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Soundtracks/Scores that took a movie from good to great!

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Posted on Jun 1, 2012 12:44:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 1, 2012 1:00:05 PM PDT
BGT: It is obvious that interpretation 1 is the intended meaning.

I would say that it, and its sequel (I couldn't bear to see the third one) are technically adapt exercises in expressing--nothing very interesting.

I had the misfortune to listen to Doctor Atomic recently. Spare me. Another opera with a dreadful pretentious libretto. (See below.)

What is your view on Alan Hovhaness?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 12:58:03 PM PDT
DL: Re: Koyaanisqatsi: In this case, no philistine. Just commonsensical.

Having recently listened to Satyagraha, and Akhnaten, I can say that, given a choice between listening to them again and taking a large cup of hemlock, I'd think long and hard about the hemlock. Not only is the music incredibly tedious--the libretti are pretentious beyond belief. If this is the best contemporary opera has, let's close the book. Fortunately, that is not the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 12:58:18 PM PDT
D. Larson says:
Seriously folks, I really think it should be spelled "Irak". Or "Irack", your choice. Since we're phonetically transliterating from Arabic script, why not stick to English rules? Why not Katar rather than Qatar? The "Q" alone by itself just strikes me as a sort of pretentious orientalism on our part. I'm sure that to the residents of Iraq, it's of no importance how we spell their name in our newspapers.

We all have our hobbyhorses to ride, and mine is simplified spelling. If I ruled the world, we'd get rid of "C"; you can spell "kat" and "sentury" without that demonic "C". And "Q"?

I suggest that if you can't get the right sound with a "K", there's always "kwestion".

I am old enough to remember being taught "Peking" rather than "Beijing", and I've no problem with calling the place "Mumbai" if that's what the erstwhile inhabitants of "Bombay" wish to call it.

But those hanging "Q" things bug me. It is, from here on out, going to be Irak in my house. Out of my house, I'll stick with standard spelling just to avoid trouble at work.

I won't for a moment disrespect the lovely images in Koyaanisqatsi, or even the groaning repeatedly of that word in the Monument Valley section of the film. Anyone who has never been to Monument Valley should immediately schedule it into their life lists; spectacular as it looks in movies, in person it is just staggeringly beautiful and strange. I've been there in spring, winter and autumn, and I'd like to go again with an iPod full of Glass music.

But it is still a little granola for my personal taste. That's just me, though. "Thin Blue Line" is probably my favorite use of Glass's hypnotically cyclical "music"; it perfectly fits the same motif in the film.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 2:07:27 PM PDT
WAS: Alan Hovhaness. The first piece that comes to mind is his second symphony "Mysterious Mountain." His music is not particularly dissonant but is very chromatic in nature. The second movement reminds me a little of Walter Piston, a composer I like a lot -- especially, oddly enough, his second symphony. I also like the symphonies of David Diamond, particularly the second and fourth.

We had quite an impressive college of American composers in the 1930s and 40s: Copland, Barber (who seems to be making a comeback at concerts and I don't mean just his Adagio for Strings), Howard Hanson. How about Lou Harrison? Do you know any of his music? Again, his second symphony ("Elegiac") is quite lovely. Then there is the first symphony of Roy Harris some hailed as the great American symphony. This period in American music, alas, seems to be a fond memory now.

Many of these composers, including Philip Glass, studied with the famous music theorist Nadia Boulanger in Paris. She had attended the premier of the ballet, "The Firebird" in 1910 and immediately recognized the genius of Stravinsky and became a lifelong friend.

Posted on Jun 1, 2012 3:15:59 PM PDT
D. Robinson says:
Ennio Morricone's score for "The Mission" is beautiful, especially the bits with the oboe.

Actually I can listen to pretty much anything Ennio Morricone wrote.

Posted on Jun 1, 2012 3:23:29 PM PDT
The soundtrack from The Untouchables. The scene where Al Capone comes down the stairs of the Hotel. Awesome. Also the soundtrack from Eddie and the Cruisers. Though I doubt anyone remembers it, Walter Hills Streets of Fire has a great soundtrack that makes that movie fun.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 3:33:37 PM PDT
bella7 says:
"Actually I can listen to pretty much anything Ennio Morricone wrote."


