10 Composers, 1 Score
Over at the Film Score Monthly message board, Thor recently started an interesting thread called “10 Composers, 1 Score” in which a friend of his asked him to recommend 10 score albums by 10 different film composers. Because message board threads tend to drive me nuts, I’m “borrowing” the topic and amending the rules to suit my own taste. My apologies to Thor for hijacking the topic for my own personal use. And my thanks for the inspiration as well.
Here’s my scenario. (Feel free to set your own parameters.) Pick a friend, any friend, that is totally clueless about film music. (C’mon, you know you have more than one.) Let’s say I want to give them a nice general overview of film music. Pick 10 composers and 10 different albums. The amended “rules” are as follows:
- Pick one soundtrack ALBUM each for 10 of your favorite composers. It doesn’t have to be your “Top 10” composers, nor do your score choices have to be the “best,” just your personal representation of that composer.
- Preferably no compilations or combo albums. You can, however, choose a particular score out of a combo album.
- Feel free to add a sentence about why you’ve chosen that score.
- You want your friend to connect with the music itself (i.e., film music as a stand alone listening experience), not necessarily how it’s used in the film or whether or not the film is any good in the first place…at least not yet.
I picked the first 10 composers that I thought of off the top of my head and listed them alphabetically. Again, set your own parameters.
JERRY GOLDSMITH – A PATCH OF BLUE
Delicate and lovely, and a superb example of how orchestration affects the mood of a score.
MARVIN HAMLISCH – SOPHIE’S CHOICE
Every list needs at least one tear jerker, and few scores turn on the waterworks like this one.
BERNARD HERRMANN – VERTIGO
Love, loss, and heartache, all in one haunting score.
ALFRED NEWMAN – CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE
Spanish rhythms and harmonies come together in one exciting musical package.
RANDY NEWMAN – THE NATURAL
Because it’s been used in countless television and commercials trailers, I bet my friend knows more film music than he thinks he does.
THOMAS NEWMAN – FINDING NEMO
A score that goes way beyond mere Mickey-Mousing and arguably the most musically complex animated score ever written.
RACHEL PORTMAN – EMMA
Beautiful melodies for those quiet moments.
MAX STEINER – GONE WITH THE WIND
The granddaddy of all epic scores gets the full-blown Golden Age treatment, and every film score list needs one purely recognizable “tune”.
FRANZ WAXMAN – SUNSET BOULEVARD
Because it’s one of my favorites.
JOHN WILLIAMS – THE FURY
When you want to scare the s*** out of your friend, few scores are creepier.