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Warbeck Out, Djawadi In as Composer

Maureen Ryan has broken the news that Stephen Warbeck, the Academy Award-winning composer who we reported was selected to score Game of Thrones, parted ways with the production. His replacement has already been selected, and according to Ryan’s exclusive, it’s film composer Ramin Djawadi.

A protégé of Hans Zimmer who contributed music to a number of Zimmer-scored films, including Batman Begins and Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl, he has since gone on to score a few Hollywood blockbusters in his own right, including Iron Man and Clash of the Titans, while also working in television. A look at his IMDB award pages notes no really notable wins, but he has been nominated for the Emmy and Grammy awards in the recent past.

We’ve put together a playlist of some of his work, including a suite from Clash of the Titans, as well as a short interview. A German-born composer of Persian descent, his mention of a love for Iranian and Middle Eastern music is interesting, as well as his preference for the Romantic composers such as Brahms, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky. A cursory glance at commentary on his work suggests the he has been, at least up to recently, very much in the Hans Zimmer mold, which might suggest that the inclusion of tracks from Gladiator in the 15 minute reel was not purely coincidental—a sign that the Game of Thrones score will be aiming at an epic, cinematic quality?

Some additional thoughts:

Yet again, called on to find a composer, the producers has gone with someone with extensive cinematic credits (even if the bulk of them are as an assistant composer) rather than predominantly TV scoring experience. There’s certainly something of a pedigree there, and a certain cachet that comes with that. He seems to be having some success now that he’s on his own, given that two of the films he was head composer on have been blockbusters by any standard. He’s even scored for video games. Not so weird—Zimmer and the likes of Michael Giacchino have done this as well.

So, too, has Bear McCreary, the popular composer who’s made himself a staple of genre television of late. McCreary expressed interest in being involved in the production way back when when questions of who the composer would be were first bandied about, although he did express reservations at composing medieval-inspired music as being a bit uninteresting. Fans even started a petition to get him on board.

Alas, to no avail. McCreary’s inventiveness and ability to change styles from one show to the next would have left Game of Thrones a rather exciting mystery, although some of his more cinematic pieces from Battlestar Galactica could have given us a hint. Of course, he’s gone on to accepting the job of scoring AMC’s smash hit The Walking Dead, among many, many other irons he has in the fire that could have prevented him from taking the job even if he was under consideration. It’d be interesting to know more about the selection process, though we suspect we’ll never know just who the leading candidates were.

We’re looking forward to hearing Djawadi’s score when the show premieres, but we’re hoping HBO is kind and offers us all a sneak preview of it at some time before then. Mo brings up the very good point that if Djawadi has just been selected, he has only ten weeks before the show premieres. This could be a problem, as a look at Wikipedia suggests that for Rome, at least, they were working at a schedule of roughly two weeks an episode. That rate of speed would leave the last third or so of the series unscored by the time it airs, so Djawadi has to work even faster than that if he wants to keep ahead of the air schedule. Best of luck to him and the production as we count down the days!

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