For this season’s Emmy contenders issue, the editors at Variety posed an interesting question: When TV series run two, three, four or more seasons, how do the composers treat their characters and story arcs? Is it best to ground them in familiar musical territory, or should the scores reflect the changing, often expanding, storylines? I interviewed a wide range of composers to find out how they handled the challenge: Bear McCreary (Outlander), Blake Neely (The Flash), Joey Newman (The Middle), Jeff Beal (House of Cards), Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones), John Lunn (Downton Abbey) and Sean Callery (Homeland).
Madeleine Brand, the host of KCRW’s daily talk show “Press Play,” invited me on today to talk about music in television. As always with Madeleine — one of L.A.’s best radio hosts, endlessly curious and super-well-informed — it was lots of fun, discussing music in Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Outlander, Empire and more. Here is a link to the show, where you can listen online.
The past week has seen the unofficial launch of “awards season” with the presentation of five Emmys in the music categories (topped by composer Jeff Beal receiving the statue for his third season of House of Cards) and the American Society of Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC) presenting its Golden Score awards to deserving recipients John Debney (The Passion of the Christ) and Conrad Pope (Tim’s Vermeer). My story about the Emmys is here, and about the surprise-filled, music-filled ASMAC bash here.
You know Jeff Beal’s music from such shows as Rome and Monk, but lately he’s gained even greater fame for his music from the Kevin Spacey political series House of Cards (earning three Emmy nominations for that series alone). He’s just finished scoring the third season of the binge-worthy Netflix series, and this story examines just how he’s been doing it — including some very complimentary words from producer Beau Willimon. (There wasn’t room in the story, but I can also highly recommend his music for the upcoming CBS miniseries The Dovekeepers.)