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Letter from Anne Dudley Page

The power of this extraordinary film will stay with you.

"American History X" is the title of an essay - a paper - in which Danny attempts to come to an understanding of the events which have shaped his life, in particular, the influence of his brother.

Tony's brief to me for the music was "big and elegiac." He felt the score should somehow stand apart from the events on the screen and underline the deeper implications. The boys choir was chosen for its wonderful purity of sound - and also to reflect the story as seen through Danny's eyes - he being little more than a boy himself. The tragedy of the film is the irreparable damage done to Danny's life through the events he witnesses. In musical terms, I've tried to represent this by keeping the choir melodic and beautiful whilst all around mayhem erupts in the orchestra.

But, there are no easy, comfortable conclusions. In the shattering final scene, the choir and the orchestra at last become one as the words of the "Benedictus" are sung and the film ends with Danny reading the last quote from his paper, "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory will swell when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature."

Anne Dudley
September, 1998

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