Michael Abels is the latest guest on Lakeshore Records’ official podcast, On Cue With… Today, the award-winning composer of Get Out, Us, and Bad Education chats with host Alon Levitan about his compelling score for the blockbuster, four-part documentary Allen v. Farrow from Oscar-nominated investigative filmmakers Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering and Amy Herdy that is streaming now on HBO Max.
Abels’ score — available now digitally via Lakeshore — skillfully complements the most haunting and the happiest moments with equal ease, using strings, piano, and clarinet to help tell the story in this unflinching documentary.
Abels, co-founder of the Composers Diversity Collective, an advocacy group to increase visibility of composers of color in film, game, and streaming media, had this to say about his work: “In Allen v. Farrow — as with most documentaries — nearly all of the complex story is told through dialogue and narration, leaving less sonic space for music than in a fictional saga. Yet, there are heartwarming family memories brought to life here, as well as difficult moments of silence that convey emotions too deep to be easily expressed in words.
“So, I wanted the score to provide a sense of forward motion in sections that are heavy with facts and information, to paint a joyful backdrop for the happy memories, and to be present for the awkward, uncomfortable emotional moments (rather than amplify them),” Abels said. “I especially used piano, clarinet and strings to unify the score despite its stylistic variety. And it was great fun to write a bit of classic jazz to accompany the images of 20th Century New York that are often identified with Woody Allen films.”
About Allen v. Farrow
Allen v. Farrow is a four-part documentary series that goes behind decades of sensational headlines to reveal the private story of one of Hollywood’s most notorious and public scandals: the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then-seven-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow; their subsequent custody trial, the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi; and the controversial aftermath in the years that followed.
Once celebrated for their on- and off-screen partnership, Farrow’s and Allen’s lives were irrevocably fractured and their sprawling family torn apart with the public disclosure of the abuse allegations and the vitriolic disputes that followed.
Lakeshore Records has also released soundtracks to Drive, Mr. Robot, Stranger Things, The Old Guard, I Am Not Your Negro, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, The Wolf of Snow Hollow, Halt and Catch Fire, and Possessor, among so many others.