Badalamenti, known for his otherworldly scores, showcased his acting skills in a memorable scene on Mulholland Drive.
Angelo Badalamenti, the composer best known for creating otherworldly scores for many David Lynch productions, from “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks” to “Mulholland Drive,” has died. He was 85.
He died of natural causes on Sunday, his family said in a statement.
Badalamenti was born in Brooklyn in March 1937 to a fish market owner with a musical background (a drummer in Sicily). He grew up listening to Italian opera with his family, began taking piano lessons at age 8, and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. During the summers he played piano at resorts in the Catskills for the Borscht Belt Acts.
After college, he taught middle school. He composed a Christmas carol for his students that ended up on PBS and essentially started his career in entertainment, writing songs for Nina Simone (“Another Spring”) and Nancy Wilson (“Face It Girl, It’s Over”). He also wrote songs for films such as Gordon’s War and Law and Disorder, but his big break came in 1986 when he was asked through a series of industry connections beginning with Unit manager Peter Runfolo to join Isabella Rossellini in singing ” Blue Velvet” for Lynch’s cult film.
“They were shooting in North Carolina, so they flew me down to meet Isabella and see what I can do. When I got there we went into a small room with just Isabella and me and a piano. I worked with it for two or three hours at a time until we got a good feel for a small recorder,” he said in an interview with Culture.org. “David shot the last scene. We brought him the cassette. He put on his headphones and immediately said, “That’s the ticket! That’s peachy hot!” I had to ask the line producer what peachy hot meant.”
He also ended up writing the song “Mysteries of Love” and finding Julee Cruise, who died earlier this year, to sing it, beginning a long collaboration between the trio that would extend to Lynch’s seminal series Twin Peaks .
“David felt that the music of ‘Twin Peaks’ had to cover many areas, a wide range of moods: sadness, passion, ecstasy, love, tenderness and violence. He wanted the music to be dark and abstract,” he said. “He asked me for music that rips people’s hearts out.”
Badalamenti also worked with other directors including Jane Campion (Holy Smoke!), Danny Boyle (The Beach), Paul Schrader (The Comfort of Strangers) and Walter Salles (Dark Water). He also wrote The Flaming Arrow Torch Theme for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics and the theme for Inside the Actors Studio. But it’s his work with Lynch that looms over all, including The Straight Story, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive.
“He’s got this musical soul and he’s always got melodies buzzing around him,” Lynch told People magazine in 1990. “I can feel the mood of a scene in the music, and one thing helps the other, and they both just soar.”
Badalamenti also showcased his acting skills in a memorable scene in Mulholland Drive, where he plays a gangster who is very careful about his espresso.
When it came to how he approached his scores, he said he was always at the service of the director’s vision.
“Sometimes you want the music to match what’s happening on screen. Sometimes I love the idea of the music playing against the action — it’s often a cooler way of doing things,” he told NME in 2011.
“I always have one big question for a director when I’m composing a soundtrack: how do you want your audience to feel? Do you want to scare them to death? Squirming in her seat? Do you feel beautiful? And how they answer that question gives me clues to work on. I translate their words into music.”
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/twin-peaks-composer-angelo-badalamenti-dies-at-85/507-31cfab1f-cbbc-4ede-8357-f9b028c08db7 Angelo Badalamenti dead: ‘Twin Peaks’ theme composer turned 85