The Spool / Podcasts
Ariel Marx on the intimate tensions of A Small Light and Sanctuary
The composer and multi-instrumentalist breaks down her latest scores for the Nat Geo drama and the dark, steamy NEON rom-com.
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Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works, as well as select commentaries from some of the score’s most important tracks.

When last we spoke to composer and multi-instrumentalist Ariel Marx, we broke down her haunting, curious score to Hulu’s miniseries Candy. But she’s been as busy as ever since, bringing her signature sense of experimental sparseness to projects on both the big and small screens.

Most recently, she’s lent her unique musical voice to two intriguing projects about women asserting their strength and power in unconventional circumstances. The first is the National Geographic miniseries A Small Light, following Dutch secretary Miep Gies (Bel Powley) in her efforts to keep Anne Frank and her family safe during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Breaking away from typical symphonic approaches you’d expect from period dramas, Marx’s score is intimate and sparse, juggling the 1930s jazz vibe of Amsterdam in its prime with the looming spectre of the Third Reich, and the many sacrifices its characters will endure.

On the other side of the coin, Marx lent her talents to NEON’s sizzling, kinky dark comedy Sanctuary, starring Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott as two people playing out their own dangerous game of domination and submission. Marx’s score is glossy when it needs to play up the perverse romance of their situation, brittle when the delicate balance of the pair’s play begins to fray.

Ariel Marx comes onto the podcast to discuss both of these scores, her love of sparse ensembles, and other methods to her musical madness.

You can find Ariel Marx at her official website.

A Small Light is currently streaming on Hulu and Disney+, and Sanctuary is currently playing in select theaters. You can also listen to the score for A Small Light on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Hollywood Records.