Saturday, March 29, 2003

My top ten film scores of all time...

10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by Howard Shore. All the themes from FOTR, plus a new Rohan theme lifted almost directly from James Horner's Braveheart score. Not nearly as emotional and moving as the FOTR music, though, and the vocal performance at the end by Emiliana Torrini does not even remotely compare to Enya's wonderful song in FOTR. But it's still good enough for my all-time top ten.

9. Glory by James Horner. Powerful, martial music with some great choral pieces.

8. The Mission by Ennio Morricone. Sort of atypical Morricone, but nonetheless his best. Gorgeous, magical choruses.

7. The Quick And The Dead by Alan Silvestri. Takes Morricone's "spaghetti western surf guitar" style, famous from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, to its furthest evolution. A score as shamelessly stylized and heavy-handed as the film itself, which is one of my favorite Westerns of all time

6. Black Hawk Down by Hans Zimmer. Brooding, ominous, alien, and perfect.

5. Fellini's Casanova by Nino Rota. A huge guilty pleasure of mine. Nino Rota--justly famous from his incredibly familiar scores for the Godfather series--was a genius, one of the underrated composers of the entire 20th century, and this is his most ambitious score. Simultaneously a parody and a commentary on music from the period of Mozart and Salieri, and a fascinating cultural tour of Europe.

4. Little Women (1994) by David Newman. This music touches my heart whenever I hear it. It seems to be quite popular, and you hear it often on trailers for upcoming films, most recently in the one for The Majestic. It's unabashedly sentimental without feeling false or cloying

3. Starman (1983) by Jack Nitzsche. I love this music, I always have since the first time I saw this film. It's unfortunately all-electronic in a way that no studio film made today would be, but the music is so powerful that I don't care. I'd love to hear a good symphonic arrangement of this music--the one on Cinema Choral Classics III is pretty weak.

2. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by Howard Shore. Magnificent, emotional music that has one engaging moment after the other. The end theme is heartbreakingly sad and powerful and courageous at the same time.

1. Henry V by Patrick Doyle. Amazing that this one was a first score for Doyle. This score, especially the 14-minute-long Battle of Agincourt sequence, and the vocal Non Nobis Domine is one of my favorite pieces of music ever written.

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