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Stephen Baysted scores new Exhibition on Screen film “The Impressionists – And The Man Who Made Them”
Recorded at Air-Edel Studios in London, Baysted’s original score for The Impressionists features performances by pianist and mezzo soprano Susan Legg (“A lustrous mezzo soprano” – The Sunday Times) and soprano Louise Walsh (Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera) with additional piano by Jonathan Plowright (“One of the finest living pianists” – Gramophone Magazine). A score album will be released through Baysted’s publisher label Red Rocca on May 28.
The Impressionists – And The Man Who Made Them tells the story of art’s greatest revolutionaries in the most comprehensive film ever made about the Impressionists. With unparalleled access to the highly anticipated international exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg Paris, National Gallery London and Philadelphia Museum of Art, the film captures some of the world’s most famous paintings in stunning high definition – featuring universally loved masterpieces by Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Renoir, Pissarro and many more – as well as interweaving the incredible story of 19th century Parisian art collector Paul Durand-Ruel and the extraordinary lengths he went to make Impressionism a household name.
Describing the scoring process for this energetic and revealing film, Baysted explains, “When director Phil Grabsky and I discussed The Impressionists, he wanted a cinematic and narratively focused score and one which responded directly to the masterworks being shown on screen. We also discussed a musical style and vocabulary which was contemporaneous with the art works, so I put together a listening list for him which contained many of the most well-known works from Debussy, Faure and early Ravel, and one or two lesser known ‘Impressionist’ composers.”
“The score itself takes several of these original piano works by Claude Debussy as its starting point, and pianist and mezzo soprano Susan Legg and I constructed an entire cinematic and emotive musical landscape around them, interweaving original compositions and orchestrations along the way,” continues Baysted. “In some cases a single melodic contrapuntal line is isolated from the original and then extended, reharmonised, and expanded into a much larger scale cue to picture. In other cases, original compositions that reflect the musical language and style of the period take the viewer on a journey through the paintings and the narrative arc of the film’s main characters.”
Director Phil Grabsky commented, “The great thing about working with Stephen is that one ends up with a soundtrack that is infused with knowledge of the period but also contemporary, coherent and consistent with the film’s needs. In the cinema it helped make a good film better but, always the sign of a top composer, it was a soundtrack I found myself listening to for fun in the car.”
Renowned for his versatility, emotionally charged and expressively powerful music, Stephen Baysted’s acclaimed music scores have been enjoyed by audiences worldwide in a succession of award-winning films and video games including the UK’s recent #1 selling game Project Cars; the Royal Television Society award-winning Matisse: Live from the Tate and MoMa with director Phil Grabsky; the psychological drama Strange Factories; Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: Assault; the international award-winning documentary Life Lines and Tim Pope’s Brandy and Pep.
Born in London, Stephen Baysted’s passion for music began during his school years singing, touring and recording with the internationally acclaimed Wandsworth School Boys’ Choir and playing clarinet in the London Schools’ Symphony Orchestra. Stephen studied music at Southampton University and at Dartington College of Arts, where he was awarded a PhD.
The Impressionists screens nationwide in UK cinemas from May 26 and in select US theatres on July 14.
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