This week, I've compiled a list that may surprise you. Not only are there no books, I don't think I've ever told you that I once had a large collection of movie soundtracks.
I think my first real introduction to the music composed for film and television was when I was a small child, wide awake in bed at night, listening to whatever my ears could pick up from the television while Mom had a little down time. I couldn't hear the dialogue; what I could hear was the music, and I remember liking Nelson Riddle's theme to The Untouchables and Henry Mancini's music for Peter Gunn. There were others, but being a kid, I didn't think much about it... until I was in college.
When Mom was asked what teenage Cathy spent her money on, music was number one. (Movie tickets was second.) After all, I worked in a library and had access to thousands of free books. When I went to college, I quickly learned that (1) I preferred writing papers and studying in the wee hours of the morning, and (2) music without lyrics was the best study aid. This is when my love of movie soundtracks really blossomed, and when I watched old Errol Flynn swashbucklers, Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music made me passionate about this genre. How many of your favorite movies wouldn't be quite as good as they are without the music that helps tell the story? Quite a few, I imagine.
If you don't think music is important to a movie, I won't tell you about Dimitri Tiomkin who composed the music for Gary Cooper's High Noon. Preview audiences didn't much like the film so it was shelved. Tiomkin liked the music he created-- especially the theme song Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling-- so he released the song as a single, and it became a big hit. Due to that song, High Noon was taken out of the vault and went on to win four Academy Awards (including Best Song and Best Music). Yes, music can be important.
Classical music and movie soundtracks fueled many hours at my desk, and they fired my imagination. Without further fanfare, I'm going to share my favorite movie composers. In the captions below each graphic, I'll have links to bios of each composer as well as links to Youtube where you'll be able to listen to some of the music if you like.
|Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Captain Blood.|
|Max Steiner. His music for A Summer Place made it a better movie than it really was.|
|Bernard Herrmann. Perfect music to get nervous by, like The Twilight Zone.|
|Henry Mancini. What a fantastic body of work! The Thorn Birds.|
|John Barry. So hard to choose. All those James Bond films... or how about The Lion in Winter?|
|Maurice Jarre. How about the barn building scene from Witness?|
|Ennio Morricone. I heard the opening bars of music to The Untouchables and knew I was going to like the movie!|
|Marvin Hamlisch. He made me buy all the Scott Joplin music I could find, and the theme to Sophie's Choice made me cry.|
|John Williams. The theme music to Jaws still makes the hair stand on the back of my neck.|
|Hans Zimmer. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!|
I'm having a difficult time tearing myself away from Youtube in order to finish this post. I'd forgotten how powerfully this music can affect me. I've been rocking out with my headphones on, totally oblivious to the world around me. You might have smiled when you came to Morricone's entry and read that the second I heard the opening bars of The Untouchables theme, I knew I was going to like the movie. It does sound a bit balmy, but music can do that to me. I had the exact same thing happen when I first heard the theme to the series I'll end this trip down Memory Lane on--
|Ramin Djawadi. Game of Thrones.|
The only thing I want to know is... am I the only one who feels this strongly about movie soundtracks?