Ernst Reijseger & Werner Herzog film scores


Chronicle presents an overview of the ten films that Ernst Reijseger scored for film director Werner Herzog over the last fifteen years.

Chronicle contains 71 minutes of music in thirteen tracks. Although eleven of them can be perceived as standalones, the album is intended as one integral listening experience from beginning to end.
Chronicle is available in streams and downloads on all platforms. For music lovers preferring cd to digital audio, a cd has been released/distributed through Caldera Records.

Chronicle consists of Reijseger’s choice of pieces, including Shadow from Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, A Una Rosa from The White Diamond, and Voice from another World from Rescue Dawn.
The album contains tracks with a larger ensemble from the films Salt & Fire and My Son My Son What Have Ye Done (co-produced by David Lynch).
Then, there is previously unreleased music from the recent films Family Romance Ltd. and Nomad, In The Footsteps Of Bruce Chatwin.

Herzog and Reijseger’s collaboration does not follow standard guidelines.
Reijseger: “The privilege of working with Werner Herzog is that the collaboration does not start in the post-production phase. On the contrary.”

Herzog shows footage or describes the film he is shooting at a certain place on Earth. He describes the landscape and the scenes. He tells why he is motivated to make this particular film – what it is about the characters or story that intrigues him. Reijseger, for his part, chooses instrumentations and starts to compose for imaginary scenes.

Reijseger: “A joyful aspect of making music for film lies in the opportunity to form larger ensembles.”
He invites musicians because of their personal input and their (improvisational) skills, musicians who are flexible and play by ear. This gives Reijseger room to morph the material in the session. It’s important that all participating musicians become involved in the process.

Reijseger: “I get the credit as the main composer and I do imagine and conceive the music. But I gather musicians around me that have very special capabilities, and a lot comes from them.”

Herzog is invited to the recording session and receives the music after it has been mixed and mastered. Usually, Reijseger produces more music than necessary, giving Herzog options of what to use. If needed, Reijseger plans an extra individual recording session, in which he records solo cello to the images of the film, providing connective tissue between scenes, or underscoring spoken word.
Sometimes, he sends audio files before Herzog starts filming, to give him an impression of what he is working on, which sometimes influences the filming in advance. This was the case during the filming of The White Diamond, when the cameraman held the camera whilst listening to the music on his headphones.

Reijseger compares their collaboration to that of Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham and John Cage. “They were preparing their parts simultaneously, relying on the trust that it would work out in the performance.”
It’s the trust, not a linear time line or analytical planning that is involved in preparing the film score and putting things together. Intuition, imagination and synchronicity determine the outcome of the process.


© Spring Music 2021