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Interview with Lee Holdridge

Versión en español

When a movie music fan thinks of a composer such that employs, for every work of him, never mind the quality of the scored movie, a great piece of talent and genious, that could not be overpassed, he always thinks of people like Bruce Broughton, Patrick Doyle, or Wojciech Kilar.
The composer currently targeted by our attention, Lee Holdridge, could be perfectly included in this group of composers, always constant regarding the quality of their scores.
The day Lee granted us this interview was one of the happiest in my life. The reason is simple. I've grown up with his amazing score composed for the cult movie, "The Beastmaster". To know that, at the opposite edge of the e-mail, I was meeting its creator, and a composer bigger than life, was an unforgetable experience.
But that's not all. Lee speaks a perfect Spanish, and then our meeting was very fluid. He demonstrated to be a very humble and nice person.
This interview you're going to read is, may be, one of the best interviews granted to BSOSpirit. And this is not because of the interviewer, but the interviewed, as he is person with we could talk about his life, and his long and great career as a musician.

BSOSpirit (BS): Before anything, thank you very much for granting us this interview, Maestro. Here in Spain, there are legion the movie music fans that enjoy so much your music.
How did your interest in music begin, and concretely, in movie music?

Lee Holdridge (LH): I grew up in Costa Rica and at the age of 10 I developed a great interest in the violin. I started taking lessons and by the time I was 12 all I wanted to do was compose. I talked my parents into sending me to Boston to live with an uncle and aunt during the school year so I could study music. There I studied composition privately with Henry Lasker. By the time I was 18 I had composed a short piano concerto, a three movement ballet and several string orchestra works. I went to New York to go to college and there I met composer Nicolas Flagello who I also studied with. Nicolas was my introduction to film music as he had orchestrated portions of Dr. Zhivago for Maurice Jarre. I simultaneously was becoming a complete film buff. It was natural to develop a strong desire to compose for film.

BS: How much is composition due to talent or training? Tell us of your studies with Henry Lasker.
LH: You have to have the innate talent for composition to begin with. You have to have a hunger for it that will simply not go away. Then comes the hard part, learning and developing the technique to be able to carry out and execute your ideas. Whoever said 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration wasn’t far off. I think having a strong symphonic background helps enormously in being able to carry out the inspiration. Henry Lasker was very instrumental in my early formation of compositional and orchestration techniques. He also loved music and made it joyous to study and learn.

BS: As a violinist, which element or elements do you consider that set this instrument above so many others?
LH: What I learned from playing the violin is the value of linear thinking to your composition and orchestration. This makes a huge difference in how you write for the orchestra. You hear lines against each other. Having played the violin or any linear instrument really gives you an ear for that contrapuntal and melodic sensibility.

BS: Tell us a bit about your origins in this world, and about your first works.
LH: My first professional work began in New York. I started working in the Broadway theater as an arranger and a songwriter. From there I began to arrange records for pop artists on RCA records. One arrangement I wrote of a Neil Diamond song attracted the attention of Neil Diamond and his producer. They brought me out to Los Angeles to write some arrangements for them. Many great albums and hit records followed and this opened the doors to movies and televisión for me.

BS: Do you admit some special influence in your style?
LH: My influences are primarily classical composers. But I have been very influenced by contemporary symphonic composers like Bartok, Shostakovich and Vaughn Williams. I also have been very influenced by the film composers like Korngold, Waxman, Goldsmith and Morricone.

BS: One of the first movies you scoerd was Jeremy, a teenager romantic story that was recently released in an interesting DVD edition. What can you remember about this work? What can you tell us about your experience in this film, about the sounds you employed in this score?
LH: This was one of my early scoring assignments. As the film was about a young cellist, I featured the great New York cellist George Ricci as a soloist with a chamber string, woodwind and piano ensemble, occasionally adding percusión and bass for a more pop feel. The Concertino for Cello and Strings of mine I created out of several of the cues from the movie.

BS: The Beastmaster is maybe the work which has granted you the greatest number of fans. How did you get involved in the project?
LH: The director Don Coscarelli had heard a CD of my Violin Concerto and loved the music. He contacted me about writing the score for his movie. I was very excited about writing for this action adventure genre. The bad news was I had to do it in 2 weeks. The total was 1 hour and 15 minutes of music! I managed to get it done with brilliant orchestration help from the legendary Greig McRitchie, who had orchestrated for Alfred Newman and Jerry Fielding, and my friend Alf Clausen. Needless to say, I did not sleep much for two weeks. I then jumped on a plane to Rome to record for 5 days.

