Jonny Greenwood wanted Spencer musicians to show individuality

Jonny Greenwood encouraged each member of his ‘Spencer’ orchestra to show their individuality.

The Radiohead guitarist has composed the soundtrack to the upcoming Princess Diana biopic, and he turned the traditional baroque ensemble on its head to create something special.

He told Uncut magazine: “One at a time, while they were playing, the idea was to substitute the musicians with free-jazz players.

“So the music would mutate slowly, gradually shifting from one world to the next You hear these familiar sounds – harpsichords and trumpets and kettle drums – but they’re being played by jazz musicians.

“I’ve got great footage of [The Smile] drummer Tom Skinner playing these two timpanis, hitting every part of them – it’s quite excited.”

The AGE-year-old musician admitted while his approach could be considered “heavy-handed”, he feels like it was fitting for the script.

He explained: “It’s maybe a bit heavy-handed, but it felt like the music was the right combination of things.

“Diana is such a chaotic and colourful person among all this drab, oppressive, staid tradition.”

And while Jonny took the lead as the composer, he didn’t want his orchestra to feel restricted with their performances.

He added: “Musicians are more than just automatons that you put scores in front of. Baroque music’s got lots of improvising in it anyway.

“I’m obsessed about the players as individuals, and getting access to a 48-piece orchestra means you’re suddenly in a band with 48 people.

“One string player is already a whole universe of possibilities, and that multiplies with each new player that comes in.”

He also opened up on his inspiration in terms of his writing, and described the movie as more of a “horror film”.

He said: “I started by looking at the music of the ’80s that Diana would have liked, but it’s a bit of a cul-de-sac…

“[It’s] weirdly like a horror film. It’s more claustrophobic and dark; all the things ‘The Crown’ isn’t.”

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