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Posts Tagged ‘film music’

Three great icons of American cinema were joined at the hip by the memory-saturated musical score that accompanied them. The Godfather films were expansive in many ways, but it ought not be forgotten that the music that framed them arguably lingers in our minds at least as long as the story’s most compelling visual images.

Notwithstanding criticism of the City of Prague Orchestra’s performance on this CD, I find this album a deeply satisfying revisitation of the Godfather phenomenon. The ‘Godfather Waltz’ and the ‘Love Theme’—with their variations on the two themes—define the musical horizon here.

It is music that would not stand without the film, as is true of film music in general with few exceptions. Yet after recently watching the three films over the space of a few weeks, I find this performance of its sounds well worth the patience it requires to hear them again.

Scenes linger. Sounds endure. A great cinematic moment does that sort of thing.

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Rob Lane and Joseph Vitarelli have not only written a reflective and shimmering work of music. They have provided a textbook example of how to write film music itself.

The thirty tracks of this HBO Series soundtrack strike notes that are alternately noble, daring, pensive, and troubled. All of it is stirring in the way that one’s soul is moved in proximity to great literature or the finest musical art. Yet, as is the nature of the case with a genre of music meant to frame a visual depiction rather than to publish its own grandeur, most viewers of John Adams will fail to realize the degree to which the series’ success has depended upon Lane’s and Vitarelli’s work in the shadows. (more…)

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One wonders what people will say about John Williams in the year 2050. The man just keeps producing scores that, if it were possible, surpass the prior one in elegance, emotional weight, and sheer, gorgeous, spellbinding beauty.

Gushing?

I don’t think so. Listen to this soundtrack before you conclude that this reviewer has gone out-of-his-mind starry. (more…)

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Casablanca, one of the twentieth century’s great films, is memorialized here not so much by stirring film music as by the fact that you get the exquisite screenplay banter that still evokes grins at its genius on, say, the forty-second hearing.

I assume that technology did now allow the separation of Max Steiner’s score from the spoken witticisms that begin at the beginning and don’t end until the end of this fantastic movie. As a result, this ‘soundtrack’ is actually a trip through some of Casablanca’s finest moments, spoken and played. (more…)

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In the mid-1990s, the Times of London flogged a very cool disk-per-week club that was everything eclectic can mean. One of those CDs was entitled Great Film Themes and included music from the likes of Also Sprach Zarathustra, Back to the Future, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Brief Encounters, Chariots of Fire, Goldfinger, Raging Bull, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Jurassic Park, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Doctor Zhivago, and Henry V. (more…)

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You only have to listen through John Williams’ intensely spooky score a few times to realize that it is the emotional potency of film music in the Williams style that makes Tom Cruise and his colleagues on this Spielberg sci-fi flick seem as edgy as they do. The acting without the music would be another matter, good but not great, tense but not heartstopping. (more…)

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