Guy Gross has composed orchestral music for such hits as Moulin Rouge and The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert but few people can hum his tunes.
He is not fazed. Writing orchestral music for film or television, he says, requires the composer to serve the film first and the inner artist second, so lack of recognition is part of the deal.
On occasion it can go beyond its brief, Gross says. But the realities are that more often than not you compromise your music to do what’s best for the film, all the time. And that means sometimes music is certainly not going to stand up on its own.
The scores that do often accompany bizarre vehicles: Gross’s faves include John Williams’ compositions for Home Alone and Hook, rather than Star Wars and Jaws, for instance.
Among his own discography Gross’s work on Farscape is the current favourite -“ a four-year-plus project that has provided plenty of meaty challenges, even if the pedigree is more pop culture than high-brow. The TV series Farscape is a Sydney-based science fiction drama featuring a cast of humans and muppets (created by the Jim Henson workshop) with a faux-Battlestar Galactica premise and a militant fanbase.
Sci-fi’s a hoot, Gross laughs. And you’ve got to remember it’s soap opera in space -¦ So one minute I’m huge and bombastic for the huge horrendous ships of the bad guys and the next minute I’m writing love themes.
Gross’ affection for the show is shared by a posse of international fans, who cried for blood when the show was cancelled, and whose international campaign led to the production of an upcoming mini-series to wrap it all up.
With a bigger budget Gross is now able to record his score for the mini-series with a full orchestra, music previously played only on synthesisers and samplers.
It’s also made possible by the increasing respectability of film music, with the Sydney Symphony performing the score from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon last year and an upcoming concert of the score to The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
It’s so rare in Australia for us to work with orchestras because of budgets, so it’s really exciting, Gross says. And with the Sydney Symphony, what an honour.