Manjoo wrote Woodwind listening to Arvo Part and Fraunberger

We already read how the story of Woodwind was initially researched while inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven in Vienna in 2006.

I’d listen to all Beethoven’s Symphonies, as well as a few piano sonatas, but then Symphonies 3, 4 and 7 became the central focus due to their balletic themes.

Instead of taking me closer to Beethoven, research in Vienna ironically took me further away from him… until I reached the point where there’s no music of Beethoven in Woodwind today.

For a decade now, whenever I write I listen to classical music. When I tuned the story near enough to it’s current form, just over a year ago I would listen to Arvo Part’s Tabula Rasa to set the mood.

I spoke with our soundtrack composer, Stefan Fraunberger about which living composer would best represent Bonifaz. My created musician was nearly incomparable, but if the story was set in Eastern Europe (as it was in an early version) then Part would be my ideal.

I’d listen to Tabula Rasa over and over again during the writing of the screenplay. Bonifaz wasn’t based on Part, but the Estonian composer is a beautiful artist and human being to look up to, embodying much of the characteristic qualities that I admire.

From a musical point of view Part’s Fratres was brilliant, Ludus was astonishing and Silentium’s minimalism was perfectly sublime for the style of Woodwind. However I had opted not to use the music of Part in Woodwind.

Why? For starters, Part wasn’t the only composer I was listening to during the writing of the screenplay. The other was Fraunberger himself. I’d also send the music of Arvo Part and Fraunberger to actor Leandro Taub who became Bonifaz. We’d hear both from months before shooting began and during the principal photography, to set the mood. Part provided one dimension, but Fraunberger’s music was the exact direction I was channeling the motion of Bonifaz and the building of the scenes.

I had to create the right narrative arc for Bonifaz’s use of instruments from the organ, to the santoor and dulcimer. Despite my part inspiration for Part, ultimately I would’ve never used his music in Woodwind anyway. This has been proven correct, in that with over a dozen music tracks, not one is from Part (or Beethoven for that matter).

The main reason for this is an obvious one. I don’t just slot in my favourite music into the film. Firstly, the music needs to perfectly reference the scene’s meaning and concept therein. Secondly, the music needs to represent the character of Bonifaz as already stated. Thirdly, and decisively, the music needs to represent the region of where the story is driven into.

Following these ideals I was able to accurately depict Bonifaz’s transformation in the Himalayas of India with the Indian santoor, partially inspired by the Persian instrument too, just as it was in Kashmir. Then we have the Indian Classical Music set in Varanasi, as well as music from the western world where Bonifaz originated.

Finally, there’s the meeting of east and west. This is where we find the music of Bonifaz, and the philosophy of the character as written. I’m still being a little vague about the music of Bonifaz, because you’ll have to discover this in Woodwind and then we will talk about it in-depth.


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