A NEW SCORE
FOR THE FIRST HITCHCOCK FILM
THIS IS a confusing time to be a talented young musician called Daniel Cohen. The problem is in the name — there are two musically-gifted Daniel Cohens currently making their mark, and that is not the only case of mistaken identity the young composer is having to deal with.
“Everyone thinks you’re my son,” cries Gail Cohen, director of marketing at the BritishFilmInstitutewhenDanielarrives to be interviewed about the score theBFI has just commissioned from him.
Gail, visibly kvelling, seems as proud of his achievement — this is his first commissioned score — as the 23-year-old Cohen is himself. The recent graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Music has been asked to set music to the very first film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, whose early silent works are being restored and scored by the BFI as part of next year’s Cultural Olympiad.
But while his new patrons have made much of Cohen being the same age as Hitchcock when he directed The Pleas- ure Garden, they have merely added to the confusion. Hitchcock was 26, the same age as the other Daniel Cohen, a conductor who is a protege of Daniel Barenboim.
More Hitchcockian yet, both Cohens were until recently studying side by side at the Royal Academy. However, the BFI’s Cohen explains that he was on a quite different path from Barenboim’s Cohen. “He is primarily a conductor, while I was studying composition,” he explains.
It was Cohen’s teacher at the R o y a l A c a d - emy who was responsible for putting hisname before the BFI w h e n h e h e a r d of their Hitchc o c k project. “He knew my music very well, and that Hitchcockwassuchaninspirationtomy work,” Cohen says. “It was the movie The Lady Vanishes that made me realise what I really wanted to do was write music for film.”
Bernard Herrmann, the composer most closely associated with Hitchcock, has been as much an inspiration as the director himself, admits Cohen, who plays piano and bassoon. He especially admires the rejected music for Torn Curtain over which the director fell out terminally with his Jewish score-writer.
“ H e r r m a n n wrote it for 12 horns. It was never used by Hitchcock. But you can listen to it on YouTube,” Cohen says.
A n o t h e r inspiration
Composer Daniel Cohen and his hero