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63 Original Songs Up For 2009 Oscar


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has released the list of the songs eligible for this year’s Best Original Song (a practice I wish they would do for Best Original Score). Since I’m writing an article on this for Film Score Monthly Online next month, I’m not going to provide any commentary about the nominees themselves. As usual this list contains contains some mighty odd–and obscure–choices. This year’s list of song’s eligible for the 82nd Academy Awards are: “All Is Love” from “Where the Wild Things Are” “Almost…

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Vic Mizzy (1916-2009)

The Addams Family

Long before I ever heard the name Vic Mizzy, he was a part of my life. As a child of the 60s, GREEN ACRES and THE ADDAMS FAMILY were required TV viewing and Mizzy’s now-classic themes have left an indelible mark on my cerebral cortex. For a proper bio and obit, Jon Burlingame salutes the composer on the Film Music Society site. Rather than rehash his many accomplishments here, I’d like to focus on the sheer joy that Mizzy’s music brings. For all my many years of enjoying and studying film music, sometimes my…

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Elmer’s Glue

Elmer Bernstein

On August 18, 2004, the film music world experienced its third major loss. WhenElmer Bernsteinpassed away, I felt numb. I’m not even sure I could compute the loss, as I was still trying to process the deaths ofJerry GoldsmithandDavid Raksin. The fact that film music lost three giants in less than a month’s time was–and still is–inconceivable. How did Bernstein sustain a successful career for over 50 years? What were the elements of his music that glued together such a lengthy career? As I type this post, I plugged in…

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Requiem for Raksin


On August 9, 2004, still reeling from the loss of Jerry Goldsmith, the film music world suffered a second blow–the passing of David Raksin. The event didn’t get nearly the coverage in the press or on the message boards that Goldsmith’s death did. Every obituary mentioned his haunting theme for LAURA, but there is more to Raksin’s career than that one famous melody. He arrived in Hollywood in 1935 at the age of 23 to work with Charlie Chaplin on the score for MODERN TIMES. Chaplin couldn’t write music so…

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The Day the Music Died


With no disrespect to Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and “The Big Bopper,” for many film music fans July 21, 2004, was “the day the music died.” I remember I was sitting in front of my computer, much like I am right now, when I heard of the death of Jerry Goldsmith. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. The reaction was so real, so visceral and primal, that I immediately sank into a lethargic funk that lasted for days. Even my therapist asked about it. I had never met Goldsmith,…

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To Boldly Go


What made this STAR TREK so appealing to me? I haven’t seen a STAR TREK film since 1984’s THE VOYAGE HOME. I didn’t watch any of the later TV incarnations and I certainly left my Trekkie days back in my teen years. So why this particular STAR TREK and why now? Was it the Hollywood hype? To a certain extent, guilty. Was it the attractive young cast? A little eye candy never hurts. And certainly Michael Giacchino’s score helped get me in the mood. So what was the outcome? Two words…AWE-SOME! Not…

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You’re Gonna Hear From Me

Inside Daisy Clover

Just in time for Andre Previn’s 80th birthday celebration this week, Film Score Monthly has just announced the release of Previn’s score for INSIDE DAISY CLOVER. The film stars Natalie Wood as Daisy Clover, an overnight singing sensation in 1930s Hollywood who struggles against the dark forces of showbiz. Like Wood’s title character, Previn also got his start in Hollywood as a teenager. Clover was one of his last scores, and he also contributed three songs with then-wife Dory Langdon, including a song that was cut from the film and is debuting…

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CD Release: Alexandra


MovieScore Media has just released Andrey Sigle’s score for Alexander Sokurov’s acclaimed 2007 political drama Alexandra. The music is performed by no less other than the revered Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre. The film, which was nominated for the 2007 Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of an elderly woman (legendary Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya)  who visits her grandson at his army camp inside Chechnya. When I saw this haunting film in early 2008, the score made a deep impression on me.Variety wrote “Andrei Sigle’s moving compositions…

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Happy 80th, André Previn!

Andre Previn

On his 80th birthday, we celebrate the often overlooked career of one of my favorite film composers—André Previn. Previn has found success in nearly every facet of music, including film, jazz, and the concert hall. He has won four Academy Awards and ten Grammy Awards in the classical, jazz, pop, and soundtrack fields. Born on April 6, 1929, in Berlin, Previn began his musical studies at the Berlin Conservatory until his family emigrated to the U.S. in 1938. He continued his musical studies in Los Angeles with Joseph Achron and Mario…

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Maurice Jarre (1924-2009)


Three-time Academy Award-winner Maurice Jarre died today at age 84 from cancer. And it is his music that we celebrate in remembrance. Jarre had his first international hit with his Oscar-winning score for Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. But he wasn’t the original choice to score the entire film. William Walton and Malcolm Arnold both passed on the assignment.  Then producer Sam Spiegel informed Jarre that there were going to be three composers working on the film: Russian composer Aram Khachaturian for the Arab music, Benjamin Britten for the British music, and…

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