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4. First Time Director: Creating the Sound Track

October 22, 2010

We have a plan for sound effects to put the seated audience into the world of a ship frozen in the ice. Some of those sounds will be musical—concertina music and a few well-chosen lyrics adapted from traditional songs will help to orient the audience to the historical time (1840s) and place (a discovery ship frozen in the ice). My old friend, folksinger, chanteyman, and concertina master Malcolm Rigby, has graciously agreed to provide the instrumental music for the soundtrack.

We two met in his living room first, to set up the musical details that will make the production sing, and made some preliminary recordings. Your director will be the vocalist for the few verses adapted from Lady Franklin’s Lament, and I will tell you now, he is not fond of the sound of his own voice. These musical grace notes—taken all five together they will not add sixty seconds—will lend inestimable value in mood, background, and texture, to our brief production.

Once we had the songs well rehearsed, it was off to the recording studio in the home of another friend, Monty Swiryn, for a few hours of takes until we all agreed the tracks were as good as we could get ‘em. Among the many wonders of this whole process, is how freely everyone involved in the production gives their time and expertise into a joint production in which the rewards must be measured in ways that do not involve the use of money.

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