Ladyhawke themes and motifs

So far I have not lost many words about my alternate Ladyhawke score. Now that I’m half way through I thought I’d give you some background info on the major themes.

These are the themes around which the composition is built:

1. Curse Motif. It is an abbreviated variant of the Main Theme, meant to sound somber and fateful, yet have an ethereal quality. It’s at the begin of the main title sequence and it’s often used at sunsets.

2. Main Theme. I wanted the main theme to reflect 3 ideas: love, heroism and dignity as three concepts that circle around and between the main characters. The main theme is extremely versatile. It consists of three parts: a) The “main main theme” which also the curse motif is taken from, b) the ascending triad which at times acts as a fanfare and c) the dignified chords at the end which have become kind of a leitmotif for Navarre.

3. Isabeau’s Theme. Until the “Dangerous Woods” track I had no idea I would need another theme beside the main theme, but Isabeau’s appearance made clear I had to come up with something new. The cascading eighths that ultimately became her theme work best on violins with a counterpoint provided by lower strings or on oboe as heard in “Did She Speak”.

4. Philippe’s Theme. I had orginally written a short melody as a leitmotif for Philippe, but if you think about it, Philippe is always there anyway and doesn’t need a leitmotif. Besides, he is not the main protagonist. He’s a facilitator, an instrument of destiny, and often the real drama is about the other characters. I built in some bits and pieces from Philippe’s theme here and there, especially at the beginning, but after that there was no need and in fact no place for his theme.

5. Bishop’s Theme. For the bishop I had composed a theme to be played on organ or low woodwinds, but as it turned out, the bishop’s scenes are very quiet and subtle. There’s no “emperor music” required. I put the theme on multiple use, though, by changing and re-arranging it for brass. When you see his minions ride across the screen and you hear trumpets, this is a variation of it.

It’s funny. I always thought I would approach scoring such a project by building it on leitmotives the way John Williams does, but now I find myself using the Goldsmith approach: relying on one flexible yet carrying theme from which minor themes are derived and maybe 1 or 2 short themes to contrast it with.

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