Just recently finished recording Noël Coward’s “Zigeuner” for a short film written and directed by Sara Fenton. It’s called Cupcakes and you should really check it out (see below). The emotion captured in simple gestures really struck me each time I watched it.
The online version currently uses a rendition of the song played by Zoltan and His Gypsy Ensemble, with rich tones and dramatic swells accompanying the action’s calm, unaffected pace. The string parts really fill out the visual story, so I was disappointed to discover that the sheet music with vocal and piano parts that I got my hands on resulted in a very thin sound.
So, my first unexpected challenge was arranging the piece for solo piano in order to bring out more textures.
The recording process itself was great new experience—
Since the film had already been cut, the length of the piece needed to be of roughly the same duration. Keeping in mind the right pacing was a challenge. We wanted to keep certain cadences in time with the action, so knowing how much liberty to take with the tempo in order to keep the “schmaltzy” feel within the time constraints sometimes felt like an awkward dance. Like when you’re trying to learn choreography and your elbows and knees keep poking out all wrong. Thankfully, it didn’t end up sounding quite
The Steinway had a wonderful full tone, which, though beautiful, definitely changes the atmosphere of the film, to which Zoltan’s version gives a nostalgic crackle. I later listened to the new soundtrack with the movie rolling, and I really liked the resulting expectant and wistful effect. Here’s hoping others like it too.
It’s pretty neat hearing your playing against movie scenes. SO COOL! I’ve always known that music changes the perceptual feel of a film, but having a hand in shaping the visual affect allowed me to experience it more palpably—a really enjoyable session. Sara was great to collaborate with.
Can’t wait to see the final product.
In the meantime, enjoy the current version: