Composition

Mark is a Halifax-based film composer with a creative portfolio spanning a wide variety of mediums

 

  

Film

 

 

Truefaux Films Inc, 2021 

Banner for the film Dementia, Dad and Me

Dementia, Dad and Me is a feature-length documentary by Hannah Minzloff, inspired by the onset of her father’s dementia. The film explores her evolving relationship with her parents as they cope with aging, find new ways to connect, and cling to fleeting memories. The film premiered at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival in 2021.

Mark composed and recorded the soundtrack for the film, using a vintage aesthetic to evoke fading memories. In scenes of everyday life, Mark tries to highlight moments of joy, frustration, mourning, and hope.

Forgotten

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"Forgotten"

This song bookends the film and hints at the deep sadness of gradually losing memories. A minor waltz on piano evokes the traditional, slightly formal aesthetic of an older generation.

Floating

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"Floating"

Inspired by the music from the movie "UP," this tune accompanies scenes of family day-trips, providing a light-hearted break from the heavier parts of the film.

Bittersweet

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"Bittersweet"

I leaned on the sound of the major-seventh chord for this soundtrack. To me, it captures the wistful feeling of growing old — nostalgic, tranquil, a little complex, not quite happy or sad.

Scrapbook IV: Getting Old

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"Scrapbook IV: Getting Old"

This scene reflects on middle-age: marital frustrations, slowing down, running out of time. My "Scrapbook" melody is here adapted into 3/4 time, with sentimental harmonies and nine key changes.

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Truefaux Films Inc, 2018 

Poster for the film Six Primrose

Six Primrose is a feature-length documentary by John Hillis demonstrating the power of food to build community. By tracing the lives of community members who frequent the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre, the film chronicles the dramatic impact that healthy food and a social network has had on the lives of this community. Six Primrose premiered at the Devour! Food Film Fest in 2018.

This was Mark’s first film soundtrack, in which he uses warm, folky minimalist textures to capture this spirit of hope and positivity that unites strong communities.

Progress

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"Progress"

With several layers coming in and out, I wrote this piece thinking of progression — imagine a garden growing, a meal being assembled, or a person's passion coming to fruition.

Happiness (Looking Up)

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"Happiness (Looking Up)"

The documentary features people in difficult life circumstances, struggling to find stability. This simple song channels their optimism and perseverance.

Smooth

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"Smooth"

This mellow tune shows up in scenes of transition in the film, often just the first four chords. It's pleasant but emotionally neutral, fitting with many different tones.

Moments

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"Moments"

Featuring the very first sounds of the film, these mallets accompany moments where facts or statistics are shown on-screen to highlight systemic struggles faced in the community.

Happiness (Closure)

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"Happiness (Closure)"

This is another version of the "Happiness" theme. Although simple and repetitive, I spent time very carefully choosing these pleasing little melodic bits.

Food

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"Food"

I spent a day recording "food" sounds for the percussion in this tune, including an apple, celery, carrots, whipped cream, cereal, a pop can, mustard seeds, plates, and a blender.

Blue

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"Blue"

I wrote this song for the difficult topics addressed in the film: inter-generational poverty, systemic barriers within a community, and the struggles of a refugee new to Canada.

Happiness (Finale)

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"Happiness (Finale)"

The final scene summarizes the food centre's impact, featuring every main "character" and where the are now. The music weaves together all the melodic motifs from the soundtrack.

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Theatre

 

 

Charles Taylor Theatre Association, 2021

Poster for "Love, Peace and Hairgrease: The Musical"

Love, Peace & Hairgrease is a musical play by Tara Lynn Taylor about a young black woman and the pressures she faces to hide her natural hair and conform to societal expectations for her appearance. Leaning on soul and gospel music traditions, Mark composed music and created demo recordings using Tara’s lyrics and melody (with additional arranging by Charity Stairs and Ross Unger). As Music Director, Mark also arranged the sheet music and leads a 6-piece band. 

An abbreviated production debuted online at Eastern Front Theatre’s STAGES festival in 2021, with a full stage production coming October 2022.

More info…

Fix Your Hair

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"Fix Your Hair"

This song presents the central tension of the play: the pressure from Lauren's family to "fix" her afro-textured hair to be more presentable. (Vocals: Natasha Thomas, Charity Stairs, & Minis Stairs)

This Old Place

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"This Old Place"

Young Lauren and her Uncle Jim sing about the legacy of her ailing nana's old hair salon. (Vocals: Kirsten Taylor & Garry Williams)

Relax-Her

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"Relax-Her" (draft)

The ladies of the salon celebrate the miracle of modern hair chemicals. (Vocals: Tara Lynn Taylor)

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PAN: The Musical, 2018

a gnome

As a fundraiser for Malagash Bible Camp, former staff produced a stage adaptation of Peter Pan, with a script by Kate & Sarah Bustin. Mark helped record the music (mostly parody versions of pop songs), but he wrote this song specially for his character, Tuck the gnome (Pan’s sidekick, à la Tinkerbell).

 

  

Choir

 

 

Mark Amadeus Flowerdew, 2018

Sheet music excerpt from mass setting by composer Mark Amadeus Flowerdew

Mark composed an original mass setting (missa brevis) for SATB choir. It was performed several times by the choir at St Paul’s Anglican Church (Halifax), where Mark was the Assistant Director of Music in 2019.

Contact Mark to buy sheet music…

Lord Have Mercy

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"Lord Have Mercy (Kyrie Eleison)"

An early version of this chorale was played at the 2012 Halifax Jazz Fest for the Creative Music Workshop. Here sung by the choir of St Paul's Halifax.

Holy Holy Holy

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"Holy Holy Holy (Sanctus)"

Performed by the choir of St Paul's Halifax. These recordings are also accompanied by instrumentalists from the congregation, arranged by David Christensen.

O Lamb of God

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"O Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)"

A friend told me she appreciated my Mass because "the Mass is supposed to be dramatic!"
Performed by the choir of St Paul's Halifax.

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Mark Amadeus Flowerdew, 2014

Sheet music excerpt from Praise the Lord by composer Mark Amadeus Flowerdew

Mark composed this SATB anthem using words adapted from John 3:16. Originally an assignment for his Intro to Composition class with Peter-Anthony Togni, the piece has since been performed a number of times by the choir at St Paul’s Anglican Church (Halifax).

Contact Mark to buy sheet music…

 

  

Etc

 

 

Information Morning, CBC Radio

CBC Radio One - Information Morning logo

Mark composed a short musical sting that introduces the weekly Art ‘n Soul events report by Tara Lynn Taylor on Information Morning. The music is adapted from Mark’s song Powder. Catch it on Mondays around 8:15 am, broadcast across Nova Scotia on CBC Radio One.

Hear it in action…

Work with me!

I love to try new projects, and I can make yours a reality. Get in touch…

Mark playing piano in the dark

Photo by Alex Davis