There are many montages in the series Mad Men, and this one is one of my favorites. Not sure exactly why, it may be the simple hypnotic piano, against the warm strings. But maybe it’s the voice over, which this time isn’t Don Draper (Jon Hamm), but Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton).
Loved scoring to Aaron’s Staton’s voice over as sits in bed writing.
Here’s my piece called “The Man With The Miniature Orchestra”.
The Mad Men Christmas office party in season 4 offered up a conga line for which I wrote “Christmas Conga”. Who doesn’t love Joan in this dance? And notice all the small details! Bar carts – love ’em. Surely, holiday office parties are nothing like this one here at Sterling-Cooper, but if you could, wouldn’t you go back just to have a drink with them?
Someone recently asked me to write and arrangement of my “Sally’s Story” which was used at the end of Mad Men’s Season 3 Premier, “Out of Town”. So when I went back to find the show I stumbled upon this nice review by Colin Hart in which, near the end he has this to say:
The episode also features a great original score by composer David Carbonara, especially in the scenes that bookend the hour. The strings are reflective, and carry a distinct Irish tone.
Colin Hart at Collinsreview.com
What’s very true in that statement is the phrase, ” distinct Irish tone”. The producer asked me to compose a theme reminiscent of the 1930’s depression era incorporating an Appalachian sound representing Don Draper’s childhood farm. The instrumentation I used was:
But I think my love for Irish music may have gotten in the way. Well, let’s say it just took over the process, and the piece ended up writing itself. One comment in the YouTube video comments section nailed it with this:
Reminds me of Appalachia…Irish roots…
“Irishgrl” on Youtube
And Like many “themes” that I came up with, this one never got used again in the series. I had originally titled this theme “The Whitman Family Farm Theme” as I had planned on using it in more than just the one episode, but the series didn’t avail itself to more “life on the farm”. So, at least we have this cue playing through the end credits. On my album, Mad Men On The Rocks, I incorporated this piece with another cue to make a longer album track, but in the YouTube clip below it stands on its own.
So thank you “Irishgrl”, spot on! And thank you Colin Hart for the kind words. You can also check out the album release of this piece on the usual music streaming services as well.
“Nostalgia” says Don Draper. It’s delicate but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound”. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home.
Many have considered Don Draper’s powerful pitch for the Kodak Carousel in the finale of season one to be his greatest pitch. It certainly was to my ears. The music of Jon’s voice always captivated me, and I believe he was a major influenced in the way I composed for the show, as I often scored Don Draper’s scenes and less of the other characters. Just take a look on the youtube video above.
The Carousel from Mad Men is a great piece of writing by Matthew Weiner, as well as creative editing by Malcolm Jamison. But if it wasn’t for Jon Hamm’s performance, I don’t think I would have scored the scene as well as I did. Check out The Carousel from Mad Men on YouTube and scroll through some of the comments and you’ll see how this scene has touched many people.