Okay, so nobody wants to discuss A3.  How about C4, the terrific choral collective championed by S21 regular Ian Moss?  The talented boys and girls are doing a concert about the always-popular subject of love tonight at 8 pm at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church, 317 East 52nd Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues).  On the bill are new works by C4 members Jonathan David, David Rentz, Moss, Malina Rauschenfels and Karen Siegel, plus stuff by a bunch of other people.  Lykke til! 

Further evidence of the deaggregation of classical music distribution; our friends at Naxos have launched an online boutique called NaxosDirect.

Best film score ever.  Discuss.

17 Responses to “The Times They Are a Changin’”
  1. JS says:

    Rodney, the piece in the film is the “Storm Cloud Cantata” by Arthur Benjamin. Interesting thing, though – that piece was written for Hitchcock’s earlier version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. It’s a very rare instance of a classical work written for the purpose of being performed on-screen in a film. (I can’t think of another – well, Mr. Holland’s Opus, I suppose, but I can’t think of another from a movie that wasn’t specifically about a composer. No wait, Gabriel Yared’s GREAT score to “The Lives of Others” has that ‘Sonata for a Good Man’ in it. Still, it’s a pretty unusual device).

    I think Hitchcock offered Herrmann a chance to write a new piece for the remake, but Herrmann didn’t think he could improve on Benjamin’s piece. Jack Sullivan’s excellent book “Hitchcock’s Music” has the whole story.

  2. Rodney Lister says:

    Now that the conversation has moved on and nobody will read this anyway, It seemed to me worth mentioning The Man Who Knew Too Much, a favorite movie of mine (the later version with Doris Day and James Stewart–I don’t think I’ve ever seen the older version–at least not all of it), where music figure prominently, to say the least–since it involves a shoot out in the Albert Hall, timed to be hidden by a cymbal crash in a piece by—??—Arthur Benjamin, or Muir Mattheson, or somebody like that–I can’t remember–but it’s not by Hermann, who appears as the conductor–the way it’s credited in the movie is very clever and nifty. I’ve never mentioned it to anybody who noticed before I’ve mentioned it to them, but the gray suit that Doris Day wears during most of the movie looks to me to be exactly like the one that Kim Novak, as Madelein, wears in Vertigo. I’m sure there’s some film school dissertation somwhere about the significance of that–beyond Hitchcock’s thing about blond ice queens–although maybe that IS the significance.

  3. JS says:

    I vote for Vertigo too. But I also think Star Wars should be mentioned. I know there’s nothing particularly inventive about the way that Williams pairs music with images, but he’s VERY good at the technique that he uses.

    I find it odd that the Birds keeps getting mentioned. Does it even have score in the usual sense? Certainly the electronic “bird noises” are used to tremendous effect, and if you take away the visuals, there’s not much to separate them from any other piece of gnarly electronic music. But picking it as the best score ever makes a pretty strong statement about the nature and purpose of film music.

  4. Tom Myron says:

    I’m wondering if a film score can be so uniquely powerful and “perfect” that it doesn’t need to leave a “melodramatic aural memory” in the viewer’s brain…

    Or perhaps one simply doesn’t recall the score.

  5. zeno says:

    Morricone’s “The Mission” immediately came to my mind; as well as did Emil Frantisek Burian’s score for “The Strike”.

    Rob D., its funny but while I might consider “To Kill A Mockingbird” the greatest American film of all time, I can’t seem to recall the score. I’m wondering if a film score can be so uniquely powerful and “perfect” that it doesn’t need to leave a “melodramatic aural memory” in the viewer’s brain, for constant recall afterwards.

  6. Steve Layton says:

    “Greatest ever” is impossible, but high on my list are the Tom Waits score for Jarmusch’s Night on Earth, and Nino Rota’s for Fellini’s Juliette of the Spirits.

  7. My favorites are (not in any order and obviously under the influence of electronic music):

    Event Horizon – IDM + Orchestra – Yummy…
    Alien – Sure parts are lifted from the Scythian Suite – but it’s better!
    Fifth Element – It’s rock, but it’s cool. Love that scene where they’re being chased by the cops and they go deep down into the bowels of the city. Big beats and Arabic wails…
    Blade Runner – Yes! Vangelis sets the mood for the whole movie with those vast filter sweeps.
    And can I say Woodstock? 😉 Voodoo Child still burns in my brain…

  8. Rusty says:

    Psyco, The Birds, Vertigo, Disney’s “Robin Hood.”

    My favorite scoring technique has to be the apocalyptic dream sequence in “Raising Arizona.” During the dream there is a spacey version the popular murder ballad “In the Willow Garden.” When the protagonist awakes it turns out that Holly Hunter’s character is singing it to the baby.

    Similar, if not as subtle uses of the samba “Brazil” in the movie “Brazil.”

    I also like Bjork’s contributions to Matthew Barney’s “Drawing Restraint.”

    Also note that I find these works (with the possible exception of Bjork’s) to be useless away from the visuals. I would never kick back with the sound track from The Birds, or Psyco…

  9. Rob Deemer says:

    To Kill a Mockingbird – Bernstein (“Best Film Score Ever”)
    Vertigo, Psycho, and about 10 other Herrmann Scores
    The Woman in the Dunes – Takemitsu
    Raiders & Close Encounters – Williams
    Patton – Goldsmith
    Cinema Paradiso & The Mission – Morricone

    And I’ve always liked Thomson’s scores to “The River” and “The Plow that Broke the Plains”…goofy but cool.

    It’s a good start, anyways…

  10. Chris Becker says:

    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

    How in the world did I forget that? There’s just a lot to choose from…

  11. Tom Myron says:

    I’m going to dodge the whole Ever thing here and just ramble a bit. I will always have a deep affection for all the work of Leonard Rosenman. I think Frank DeVol’s score for Pillow Talk is pretty amazing. And, although the sound may be a little over-exposed these days, Thomas Newman’s score for The Player really floored me. Elliott Goldenthal’s last cue in Ty Cobb is a seriously inspired moment. Finally, for just all around knock-it-out-of-the-park type iconic work it would be hard to top Max Steiner’s Gone With the Wind.

    I suppose there are other & possibly cooler answers but I’ll go with what I’ve got here.

  12. Caché closely followed by The Birds.


  13. In terms of visual/aural connection, I think one must mention “Koyanisquattsi.” I’ve always had a guilty pleasure and a running joke with the soundtrack to “Planet of the Apes.” In all seriousness “Lawrence of Arabia” comes to me as my best. I’ve always loved the soundtrack to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

  14. Chris Becker says:

    You know, Eyes Without A Face has a great score – great sound all the way through. Listen to what physical sounds / sound effects are missing from the soundtrack and what are present. It’s a great education for anyone mixing sound or for that matter composing music.

    The Harder They Come
    Sling Blade
    Bladerunner (puh-leeze)
    The Life Aquatic

  15. Trevor Hunter says:

    Vertigo is awesome. Another favorite of mine is the score for the french horror film Eyes Without A Face, especially the creepy/beautiful scene with the daughter walking around the house.

  16. Rodney Lister says:

    Right off I think I’d go for Vertigo. Although maybe The Plough that Broke the Plains.

  17. Disagreeing about this will be half the fun! I vote for The Adventures of Robin Hood, Psycho, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The problem is that every film requires something different, which makes it difficult make qualitative judgements. Sometimes less is more, or more is better. Many times a great score is married to a lesser quality film film, such as Raksin’s Forever Amber, and it’s just not heard widely. It may be impossible to say “what is the greatest among the truly great” (a great line from the film Deception), but it’s fun to speculate.