Writer’s Music: Richard Tognetti

246828b86b597eace58e331ffce41e4aSome stories cannot be told with crashing-techno, happy pop, or lonely piano. Some stories call for the drums of battle.

And strings. Lots of kick-ass strings.

Such is Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World as composed by Richard Tognetti. I can’t think of any other film where the story, character, and score entwine so completely. Normally I don’t bother with movie trivia, but I have to note that Richard Tognetti not only composed the score, but he performed as the violin solist and tutored Russel Crowe when it came to playing the violin.

Why did Russel Crowe need tutoring? Because his character, the captain of the HMS Surprise, is also a violinist. His best friend is the naval surgeon and a cellist. In the quiet moments at sea, these two play duets of such sweet sways you can feel the ocean rock the boards beneath your feet. These are but classical duets, however. The moments of battle between ships lets loose the drums and brass as cannons between the bows. “The Far Side of the World,” the opening track on this score, captures the rise and fall of battle in the fog as well as the celebration of friendship. Violins and cellos both sing and echo the melody to one another; all the while the song builds with a light intensity. What friendship doesn’t go through its moments of tension to come out all the stronger for it? Just so as the captain and surgeon work together to save ship and crew.

Unleash your characters to the drums of battle, and see what they discover in the fog.

Click here for more on Richard Tognetti.

Click here for more on MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD.

 

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18 thoughts on “Writer’s Music: Richard Tognetti

  1. Lol I mind the Onedin Line Mike. And I loved that theme which of course had been binched from elsewhere. Was listening to it the other night. There is something about ‘Sea’ music. Not shanties …real orchestral that has the rise and fall of the waves, the drama of being at the ocean;s mercy in a way.

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  2. I listened to this music before reading a word of your post.
    I had the volume set to “Eleven.”
    (That was a “This Is Spinal Tap” reference – if you haven’t seen it, well, you haven’t lived fully!) 😉

    Boy, those drums woke me up!!!
    Lucy, who was snoozing on the floor beside me as I played the composition, stood up and walked away. She’s only 2.5 years old, and her musical taste is still in its infancy. (Plus she’s used to the ultra-New Agey “anti-anxiety for dogs” synth music on YouTube!)

    I marvel at your ability to find such varied soundtracks – you select pieces I’d never expect you to share. That’s very cool.

    Again, I wish my Dad was around to read your blog, gosh darn it. He’d have plenty to write, that’s for sure. Remember, this is the man who played on the “Poltergeist” soundtrack with the actual movie running in the background for the musicians to gaze at – what a job, eh? Lots of “E” string notes were played! Heck – you could choose THAT for your next piece right around Halloween, couldn’t you?

    I just realized that my father (Richard) probably knew Richard Tognetti!

    The music world is quite small in some ways. Dad lived in L.A. and worked on numerous feature film soundtracks over three decades. Forgive me for going off about him – I miss him “extra” today. Plus he owned a sailboat called The Glissando and he was a passionate sailor who had several near-death-experiences on that boat. (Mixing wine with one’s bipolar meds and sailing while manic is probably not the most prudent behavior….his memoir would’ve been WAY better than mine.)

    I’m pretty sure he loved “Master and Commander” – the book and the film, and most likely the soundtrack. 😉

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    • Poltergeist? Oh my gosh, that movie TERRIFIES me! Your dad surely loved these tales. I’m often pleasantly surprised by what inspires and captures people too. My father-in-law of all people adored these stories. I could never quite get a read on his blue collar personality (har har), so when he enjoyed something like the Master and Commander books, I was shocked.
      Bo and I both have moments of missing our fathers; when the latest Star Trek stamps came out, Bo started to order them for my dad out of impulse. And then he remembered.
      Yes, these days still come for us all, my Java Queen. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jean, to my embarrassment, I have never seen the movie, but I have it at home somewhere, because my friend gave it to me ages ago! Now I have to watch it!!!
    ‘Sea music’ is a special genre, isn’t it 🙂 As the music of a Russian composer Khachaturian is mentioned in the comment, I will add my two pennies 🙂 This is the overture to an old movie “In search of the Castaways” ( Jules Verne) by another Russian composer Dunayevsky 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEWBcmU77b4
    Thank you for your always brilliant writings! xx

    Liked by 1 person

      • I love the way the string duet comes in. From your post I learned that they played duet together with the surgeon. That kind of music barely fits into the sea theme, but here it sounds absolutely natural. Great music, and your narrative is splendid as always. xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Friend. There’s a lovely scene after a battle where the two play a duet in the night, and the crew are recovering, but content, too, listening to their officers’ music. A marriage of man and nature–a truce, anyway. xxxx

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