New York — Among the film’s strong points are the arrangements of the late Marvin Hamlisch; “Behind the Candelabra” was the pianist’s final film. Elektra released the soundtrack on May 21.
Klean discussed Hamlisch’s role, the power of Liberace as a performer and Michael Douglas’ singing.
Marvin and I started to chart out the arc of what had to happen musically and the bulk of the work needed to happen in production.
Phil Gallo: While the film is by no means a showcase of Liberace’s recording (only four of his works are in the film and on the soundtrack), you still get a strong sense of who he was as a performer. How was that scripted and how did you handle the balance of new recordings vs. the old one?
Evyen Klean: There is no underscore in the move and (director Steven Soderbergh) uses songs as a pacing device for sure. All of the songs are from the Liberace repertoire. Steven knew Marvin from a film they did, The Informant, and Marvin knew Lee (Liberace). Marvin and I started to chart out the arc of what had to happen musically and the bulk of the work needed to happen in production. Normally I break down the script and start budgeting the costs for the source and what the production would look like, then get to the music.
Phil Gallo: Michael Douglas gets credit on three songs on the album. Obviously it is him singing “The Impossible Dream,” but are we not listening to the pianist Randy Kerber?
Evyen Klean: On “Why Do I Love You,” he’s the vocalist just as Lee was. In “The Liberace Boogie,” his dialogue is essentially the lyrics of the song. As we were putting together the soundtrack, the boogie has a lot of piano vamping while he is explaining what he is doing, soliciting the audience for a response. Working with Larry Blake, who is Steven’s sound guru, we pulled the applause, we pulled the call‐and‐responses and Michael’s voice, but it so lacked the overall feel in the movie. Without Michael in there it felt like a lot was missing. Read more
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