The Contract
Film Music for Synthesizer and Orchestra
Review by Director Horaţiu Damian

The music had to match the nature of the film- slightly off set, on the boundaries of dreams. I thought from the very beginning that the film had to fly upward, to have a vaporous quality as a counterbalance for its dark subject. It was not an easy walk. The colaborative process between director and composer was at time confrontational, at times tense, most of the times quit smooth, and finaly it ended with the right tune. The soundtrack is the one that, as Aaron likes to say, „intensifies the charm and mistery of the film”.

I wanted to endow „The Contract” with a sentiment of mistery, with a quiet but decided hint towards that which remains unexplained, yet makes the beauty of this world. Thankfully the film’s soundtrack comes and completes this comandment with grace. I expected from the music to enhance the intensity of each sequence. Since all was filmed and edited in a slow key, there could be no question of a blockbuster kind of score, but one that raises the tension of the viewer’s expectation.

Aaron made me understand the necessity of the counterpoint, that is, of varying the nature of the score from one sequence to the other.

The great discussions concerned key sequences in the movie. That’s were battles were fought among us, and finally won in the best interest of the film.

The first “sensible” sequence is, logically, the opening titles. In the first versions, what Aaron wrote was an epic piece that could have as well be the main title on one of the “Star Wars” credits. He did not release the prey, in spite of my objections, until just our last sessions, when he himself concluded that his beloved version would crush the film under its might, so he came with a second one, which was dead on spot, and remained in the film.

Another important sequence to be ennobled through music was the one in the woods. In this case I have to confess: the composer found the right key and the right notes almost from the beginning, so there was no need to quarrel.

There is in the film a love sequence, that I imagined covered by a mystical tune. This piece involved a lot of work and I wasn’t sure it was THE piece even at the end. But then I noticed something, listening on and on at it: it has that quality of a good painting, or of a sip from a good brandy- it reveals new and new qualities in time, after the act and when you renew the experience time and time again. Today, I can say it’s one of my favorites from the whole soundtrack.

Aaron found a solution that I never thought about for the sequence where the girl cries her desperation: he came with the idea of a chorus, in line with the ancient choruses from the Greek theater. And the solution was adopted immediately and without any discussion as being the best.

And, finally, the closing titles. It was supposed to have the same, or almost, the same music as the opening ones. But, mercifully, at the last session, the same in which Aaron downgraded his galactic opening score, to the benefit of the movie, he produced what is, probably, the most beautiful piece of the soundtrack: heartbreaking but not cheesy, mysterious, but not overcast, mesmerizing obsessing, pushing one to meditation about what life really is. And, of course, a pleasure for the ears.

That closes this short story, both on film and in these few words. The only down note is that I wonder if we did not exaggerate by putting to much music in the film. But we were both enthusiastic, and enthusiasm should not be regarded as a mistake. The answer may lye in the experience of hopefully future cooperations.

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