BS: The truch is that you had to compose a huge amount of music in a very little time. Did you have a similar situation later, where your composition had such a deadline?
LH: Through out my career there have been many moments of extremely tight deadlines. The Beastmaster was one of the tightest. For the 1 hour pilot of The Beauty andthe Beast series, I had 4 days to write 25 minutes of music.

BS: How was your relation with director Don Coscarelli?
LH: I found Don to be a terrific director and very oriented towards music and what he wanted the score to do for the film. I regret we have not had the opportunity to work together again.

BS: Did you meet some of the main actors, personally?
LH: I rarely get to meet the actors as the score is always worked on after the film is shot. However, my biggest excitement was having Gregory Peck come to one of the sessions for “Old Gringo” .

BS: What do you think of the movie The Beastmaster, what is your personal opinion?
LH: I love writing action adventure. “The Beastmaster” fits right into that genre. It’s definately a composer’s genre because the composer can turn his imagination loose. He doesn’t have to underplay he can really let the music be a major character.

BS: How did you create the mythical Dar's theme? How did you get the inspiration?
LH: The Dar theme is the main theme of the movie. I went for a heroic and rousing theme, something that would sound especially good with french horns and brass.

BS: I found amazing the scene where Dar runs along the dry lands, together with the eagle, waving his sword in a martial exercise. "The Sword & The Eagle/ The Epic Begins" may ge one of the best tracks in the score edition. With this views, it is easy to be inspired, isn't it?
LH: I loved the mysticism of the animals being Dar’s eyes and ears. I gave the eagle his own theme, which is the soaring theme you hear.

BS: Did you get inspired by Basil Poledouris's Conan the Barbarian, when you were writing the score? Did you borrow some sounds as references?
LH: Actually, Basil and I did our scores at just about at the same time. I liked his score very much. I think both he and myself were influenced quite a bit by the Russian composers Borodin and Mussourgsky.

BS: Princess Kiri's theme is dramatically beautiful. It resembles of a medieval music theme, in fact. What can you say about it?
LH: I did mean Kiri’s theme to have a medieval quality about it. Putting it in 3/4 set it apart from the rest of the score.

BS: The Beastmaster's score is embellished with a large variety of "themes". This in fact charaterized most of the scores released in past 80's: Conan The Barbarian, The Empire Strikes Back, The Rescuers Down Under, etc. Currently many fans miss this thematic diversity in recent compositions. Do you think that, in the last times, a more complex instrumentation, more sofisticated sounds are preferred, on behalf of the composition background and thematic diversity?
LH: It’s true that there are less “themes” these days than there used to be. It’s just the mode of the moment. I think it’s harder to write themes. The influence of the minimalists on music today is that everyone is going more for an effect or a pattern rather than a thematic statement. It’s just the style of the current time.

BS: Only one official edition for The Beastmaster was released, thanks to Cam Records. Moreover, there is a promotional edition including also your Beauty and the Beast score. But the official edition is very hard to find, actually. Now comes the usual fan question. Have you thought of a re-edition of this amazing score, remastered and with previously unreleased matherial?
LH: That’s a good idea actually. Maybe I’ll see if I can do something about that.

BS: You were not considered for the The Beasmaster sequel, even after the good results obtained by your score for the first movie. Why?
LH: I’m not sure why I wasn’t involved in the second “Beastmaster”. Of course, neither was the director.

BS: Have you listened Robert Folk's score for the sequel?
LH: I can’t really say I’ve ever seen the 2nd movie.

BS: It's 1983 and you scored one of your best works, in my opinion. Epic sounds, plenty of sensitivity, highly attached to the ground. El Pueblo del Sol is a unique masterpiece that any movie music fan must rediscover. How did you get involved in this documentary production?
LH: The Mexican Government was looking for a composer to score their first Omnimax film for their new museum in Tijuana. I was approached to do the score based on the reputation of my other scores. I loved the idea of composing for this 360 degree panoramic film. There was going to be very little dialogue and they wanted the London Symphony Orchestra. I jumped at the opportunity. I created a score that is very much a symphonic tone poem and can be listened to like a symphony. Yet, it scores the film. It worked out very well. This CD is going to be re-released in the near future.

BS: You look very comfortable when composing for documentaries, do you agree?
LH: I treat documentary films as if they were dramatic films. I make the music really mean something to the subject and to the emotions in the film.

