From the Director of "Eye of the Dolphin" and "Beneath the Blue," Michael Sellers
I had the pleasure of working with Alan Derian on multiple projects in which I was the director
and he the composer. The quality of his work speaks for itself -- and I unequivocally proud of
the scores that are the product of our collaboration.
As a collaborator, I found him to be an outstanding partner on all levels. He brought his own
talent and vision to it -- both of which are considerable -- and at the same time was responsive
to my input and able to "get" what I was looking for. His instincts are great; his talent is extraordinary;
and he is eminently sane with ego in check and interpersonal skills that make it fun to work together.
I'd work together again with Alan anytime.
2011 review of "Beneath the Blue" from Randall Larson's column at buysoundtrax.com
In 2007, Alan Derian scored Michael D. Sellers' EYE OF THE DOLPHIN, a coming-of-age drama about a young girl who discovers she can communicate with dolphins. The story is carried over into its sequel, BENEATH THE BLUE, for which Alan Derian has composed a sensitive and melodic score which he has made available on iTunes and on CD from cdbaby. The new film stars David Keith, Michael Ironside, and George Harris, and is about dolphin experts who confront the US Navy when its sonar program is suspected of causing the animals' deaths. Derian's music attains a compelling sound with a depth of orchestration that is quite expressive; the score is melody-driven and nicely fits the film's oceanic environment while supporting both its action and its heartfelt moments of personal drama. "The film was nice in that there are long sections with visuals only, so it gave me the opportunity to open up with the writing," Derian said about scoring the film. The score works very well on the album; Derian has comprised each track of a number of short cues which blend together into a fine listening program. While it has its moments of quiet, unobtrusive reflection, the score also manages to soar beautifully, saturated with heartfelt melodies and bold arrangements, evoking the gentleness of a family drama without sacrificing the aggression of making its action scenes potent and perilous. The main theme, introduced in "Main Titles" and reprised frequently, is a lovely melody alternately taken by French horn and strings, dappled by splashes of acoustic guitar and reflective glimmers of piano, bright and shiny as a day on a calm sea. The motif is associated with Rasca and the dolphins, expanded in "Spirit of the Dolphins" to reflect the natural harmony of the cetaceans and their unity with Alyssa and her family. The score reaches darker depths in "Deep Dive and Rescue" when Alyssa suffers respiratory arrest during a dive; Derian obliges this drama with halting, pensive cycles of piano and strings that roll percussively via somber oboe strains and a whispered chorus into a dramatic propulsion of drum-inflected horn figures, provoking a powerful apprehension that gives way to sustained strings and voices that suggest Alyssa's unconsciousness; continual rolls of drums and strings accommodate the rescue and removal of Alyssa to hospital. The main theme is reprised for gentle piano and winds as Alyssa recovers and Rasca misses his two-legged companion; Rasca's abduction and rescue (the latter accomplished over a vivid 10-minute track combining twelve short cues) are scored for bold strokes of orchestration, propelled with beaten drums and triumphant crescendos of the main theme. In its generous melodies and poignant harmonies, Derian's BENEATH THE BLUE is a captivating score and an impressive effort for a first soundtrack album release.
For more on the composer, see: http://www.alanderian.com/
To Read more of Randall Larson's Soundtrack Reviews, go to www.buysoundtrax.com
Susan Johnson (What Women Want, Beneath the Blue, Eye of the Dolphin, Mean Creek)
"I just wanted to let you know that I think the music you wrote for BENEATH THE BLUE is absolutely wonderful.
Once again you have singlehandedly elevated our film!"
1999 review of Alan Derian's Music from Christian Clemmensen's column at filmtracks.com
What's Cool in 1999?
Monsoon, 1998 Composer Spotlight:
The Music of Alan Derian
Included with the January, 1999, issue of Film Music Magazine was a promo sampler that includes short examples of music by a variety of rising composers. Above and beyond all others, the track composed by Alan Derian caught my attention.
Derian has scored twenty films over the past fifteen years, and his music spans a diverse collection of film genres. The track that caught my attention was from the score for the erotic/kumasutra thriller Monsoon (India). With a consistently distinctive and melodic touch, Derian's score combines two styles (two that might not seem a likely pairing at first): Mark Snow's electronic mastery with John Barry's orchestrally massive themes. The result is Monsoon, a score with similarities to the finale of Snow's television score for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I recently presented a collection of late-1998/early-1999 scores to a group of associates, mostly including the Academy Award nominated efforts in both dramatic and comedy/musical categories. I also slipped Monsoon into the pile, and all of my associates agreed that Derian's Monsoon is a better score than over half of the Oscar nominated scores!
I cannot speak for Derian's scores as they fit in the films, but without a doubt, they are enjoyable listening experiences. Chris (Yumbo) Caine indicated recently, however, that Monsoon's score received positive responses from audiences in Fiji movie theatres. Derian's The Howling Leopard features a romantic and mystical motif that would please die hard Hard Zimmer fans (and especially those who appreciate a deep, male chorus); the track "The Hero's Battle" is astounding in its combination of fantasy and a heroic Western theme.
Clips of Alan Derian's most recent scores, including Monsoon and The Howling Leopard, can be downloaded at his official website: http://www.alanderian.com. I highly recommend journeying over to his site and sampling the clips; and I whole-heartedly hope that Derian's career flourishes. His music features a thematic power and awesome spirit that I have not heard many times in my film music publishing career. The best of luck to you, Alan!
David Albert Pierce
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