Love In The Pacific NORTH-AMERICAN PERIOD
Commercially released in the United States in December 1968, directed by Zygmunt Sulistrowski
ABOUT THE FILM
The film takes place in several locations bordered by the Pacific Ocean, especially the Asian portion like Australia, Papua New Guinea, Polynesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, China, etc. The production crosses the boundaries between documentary and fictional plans, showing different forms of love found in visited tribes and cities. Bringing to the audience a series of religious rituals and traditions of isolated people, however showing its contemporaneity through time. Like much of Sulistrowski movies, the sexual thematic is present, especially in sex and nudity scenes.
Directed by Zygmunt Sulistrowski
Produced by Zygmunt Sulistrowski
Screenwriting by Zygmunt Sulistrowski
Music by Moacir Santos; and Zygmunt Sulistrowski
Orchestra conducted by Moacir Santos
FILM MUSIC DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS
"It’s different, [the film’s] music is jazz. I’m pleased to show you" [Moacir Santos, in a statement in the book by Andrea Ernest Dias, demonstrating satisfaction with his work for Love in the Pacific].
When director Zygmunt Sulistrowski came to Brazil in 1965 to find professionals to work in the film score of his most recent film, Moacir Santos was immediately recommended by the music community. This work, composed and arranged by a large group, had a good repercussion among his peers and led to Santos winning a trip to the United States paid by the Brazilian Foreign Service to be present at the film’s premiere. The situation became somewhat confused when Santos did not receive any news from Sulistrowski about the premiere event over the next years. In 1967, his ticket was still valid and Santos was then able to fly to his first experience in the United States, where he would end up living permanently, first in Newark [New Jersey] and settling in California a little later.
Unfortunately, no copies of this film were ever found up to now and, in a personal interview, the director stated that the original reels of most of his films were lost during an earthquake in Los Angeles, rendering the search for a copy even more complex. For this reason, it was not possible to analyze Santos’ music for the film as a film score, that is, in relation to the images and as an integral part of the audiovisual project. Nonetheless, it was possible to find an Italian edition LP released in 1969. It made it possible to know the compositions, as well as the instrumentation and other aspects of Moacir Santos’ film score for Love in the Pacific.
The original cover, reproduced below, misspells Santos’ name as Moarin Santos and credits him as the composer and orchestra conductor.
Below is a list of the compositions with their respective titles and durations, along with a brief preliminary analysis of each one:
"When you find the love you dream of" [2:27]
The track highlights the accompaniment of strings and woodwinds, and a large orchestra instrumentation is used to accompany the voice of Dell-Fin Poaha Thursday, a Hawaiian singer who was crowned Miss Hawai’i in 1950 and also acted in some films and TV series in the 1950s. The composition presets three structural sections, besides introduction and coda, and the use of orchestration in always quite creative. The brass, woodwinds and strings harmonic backgrounds are always being renewed, switching from purely harmonic to contrapuntal functions. It is also worth mentioning the construction of a fragmented rhythm patter accompaniment using all the orchestral potential, in the composition’s B section.
"But what is love" [2:55]
Composed by two main structural sections, this composition uses a large orchestral instrumentation. Initially, one can hear a massive combination of strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion, with epic characteristics. After that, pizzicato strings, piccolo, oboe and harp play a pentatonic melody in octaves, referring to a stereotyped Asian mood. The initial theme returns on the string section accompanied by the piano, then expanded in orchestral density by the addition of the strings, brass, woodwinds and French horn’s countermelodies. A narration overlaps the music recording in some passages.
"Spell of Bora Bora" [1:17]
This composition presents four different formal sections, in diverse orchestral treatments. Firstly, the brass and woodwind begin with an epic and incisive excerpt, followed by a melody on strings that serves as a transition to a more delicate second part, played by flute, electric guitar and harp. Finally, a bassoon melody is accompanied by tremolo strings in a dramatic passage.
"Love in Manila" [1:09]
It is a quite interesting composition, that recalls Italian musical genres in three-four time signature. The introduction is structured by a mandolin effect and an English horn melody using a minor mode. The A section presents a melody played by strings, woodwinds, brass and a mandolin using a tremolo technique, accompanied by percussion. The B section has a brass melody accompanied by pizzicato strings and percussion. After that, the C section mix all the previous elements in an ascending and conclusive melodic profile.
"The bird of the sea" [1:04]
It is a composition that enhances the string section in an economic and efficient manner. A brief ascending melodic line serves as the introduction of the A section, which is divided in two: first the melody is played on woodwinds and brass and then it migrates to the strings. The B section is also separated in two subsections: the first one is played by a solo oboe accompanied by pizzicato strings and the second ends the compositions in an orchestral tutti.
"Saima the sea gipsy" [2:16]
One of the most interesting compositions of the album, it is entirely made with solos, unisons and octaves. The melodic profile is dark, tortuous and loaded with suspense. The musical excerpt is initiated by a bass clarinet solo, then it moves to the string section, reaching a three octaves range. In the end, the bass clarinet returns to double the last melodic line and the composition ends with a denser texture.
"The Craker lake" [1:24]
Slow and melancholic passage, grows in density and dynamic. The A section melody is played by a trombone and cello, accompanied by a piano. The B section is led by a solo alto saxophone accompanied by piano, strings and glockenspiel. Then, the string section take on the foreground, with countermelodies on woodwind, piano and glockenspiel with percussion accompaniment. The composition’s coda permeates the same themes already played, however, in a reduced and delicate instrumentation of flute, glockenspiel and harp.
