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Who Are Your Favorite Film Score Composers

(39 posts)
  • Started 6 months ago by sablebrush52
  • Latest reply from ukbob
  1. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    I was listening to Elmer Berstein's theme for To Kill A Mockingbird and was reminded of how much a great score can contribute to the effect of a film. So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite composers:

    Elmer Bernstein
    Bernard Herrmann
    John Williams
    Miklos Rozsa
    Ennio Morricone
    Franz Waxman
    Max Steiner
    Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Dimitri Tiomkin

    OK cineastes, who are yours?

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  2. troutface

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    No expert here, but didn't Randy Newman score a number of films ? I like his pop stuff, wonderfully sarcastic.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  3. chasingembers

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    John Williams
    Howard Shore
    Hans Zimmer
    Danny Elfman
    Kurt Harland (technically video game scores, but his work on "Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver" was amazing)

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    Posted 6 months ago #
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    jguss

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    I'd add Nino Rota for sure, and maybe Mancini

    Posted 6 months ago #
  5. brian64

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    I have no great knowledge or insight regarding film composers, but I certainly notice when the score contributes in a significant way.

    Also, I appreciate a couple of instances I'm aware of where there was a really meaningful collaboration between Directors and Composers, such as with Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone, and David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  6. philobeddoe

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    Éric Serra
    Vangelis
    Yann Tiersen
    Vince Guaraldi
    Nino Rota
    Zbigniew Preisner

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  7. prairiedruid

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    I'll add Vangelis to this great list.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  8. sablebrush52

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    No expert here, but didn't Randy Newman score a number of films ? I like his pop stuff, wonderfully sarcastic.

    Absolutely! Toy Story for one. And he comes from the royal family of film music. Alfred Newman, winner of 9 Academy Awards, who composed the score for All About Eve, Wuthering Heights, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, and many other films; Emil Newman, who was the musical director and composer on many films; Lionel Newman, who had a long career with 20th Century Fox and who won an Oscar for Hello Dolly!, etc, etc. An amazing family!

    Posted 6 months ago #
  9. johnbarleycorn

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    Bear Mcreary
    Stewart Copeland
    Trent Reznor
    Danny Elfman.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  10. carolinachurchwarden

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    I'd have to say

    John Williams
    Ramin Djawadi
    Ennio Morricone
    Alan Silvestri
    Clint Mansell
    Howard Shore
    Danny Elfman
    Andrew Lloyd Weber

    Are a few of my favorites that I took the time to look for when I first learned of their work.

    John Williams and the musical score to Star Wars is fantastic! Ennio Morricone is my favorite composer for any westerns. I mean the man with no name trilogy is just fantastic.

    Ramin Djawadi does the score for Game of Thrones and he came to town once and I was really sad I had to miss him.

    Clint Mansell did the score for the video game series Mass Effect.

    Alan Silvestri did so many movies I can't count them all.

    Andrew Lloyd Weber might not be fair, since he does more stage composing than film, but I love his work in the Phantom of the Opera.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  11. pitchfork

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    Ennio Morricone

    Posted 6 months ago #
  12. brian64

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    No expert here, but didn't Randy Newman score a number of films ? I like his pop stuff, wonderfully sarcastic.

    This brings to mind another great musician who's done a lot of work in both film and popular music, Jean-Luc Ponty.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  13. warren

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    Maurice Jarre
    Richard Hageman
    Max Steiner
    Dimitri Tiomkin
    Basil Poledouris

    These jump to mind.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  14. philobeddoe

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    I forgot one of my very favorites...Lalo Schifrin.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  15. jpmcwjr

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    John Williams,
    Zbigniew Preisner
    Vangelis

    These are all names I've come to know but not originally from the fact that they scored numerous movies and some films I've seen.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  16. drbenway

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    Glad someone else mentioned Clint Mansel. I think he is seriously underated. His music for the films The Fountain and Moon is like its own character in the movie.
    I also add Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Their work on The Propistion is fantastic.
    Joseph Koo's score for Way Of The Dragon is another good one.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  17. craiginthecorn

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    Ennio Morricone. Cinema Paradiso.
    James Horner
    Hans Zimmer

    Posted 6 months ago #
  18. anthonyrosenthal74

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    I was just about to say I was surprised nobody had mentioned Basil Poledouris, but then I saw that Warren did.

    Also, Howard Shore, Alan Silvestri, John Williams Danny Elfman, Michael Kamen

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  19. autumnfog

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    Ennio Morricone
    Bill Conti

    Posted 6 months ago #
  20. enrikon

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    Being Italian, I can't not mention Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone. With them the soundtrack constituted almost 50% of the movie.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  21. seldom

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    The young composer Nicholas Britell is getting some attention. Sounds like an interesting and bright man. Here is an NPR segment about him from last week. The Composer With A Growing Fan Club Among Directors

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 6 months ago #
  22. raevans

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    John Williams
    Tangerine Dream - (I know, they are a group, but they have had an influence in films)