BS: El Pueblo del Sol, Splash and The Beastmaster were all composed in the 80's. Could be that your best age?
LH: They are great scores, but I am still only warming up. After all, the 90s brought “The Tuskegee Airmen”, “The Mists of Avalon”, “Buffalo Girls”, “Into Thin Air” and “The Long Way Home”.

BS: In 1984 you composed one of your best considered scores: Splash. What can you tell us about this project?
LH: I had worked with Ron Howard on two of his television projects. I auditioned for “Splash” and got the movie. It’s a wonderful film. I composed a lot more music for the film than what was used, but it still was a success.

BS: How was your relation with Ron Howard?
LH: We worked well together, but “Splash” went through a lot of changes to arrive at the final product. Still, it was a great experience.

BS: Splash may be one of your most varied scores. How could it be explained?
LH: I always try to do something a different with each score I do. If you put “Splash”, “The Beastmaster”, “Old Gringo” and “Into Thin Air” side by side, the contrast is striking.

BS: Also, Splash is only available in a very hard to find promotional edition? Do you see an official edition in the near future?
LH: We are trying to get the rights to re-issue the Royal Philharmonic recording of the score.

BS: In 1989 you scored Old Gringo, one of your most acclaimed works by the critics. Tell us something about your implication in this movie, and your relation with director Luis Puenzo.
LH: I had a really good working relationship with Luis Puenzo. We understood and cared very deeply about the material and the story. However, the studio eventually took over the film and re-edited a lot of his ideas. I feel some of the originality of the film was lost by the studio in their changes.

BS: Did these changes affected your work, making necessary to re-record new music for the subsequent re-editings?
LH: I started scoring Old Gringo and then had to stop as the studio decided to re-edit the film. I was given a month off. I then returned to the newly edited version and finsihed scoring that one. I did go back and re-do a couple of cues to fit the new timings. For example Harriet’s Theme on the CD, the love theme is the original longer version. The one currently in the film is a shorter version of that cue.

BS: Old Gringo comprises original music but also some traditional cues. How do you decide which proportion of original and traditional music will be in the final score?
LH: It just depended on the scene. Going into Chihuahua in the movie I played the traditional melody Las TresPelonas to make the sudden change from the United States. I recall a variation of that melody later for the Mirrors Scene. However, most of the score is original.

BS: Which of the different themes composed for each character in Old Gringo was the most difficult to create?
LH: There is a theme for each main character. All three themes are presented right at the beginning in the Main Title. The main overall theme is Harriet’s Theme, the Jane Fonda character, which becomes the love theme for the film. I composed the three themes together so there would be a coherence to the score.

BS: Can be Old Gringo one of your prefererd works? What do you specially appreciate of this score?
LH: I like the score a lot, for the mood and thematic elements and the orchestration. I also love mixing the Mexican style into the score both by quoting some traditional melodies as well as creating my own original melodies. Each character has their own theme and the three themes are played off of each other through out the score.

BS: In 1990, you scored The Dreamer of Oz, a melodic and varied work for a television movie. What do you remember of this project?
LH: I love that film and I love that score. There is a CD available now for that film. It’s a great story. We felt it should be an original score that told the story of the author, not to be confused with the score for the movie.

BS: Why nothing of the previous matherial composed by Harold Harlen for the classic The Wizard of Oz was employed? Was your decision, or copyright problems?
LH: We did not have the rights to show any of the MGM film.

BS: The Dreamer of Oz CD Edition is simply espectacular. An extensive booklet with a delightful design and very nice pictures. Who was responsible of the music and contents included in the CD?
LH: This CD is thanks to Taylor White. He loved the film and the score and was able to put together the rights for the art work and the CD. I’m thrilled that he accomplished this feat. It’s a wonderful CD.

BS: 1991 marks an important hit in your career, Pastime, a very beautiful score witn and eminent american sound. Tell us about this work.
LH:Pastime” is a wonderful film by a first time director. It was a tricky film to do because being independently produced, the budget was tight and the time was limited. Still we got a very emotional result and a beautiful film.

BS: Being Pastime a low budget production, how did you compose an orchestral score, knowing the high cost of this?
LH: Pastime did not have a lot of music in it. We were able to do it all in two recording sessions. One with a larger 45 piece group and one with a smaller group. This way we were able to make the budget work.

