My Life in Music: Composer Marcus Brown
My background in music began with the piano at age six. Like many, I found myself in love with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Für Elise”. I couldn’t get enough of beautiful piano pieces, despite a host of strict piano teachers. I continued playing however, attempting to wrap my mind around how composers created. At age 11, I begged my dad to buy me my first trumpet and from then on, my musical world opened up to other genres. I commenced interpreting and writing parts for music around the age of 12, influenced by the sounds of the big band composers and bandleaders ranging from Duke Ellington to Glen Miller. Since childhood and thereon, I have retained the pursuit of developing and composing music, namely original music.
I have recently been slated as composer for Fall of the Hunter’s Moon, along with Sandy Herrault, arising from a fortuitous encounter with filmmaker Stephen Gibson. Gibson, who listened to the budding elements of my upcoming album, offered me an opportunity to explore my first foray in composition for a feature-length film.
I am currently developing the leitmotif for FOTHM by studying the background of the characters and the music that would seem to fit them. Despite the medium, I approach composing through the eyes of my musical influences, likely to be best described as “engaging a virtual musical avatar”. In this case, I am attracted to the works of composers and arrangers like Quincy Jones and Ennio Morricone as well as those who faithfully write for film such as Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, and John Williams. Their music spans generations and has transformed how film is perceived. I listen to and study their compositions and ask myself ‘How would they do this?’
Recurring themes are probably my strongest skill as a writer of music. I love the notion of arpeggiation that disappears into a composition, but yet continues to guide or even direct the composition. I am attracted to FOTHM because of the varying thematic elements where I can utilize my musical abilities. The film contains protagonist internal and external conflict, mystery, myth, life and death, and even fantasy. Although each character will have their own musical identity, Gibson’s vision is to bring together all the musical themes at a point during the film. This is excitingly challenging and elaborate.
Film represents an opportunity to reach across borders and boundaries. I have traveled to places in the world to include Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. I have watched many films, without subtitles, in a completely different language that I did not speak. Where language or barriers otherwise exist, the music within a film has the tendency to explain. The music brought me closer to the characters and I was led as a result to understand what the director intended.
I absolutely adore the art of filmmaking and of course am inextricably attached to music. I am honored to have been asked to compose for Fall of the Hunter’s Moon.