Rachel Portman: On Music and Wonder
I love the musical compositions of Rachel Portman. For those unfamiliar with her work, she was the first female composer to win an Academy Award for Best Original Score (“Emma” in 1997). Other personal favorites include Cider House Rules, The Joy Luck Club, Chocolat, The Duchess, The Lake House and on and on.
It’s wonderful to discover that her spirit as a person so beautifully coincides with the magic and integrity of the music she creates. The autumn issue of Intelligent Life features an interview with this very talented woman asking her to describe her own personal seven wonders of the world.
JOURNEY: INTO THE DESERT FROM ZAGORA, MOROCCO
I persuaded a friend to come with me on a four-day camel trek from Zagora to the dunes (above). Apart from our guide, there was no one else around, and we slept under the stars. I thought we’d never get there, it was far too hot, and very uncomfortable. But it was worth it for the magnificent, honey dunes when we did reach them—we walked along the crest where no one had yet walked. I wanted to experience the emptiness of the desert and hear what it sounded like, because I was writing an opera based on “The Little Prince” by Saint-Exupéry, which takes place in the desert. I was writing in my head as I loped along on my camel. I wrote the little prince’s main aria, and I knew what the desert sounded like when I came back—the emptiness and the sound of the air hanging around me. It is a sort of sad emptiness, a hanging stillness unlike any I’d ever felt.