Jeff Beal’s House of Cards

One of the most striking things about House of Cards is its cinematic touch: the high production value and filmic gloss that gilds everything from the obvious (movie stars playing the leads) to the more subtle—like the score. Episode after episode, I’ve been continually floored by Jeff Beal’s elegant, sophisticated, and richly produced music. So when I walked into his lovely (but far from pretentious) Agoura Hills home last October, I was stunned to discover just what a small, literally do-it-yourself production his contribution to the show is.

Little Women: A 20th Anniversary Conversation with Thomas Newman and Gillian Armstrong – Part II

Read Part I.

Little Women soundtrack“Gillian always had a great sense of music,” says Newman. “Do you remember a movie she did called Mrs. Soffel? Mark Isham did the score, and it was an amazing use of music. It was clear to me that Gillian had developed ears and she was interested in new sounds and all that. I wanted to do Mrs. Soffel back in the day, and Little Women was like 11 years later. Gillian was always a director I had my eye on, just because I loved the way she used music.”

Little Women: A 20th Anniversary Conversation with Thomas Newman and Gillian Armstrong

Little Women is one of those scores that just sounds like liquefied Christmas. You put it on and snow starts falling, the smell of pine and burning wood fill the room, and you’re suddenly transported to Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord. The music tells its own story—about growing up, family bonds, painful losses and reunions, the passing of seasons and the unforgiving march of time—all set in the particular period of 19th century New England.

Faith in Abstract Ideas: Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer on the Interstellar score

Interstellar is a culmination project for Christopher Nolan. It’s both the biggest, grandest blockbuster that films like Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy have been promises of…and the most personal, zoomed-in story Nolan has tackled thus far. It’s as much about mind-bending scientific theories and the entire universe as it is about the love between a father and his daughter.

It was also the culmination of Nolan’s fruitful, rule-breaking collaboration with Hans Zimmer, who has increasingly been invited to begin developing the musical layer of Nolan’s films during their earliest stage. They are collaborators in the truest sense of the word, and are blazing a path of creative symbiosis that defies the often stifling norm of temp tracks and eleventh-hour music shellacking.

Driving Miss Daisy: A 25th Anniversary Conversation with Bruce Beresford

Five years before writing his Oscar-nominated music for The Lion King, Hans Zimmer was the hot new kid on the Hollywood block. His synthy, contemporary score for Rain Man turned industry heads and occasioned his first Oscar nomination. And so it was that when Bruce Beresford directed Driving Miss Daisy in 1989, the powers-that-be at Warner Bros. decided Beresford’s regular collaborator, Georges Delerue, wasn’t nearly as sexy a choice as the young German making big digital waves.

But let’s back up a bit.