Mychael Danna scores The Nativity Story
"My approach is how The Nativity changed history"
Well known for his expertise of combining non-Western sound sources with orchestral and electronic minimalism in film music, award-winning composer Mychael Danna scores The Nativity Story for New Line Cinema and director Catherine Hardwicke.
Danna's score sets the tone for the drama that focuses on Mary and Joseph's life as they travel to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus, one couple's journey that forever changed the world. Starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac, the film will be released this holiday season.
Being recorded in Los Angeles, the score breaks recent tradition by employing European instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. "My approach is not about a story set in the Middle East," says Danna. "It's about how The Nativity changed history when Europe really flowered under Christianity." To reach his timeless objective, Danna references ancient Christmas melodies written hundreds and thousands of years ago. Gregorian chants, recorders and viols give voice to carols such as "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," originally written in Latin during the 12th century.
Danna began his film music career with the score for Atom Egoyan's Family Viewing in 1987, for which he won a Canadian film award, an award for which he has now been nominated eleven times. He has earned a reputation for skillfully blending ethnic influences into the body of contemporary film scoring aesthetics, which led him to work with acclaimed directors such as Atom Egoyan, Ang Lee, Scott Hicks, Gilles MacKinnon, Mira Nair, James Mangold and Joel Schumacher.
Danna studied music composition at the University of Toronto, winning the Glenn Gould Composition Scholarship in 1985. He also served for five years as composer-in-residence at the McLaughlin Planetarium in Toronto from 1987 to 1992.
Danna has proven his versatility from scoring Moroccan music in 8MM to American Civil War-era sounds in Ride With the Devil, and he infused medieval European and Persian music into the score for The Sweet Hereafter. He has scored each of the eight movies by director Atom Egoyan, including Where The Truth Lies, Arafat, Felicia's Journey, Exotica, The Adjuster, and Speaking Parts.
Most recently, Danna scored the Oscar-winning Capote, Black for director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Tideland for director Terry Gilliam. With Danna's score, Little Miss Sunshine, starring Toni Colette, Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell, is in theaters.
New Line Cinema releases "The Nativity Story" December 1.
New Line Records releases the score CD December 6.