By Sherrie Wilkolaski and Andrew Andron
Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising, the book by Jack Heath and John Thompson, has been an inspiration to many artists. The first musician to write a piece of music after reading the book was Grammy award winning artist Sean Pallitroni. His music has been the “theme song” for the book series since the spring of 2013, when he released a YouTube video playing his piece, while a copy of the book rests on his piano.
Next, the book enthused film producer Michael DeRoker of Wonderland Pictures, Inc. to write the screenplay. Now, this inspired artist is on his way to making the film with plans to release late 2015.
While I was working on an upcoming story about jazz pianist, Andrew Andron, I happened to give him a copy of the first two books in the series as a thank you for his time. He dove right into the books and before I knew it, he had written several pieces of music. It’s the start of what could become the musical score for the film. If you’ve read the books and then listened to the music, you feel the connection. He has captured the essence of the story in music.
We’ll be hearing from Andrew in a future issue. But for now, let me give you a sneak preview of what he has composed for the upcoming film title, Chain of Souls, based on the book Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising. I’ve included Andrew’s descriptions of each of the songs along with an audio clip.
To get you in the mood, here is the book synopsis:
Having stepped off the fast track of primetime network television news, John Andrews has chosen a quieter life as editor of Salem News, a small paper in a quiet New England town.
Life is perfect until Andrews’ wife is killed in a tragic accident. After several years of trying to numb the pain with alcohol, Andrews is visited by the spirit of a long dead ancestor who opens a door to a shocking family history.
After he experiences a surreal glimpse into the past, Andrews must confront the question of whether he is losing his mind or whether for several hundred years his ancestors have been engaged in a secret battle with a coven that worships Satan. Fueled by the need to understand whether his wife’s death was really an accident or something far more sinister, Andrews, along with his beautiful assistant editor, risk everything to discover a truth so horrifying it threatens to destroy everything and everyone he knows and loves.
Here are the musical tracks written and produced by Andrew Andron. Final remastering was done by Richie Cannata.
This piece was composed being mindful of John Andrews’ unfortunate past and the tremendous grief he experienced, especially towards the beginning of the novel. It was written to accompany his thought process while he attempts to connect his past to his present.
The unsettling melodic structure of this piece was inspired by the presence of the ghost of Rebecca Nurse and her many unexpected encounters with John Andrews. The trill at the beginning of each phrase is intended to provide an eerie musical complement to the highly detailed reappearances of Rebecca Nurse.
Because so much of John’s past was conveyed to the reader in the form of a flashback, it became a recurring element in telling the story of Rebecca’s Rising. The recurring harmonic pattern central to this piece serves a similar musical purpose.
Visions from the Past
The many pauses in this piece illustrate the uncertainty that can be sensed by the reader in anticipation of what is yet to come in the life of John Andrews, and the changes that he experiences as he becomes increasingly “aware” of the presence of occultism in Salem.
This piece was inspired by the paranormal aspects of the novel, and places great emphasis on points of both high and low intensity, through dynamic contrast. It was envisioned to accompany scenes that took place at the cemetery, beneath the Putnam mausoleum, and in the underground network of tunnels spanning Salem.