Ariel Piazza made a return visit to Milton for an onstage performance that has been months in the making.
For the second year in a row, Piazza collaborated with Revival House for You Know the Score, when a film’s soundtrack is replaced by a live performance on stage during the film’s screening.
“It’s a salute to the earliest days of film, but with a post-modern twist,” said Rob Rector of Milton’s Revival House. “In the days before sound came to film, it was up to the music composer to really drive the narrative of the film for the audience.”
“But with modern films, there is still dialogue and sound effects, so we took a lot of time stripping out just the soundtrack so that Ariel can craft her music based solely on what she sees and help create her own musical concept.”
Piazza said for her, the chance to score a film is a dream fulfilled, something she has wanted to do for years. When Revival House asked last year if she would like to do it, she immediately agreed.
In 2017, Piazza scored the Sam Rockwell-starring sci-fi cult hit “Moon,” which was well-received by all in attendance, and immediately the wheels were set in motion to collaborate again.
For their 2018 performance, they settled on the 2016 Robert Redford-starring drama “All is Lost,” in which he plays a sailor whose vessel collides with a loose cargo container and faces mounting odds to make it back to land.
“We selected the film because we thought it was largely wordless,” Rector said. “That way, Ariel could have a large musical canvas with which to work.”
“It was certainly much different than with ‘Moon,’” Piazza said. Redford’s character has such a routine in his daily life at sea, she said, but it becomes increasingly hopeless the longer he is out there. To bring this home musically, Piazza crafted a motif that echoes throughout her composition, and becomes more driving as the film progresses.
“It was an amazing score,” Rector said. “You could catch nautical glimpses in her music that was melancholy, and you can hear the sense of hope fading through her music.
“We cannot wait to work with her again,” Rector said. “We already have a film in mind that is much different than anything we’ve worked on before, and it will be a real challenge, but we are all up for it.”
“This is such a special event for me,” Piazza said. “As a musician, to have your work featured throughout a film and be associated with it is such an honor.”