Composer Clint Mansell is flanked by Milan Records' Stefan Karrer, VP Acquisition & Distribution, on the left and the head of Milan's U.S. Operations, Jean-Christophe Chamboredon. Mansell and his enemble performed his scores for three nights at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles. (Photo: Phil Gallo)
Film scores for blockbusters are increasingly finding an afterlife on the concert stage. Milan Records and Clint Mansell, the composer known for his work with director Darren Aronofsky, proved it can work at the indie level as well.
Milan Records, the soundtrack specialists, took a unique approach to promote the release of Mansell's score to Massy Tadjedin's "Last Night" by getting the composer to organize three career-retrospective concerts at Largo at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles. All three shows -- held April 4-6 -- sold out.
Mansell, best known for his score to Aronofsky's "Black Swan" and who will next work on his "Noah" that begins filming in July, saw the concert as an opportunity to demonstrate how he takes cues composed for films and turns them into full-length pieces for a soundtrack release.
"It makes the music more palatable," he said before taking the stage for the final night of the Largo run. "I like repetition and my work has a lot of it. In the film a phrase may be presented three different ways and (for the album) I can unite the three pieces in one five-minute cue that captures the essence of what (the music) does in the film."
Mansell and his ensemble performed music from "Last Night," "Pi," "Requiem for a Dream," "The Fountain" and other films.
The Largo concerts came together after Milan's head of its U.S. operations, Jean-Christophe Chamboredon, suggested the concert idea to Mansell and then connected the composer with Largo owner Mark Flanagan. Mansell's agent, Robert Messinger at First Artist, and U.K. manager, Jane Arthy, struck a deal with Flanagan, while Mansell assembled a nine-piece band and flew a few musicians to L.A. from the U.K. Mansell produced the two-hour show, which included longtime associates such as bassist Brian Emrich and the L.A.-based Sonus Quartet.
The three sold out shows prompted the Milan executives to extend their relationship with Largo and book concerts with Daniel Licht and his music for the Showtime series "Dexter" on June 10 and Gingger Shankar's score for the award-winning film "Circumstance" on June 28.
The goal for Milan is to extend their relationships with composers in addition to film companies, especially as more composers retain the rights to scores on low-budget films.
"We wanted to work with Clint," Chamboredon said before the final performance on April 6. "Here was this soundtrack that had never come out (the film was released domestically in May after eight months of festival screenings) and our idea was to present it as an album. The cover is a photo by Clint, not the actual artwork from the film, and we signed this based on the music. We did not see the film first, which is really rare."