COMPOSERS: Gabriel YaredA film by Rani Khanna
LABELS: Digital Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Music byÉGabriel Yared
WORKS: A film by Rani Khanna
PERFORMER: Gabriel Yared, Anthony Minghella, Juliette Binoche, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jack Davenport, Jude Law
CATALOGUE NO: 10012 (NTSC system; stereo; 16:9 picture format)
Many films are made about movie composers at work, but few are as illuminating as this graceful portrait of the Oscar-winning composer of The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley.
It starts with indulgent footage of him returning home to Beirut and gushing about his roots, but then we move straight into the heart of his gestatory process, which grew out of his earlier incarnation as the orchestrator of choice for Charles Aznavour, Sylvie Vartan, and Johnny Halliday.
His next step was the key one – escaping his pigeon-hole as the world’s leading composer of soupy romances – and he was helped in this partly by his determination to go back to counterpoint basics, and partly by his luck in striking up a partnership with that ultra-civilised director, Anthony Minghella. We watch them struggle over a computer getting orchestral turns of phrase exactly right, and we listen as Yared, a superb craftsman, demonstrates tricks of his trade on the piano. ‘He wouldn’t be insulted by my saying that his talent is frail – he is very easily defeated,’ observes Minghella with startling candour. ‘He has both enormous pride and terrifying insecurity – he has a very black heart.’ Like many film composers, he adds, Yared wants to be seen as a composer qua composer, without that qualifying word ‘film’. ‘He’s not even a lover of film – and for me he doesn’t have to be.’ It doesn’t look likely that Yared will manage to transcend this label – any more than the great Bernard Herrmann did – but he’s earned the right to dream.