Max Lyandvert is a composer, sound designer and director whose work with STC will be familiar to many of you. He won a Helpmann Award for his sound design on STC's epic Shakespeare cycle The War of the Roses in 2008 and has received Sydney Theatre Award nominations for his work on The Art of War (2007), The Lost Echo (2006), Festen and Julius Caesar (both 2005). More recently, his compositions have featured on our stages in The Golden Age, Hay Fever and All My Sons.
In 2018, he returns to lend his sonic talents to Top Girls and Saint Joan. Here, he shares some of his favourite recent compositions and tells us a little about each of them. Listen in and be swept away.
The Golden Age - Marker 49
For The Golden Age, again directed by Kip (STC 2016), this music was meant to transport us from a naturalistic world to the imagination of the bush. A poetic bush. I tried to make it unexpected, surprising, playful… but with colours and tones of darkness and danger. It shimmers and evokes a fantastical state but, with it, the fear of the unknown.
The Golden Age - Act 2 Suite
This piece is very special. It started as just the ethereal tinkle that starts it. We needed to connect three or four scenes into a movement, and the emotional stakes developed as the idea for a suite grew out of a tinkle. It's minimalist, essentially. The same set of chords are repeated over and over… but it's also romantic and emotional, there's dynamic range. I had a worry that, because it was underscoring tragic human moments it ran the risk sentimentalising them because of its emotional power. But, hopefully, the montage structure of it counterbalanced the sentimentality of investing in a single moment or character.
All My Sons - First Top Mix
This piece is something I wrote for the beginning of Kip Williams' production of All My Sons (STC 2016). I eventually wrote a very different second half which ended up in the show, but this music always stuck with me. It revealed the internal vibration of the tragedy about to unfold; its ambiguous tension and discord moves me. It also reminds me of a certain genre of film scoring – even an echo of the melody from The Mission.
Dinner, 11 Sep – 28 Oct 2017, Wharf 1 Theatre
Top Girls, 12 Feb – 24 Mar 2018, Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Saint Joan, 5 Jun – 30 Jun 2018, Roslyn Packer Theatre
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