation, experimental, promotional, trailer, vintage and pure “art for its own sake” films. In addition to highlighting the work of local filmmakers like Lou Douros, David Nicholson, Larry Huntington, Dick Mentzer, Ken Schumacher, Menlo MacFarlane and Mikail Graham and composers Mark Vance, Mikail Graham, Terry Huntington, Jerry Grant, Richard Altenbach and Blaise Douros, several films come from the faculty of universities and colleges in the Northern California area. There is even a hint that a 1908 French film scored by the famous composer Camille Saint-Saens will make an appearance, giving a retro perspective to the festival as well.
The event will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Miner’s Foundry in Nevada City. General admission is $15 and $10 for students. Additional information is available at http://composerscooperative.org or 530-478-0983.
Jerry Grant is part of Nevada County Composers.