Composer Igor Vdovin: "It Would Be Great If Music Saved From Panic"

Composer Igor Vdovin: "It Would Be Great If Music Saved From Panic"
Composer Igor Vdovin: "It Would Be Great If Music Saved From Panic"

Video: Composer Igor Vdovin: "It Would Be Great If Music Saved From Panic"

Video: Composer Igor Vdovin: "It Would Be Great If Music Saved From Panic"
Video: Игорь Вдовин - Оригинальный Саундтрек Вторжение 2023, March

Igor Vdovin began his career as a vocalist of the Leningrad group, but it's even embarrassing to remember it today. Many years ago, he abruptly changed the vector of activity, left traditional pop culture, becoming a composer of a wide profile. In his portfolio there are electronic experiments, he was one of the producers of Zemfira's album "Vendetta", and a few years ago he released a disc of self-composed piano preludes "24". In recent years, we all constantly hear Vdovin: he is a successful and distinctive film composer, author of soundtracks for The Duelist, Invasion and many other films. One of his last works was the music for Fyodor Bondarchuk's TV series "Crazy", where Igor Vdovin also appeared in a short but vivid episode, playing the ex-husband of the heroine Elena Lyadova. We decided to discuss this acting experience with the composer and talk about music in cinema in general.

First of all, I can’t help but ask how you ended up in Psyche not only behind the scenes, but also in it?

You know, I have such a fetish or something - tiny episodes in the films I'm working on. Remember, Pelevin had such a hero in Generation P, Azadovsky? An inappropriate parallel, perhaps, but nevertheless. In this case, my character was just in the foreground, so you can see me. But I've done it before. I do this solely for my own pleasure and for the love of fooling around. Moreover, from a practical point of view, there is absolutely nothing good in these things: you have to comb your hair, put on your make-up - it's pretty steamy. But it's funny. Moreover, with good comrades.

I posted a screenshot of you on Facebook, and immediately Konstantin Murzenko, who had just opened an account for himself, came to the comment …


… and declared that you are not only a great composer, but also a wonderful artist.

(Laughs) It's nice. By the way, I also starred in such an episode with Kostya many years ago.

Photo: From the personal archive of Igor Vdovin
Photo: From the personal archive of Igor Vdovin

© From the personal archive of Igor Vdovin

In April"? I don't remember you there.

No, no, it was a film with Brashinsky in the title role …

"Hard case"?

Yes exactly.

And in "Psycho" your hero will appear in the next episodes? And how did you choose it?

Yes, I just, when I was reading the script, saw that there was such a bright, but laconic character, and said: "This is me." More of him will not be in the frame, of course.

Do you want to play something big?

Yes, I'm afraid that I will not have enough skills. Although … Probably yes. But I don’t know what it could be, so there are no such plans.

How do you generally choose the film projects you are going to work on? Are there many such proposals?

There are not many offers, but they are. Much depends on - what is it called? Horizontal networking? (Smiles.) Friends often invite, in other words. There are projects that I can't work on, there are projects that I leave after working for a while. In general, everything, I suppose, is about like everyone else.

On the set of "Psycho" with Fyodor Bondarchuk
On the set of "Psycho" with Fyodor Bondarchuk

On the set of Psycho with Fyodor Bondarchuk © Alexandra Torgushnikova

What should be in the script to hook you?

I don't know, the plot, probably … or intrigue. In general, reading a script is not the most frequent beginning of work. Much more often my name is already at the installation stage.

What interested you in "Psycho"? Except the fee and good company, of course.

I joined Psycho as early as possible - the author of the script sent me the first version of the script, the zero draft. Then the idea was upgraded and became more interesting. I saw the history of modern Zilov there - in general, I really love "Duck Hunt" and "Vacation in September". "Crazy", it seems to me, is also a lot about this existential anguish.

A few years ago, you talked about wanting a good piano sound and generally leaning more towards academic forms. In many ways, this commitment to acoustic sound was expressed in music, for example, to "The Duelist". In "Psyche" the echo of your electronic experiences is heard again. How do you choose the tone and toolkit for your film music?

This largely depends on the tasks set by the director. Alexey Mizgirev did not have the task of somehow radically electronically sounding "Duelist". For the pilot series "Psycho", by the way, I also had somewhat different solutions, chamber ones, there was a string quintet. But when we did it, it turned out that the music does not work - the picture does not live with the strings. There needed a different, more prickly sound, floating in line and so on. I had to come up with a sound electronic "Moscow Gothic". Although the elements of the strings remained, they were strongly deformed.

Yes you are "Crazy": how did the first series of Fyodor Bondarchuk turn out.

What is this all about for you? Does this music have an independent value for you?

Good question, I recently asked myself it, but I haven't found an answer yet. In general, I try to write music that I like, so of course it has value. Another thing is that then these things need to be brought to some kind of finished form. In "Psyche" there are these fragments where I tried to play baroque. It seems to me that from this one could make some kind of neoclassical play. But is it necessary? As for the rest, now we are talking about the release of the soundtrack, and I have not yet understood whether it all lives separately or not.

I remember Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross released the soundtrack to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which was a bit longer than the movie's length.

I had a similar situation with the Invasion soundtrack. Everything I did for this picture, I love and so dear to me that we made a soundtrack of almost fifty tracks. So I understand old Trent. (Laughs.)

Would you like this music to be heard separately from the film?

Of course. It's another matter that it is rather gloomy, but … Nothing!

With Fyodor Bondarchuk
With Fyodor Bondarchuk

With Fyodor Bondarchuk © Alexandra Torgushnikova

How important is freedom for you in these cases? Is it often asked to compose for Reznor, Zimmer or Desplat?

