Tuned In EXCLUSIVE: The Music of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful + An Interview with Composer Abel Korzeniowski
Showtime’s Penny Dreadful surprised me, in a really good way. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but I was so intrigued when it turned out to be so much more than your standard horror fare. Not only was I impressed with the cast and the creatures, but the story kept going in unexpected directions. And where would a great horror series be without the right music? TV Goodness has an exclusive music clip from the soundtrack as well as a Q&A with the show’s composer AbelÂ Korzeniowski.
TV GOODNESS: How did you hear about Penny Dreadful and what made you want to be involved in the project?
Abel Korzeniowski:Â “Showtime specifically asked for my music, so I was really pleased to learn I have many supporters in the crew — [creator] John Logan, [director] Juan Antonio Bayona, Eva Green. All of them really enjoyed my music.”
TV GOODNESS: Tell me about your process for finding the sound of this show.
Abel: “It was very unexpected because on the surface this show has a very strong horror element. It was a big question how to approach this, how much of a classical horror genre should be in there. But John Logan and Juan Antonio wanted something much more complex and deeper. For example, for the main title sequence the only note I got from John was that he wanted it to be really emotional, so not something you would expect from this kind of show. Things are all very inspiring because the characters had multiple layers underlying their basic features. For example, you have the creature, Dr. Frankenstein’s first-born and he does all [these] atrocious deeds, and yet he has this very fragile side. He speaks in beautiful, literal English. He’s just looking for acceptance for his identity. So, all of the characters are never cartoonish. In a sense, you would have a villain, you would have a protagonist, which is good. We’re not really sure if Vanessa is a good person. She’s not really a victim. So it was a really interesting challenge to find this identity.”
TV GOODNESS: Speaking of character, when you were putting together their themes, were there any instruments you were gravitating towards or staying away from when you thought about them?
Abel: “Well, I naturally gravitate towards string instruments. This is just what I like, but also the very intimate interior scenes of the characters you see in the show propelled me to pursue this very intimate atmosphere. This means that I tried to avoid doing something very heavy that would overpower the theme — so, the lighter instruments, the piano, sometimes the lyrical solo violin and the flute, but not much brass.”
TV GOODNESS: Can you talk about a few of your favorite musical cues from the first season?
Abel: “Yes. The first that comes to my mind is a transgression theme. This is the one where we see Vanessa betraying her best friend, the sex scene with her friend’s fiance. This is menacing, this is dark and really demonic. I just loved continuing this theme for her love scenes and when she has encounters with the demonic incarnations through Ethan and Sir Malcolm. This was something very new to me because I haven’t had a chance to create an emotion like this in earlier [projects.] The appeal of finding beauty in darkness is something really interesting. There’s an old Italian term called terribilita, which was used to describe a beauty in nature that could be terrifying. For example, you have a really dangerous storm and this is a very different kind of beauty that can kill you. This is the thing that I really love. There’s a series of themes around Dr. Frankenstein’s creatures [that] have a more modern tonality in color and [are] lighter, more universal, not following the traditional horror stereotypes.”
TV GOODNESS: Were there any surprises or challenges you encountered during season one and if you do hit a roadblock, how do you work through that?
Abel: “The biggest challenge is always finding the right language. Overcoming any type of writer’s block is just believing that it will come at some point and that the right notes will follow. I think that the biggest challenge was time pressure, probably because we spent some time on testing different things at the beginning and trying to find the right language, the right tonality for the season. Eventually we had to work really, really fast at the end so this was definitely a challenge.”
TV GOODNESS: You’ve already starting working on season 2, right?
Abel: “I will start in December, right before Christmas.”
TV GOODNESS: Have you talked to John Logan or any of the producers about what’s coming up for the characters so you can start thinking about what you want to do or do you wait until you see a script or a rough cut?
Abel: “Well, I signed an NDA. [Laughs] So, no comment. It’s really top secret.”
Edited for space and content.
Season 2 of Penny Dreadful returns in 2015.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People, which US audiences still have not been able…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…