Snow White: A Tale of Terror / 1997 Composed

Snow White: A Tale of Terror / 1997
Main Theme
# Title Duration
Main Theme 3:10
Claudia Arrives 2:58
Lilly's Birth 3:07
The Apple 5:16
The Dress 0:44
Freaks of Nature 4:35
Mirror, Mirror 3:32
The Awekening 2:40
Traitor 2:29
Company for Christ 2:30
The Celebration 2:47
Fatal Glance 2:01
The Locket 0:25
The LocketSeduction / About Will 4:46
The Spell 1:18
She Lurks 2:50
Reflections 2:00
The Outcasts 1:59
Claudia's Lair 4:09
Taking the Seed 1:51
What Have You Done to Me! 2:52
Resolution 1:50

John's Thoughts

A Strange Whirlwind

Nothing went wrong! Snow White was one of those rare recording experiences where the gods seemed to have descended upon the Saint Thomas Center near Seattle (a beautiful church in the countryside), and hung around for a few days as we recorded the score. The weather was warm and beautiful, the people really nice, and the experience totally unforgettable and easily one of my fondest memories.

Usually recording sessions (at least mine!) are marred by mysterious technical glitches, last minute picture changes, on-the-spot rewrites, etc. but Snow White seemed impervious to all this; at least the score, that is. I still remember as if it were yesterday the moment the first bar was played, then exhaling and blurting out, "My God, it sounds great!" From that point on for the following few days, each musical turn sounded exactly or beyond as I had imagined. The world of Snow White was taking shape.

I was worried (as is my usual state-of-being), how some strange techniques I had planned would sound, such as descending and ascending tremelo string lines for Claudia's unbalanced, mysterious yet somehow empathetic presence. With barely any direction, these techniques were performed with finesse, resulting in a wonderfully dimensional and eerie sound. From the percussion rattling chairs with sticks to an electric violin bending ("The Apple") and my asking the choir to give their best loon impression, (as well as other requests met with puzzling looks), it was as if these gods were still watching and ensuring everything fit into its dark and other-worldly place.

Sigourney Weaver's complex performance as Claudia was among her best, and truly inspiring for me. Although a dark and morbid story, I saw it as a great opportunity to also write some friendly stuff for a change, which I yearn to do. "Lilly's Theme" or "Main Theme", "The Awakening" and sections of many cues somewhat fulfilled this desire. Even Claudia's recurring melody garners some sympathy. But watch out - that sympathetic tone has mood swings!

Given all this, the film's not being released theatrically in the U.S. was really depressing for me. For many reasons I'm quite emotionally attached to this score and my experience with it. Therefore, I'm thrilled that it's been brought vividly to life on CD.

Tidbit: An image I will remember from Snow White is indicative of the punchiness we had near the end of a great recording experience: Because we were recording the score from a remote truck, we had a video camera mounted behind the conductor's podium to monitor the group and help communicate with Larry Groupé, the conductor. I remember near end of the last overdubbing session, Larry suddenly pulling down his pants and mooning the camera much to the shock and chagrin of Tim Boyle and me. Then we continued to record the last bits of the score.