BS: It's 1994 and you compose the score for Freefall, a John Irvin's adventure thriller, starring Eric Roberts. Great leitmotivs and, again, a musical flavour very related to the ground and the landscape. What do you remember about Freefall? You employed some electronical instrumentation, something that we already noticed in other of your works. When do you decide what type of instrumentation apply? When do you consider that one particular type of instrumentation, electronical in this case, matches better with the images?
LH: I liked the thriller-romantic aspect of “Freefall”. I liked going between the more romantic orchestral textures and the more stark electronic textures to contrast the plot of the movie.

BS: For the TV movie Buffalo Girls (1995), starrring Anjelica Huston, and directed by Rod Hardy, you composed a very sticky main theme. What can you tell us about your experience in this film?
LH: I loved working with Rod Hardy. He would really get me fired up about the score. The theme for “Buffalo Girls” came right out of my meetings with Hardy. I thought it worked great. Most of the early cowboys in America were Irish immigrants, so the early cowboy music has a distinctive Irish flavor to it. I tried to keep that feeling in “Buffalo Girls” .

BS: Also on this year, you composed for another western, Gunfighter´s Moon. What are the main differences between these two works? Do you enjoy composing for westerns?
LH: I love writing for westerns. The contrast between “Buffalo Girls” and “Gunfighter’s Moon” is pretty intruiging. They are two very different films, thus the scores are different. I liked using exotic ethnic percussion and electronic colors for the “Gunfighter’s Moon” score. It added a darker, colder element to the atmosphere.

BS: The Tuskegee Airmen is a fabulous work from the middle 90's where we find related soldiers stories, airplane flights and aerial battle scenes. What can you remember about it?
LH: I was very inspired by the film. My director friend Robert Markowitz made an excellent film and I thought the acting was extraordinarily good, especially Laurence Fishburne. The story is remarakble, all the incidents in the movie are based on true stories. The fact that these men fought bravely for their country despite prejudice and injustice against them is a remarkable story that was very inspiring.

BS: "The First Lady Takes a Plane Ride" is a great track, only found in the promotional CD. What is the origin of this theme?
LH: It is known historically that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped instigate the real Tuskegee Airmen being sent into action. This scene in the movie is that moment. The music gives the sense of that great destiny being fullfilled.

BS: In 1998 you touched the animation genre, concretely in The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue. What kind of challenges do you encounter here that could not be found in a real action movie?
LH: Though I had been exposed to animation before with my score for “American Pop”, “The Secret of Nimh 2” was a more traditional approach to an animated film, complete with original songs by Richard Sparks and myself. The experience was a lot of fun and very creative. I love animation, so I felt right at home.

BS: Being this movie the sequel of The Secret of NIMH, did you take into account the original score from the first movie, composed by Jerry Goldsmith, in order to create a composition for this movie?
LH: I knew Jerry Goldsmith’s score for the earlier “Secret of Nimh”. I thought it was quite good. It was darker as fit that particular story. I really went my own way with part 2 as the film was quite different. Both scores were orchestral.

BS: This score has a really good edition. Did you supervise it by yourself?
LH: The CD was overseen and produced by Richard Kaufman. I like the CD a lot. The recording is really well done.

BS: Why are so many promotional and bootleg edition for your so good scores, and so few official editions?
LH: It’s very expensive to make commercial or promotional CDs these days. Record companies are discouraged about releasing soundtracks because they are not selling as well as they use to. It’s up to the small specialty labels to keep the genre going. They are doing as much as they can.

BS: The Mists of Avalon is one of your last works, acclaimed by both public and critics. What kind of sensations did you feel when you realize that your work was again so praised and reknown?
LH: There was a lot of interest in “The Mists of Avalon” due to the fact that the novel had been very popular. It’s also a fascinating subject matter. People never tire of it. This was yet another point of view onthe subject. It is a story that’s natural for music.

BS: The Mists of Avalon features a large variety of themes: celtic, oriental sounds... This would carry a lot of preproduction and documentation before the composition, wouldn't it? How much time did you have?
LH: I spent 10 weeks composing and orchestrating “The Mists of Avalon”. During that time I pre-recorded the voice, the Esraj, the Indian stringed instrument I used and several electronic effects I incorporated into the score. I then went to Munich and recorded the orchestra, exotic percussion, choir and celtic instruments.

BS: It is conformed by three chapters of 60 minutes each one. How much music did you compose for The Mists of Avalon?
LH: My total composition for “The Mists of Avalon” was 2 hours and 20 minutes of music.

BS: How was the relation with director Uli Edel?
LH: I worked well with Uli Edel. He came to the house a few times and listened to themes, but then he admitted that he would not be at the recording sessions. The person I spent the most time with and who had the most input was Mark Wolper, the producer. We had a very good working relationship.

