"Emperor is a film that deals with the meeting of two cultures at the crossroads of 20th Century world history," said Heffes. "This is a rich and complex backdrop for scoring a movie."
Alex Heffes is an award-winning British film composer whose scores scores have been nominated for BAFTA, Ivor Novello, European Film Academy, NAACP, Black Reel and ASCAP awards.
A gripping tale of love and honor forged between fierce enemies of war, Emperor unfolds the story, inspired by true events, of the bold and secret moves that won the peace in the shadows of postwar Japan.
"Director Peter Webber discussed with me early on the need to combine a Japanese sense of restraint and minimalism with the more urgent and pressing US investigation," Heffes described. "I wanted to combine symphonic orchestral scoring with some Japanese instrumentation to retain a sense of emotion that could be read by movie audiences both western and eastern."
To achieve this Heffes features three soloists: piano (Simon Chamberlain), cello (Alice Neary), and shakuhachi (Clive Bell) together with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Heffes). He also featured Japanese ceremonial percussion to drive the movie forward.
"The opening of the film has a broad string melody for the victorious US forces entering Japan," explained Heffes. "The end credits however, reprise that melody but with a slow elegiac brass choral arrangement to show how the early days of a victory pass leaving a deeper and more complex problem to be solved."
Said the film's director Peter Webber, "Alex Heffes' marvelous score takes us into this mysterious, ravaged, yet strangely beautiful world and helps bring it to life."