Composer puts his spin on Boleyn play music

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 11:36 25/02/2014

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Away from the pressures of composing music for the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, former Blenheim man Sam Logan is enjoying helping to produce the musical accompaniment for Marlborough Repertory Society's production of Anne Boleyn.

It is the first time the 24-year-old, who has just completed a master's degree in composition at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, has delved into composition for the theatre.

He agreed to take on the project about six months ago when his grandmother and director Pam Logan asked if he was interested.

Logan began working on the compositions early in the year.

He says the form is a combination of the rhythms, scales and melodies from the time of Henry VIII, and some modern sounds of bass and string.

"I'm creating some kind of faux Renaissance baroque-type music that's a little bit period, in the style of the time, while taking a few liberties in terms of creative licence.

"I've been given a bit of leeway to put my own spin on things."

Logan is using technology to create the period-style music.

"I put it all into a computer program and it'll basically spit out what it sounds like as a full ensemble.

"We're not using any live instruments, so I'm producing it all myself.

"It's all pre-recorded and pre-produced."

The compositions, which ranged from 20 seconds to about five minutes, were then emailed to Pam.

Working together from different locations involved a lot of exchanges and flexibility between Logan and his grandmother.

"It's quite a fluid process.

"We've blocked the music for a third of all the scenes.

Blocking involves setting out the movement and positioning of actors on a stage in the early stages of a play.

"Pam will say, ‘We've just done this, and we need a little bit extra here', or ‘We need to do this'."

The last time Logan did any major compositions was during his tenure as NZSO National Youth Orchestra Composer-in-Residence in Wellington last year.

"With that, you're basically given an open canvas, you're given all the instruments you write for, and it's really quite demanding because you have to come up with everything yourself.

"But with Anne Boleyn, it's far more structured, which I thought was a nice change."

Logan is freelancing this year, doing a stint as a composer in residence at Palmerston North Girls' High.

He hopes to return to Blenheim to see how his music plays out in the show when it hits the stage at the Boathouse Theatre from April 2 till April 12.

The Marlborough Repertory Society has created a page on New Zealand crowdfunding site PledgeMe to help pay for Sam Logan's original musical score for Anne Boleyn, as well as the play's ornate period costumes and director's fee. To donate, visit pledgeme.co.nz and click on, Community Theatre Collaboration.

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- The Marlborough Express

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