All posts under John Corigliano

50 Favorite Film Scores, Part 1: #50–41

Citizen Kane

In the countdown to my 50th birthday on the 19th, in addition to foolishly choosing nine of my favorite film composers, I decided to tackle an even more daunting task—choose 50 of my favorite scores. Little did I know when I began this listening project back in June that it would prove to be so difficult, so enjoyable and so emotional. First, some ground rules for myself. I made a master list of every possible score that could conceivably be considered for the final list. That totaled over 175 scores….

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The Thrill of the Hunt


I’ve never participated in a fox hunt for a couple of reasons–1) It’s now banned almost everywhere, 2) I’m afraid of horses, and 3) it requires me to be outdoors. Though I’m fully aware of the animal cruelty issues, there’s still something appealing about the time-honored tradition of a good old-fashioned hunt. Plus, I think I’d look damn good in a pair of jodhpurs. So I live out these admittedly romantic notions through the movies, where the hunt usually brings out the best in a composer. One of the most memorable…

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To Trip the Score Fantastic

Altered States

Future Pulitzer Prize-winner John Corigliano burst onto the film music scene in 1980 with Ken Russell’s trippy film, ALTERED STATES. Based on Paddy Chayefsky’s novel, William Hurt stars as a college professor researching different states of consciousness through mind-altering drugs, which cause disturbing physical changes that indicate evolutionary regression. As whacked out as any of Russell’s other films, the film plays like one big acid trip, featuring some unsettling images and impressive special effects. Russell kicked Chayefsky off the set, so the writer took his name off the project. He credited the screenplay…

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CD Review: Revolution


In December 2007, I came across a copy of John Corigliano‘s score for REVOLUTION. The 1985 film starring Al Pacino and Nastassja Kinski during the Revolutionary War was one of the most notorious flops in film history. But I had never seen the movie nor heard a note of Corigliano’s score. What I heard was eye opening. This was not your typical score for that period in history. Gone were the traditional patriotic fife and drums. Instead, Corigliano created a haunting and memorable musical indictment against war. This was a…

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CD Review: Mr. Tambourine Man/Three Hallucinations


The relationship between Hollywood and the concert hall has always been strained at best. But for me, film music and classical music have always existed peacefully side by side. As a clarinet performance major in college, I loved studying clarinet works by such Hollywood legends as Alex North and Miklos Rozsa because of their film music. With other composers, like Aaron Copland, I knew their classical pieces before being introduced to their film scores. I was first exposed to John Corigliano through his fiendishly difficult Clarinet Concerto. As a high school…

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War Is Hell


“You could hear the city a mile off…New York goin’ crazy.” But New York wasn’t the only city going crazy when Revolution opened in limited release on Christmas Day, 1985.

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