And The Band Played On
  Film Info
  Carter's Notes
  Buy Soundtrack
  Buy Film
  Buy Book
  Audio Samples




"Carter Burwell composed a haunting, emotive score for a somber and serious story. The producer couldn't have picked a better composer to highlight the desperation of those who helplessly contracted and died of AIDS as doctors and politicians fumbled with this mystery killer. Using mostly clarinet, violins, cellos, and light percussions, Burwell created a minimalist, dramatic underscore. The music is largely quiet and subdued, wisely complementing an already powerful and confrontational film. There are several notable themes that subtly portray the gamut of potent emotions expressed in this story, including helplessness, fear, pain, and perseverance... Even without the story, it still stands well on its own, as a graceful and subtle adagio." - Helen San,


Carter's Notes

At the point at which I began working on this film the director, Roger Spottiswoode had departed. I don't know the details, but I gather there was a dark tone to the story he told which didn't sit well with HBO Films and executive producer Aaron Spelling, and he wasn't willing to make the film they wanted. Why should a film which traces the roots of the AIDS crisis be depressing?

I spoke with Roger on the phone once, but we've never met. I'd say we were in agreement about the tone of the music - that it should be unadorned with a simple integrity. I dealt mostly with the producers, Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury, who worked very hard to complete a film that would satisfy HBO without messing up Roger's original concept. I don't recall ever getting much in the way of creative notes from anyone. Which was fine with me.

The film is based on Randy Shilts' book, which follows many threads, many people, and many institutions, and their role in the developing health crisis. The film inevitably simplifies a great deal of this - focusing on one "good guy", Dr. Don Francis, and one bad guy, Dr. Robert Gallo. All right, if you count Ronald Reagan, two bad guys. But if you forgive this somewhat melodramatic structure it's still surprisingly successful as a dramatic study of a public health issue.

The music tries to suggest a wheel turning tragically, without beginning or end. This was one of my first efforts at orchestrating and conducting my own compositions, and today it sounds a bit thin and a bit stiff to me, but I still very much like the themes. Right after this recording I decided to study conducting at Julliard so I could at least wave my arms more convincingly.

Top of Page

Audio Samples

This score CD can be difficult to find. Here, for demo purposes are some examples:

 Title   Format   Size 
Burning Bodies    mp3    1.4M
Lymph    mp3    2.2M
Three Sixes    mp3    2.0M
And The Band Played On    mp3    4.4M

For an explanation of the columns above, click here.

Top of Page

Film Info

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Written by Randy Shilts (book), Arnold Schulman
Produced by Midge Sanford, Sarah Pillsbury

Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by Carter Burwell
Music Editor: Adam Smalley
Music Scoring Mixer: Gary Chester
Contractor: Emile Charlap
Recorded and Mixed at National Edison Studio

Starring Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Ian McKellen, Patrick Bauchau, Phil Collins, Steve Martin, Bud Cort, Richard Gere, Anjelica Huston, Swoosie Kurtz, Lily Tomlin, B.D.Wong

U.S. Release September, 1993

Buy the CD from Amazon


Buy the DVD from Amazon

Top of Page

Buy the Book from Amazon

Top of Page


Top of Page


Last modified on:
05/21/19 9:26 AM