Post Script: Composing 'The Raven'
Issue: May 1, 2012

Post Script: Composing 'The Raven'

Composer Lucas Vidal and his LA-based Music and Motion Productions ( completed work on The Raven, a 19th Century tale of Edgar Allan Poe and the influence his writings have on a serial murderer. The film stars John Cusack as the author, who teams up with a detective to keep his tales from becoming a reality. Poe’s own interests are shaken when the woman he loves, herself, becomes a target.

Vidal is only 28, but has built an solid foundation for creating original music. Originally from Spain, he moved to the US 10 years ago, and as a teenager, studied at the Berkelee College of Music for a summer. “That’s where I found out they had a film scoring program,” he recalls. “I was very fortunate to find out so young what I wanted to do.” He also studied at Julliard.

His recent work on the film Cold Light of Day led to a meeting with Raven director James McTeigue, and the next thing he knew, he had two films in-house. “We had a fairly deep conversation before even scoring anything,” he says about meeting McTeigue. “He wanted to make sure the music was modern and contemporary, even though the film happens in the 19th Century. It was something I wasn’t expecting. You think it’s going to be more period music, but I think he was very clever in the way of approaching music for the project.”

The film makes use of several themes, which create unity as well as allow for further development, he notes. The lead character’s theme is electric and distorted, while the “love” theme between Poe and Emily Hamilton features strings. The theme for the detective is heroic, while the murderer’s is dark and mysterious, since his identity is unknown.

In total, Vidal created as many as 55 cues representing 70 minutes of music. They range anywhere from :15 to six minutes in length.
He writes much of his score with pencil and paper and then uses Digital Performer and Ableton Live to record orchestral mock-ups. The Raven’s score was recorded with a 70-piece orchestra at Air Studios in London.