All posts under 9 on the 9th

9 Favorite Film Scores of André Previn


André Previn doesn’t like to discuss his film music in interviews, so it’s up to disciples like me to champion his output. Like all great film composers, Previn’s music bears an unmistakable sound. Tricky, syncopated rhythms often populate his scores, along with lush, unsentimental melodies and some kickass French horn writing. Perhaps it’s his Germanic roots or the post-war sensibility, but along with contemporaries like Alex North and Leonard Rosenman, Previn’s music is anything but traditional, presenting a dry mid-century harmonic challenges that eschewed the excesses of the Golden Age. So…

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9 Favorite Comedy Scores


Because everyone’s sense of humor is different, everyone’s taste in comedy films is also different. (Duh!) I’m not usually a big fan of obvious, slapstick humor. I prefer comedy that has a human element, some darkness to it, and wit and sophistication (he types oh so snobbishly). You likely won’t find me at the latest Kevin James or Adam Sandler yuck fest (with “yuck” being the key word in that phrase). The most successful comedy film scores for me have some heart and drama to them, as well as an…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of 1976


1976…the year I discovered film music. It’s an important year for me. With my purchase of THE OMEN soundtrack, and for the last 35 years, film music became my preferred listening of choice and eventually part of my career. After focusing on the 9 Favorite Scores of 1962, the year of my birth, last month, it seemed only fair to devote this month’s “9 on the 9th” post to another watershed year, particularly one I can actually remember…if only vaguely. Once again I was lucky to have discovered film music during…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of 1962

Lawrence of Arabia

August is my birthday month. Back in school it sucked because kids never bothered to remember your birthday during the summer. As a young adult, I used to have a mental list that I’d check off each year as friends wished me a happy birthday (or not). (Pathetic.) Now, due to the marvel of Facebook, complete strangers (who are still friends) send me birthday greetings! And my ego is just delicate enough that that makes me happy. (Equally pathetic.) So rather than wait for the 19th to roll around (hint,…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of James Horner

Searching for Bobby Fischer

I’m usually negatively vocal about the works of James Horner—in person and in print. I’ve criticized his uncredited borrowing from Prokofiev, as well as his over-reliance on certain motifs. Rumors to the contrary, I do not hate Horner’s music. Horner has a distinctive voice, but his flaws as a composer need to be taken into account in any discussion of his music, at least from my end. And while I will be the first to jump down his throat for any overused, annoying “Hornerisms,” Horner is a superb dramatist whose…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of Howard Shore

The Lord of the Rings

June seems to be Howard Shore month. THE LORD OF THE RINGS extended editions are being released on Blu-ray at the end of the month, it was just announced that RETURN OF THE KING will return to Radio City in 2012, and tickets go on sale tomorrow for the first FELLOWSHIP West Coast concert tour this fall. So I thought it was about time I gave Shore his own “9 on the 9th” post. If Shore had written nothing but the LOTR scores, he would be accorded an honored place in film music history. But…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of Max Steiner


“The Father of Film Music”… How’s that for a moniker to live up to? I don’t know when or where that title was given to Max Steiner, or whether it gave him pause or not. Probably not. But few titles are more apropos. Sure, there was film music prior to Steiner’s arrival in Hollywood. But his score for KING KONG in 1933 arguably “invented” the modern film score and set a new standard for dramatic film music. This month celebrates the 75th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH…

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9 Film Scores That Deserved a Pulitzer


The Pulitzer Prizes, handed out every April, are arguably the most prestigious prizes for journalism, arts and letters, and music in the U.S. Their monetary value is nominal; what matters is the prestige. In this month’s newsletter, I discussed the 2004 changes that came about in the Pulitzer rules allowing film music into consideration for the Music prize. Only one film score has ever won a Pulitzer—Virgil Thomson’s score to the 1948 documentary LOUISIANA STORY. So I thought it might be fun in this month’s “9 on the 9th” post…

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9 Wishes for the Future of Film Music


For this month’s “9 on the 9th” post, I’m wishing on a four-leaf clover in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. While I’m hoping for just one holiday where I don’t have to step over splatters of puke on the streets of Manhattan, I’m also hoping for some real changes in film music. Some wishes are purely selfish (hey, it’s my blog after all), but most are hopefully more universal and far-reaching. Some are new topics, while others are well-worn yet still frustratingly viable issues for discussion. I didn’t assign numerical values…

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9 Oscar-Nominated Scores That Deserve (Re)discovery


With the 2010 Academy Awards just weeks away, this month’s “9 on the 9th” post covers some real “lost in the shuffle” Oscar-nominated film scores. With over 75 years worth of scores to choose from, I had to set myself some ground rules. The main rule was no CD’s. Sure, a CD does not necessarily guarantee discovery by general film music fans, but the odds improve significantly. LP releases were eligible. These scores are not necessarily my “favorites” per se, as in other posts, though I heartily recommend them all. Instead,…

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