All posts under 9 on the 9th

9 Favorite Movie Songs

Norma Rae

This month’s “9 on the 9th” post deviates a bit from the expected subject matter to focus on the combination of film music and lyrics. Over the years, movie songs have had their ups and downs. The best songs work within the film and/or encapsulate the story or an emotion. And there’s arguably no bigger marketing tool for a film than a hit song. With 85 years of movie songs to choose from, narrowing the list down to nine was, as usual, ridiculously difficult. There are arguably better crafted songs…

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9 Favorite Film Composers

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As I approach my 50th birthday on the 19th, I’ve naturally been taking stock of my life so far and looking back at the good, bad and the ugly over my first half century. Arguably the most consistent element among the ups and downs is my love of film music. So, in a purely selfish move to celebrate my birthday month, many of this month’s blog posts will feature elements of wonderful film music memories from my first 50 years. This month’s “9 on the 9th” is a particularly dangerous,…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of Bronislau Kaper


One of the great things about the Film Score Monthly label has been its championing of lesser-known composers like Oscar-winner Bronislau Kaper. Prior to FSM, Kaper’s output on CD was basically nonexistent. Since the release of the soundtrack of THE PRODIGAL in 2002, FSM has released approximately 25 Kaper scores, most of which have never been heard outside of their respective films. While I’m sure Lukas Kendall’s lucrative deal with the studio (which also provided him and us with all those great Miklós Rózsa releases) had something to do with this, I…

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The 9 Most Terrifying Words in Film Music

The Exorcist

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Even a four-year-old knows that’s bullshit. Words do have the power to hurt. Even in the isolated world of film music fandom, words can hurt. Forget the constantly plagued carping on the message boards. I’m talking about those elements of film music that send a chill up your spine or cause you untold amounts of agita whenever you think about them. Some of them are valid, others not so much. That’s a personal choice. Here are nine…

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9 Oscar-Winning Scores Still To Be Released

Thoroughly Modern Millie

You’d think there be a month that went by that I didn’t think about the Oscars. Alas, I’m just that shallow. Even though an Academy Award is no indication of quality, the Oscars are how I taught myself about the history of film music and I don’t like holes in my Oscar collection. Yet after 35+ years of burdening myself with such a foolish obsession, my collection is still minus too many excellent Oscar scores. I doubt the collection will ever be complete when it comes to nominated scores. There…

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Zing Went the Newman Strings of My Heart!

Alfred Newman

Alfred Newman—my guide, guru and guardian angel, at least when it comes to film music. Why? Three words—the Newman strings. Nearly everything you want to know about Newman’s film music can be found in his treatment of the string section of the orchestra. And no string section ever sounded quite like the one that Newman perfected over his 20-year career at 20th Century Fox. What made the Newman strings so exceptional? No doubt, it had a great deal to do with Newman’s talent as a composer. But kudos should also…

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9 Favorite Film Music Marches

The Music Man

Because my quota of clever (such as it is) is already used up for the month, March’s “9 on the 9th” post celebrates, well, marches. (Oy.) Having spent more than my dues in marching bands back in high school, the strict 4/4 march tempo can make me break out in a cold sweat, as do the horrific memories of rehearsing in 100+ degree temperatures in the middle of August on Texas blacktop pavement. (You could literally feel the heat through your sneakers. But I digress…) You’d think that pretty much…

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9 Favorite Western Film Scores

Silverado 1

I’m not a fan of Westerns particularly. The mythological images created by Hollywood seldom bear any resemblance to reality and their political leanings are often less than honorable. But those wide, open spaces and America’s dramatic past (even filtered through Hollywood’s gauze) arguably have inspired more great film scores than any other cinematic sub-genre. As always, with so many great scores to choose from, narrowing down a list to nine is a typically foolish task. Some composers specialized in Westerns, so to make this list more equally balanced, I only allowed…

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9 Questions For the Film Music Community


Maybe I’m just a cantankerous ol’ cuss or perhaps it’s residual holiday misanthropy, but I’m starting 2012 with more questions than answers. But, oh, do I still have opinions. So I thought I’d devote this month’s “9 on the 9th” post to some of those questions. The questions I pose are my personal observations and the opinions I give are strictly my own. Agree, disagree, or don’t give a damn. Whatever your preference, I’d honestly like to hear your feedback. ARE WE LEMINGS? Most of us want to “belong,” to…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of Nino Rota

The Godfather

He’s Fellini’s musical muse, the Corleone family’s classically chromatic consigliere, and the potent musical potion for two star-crossed lovers. (Okay, enough with the annoying alliterations.) But there’s more to Nino Rota‘s music than wine-soaked mandolins and Fellini-esque oom pah pah. On the anniversary of Rota’s centenary (December 3rd), who better to honor with this month’s “9 on the 9th” post? Part of Rota’s charm is the dated quality of his Fellini scores. With their ’60s instrumentation and vocals, the music instantly captures an influential period in Italian cinema. Rota’s classical training…

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