"Night without future" [1:22]
It is interesting to notice that despite the name of this composition, it presents the same melody structure of "When you find the love you dream of", but in a different arrangement, using only a string orchestra, making it darker and more intimate. The A section melody is played by a solo violin in a high pitch and the accompaniment is done by a semi-contrapuntal passage. The melody repetition occurs in a similar manner, however it is doubled in octaves by other instruments of the string section, increasing the arrangement’s density. The B section resumes the solo violin texture and the accompaniment is given by a sequenced rhythm pattern.
"Kiss in swin" [1:13]
It has a large big band instrumentation associated with a string section and solo vibraphone, creating a considerably light and cinematic sound. The introduction is composed by a flute line combined with a muted trumpet, accompanied by a vibraphone that punctuate the harmony. The two first expositions of the A section are formed by a melody doubled on the vibraphone and piano, under the bass and drums’ rhythm patterns. The B section and the re-exposition of the A section acquire a denser instrumentation: flute and muted trumpet on the melody, a harmonic background on the strings and a rhythm section accompaniment.
"Call of love" [2:12]
The entire composition is based on the presentation of the melodies by only two instruments: a bassoon and a flute, respectively. Firstly, each one performs an excerpt individually, followed by a section in octaves and, finally, a two voice contrapuntal texture develops the initial thematic material. The construction of the melodies is made by a minor mode in a slow pace throughout all the first part of the composition, then, at the beginning of the contrapuntal section, the tempo accelerates and it provides more lightness to the passage.
"We'll meet in Tokyo" [1:01]
This piece is also composed by a pentatonic scale, recalling an Asian mood. The orchestration is fixed throughout all the composition: the melody is always played by bowed violins, superimposed by pizzicato violas and cellos and, additionally, some moments are doubled by a xylophone. The accompaniment is made by a vibraphone playing the harmony with its motor on and some traditional percussion. The formal structure is AAB, considering that the B section quotes literally part of the melody of "When you find the love you dream of", which keeps establishing itself as the main theme of the whole score.
"Why not!" [1:59]
The composition, cyclic and simple in structure, is based on an Afro-Cuban mood, with an electric guitar and percussion rhythm section that accompanies the questions and answers based melodies of tenor saxophone and trumpet. All the excerpt serves as a basis for the dialogue of a couple, suggesting a sexual subject.
"African love" [2:55]
Ritualistic track, explicitly referring to a tribal musical universe, quite common in the Pacific Islands. It is formed basically by a main male voice that leads the questions and answers structure, and answers by a mixed choir. The organization of the voices are not homophonic in a traditional way. Drums playing complementary rhythm patterns hold the percussive groove.
"When you find the love you dream of" [2:46]
The side B version of "When you find the love you dream of" is instrumental and closer to the 1950s and 1960s jazz genres, with a traditional big band instrumentation. The first theme’s exposition is played by the woodwind and brass instruments in octaves, with the piano harmonizing some rhythmic phrases, in the re-exposition the electric guitar plays the first part of the melody in a chord melody technique, while the second part is leaded by a trumpet, accompanied by a saxophone background harmonization. Besides that, two improvisers play through the music’s structure: a piano and an alto saxophone. The coda is formed by a jazz arrangement cliché, when a single instrument plays a line, a double-bass in this case, forwarded by an wide and dissonant chord.
"Dance of love" [2:11]
A simple composition, in major mode, with brass and saxophone lines taking turns between the foreground of the melody and the background of the harmonization. The rhythmic groove is structured by the percussion, bass and electric guitar, which, in its turn, conceive a strong Latin influence to the arrangement, by its rhythm patterns.
"Dreams of Tahiti" [2:15]
As well as the previous track, it is also noticeable a remarkable Latin influence, especially from Central American rhythms. The composition vamps over a fixed structure in several variations. Firstly, the saxophones presents the theme with trumpets answers. Then a solo trombone performs the melody above a string background, followed by an orchestra tutti. At the third exposition, a soloist piano plays the main theme in an improvised manner, being the fourth exposition identical to the second. During the fifth presentation of the theme, the harmony modulates to a brighter region and the melody is played by the string section, with countermelodies in the brass and woodwinds. Finally, the overall sound of the third and fifth expositions are resumed in the sixth repetition of the structure, now in the new tonality.
This is other strictly jazzy composition, utilizing a traditional writing approach for big bands, the string section are used in a quite subtle and delicate manner. The composer prioritized the brass and woodwind instruments for the melody voicings and main countermelodies. However, at the improvised sections, the rhythm section instruments are highlighted, with alto saxophone, electric guitar and piano solos.
"The Tokyo dolls" [2:37]
This track also relies on a jazzy sound, divided in two similar formal sections. The introduction presents a piano line in fourths, leading to the A section, composed by an octave line of trumpet and electric guitar. In the second exposition, a contrapuntal saxophone permeates the main melody. In the B section, the same material is developed in other tonal region, and a muted trumpet is added to the melody. Throughout all the rest of the composition, those three instruments are responsible to perform the melodies, both in combination and individually.
"The kangaroo shake" [2:24]
This is the only composition of the whole album that flirts with rock n' roll, especially the so called 1960s surf music. Composed in a traditional AABA structure, a pungent rhythm section [electric guitar, bass and drums] serves as "ground" for a tenor saxophone soloist with a bright and torn sound. Both the saxophone and electric guitar also perform as improvisers.
Finally, considering the limited material that has been found, we can understand the importance of this project in Moacir Santos’ career. In addition to having the opportunity to work in a large international production, considering the score’s instrumentation, he was also able to use this experience as a first step into the North-American market.