BS: The score is notably improved by the choral mass. What do you remember of your collaboration with the chorus and solists?
LH: Every now and then a project lends itself to choir. This was definately one of them. I love adding that element to the score. It brings a very different, almost opera-oratorio quality to the score.

BS: Let us talk now about the boys of the war documentaries: The Long Way Home and Into the Arms of Strangers. How did you get involved in these projects?
LH: I’ve been very fortunate to become the composer for Moriah Films of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This began with the excellent documentary “The Long Way Home” which won the Academy Award for best documentary feature in 1997. I was brought into the project by producer/writer Richard Trank and director Mark Jonathan Harris. This was followed by Warner Bros. “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” also directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, which also won the Academy Award for best documentary feature. More recently I composed the score for “Unlikely Heroes” for Richard Trank and Moriah Films. This score is now also available on CD.

BS: What is the main difference between the cited works?
LH: El tema del Holocausto es muy difícil para componer. Me impliqué tanto emocionalmente en las historias y los sucesos que tienen lugar que puse mucho sentimiento en los scores. Tanto The Long Way Home como Unlikely Heroes tienen bandas sonoras profundamente emotivas que siguen la narración y la historia. Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport también tiene una música profundamente emocional, pero vista desde una perspectiva más infantil, dado que la historia trata de niños. Utilizamos muchas canciones infantiles de la época como parte de la banda sonora. Ese tema principal es uno de mis favoritos.

BS: Tell us about the documentary Into Thin Air.
LH: The subject matter of the Holocaust is very difficult to compose for. I become so emotionally involved in the stories and the events that took place that I put so much feeling into the scores. “The Long Way Home” and “Unlikely Heroes both have deeply emotional scores that follow the narrative and the story. “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” also has the deep emotional music, but seen with a more childlike quality as the stories are about the children. We used a lot of actual children’s songs from the period as part of the score. That main theme is one of my personal favorites.

BS: What is the difference between Into Thin Air and the other documentaries you have composed for?
LH: “Into Thin Air” is a very harrowing story. The characters are thrust into situations they cannot control. The movie is very gripping and relentless.

BS: You have also some projects separate from movie music. Tell us about your composition Concerto for Violin & Orchestra.
LH: My career as a composer began in the concert hall and I have managed to continue composing for that medium, despite my intense film and television career. The Violin Concerto was very important to me as I had been a violinist and I wanted to pay homage to that literature and to my music teachers who I grew up with. I have been fortunate to compose many works for the concert hall including my orchestral works “Jefferson Tribute”, “The Golden Land” and my soon to be premiered “Ode to Orion”. I have also composed 4 one act operas for the Los Angeles Opera Community Outreach Program including “Journey to Cordoba” .

BS: Tell us somthing about "Journey to Cordoba". How did the idea for this composition raise? Which instruments lead the composition? What are you trying to say with it?
LH: In 1994, the Los Angeles Opera asked me to come up with a one act opera based on a Hispanic subject for high school and college students to be performed in english. The Mexican folk legend “La Mulata de Cordoba” proved to be the ideal story as the basis for the opera. My librettist, Richard Sparks, adapted the story into a contemporary setting as a story within a story. The work is scored for4 principal singers, chorus and 5 instruments and takes one hour to perform. The work has been very successful and to date the L.A.Opera has performed the work over 80 times in high schools and community thatres around Southern California.

BS: When will "Ode to Orion" be released?
LH: “Ode to Orion” will be premiered in Dallas with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson Hall on April 22 of this year. Richard Kaufman is the conductor and Gregory Hustis the horn soloist.

Below is the press release being sent out about the premiere:





(Los Angeles) The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has announced they have commissioned

award winning composer Lee Holdridge to compose an original 9 minute concert piece for French horn and symphony orchestra “Ode To Orion,”for their principal horn player Gregory Hustis.“Ode To Orion”will have its premiere in Dallas at the Meyerson Symphony Center on April 22ndand will be conducted by Richard Kaufman.Additional performances will take place on April 23rd and 24th.

Mr. Holdridge has an extensive repertoire of concert works performed and recorded including “The Golden Land”which was commissioned and performed by the California Symphony in 2000; “Jefferson Tribute,”a work for narrator and orchestra for the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington; his “Concerto # 2 For Violin And Orchestra,”which has been recorded with Glenn Dicterow and the London Symphony Orchestra; and the orchestral suite “Scenes Of Summer”performed most recently by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra with Holdridge conducting.

