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Cat. No. CHAN 9750 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9750 - Hess: TV Themes
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Available From: 16 September 1999
Composing for Television:

‘From ‘Anna of the Five Towns’ to ‘Badger’, the TV themes on this album span fifteen years of composing music for

that smallscreen in the corner of the living room. The brief from each producer is nearly always the same: music is needed to give the programme an identity, a feel, to tell us where we are and who we’re with – a tune that will bring us in from making tea in the kitchen, a sound that tells is our favourite programme has just started. Sometimes the location sparks ideas: the brass band concert for ‘Hetty Wainthrop Investigates’ the Northumbrian pipes for ‘Badger’ and, inevitably, the piano accordian for ‘Maigret’, whose producer stressed the importance of music that was quintessentially Parisian.

The route to this television work came via the Footlights Review at Cambridge, conducting musicals in the West End and composing twenty scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Techniques learnt in the theatre are invaluable when applied to scoring music for film. On this CD you are hearing twenty-seven title themes, but for every one of these about twenty minutes of incidental music will have been composed in addition to the opening and closing music. In other words, music specially written for a six-part drama series, if played continuously, would last as lonf as a couple of Mahler symphonies. This ‘incidental’ scoring is the music you don’t notice, but it is often telling you how to feel or how to react to a dramatic scene – in other workds, it’s pure theatre, and the composer has to respond to the images in a way which enhances the drama.’

Nigel Hess

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