Posted on Jun 1, 2012 6:15:31 PM PDT
@james n. smith
heck yeah, i remember Eddie n the cruisers. "on the darkside" was a good song from that. that movie/soundtrack got played out in a hurry though. I'll end my contibutions to this conversation with a less than 'frazier n niles'-esc allusion that this turned into. the theme/main song from the soundtrack to The Last Action Hero was? of my favorite Megadeth songs, "Angry Again." Enjoyed it y'all...even if i felt plebianistic by not knowing a Glass-piece (ha) from an Handel-composition. peace to you all!

Posted on Jun 1, 2012 11:16:58 PM PDT
7 & 7 IS says:
John Barry "The Black Hole"
K. Komeda "The Fearless Vampire Killers"; "Cul de Sac"; "Rosemary's Baby"
Wendy Carlos "The Shining"
Burt Bacharach "Casino Royale"
Elmer Bernstein "Walk On The Wild Side"

Posted on Jun 1, 2012 11:36:38 PM PDT
I can't beleive no one has mentioned perhaps one of the greatest soundtracks of all time! No matter how hard you try the score to Back To The Future cannot be replaced. The music is as iconic as the Delorean, clock tower, or Christopher Lloyd.Back to the Future: The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 3:56:45 AM PDT
7 & 7 IS

Wendy Carlos "The Shining"

To be accurate, the original music for this film arranged by Wendy Carlos and Rachael Elkind is largely based the Gregorian Chant music known as the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) originally used for the Mass of the Dead. Carlos arranged the theme for synthesizer and voice and it is used for the opening credit music. Composer Hector Berlioz also used that theme in his Symphony Fantastique that was premiered in 1830.

Much of the other music used in various scenes of the film are excerpts taken from preexisting orchestral works by composers Bela Bartok. Georgy Ligeti and Krzyszsof Pendereski. Only the title of the Bartok work, "Music for Strings, Percussion & Celeste" is given in the film's end credits. It is heard in the scene when Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd walk through the hedge maze for the first time and again later when Danny Lloyd halts his tricycle and stares at the door of room 237 in the hotel corridor .

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 4:13:28 AM PDT
Stacy Rosenburg:

Alan Silvestri composed the score for "Back to the Future" and many other films. He has a style of composition and orchestration that is immediately identifiable. He composed the score for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and when Bob Hoskins is driving through the tunnel to "Toon Town," there is orchestral passage work that is very similar to that heard in the earlier "Back to the Future." He appears to have favorite orchestral devices that he uses repeatedly.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 10:33:21 AM PDT
BGT: Among modern composers working in a tonal framework, Hovhaness stands particularly high in my estimation. Not quite up to Haydn's total of 104 symphonies, but 67 is very impressive indeed. As a mystic, I find him more convincing than Arvo Part. Do you know the Mount St. Helens symphony?

Barber is no favorite here. As far as I'm concerned, you could burn the Adagio--talk about an overplayed piece!

I've heard works by Harrison, Diamond, and Harris, but couldn't say I am familiar with them. Over the years, I found that more and more of my attention has been taken up by music of the 17th century--the period of transition from the later Renaissance to the high Baroque. One of the great pleasures has been the music of Biber--perhaps the best composer than most people have never heard off. One of the finest things in recorded music is Manze's recording of the violin sonatas--I heard about 10 bars on the radio and was immediately hooked. And there is nothing else quite like The Missa Salisburgensis--the Church Triumphant in C major, and perhaps the most complex polyphonic work ever written.

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 10:34:29 AM PDT
I, too, am quite taken with Silvestri's work on Zemeckis' films.

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 10:58:26 AM PDT
John Williams' Raiders score. I remember sitting in theater when the Temple of Doom trailer came on. It was a blank screen, and when the music started, everyone applauded. That's influential.