Holdridge has also scored numerous films including 2 Oscar winning documentaries “The Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport”for Warner Brothers, narrated by Judi Dench, and “The Long Way Home”starring Morgan Freeman, Edward Asner, Sean Astin and Martin Landau, as well as, “Splash,”“Big Business,”“Mr. Mom,”“Micki & Maude,”“16 Days Of Glory,”“The Other Side Of The Mountain Pt. II,”“Jeremy,”and (Cannes Festival award winner) “Sylvester.”His impressive T.V. credits include “Moonlighting,”“Beauty and the Beast,”the complete eight hour remake of“East of Eden,”“The Tenth Man,”“Dreamer of Oz,”Hallmark Hall Of Fame’s “One Against the Wind”and “The Story Lady”.

BS: A common sensation suffered by many movie music fans is that of listen to a great score, really better that the movie it is attached to. In your particular case, it seems to be a constant situation. What can you tell us about it?
LH: The intention is always to score what is right and what is best for the movie. If the music emerges as a power on its own, it is just simply an extra reward for the composition effort.

BS: When you score for a movie, usually you are one of the first ones in realize if the movie is good or not. Sometimes you should say: 'I really expected more of this', and in other occasions: 'What a surprise! This is really good!'. With what movie did you feel the latter?
LH: You are always going to be surprised by that first screening. Trust me, some are better than others. It is always a thrill when the movie is really good. It’s hard to really single out one movie over another, time has to be the judge of that.

BS: Along your whole career, you have worked both in television and in movie theaters. What is the main difference, before and now, that you find when composing for one field or another? Do you have any preference, regarding movies, television or documentaries?
LH: The challenge of scoring a movie is there regardless of whether the movie is for the theater, television, cable or whatever medium. The challenge is to write a great score that serves and works well for the film. I love all the mediums because I’ve had great experiences in all mediums. I like the variety and the versatility. It keeps the music fresh and ever developing. Naturally, when scoring for a feature film there are many more resources available to the composer. Feature films usually have larger orchestras and more recording time, for instance. However, the challenge of television is creating even with a tighter budget and less time. You just have to make that part of the challenge. I don’t mind living on the edge. I’ve come up with some terrific ideas at the last minute. My theme for the “Moonlighting” series I composed and arranged the night before the session. That was close!

BS: Which of the current composers do you consider to be at their best moment? Which other composer's scores have you enjoyed much recently?
LH: In todays’ film music world I like the work of Thomas Newman and James Newton Howard. I like some of the John Williams scores and I think Jerry Goldsmith was one of the best.

BS: You told us that Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard, John Williams and the deceased Jerry Goldsmith are the most respected composers by you, nowadays. Could you quote some of their scores that you specially enjoy?
LH: I loved Thomas Newman’s scores for “Road to Perdition” and “Shawshank Redemption” and I was very impressed by James Newton Howard’s score for “The Village”. Jerry Goldsmith has so many great scores over the years it’s hard to pick just one. The diversity of his scores is amazing.Although John Williams is known for some very major scores, I love some of his lesser known works like “Presumed Innocent” and “The Reivers”.

BS: What can you tell us about your coming projects?
LH: I never talk about upcoming projects. I always prefer to discuss them after they are finished and delivered. I’m kind of funny that way.

BS: What special project would you like to be involved in, before your, in a not near future, retirement?
LH: I hope to create many more film scores. I want to write a grand opera and definitely some more concertos.

BS: Finally, could you tell us of another anecdotic situation you lived along your extense career?
LH: One of my favorite anecdotes was when Gregory Peck came to one of my sessions for “Old Gringo”. We just happened to be scoring the scene where his character, Bitter, takes the General’s horse and rides out into the night as an act of defiance. I recorded a take of the cue and came into the control room for a playback. There I was introduced to Mr. Peck . We played back the scene with the music. At the end of the playback, Mr. Peck turned to me and said “Great! Now I finally understand what the scene is about!”. I will never forget that moment.

BS: Thank you very much for your consideration. It has been a real pleasure to talk with you, here in BSOSpirit. Would you like to send us a few last words for your fans here in Spain?
LH: I would love to come to Spain one day and give a concert of my works. I feel that there is a great artistic surge in Spain right now, and a great appreciation for the art of our times. Look at the excellent films that have come out of Spain recently. My Puerto Rican mother has always talked to me about our heritage and about her grandparents being from Spain. There is a connection.

Interview by DDBSpawn (David Doncel) and Oscar Gimenez


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