The sound of fear: Movie music for a scarifying Halloween – Chicago Tribune

Second year of college, I shared a mouse-ridden rental house way, way off campus with a rotating cast of drama department undergraduates interested in film music and, I suppose, in getting freaked out in a relatively safe environment.

Late one night, somebody turned the living room lights off and turned on the motion picture soundtrack album of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” This was around Halloween. The music cued up was Gyorgy Ligeti’s “Requiem,” first heard in the film when the astronauts on the moon approach the baffling obelisk.

It’s the most intense and disturbing stuff. How long could we actually stand it? All those intense, bizarre choral passages, all that unsettling grief evoking the worst of 20th century humanity. At some point somebody screamed in a mock-theatrical way (mock theatrics: hallmark of the undergraduate theater major), turned the record player off and went to bed. We all did. I don’t think I slept very well. The sounds of fear floated through my subconscious, and who knows what dreams were dreamt that night.

Monday at 10 p.m. on WFMT-FM (98.7), I’m hosting “The Film Score: Music for Halloween.” If you can’t wait, here’s the entire program in advance. Putting the program together with associate producer Michael San Gabino, it became clear that finding the right, varied hour’s worth of tension-inducing movie music composed for an array of horror, thriller, science-fiction and supernatural tales meant, in effect, freaking out, over and over, in the safe but claustrophobic confines of a recording studio. It was like college all over again.

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