As far soundtracks are concerned, Yellow Submarine and my personal favorite, Superfly. The great Curtis Mayfield was never greater.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 12:56:07 PM PDT
D. Larson says:
Too plebianistic to tell Glass from Handel? That's a cinch!

If the music is sort of pleasant but aimless canoodling with a lot of fiddles and it doesn't seem to go much of anywhere for really extended passages, you've got some Handel there.

If it's pleasantly but mind-numbingly repetitive, doesn't seem to go much of anywhere and makes you think that you could play that yourself if you had a piano and a fairly high threshold of boredom, now you're listening to Glass. If it also gives you the urge to pound your head on the table and moan, "Please, for the love of God, just stop already," then it's late period Glass.

Which puts me in mind of the handy "Guide to Classical Composition" we learned in music appreciation class all those years ago:

If it's too loud, it's Beethoven.

If it's too soft, it's Bach.

If it's alternately too loud and too soft, it's Brahms.

If it's got a lot of horns and sort of makes you want to invade Poland, it's Wagner.

If it's got a lot of horns and sort of makes you think about trying to kill a wabbit, it's also Wagner.

If it's cheerful and makes you think about dressing up in a codpiece and beating on homeless people, it's Rossini.

If it's cheerful and makes you think about Elmer Fudd and a straight razor, it's also Rossini. But better Rossini.

If it makes you want to jam an ice pick through your ears so you don't have to listen any more, it's Stockhausen.

If it makes you think about rolling around with Betty Sue Grabowski in a cheap motel room in 1978, it's Ravel.

If none of the above fit, then it's probably by the Russian twins, Rimsky and Korsakov.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 12:59:38 PM PDT
Louise says:
That was great - thank you!! :))

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 3:25:27 PM PDT
WAS: Yes, as a matter fact I have a recording of Hovhaness' symphony no. 50, "Mount St. Helens" but have not given it enough time to become familiar with it. It is the recording performed by the Seattle Symphony and includes his 22nd symphony, "City of Light." His music is pleasingly tonal but he is not among my most intriguing composers.

A 20th century composer I came to favor very much is the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959), especially his fifth and sixth symphonies, the latter being his final symphony entitled "Fantasies Symphoniques." Interesting that among his students were Alan Hovaness and (are you ready for this?) Burt Bacharach.

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 4:16:13 PM PDT
Raider's of the Lost Ark, ET, Out of Africa, The James Bond theme, Gone with the Wind, Shindler's List. I'm for anything by John Barry, John Williams and Max Steiner

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 4:32:13 PM PDT
No matter how much hate Forrest Gump gets, Alan Silvestri's score is awe-inspiring.

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 6:35:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 3, 2012 2:26:23 AM PDT
Elmer Bernstein has added to so many pictures and oft-times it's in films nobody expects him to be in. Case in point. Heavy Metal is a pretty fun film, but it's the Elmer Bernstein score that really sticks with you. The other film , which is a pretty good film in its own right, that his music elevates is the film Rage in Harlem. Excellent, excellent work.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 8:03:16 PM PDT
Re: "I don't think that Bernard Herrmann ever wrote a bad score..."<

- well, 'Taxi Driver' is a bit overwrought and purple and parody-ish; but, I still like it after all these years.
And I do believe it influenced Carter Burwell's excellent score for 'Fargo'.

Posted on Jun 6, 2012 11:25:58 AM PDT
From the motion picture "Meatballs"

Are You Ready For the Summer (Camp North Star Kids Chorus)

And remember; "It just doesn't matter!"

Posted on Jun 6, 2012 11:37:04 AM PDT
>>>From the motion picture "Meatballs"

Are You Ready For the Summer (Camp North Star Kids Chorus) <<<<<

That's the only thing I remember about that film, other than the title and the fact that Bill Murray was in it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 12:55:14 PM PDT
KinksRock says:
"Rudy the Rabbit. Rudy the Rabbit."
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  61
Total posts:  269
Initial post:  Apr 10, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 9, 2012

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