SOME WORDS ABOUT SOME MUSIC
In the fall of 1994, when the Actors Studio Drama School and Inside the Actors Studio were born, our television set consisted of two chairs, appropriated from a nearby class-room, and, to serve as the desk for my blue cards, a small glass table that customarily bore a telephone in the Green Room next to our stage, to which it was dutifully returned after each shoot.
When Bravo put us on the air a few weeks later, it was clear we’d need some theme mu-sic – fast. Fortunately, I was then serving on the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and one day after a meeting, I approached a fellow Board member, Angelo Badalamenti, the distinguished composer of many film scores, including the distinctive music for all of David Lynch’s movies, and the creator of what is in my view television’s finest score, the haunting themes that accompanied “Twin Peaks.”
I told him we were inaugurating a series on what was then a cable network with 20,000,000 viewers, and asked whether he would consider composing the score for our titles, credits, bumpers and music cues. Angelo, being a fellow Academy Board member and a man of good heart, agreed not only to compose but to play (on synthesizers and at his own expense) the score for a fledgling TV series owned by a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit educational institution with questionable prospects and zero budget for music.
Any conceivable reward for Angelo lay in a dim future of ASCAP performance fees, but, undaunted and, as always, inspired, Angelo delivered a score that was evocative and un-forgettable, becoming instantly one of the hallmarks of the series.
Over the next fourteen years, we were besieged with questions about our music: “Is it Brahms?” “Delius?” “Where can we get the full score?”
As we entered our fifteenth season, it was obvious that we’d journeyed far from those two classroom chairs and a telephone table on a bare stage in a small lecture hall. Among other things, we are now a in state-of-the-art theater at Pace University, on an elaborate set, producing a television program that is available in 89,000,000 homes on Bravo and in 125 countries around the world, and has received a record-breaking fourteen consecutive Emmy nominations.
And, for every hundred requests we’d had for the non-existent “full Inside the Actors Studio score,” Angelo had received a thousand. And our music budget was no longer zero. It was, in short, time to update the show’s score.
As gracious and fertile as ever, Angelo prepared to go into a studio with a full orchestra to record a cache of captivating new music cues, designed to match any mood the show’s hundreds of conversations might evoke, in a flurry of imaginative variations on the cen-tral Inside the Actors Studio theme he’d written and played fourteen years ago – the theme that evoked the deluge of questions and requests.
As Angelo was composing the cues, it occurred to me to ask whether an orchestral suite might be written to satisfy the constant demand for “the full score.”
Angelo being Angelo, I got a call from him a few days later to tell me that, in a creative burst, he’d composed the suite, and would record it with the cues at the session.
So, here it is at last, in response to what can honestly be called popular demand: the sym-phonic “Inside the Actors Studio Suite,” nine minutes of unmistakable, unforgettable Badalamenti.