From Monday 30th January the London Contemporary Orchestra has embarked upon a UK tour of ‘There Will Be Blood: LIVE’ performing Jonny Greenwood’s score alongside Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-winning film.
Before the show, they have shared a unique piece of Behind The Scenes footage recorded at the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall in 360° as they rehearse Jonny’s composition ‘Smear’ (which is part of the soundtrack to There Will Be Blood). This maybe the only time ever the public will be able to experience the rehearsal environment with Jonny so intimately.
‘Smear’ features Jonny playing the theremin-like rare musical instrument the Ondes Martenot. Key players are mic-ed up to capture the dialogue between conductor and players, including LCO conductor Hugh Brunt.
While writing the script, Anderson heard Greenwood’s orchestral piece ‘Popcorn Superhet Receiver’ and the alien experimental dissonance of the music set the unsettling tone for the film, based on the Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil!. It was Greenwood’s first of many soundtracks for feature film. It has passages extrapolated from Arvo Pärt ‘Fratres’ and Brahms violin concerto (both major works in the classical cannon in their own right). In fact it was frontrunner for the Oscar but was ruled out for featuring previously composed material. The LCO put together the “live-theatrical” presentation of the film for the world premiere in 2014 for two sold-out performances at the 2,500 capacity Roundhouse in London. The show features over 50 orchestral players and uses the Ondes martenot, a rare early electronic instrument that resembles a cross between an organ and a Theremin, which Jonny has also used on various Radiohead tracks.
You can watch Jonny Greenwood & The LCO rehearsing ‘Smear’ in 360 degrees below;