Angelo Badalamenti (born 1937)

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    Angelo Badalamenti (born 1937)

    Twin Peaks Theme (spartiti, sheet music available)

    badalamenti spartiti twin peaks sheet music

    It is more than established, even taken for granted, but it must be reiterated. The foundations of Angelo Badalamenti are those of the musician tout-court, before – and more – of the composer of soundtracks, and of great aural carrier of David Lynch’s film aesthetics. This is the only way to explain the author’s significance of his music, the depth of his melodies and the charm, very simple, almost elementary, but impossible for anyone to replicate or even just imitate, of timbres and atmospheres.

    His is a composite eclecticism that is linked to the mythical ones of Stan Kenton and Martin Denny, and becomes the ideal heir of theirs. Thus, if the point of view is that of the method, in Badalamenti the classical pianist, the arranger, the conductor, and the leader of a jazz ensemble coexist. From the aesthetic point of view, the singer of the synthesizer is magically alternated with the editor of electronic rhythmic bases, and the ferocious and disturbing experimenter of the anti-musical sound effect.

    Laura Palmer Theme (piano sheet music)

    And for each of these skills, as many personalities are derived: the painter kidnapped by an endless melancholy, the researcher with a passion for religious choirs of the Baroque era, the seducer with a passion for retro, the visionary who blurs the edge between dreams , nightmare, and reality. And still others.

    Angelo Badalamenti (obvious Sicilian origins) was born in Brooklyn in 1937. Very precocious musical ear of classical ancestry, as well as strummer of piano sonatas, he has a brilliant student career that leads him to a master’s in composition at the Manhattan School Of Music.

    The formative years are divided between musical teaching and piano entertainment in the peripheral theaters of his native city, while his first creative activities include arranging and writing songs for pop singers. It is in this context that he meets Jean-Jacques Perrey, sound engineer, experimenter and half French of the duo Perrey And Kingsley, the most famous act of the mid-60s proto-electro-pop scene. Perrey introduces Badalamenti to keyboards electronics, and ours falls in love with them.

    The two soon started a small collaboration (with Badalamenti who temporarily renames himself Andy Badele) which leads them to write together ‘Visa To The Stars’ – one of the highlights of the legendary ‘The In Sound From Way Out’ (1966) – and, later, the vaudeville ‘Danielle Of Amsterdam’. The following year another collaboration, this time with John Clifford, leads him to write ‘I Hold No Grudge’ (1967) for Nina Simone.

    Badalamenti, although still in the rear, already has a part of the road cleared. His first assignment as a composer of film scores was in full blaxploitation, with Ossie Davis’ Gordon’s War (1973), named Badder Than Evil, paired with another mentor, Al Elias.

    The following year was already the turn of Law And Disorder (1974), carefree, and still in the vein of Perrey’s original style. They are good value scores, perfectly geometric to the images and, above all, to the mood of the time. But once so much fashion trend has been extinguished, even the author remains overshadowed by it, cataloged as one of many. The anonymity to which he is forced for the following years allows him, however, to continue his research on sound.

    Badalamenti’s career begins in earnest with David Keith Lynch, one of the greatest US directors of post-hyperrealism of the late 1970s. , although not always homogeneous, an iconic alchemy, second in importance only to those created between Leone and Morricone, between Fellini and Rota. For his part, in contact with Lynch’s perverse dream atmospheres, Badalamenti will literally explode his talent, giving light to that unique handwriting that sublimates noir and leisure, gloom and sweetness, nostalgia and decadence. Lynch is also, consciously or not, one of the first non-musicians predicted by Brian Eno.

    In his first underground productions, especially in the first feature film Eraserhead (1977), the filmmaker does almost everything by himself – flanked by the advice of the talented Alan Splet – in creating a sick way to musical engineering, disintegrating it into muted industrial delusions, electro-acoustic effects and, in general, really unhealthy acoustic settings. In this, Badalamenti’s contribution will be not only the cultured and musical expansion of this vocation, but also and above all a real second expressive channel.

    The most glorious, peremptory demonstration of this contribution comes in 1985. Lynch is in the recording room with Isabella Rossellini, his new muse: in a sequence of the film to come she will play a chanteuse grappling with the ‘Blue Velvet’ brought to success by Bobby Vinton in 1963. The actress, a complete novice in singing, needs a trainer who will quickly pave the way for her performance. Badalamenti is chosen.

    After long sessions, the song and its arrangement (a decadent piano bar blues) are ready to be included in the editing of the music track. Lynch is impressed by the professionalism and elegance of the teacher, by the ‘velvety’ quality of his reading, and perceives an affinity; he thus decides to entrust him with the entire score of the film, precisely Blue Velvet (1986).

    Badalamenti relies on none other than Shostakovich’s Fifteenth, drawing inspiration from the second and fourth movements. Another reference, although archetypal and therefore already more indirect, is certainly the Miles Davis of ‘Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud’ (1958). The result is one of the most transversal and disturbing soundtracks in the history of film music, a sort of orchestral praise to late romanticism, but completely oblique and post-modern.

    From the lamenting legacies of the ‘Main Title’, a perfect yet traditional introduction, we move on to the very wide adage of ‘Night Streets / Sandy And Jeffrey’, filled with the dissonances of the winds, with cavernous and demonic chords, suspended in thin air.

    In ‘Frank’, which opens with a low incision of the strings alone, the vertiginous ostinato culminate in the screams of the brass, in a praise of the darkest tension, and so does ‘Jeffrey’s Dark Side’, another terrifying surge of orchestral dynamics. ‘Frank Returns’ is a noir piece, in the best tradition of Bernard Herrmann, which magically transforms itself into a piece of classical music: ferocious howling chords, violent staccato, malignant tremolos. The technique becomes mixed for the gloomy cheerfulness of ‘Lumberton Usa’, literally engulfed by a sordid chasm of sound effects.

    In this chaos of perdition, the sacred air of ‘Mysteries Of Love’ comes as an angelic blessing.

    The entire score not only admirably accompanies the grotesque contrasts of mood and abrupt changes of atmosphere of Lynch’s film, but also constitutes a further layer of meaning, or rather a connector between the filmic images and the reaction of the viewer.

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