FLYING DREAM – Suite for orchestra from the movie Paper Planes

Duration – 10:00

Commissioned by The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the 2016 BBC Proms
(Chief Conductor  Sir Andrew Davis, Associate Conductor Benjamin Northey)

Orchestration – 2 (II=picc).2 (II=corA).2 (II=bcl).2 (II=dbn)-4.3.3.1-harp-pno-perc(IV)-timp-strings

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Program note  –

It’s difficult to quantify the emotional impact music can have in the context of a film. Director Robert Connolly admired Nigel Westlake’s earlier score for Babe, and was certain that an original, though conventional, orchestral score from Westlake for Paper Planes (2015) would traverse and enhance the rich emotional territory of the film. Westlake admits that writing a film score can be challenging on many levels, ‘but it’s always gratifying to engage with a director who sees music as a priority, and is willing to allocate appropriate resources to the task.’
Paper Planes is a tender portrait of male grief and tells the story of Dylan, a young boy, who lives in Western Australia and dreams of competing in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. Flying Dream is a reworking of elements of the film score. Though not as character-specific as the leitmotifs heard in Babe, the main themes nevertheless trace the drama of the movie. Translucent, airy textures of flight give way to a heroic phrase first heard in the bassoon, picked up soon after by the solo horn, voicing 12-year-old Dylan’s fantasies about flying. A determined and insistent rhythm in lower strings and brass, highlighted by military-style snare drum, accompany those moments when Dylan moves closer to his final goal.
The main impetus of the central section of Flying Dream is one of accented cross-rhythms. Westlake says it’s a musical tracing of the paper plane’s journey through the air, reflecting the playfulness of the action: ‘Being picked up by the breeze, flung off course, and then back on course.’ Something of a metaphor for life, perhaps, evincing the way we are all subject to forces beyond our control.

Note by Genevieve Lang © 2016