    Posted 6 months ago #
  23. rogerrodger

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    Alfred Newman (How the West Was Won, Nevada Smith, Airport, Anastasia, David and Bathsheba, The Diary of Anne Frank and many more) Miklos Rozsa (Ben Hur, El Cid) Erich Korngold (Captain Blood, Adventures of Robin Hood, King's Row) Bernard Herrmann (Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho), Jerry Goldsmith (Capricorn One, The Sand Pebbles, Logan's Run), Max Steiner (Gone with the Wind) Ernest Gold (On the Beach), Alex North (Spartacus) Jerome Moross (Big Country) James Horner (Troy) John Williams (Black Sunday, Close Encounters) Aaron Copland (The Heiress)

    Posted 6 months ago #
  24. rogerrodger

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    Forgot Nino Rota (Godfather), and Dimitri Tiomkin (Gunfight at OK Corral, The Alamo, Taras Bulba, I think)
    Rota's score for the Godfather was at least a third of the movies' greatness.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  25. acidpox

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    It's been said but once again Danny Elfman

    Posted 6 months ago #
  26. mso489

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    Just as a short counterpoint to the discussion -- boy, some of you guys really know your stuff! -- I'm always impressed when the music is left off the sound track to good effect, as in the thirty minutes of race car engines only in the "Le Mans" movie and instances where all the music comes from the language of the dialogue, using it somewhat like poetry but without it being actual verse. That velociraptor tapping its claw on the kitchen stainless steel cabinet in "Jurassic Park" is an unforgettable piece of music.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  27. pipehunter

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    Toru Takemitsu.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  28. rogerrodger

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    Danny Elfman is certainly a fine composer, for sure. I forgot the masterful Randy Newman score for The Natural.

    Yes, knowing where to use music and where not to use it is key to the success of a film. One of my criticisms of much of modern music scoring is that there is often a kind of nonstop music accompaniment, especially to action films.

    One of my favorite movies is Executive Suite from 1954 with William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck. It has no musical score, and no ambient music that I recall, and the movie did not suffer at all.

    A great score should make you care about the story and characters, make you feel that an important story is being told.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  29. rogerrodger

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    As sablebrush52 said, Elmer Bernstein. If the only score he ever did was to To Kill a Mockingbird, he would be among the greats. The opening credit music to that film is wonderful, as is the music in the scene near the end where Boo is shown shyly waiting behind the bedroom door in the room where the injured boy lies.

    I also need to add Bronislau Kaper (Mutiny on the Bounty, a masterpiece!)

    I think that Carter Burwell's score for the Coen Brothers remake of True Grit is beautiful and fits the story better than Elmer Bernstein's big Hollywood western score, as fun as it is to listen to.

    For you John Williams and Bernard Herrmann fans, check out Black Sunday. The score should be required study for aspiring action and suspense film composers.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  30. mso489

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    I don't like it when the movie depends too much on the music telling me what to feel. Great scoring is sometimes incongruous, sometimes foreshadowing, and often almost not directly noticed. The music should bring up the intensity or power of everything else, not supplant or override it. It's like a great percussionist in a band, or flavoring in a great aromatic, often little noticed. It wasn't a great score, but the shark's "theme" in "Jaws" was the shark's characterization.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  31. warren

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    Gonna have an Indian attack ... gotta have drums! A tryst? Strings, lotsa strings. Soundtrack cliches from the past.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  32. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    I don't like it when the movie depends too much on the music telling me what to feel.

    Any movie that needs the music to tell you how to feel is a crap movie. Music, like lighting, color, camera angles, etc, is a tool for helping tell the story. Once in a while a score is so brilliant it becomes the story away from the film, but the score isn't supposed to control the film.

    But occasionally the score doesn't work. One of my favorite composers, Georges Delerue, had written the score for Something Wicked This Way Comes, based on the novel by Ray Bradbury. It was a beautiful score, but the Disney studio was not satisfied. They felt that the score lacked darkness and was just too light for a film about a carnival run by the Devil. I suddenly was involved with temp scoring the film in the problematic areas on orders from Tom Wilhite's office. Seems someone heard that I had a background in classical music and a pretty good record collection, so I found myself in a sound booth with Wilhite and the sound editor as well as a couple other technicians. I selected some works by Bartok and Ives, among others, suggesting where they might be slugged into the film temporarily. We spent several hours piecing together the darker bits. What I found surprising was how much of what I supplied, paraphrased of course, wound up in James Horner's final score.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  33. lasttango

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    Steve Hufsteter
    Lubos Fiser
    Kurt Stenzel
    Mark Mothersbaugh
    Ennio Morricone

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  34. dmcmtk

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    My choices will date me...

    Maurice Jarre Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia
    Jerry Goldsmith Patton
    Leonard Bernstein West Side Story

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  35. blendtobac

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    One who has had a pretty good run in the last couple of decades - Michael Giacchino.

    Russ

    Posted 6 months ago #
  36. haparnold

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    Re: the Newman family, a common trivia question is "Which family has won the most Academy Awards for their work in the film industry?". The answer is of course the Newmans. Most people guess families of actors, like the Barrymores.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  37. johnbarleycorn

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    Forgot to include Ryuichi Sakamoto in my previous list.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  38. ssjones

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    Trent Reznor has built up quite a resume. We just watched Netflix', "Bird Box" and he did that score as well. (great book, we enjoyed the movie as well)

    Al

    Posted 6 months ago #
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    ukbob

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    John Williams
    Ennino Morricone

    Posted 6 months ago #

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