And no mistake
was the music department at Cohen’s south London comprehensive. “It was brilliant,” he says. “That’s how I came to go all the way to grade eight on the recorder. I started at age nine in a group, and the teacher was so great, I never wanted to stop.”
Hetookupthebassoon,anotherof his instruments — he also plays the piano — b e c a u s e he r eali s ed it would be a strategic aid to composing. “I learned it so I could play with orchestras. Bassoon p l a y e r s s i t where they look over all the other instruments, except the percussion behind. That teaches you so much.”
His works to date include a concept album inspired by the music of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin that his father introduced him to, which he hopes will be released before the Hitchcock film premieres next June.
The intention is to record the Hitchcock music after a few live performances — “somewhere a little more interesting than a conventional cinema”. While he cannot set down actual notes until the restoration of every frame of The Pleasure Garden is complete, Cohen already knows he will hark back to the work of Hungarian composer Miklos Rozsa for his structural inspiration. “He wrote the score for Double Indemnity, and came up with the idea of dividing it into themes aroundtheaction,ratherthanleitmotifs linked to individual characters.
“As for the instruments, I’m thinking clarinets and saxophones.”
He feels The Pleasure Garden deserves a lot more respect than it has so far attracted. “It was a blueprint for all Hitchcock’s later work. All the themes are there — the voyeurism, the experimental camera work, the cool blondes.”
What he hopes such a spectacular showcase so early in his career will do for him is introduce him to distinguished film-makerswhomightneverotherwise notice him. “Getting visibility is vital for a young composer, and I hope showing I can tackle a large project like a film score before I’m 25 will mean I shouldn’t have toomanyregretsaboutmissedopportunities in the future.”