Well, they don't ask right for Zimmer, but reference tracks often consist of Zimmer's music to Interstellar. This is, of course, quite boring and tedious. In the case of "Psycho", by the way, there were no such restrictions. With Fedor, there are no restrictions at all in terms of freedom. It seems to me that for him the more radical the better. I cannot call this work fiercely radical, but it was interesting for me.

How important is it for you that the music changes the perception of what is happening in the frame?

It seems to me that this is generally an important thing - support for emotions or, conversely, some kind of calming. But a lot depends on the task. We are now completing a large project - "Vertinsky" by Dunya Smirnova, and there is absolutely no need to search for any dissonant electronic sounds. But in general, in my opinion, the task of music in modern cinema is to disturb the viewer, to influence him, including physically. For example, low frequencies, which can cause physiological discomfort at a large sound in a cinema.

Can you give me a specific example of how this should work? Who are your favorite film composers?

The last few years this school has been the most interesting - Johan Johannsson, Ben Frost of the period of the TV series "Dark", Hildur Gudnadouttir. This is the most interesting for me. They're all pretty [brutalized], so it's interesting to watch them. I like it when music in movies has a solution. When you pay attention to it: "wow." From Russian examples I will name the music of Alexander Turkunov for the short film “Last Quest”, which was shot by Petya Fedorov. Everything there is flawless, phenomenal work.

To what extent does this work allow you to show individuality in general? And how is this even possible in the conditions of the Russian industry?

Of course it does. This is the same question, first of all, sorry, talent. Another thing is that this brightness is not always required.

Have you ever wanted to create a real hit in the field of film music, to stand in a row, I don't know, with the same Reznor or Vladimir Dashkevich?

I would like to, of course. I have heard a huge number of reviews about my work for the films “Goddess. How I Loved”and, for example,“Rusalka”. I think it's close to some kind of hits. As for Dashkevich, I like him very much. Have you heard his "Soldier's Requiem"?


Based on the music for "Bumbarash", he wrote such a vocal suite based on Kim's poems - incredibly cool. In general, yes, it would be nice to be between Reznor and Dashkevich.

Igor Vdovin and Elena Lyadova
Igor Vdovin and Elena Lyadova

Igor Vdovin and Elena Lyadova © Alexandra Torgushnikova

I call these names because they are composers who have gone beyond craft work. You don't have the feeling that work is work, but it would be nice to write a symphony too?

Yes, it should, of course. And I have some ideas. I will not announce them ahead of time, but there is an idea to do such a literary and musical thing with one young writer. In general, it's a shame to say, but there is no time to calmly and without fuss to work on what I would like. This is due to the large amount of film work.

Sorry for the idiotic question, but how do you listen to music yourself? What do you hear there? With song forms, or even with line-by-line pieces, it is more understandable - there the word has a meaning, even if it is written in the title of the work. And when there is only a serial number, how do you understand what the music is about?

There is no universal perception. Somewhere I like some unexpected harmonic move, somewhere a separate line clings, somewhere just arrogance - like Morgenstern's. He is so arrogant that it can not but rejoice. As for conventionally academic music, now the quality and general culture of performance are most important to me. Well, there are also some things that I cannot explain. For example, in the finale of the second movement of Shostakovich's 15th symphony there is a string chorale that always gives me goosebumps. As for how I understand what music is about, it is always associative, there is some kind of inner litmus. Moreover, even works with “programmatic” titles can be interpreted as desired. The symphony "1905" by the same Shostakovich can, roughly speaking, be extrapolated to the events of Bolotnaya.

If we go back to “good piano sound” - then you wanted it, but now?

You know, upset. I always have something a little floating in the ranks now.

And why?

Yes, too, just a feeling. The Argentine composer Mauricio Cagel has such a play "Ludwig van", in which he tried to convey the world of the deafening Beethoven. These chords floating down the line move me terribly. But the piano sound, of course, has not been canceled.

Are these feelings somehow related to your feeling of what is happening around? In general, should instrumental music correspond with the world, reflect the "noise of time" (this is the title of Julian Barnes's book about your beloved Shostakovich)?

The key word here is "reflect", it is correct. Stravinsky in the thirties became interested in neoclassicism, but even in these of his works, despite all the clarity and beauty, there is some, as our mutual friend director Sergei Sonin says, an alarming smuggling.

A few years ago you said that you would like to get away from the music that serves cafe visitors as much as possible, that real culture should now be located as far as possible from show business. Do you have any thoughts on this right now?

The music that plays in the cafe, of course, annoys me terribly. She's loud. Probably, so that conversations at neighboring tables are not heard.

The task of music in modern cinema is to disturb the viewer, to influence him, including physically.

Or because the silence makes people panic.

It would be great if music saved you from panic, but unfortunately it doesn't always work. As for show business … I don't know. There is what happens on television, there is YouTube, TikTok. To be honest, I absolutely do not monitor what is happening there. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a single episode of The Voice. Although I know that for many it is an important program. In general, it seems to me that everything is about the same as before. As always, some young punks appear. A few years ago it was Face, now it is Morgenstern. In terms of pop culture, I do not identify new artists in this genre. In the underground, in some more radical planes, sometimes something interesting arises … Well, perhaps I like Loboda.

Okay. Then let's have a very simple last question. What have you been listening to lately?

You know, I've never listened to classical music while driving. But recently I was on my way to St. Petersburg, and while listening to Prokofiev's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies and Shostakovich's Eleventh Symphonies, I literally did not notice the road. And so from the last one (looks at the phone screen) I listened to “Simple Things” to “Sounds of Mu” the other day.

Composer Dmitry Evgrafov - about working with Grimes, creative boundaries and noise.

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