Featuring Original Music by Alex Heffes
(February 26, 2013– Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records will release the Emperor – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally on March 5, 2013. Alex Heffes (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play) composed the original score.
“Emperor is a film that deals with the meeting of two cultures at the crossroads of 20th Century world history,” said Heffes. “This is a rich and complex backdrop for scoring a movie.”
Alex Heffes is an award-winning British film composer whose scores scores have been nominated for BAFTA, Ivor Novello, European Film Academy, NAACP, Black Reel and ASCAP awards. In 2011 he was awarded discovery of the year by the World Soundtrack Academy and in 2012 was awarded best film score of the year at the Ivor Novello Awards in London.
Heffes originally rose to prominence with his scores to Kevin Macdonald’s Academy Award-winning films One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland and BAFTA-winning Touching the Void. More recent scores include The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins, Charles Ferguson’s Academy Award-winning Inside Job, Catherine Hardwicke’s fantasy thriller Red Riding Hood and the upcoming feature The Tomb, starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
After graduating from Oxford with a first-class degree, Alex first worked as writer and arranger on projects covering the musical spectrum from steel band to symphony orchestra with artists such as Elton John and members of Blur. His score to State of Play starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren featured a collaboration with classic British rock producer Flood. During the scoring of The Last King of Scotland Alex traveled to Uganda to record and produce many of the bands featured on the soundtrack. Other scores include the HBO drama Tsunami (for which Alex was nominated for a BAFTA award), Dear Frankie (Miramax Films), the Warner Bros thriller Trauma, starring Colin Firth and Mena Suvari, Imagine Me and You (Fox Searchlight) and Steve Coogan’s hi-jinx comedy The Parole Officer. He collaborated with director Tim Burton on his screen adaptation of Sweeney Todd starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
A gripping tale of love and honor forged between fierce enemies of war, Emperor unfolds the story, inspired by true events, of the bold and secret moves that won the peace in the shadows of postwar Japan. Matthew Fox (World War Z, TV’s Lost) joins with Academy Award-winner Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln, No Country for Old Men), newcomier Eriko Hatsune and award winning Japanese star Toshiyuki Nishida to bring to life the Amerian occupation of Japan in the perilous and unpredictable days just after Emperor Hirohito’s Wold War II surrender. As General Douglas MacArthur (Jones) suddently finds himself the de facto ruler of a foreign nation, he assigns an expert in Japanese culture – and psychological warfare – General Bonner Fellers (Fox), to covertly investigate the looming question hanging over the country: should the Japanese Emperor, worshiped by his people but accused of war crimes, be punished or saved?
“Director, Peter Webber discussed with me early on the need to combine a Japanese sense of restraint and minimalism with the more urgent and pressing US investigation,” Heffes described. “I wanted to combine symphonic orchestral scoring with some Japanese instrumentation to retain a sense of emotion that could be read by movie audiences both western and eastern.”
To achieve this Heffes features three soloists: piano (Simon Chamberlain), cello (Alice Neary), and shakuhachi (Clive Bell) together with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Heffes). He also featured Japanese ceremonial percussion to drive the movie forward.
“The opening of the film has a broad string melody for the victorious US forces entering Japan,” explained Heffes. “The end credits however, reprise that melody but with a slow elegiac brass choral arrangement to show how the early days of a victory pass leaving a deeper and more complex problem to be solved.”
Said the film’s director Peter Webber, “Alex Heffes’ marvelous score takes us into this mysterious, ravaged, yet strangely beautiful world and helps bring it to life.”
Roadside Attractions present Emperor, in theaters March 8, 2013. The Emperor – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will be available digitally on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.