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July/August 2020

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SOUNDTRACK omposer Geoff Zanelli recently completed work on the original score for Universal Pictures' You Should Have Left. The Blumhouse Productions film stars Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried, and was released digitally on June 18th. You Should Have Left is a psychological thriller set in an isolated, modern home in the Welsh countryside. A family — Theo Conroy, his much younger wife Susanna, and their daughter Ella — are seeking a restful vacation, but Theo find that secrets from the past are following them, and the beautiful house where they are vacation- ing refuses to let them leave. The project marks Zanelli's fourth collaboration with screenwriter and director David Koepp, which began back in 2004 with the Johnny Depp feature, Secret Window. For the new film, Zanelli used the distant location and house's architecture for the score's inspiration. He employed a combination of tradition- al instruments — including the crwth, tagelharpa and psaltery — along with modern instruments to create the film's original music. According to Zanelli, as many as 45 cues were written for the film, with orig- inal music amounting to approximately 55 minutes. After reading the script, he created several cues, which were then used by editor Derek Ambrosi to create the film's initial cut. As the edit evolved, Zanelli refined the music cues to their finished state. "I was involved earlier," he recalls, noting that the project spanned a year's time. "That's not always the case for composers. So it's kind of a nice to get the script early and the movie doesn't exist yet. David was uploading his dailies to a system where I could go in and look. He'd point to a certain [scene]…and I'd go and get a sense of what the visual was before it's even edited. That's a first for me." Zanelli's process began with an inter- pretation of the script. "The first thing I thought was: We're set in Wales. An American couple bring their daughter on a vacation — the Welsh countryside, in this sort of an unusually modern-looking house for its location… And I thought, 'Well, there's got to be something in the music of that geography that I can use.' I'm not trying to say I'm now a Welsh composer. Of course I'm not. But I wanted to sort of bring in the instru- mentation and bring in those sounds." There are some melodic elements that become thematic, he notes. "There's a tune for the daughter, Ella, that you hear on piano a lot. It's played very innocently, but it's also played for emotional effect. I can't think of a thriller that I've enjoyed that doesn't have some sort of emotional draw to it. It always strengthens it. And this movie is really about a mother and a father protecting a child in a dangerous house." One of Zanelli's recent projects was the score for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. It involved him conducting a 110-person orchestra at a large London studio. You Should Have Left was entirely different. He handled most of the instruments himself, calling on just a handful of mu- sicians to provide live piano and strings, including cello solos. "This is a story about three people in a house," he notes. "It's not a story about a nation of fairies fighting a nation of armed soldiers, which is what Maleficent is about, so the music has to meet the scale of the film…Frankly, if I had that many musicians, I don't think the score would be as strong. It wouldn't have been as intimate. And wouldn't have been right. Ultimately, it's really about Theo confronting his past. So if you look at it that way, it's one person with one secret. So that to me is a guy at 2:00am in the morning with an instrument he can't play. It isn't me with the conducting baton in front of 100 people." The feature was shot on Arri's Alexa Mini by Angus Hudson. In conjunction with the film's digital release, Back Lot Music has released the original motion picture soundtrack (https://backlotmusic., which includes 15 tracks. YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT BY MARC LOFTUS SCORING UNIVERSAL'S PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER C Composer Geoff Zanelli The score is made up of 45 cues. Traditional Welsh instruments help underscore the location.

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