Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Clint Mansell @ The Orpheum, Los Angeles. 4/6/13.
Clint Mansell, film composer extraordinaire, has crafted some of the most powerful and awe inspiring music of the last decade. The music he creates for the screen ends up being as crucial, if not more so, than any actor's performance or visual effects. He's composed the scores for all of Darren Aronofsky's films (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan) as well as other movies like Moon, Last Night and the recently released film Stoker. Last Saturday, Mansell performed a rare concert, backed by an amazing band that included the Sonus Quartet, at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.
The Orpheum was the perfect venue for this show. It's easily, hands down, the most beautiful theater I've ever stepped foot in. Built in 1926, the Orpheum, with it's opulent French themed architecture/decor, was the crown jewel of Los Angeles' vaudeville circuit. It's where a young Judy Garland was first discovered in 1933. A place with such rich cinema and entertainment history like this made Clint Mansell's stunning blend of film and music compositions all the more meaningful.
Mansell proved to be a gracious host this evening. He acknowledged how rare and odd this whole event was, first that he even left the house on a Saturday night and second, that people actually wanted to see the background noise to some little indie films "nobody's even seen." He began the night with the film score that started his new career, the electrified/paranoid music from Pi.
All of Mansell's compositions differ from each other but all retain his unique signature on them. Perhaps that's why Mansell is such a success. His music is not only tailor made for each film, but it resonates on a deeper emotional level as well.
The selections from Moon and Stoker were more subdued than the manic score from Requiem for a Dream, just as The Wrestler's score featured more guitar based instrumentation than his previous works. Mansell shared some background information about each piece beforehand, revealing some amusing anecdotes into his creative process as well as insights into each film's production.
This was easily one of the best audiences I've been privy to in some time. The crowd, consisting of people from all walks of life (rich folks from the west side, Hollywood types, art school/hipsters, OCD movie geeks, etc.) sat in absolute silence/awe the entire night. Nobody talking amongst themselves, taking blurry iphone pics or recording video, none of that. I saw like two people taking pictures on my side of the venue. With the respectful audience, the gorgeous venue and the all engrossing performance on stage, I'd this concert was executed flawlessly.
Mansell ended the night with his epic arrangement from The Fountain, "Death is the Road to Awe." The standing ovation at the end was definitely well deserved.