The Oscars are this Sunday! Normally I would have folks over to do red carpet commentary and cast faux ballots for a chocolate gold guy. Alas, this year I will be in the car on the way to a gig in Virginia so I will be getting my Oscar fix by posting here.
One of the reasons I started blogging was because I have a strangely consistent soundtrack to my life. Whether I note the music playing at certain times, have a song running through my head during the day or find a particular song seemingly written for me I would say I have a musical association to most moments. Not surprisingly I have a total affinity to movie soundtracks and scores. There are composers who are widely known; Phillip Glass [the Qatsi trilogy, The Illusionist, The Hours] John Williams [Star Wars, Indiana Jones, ET] and Ennio Morricone [A Fist Full Of Dollars, Once Upon A Time In America, Cinema Paradiso] for example. And there are those who you don't really know until you start to pay attention; Rachel Portman, Yann Tiersen, Gabrel Yared... Regardless of their fame all good movie composers can grab you, put you in the moment, make your pulse race or you heartbreak.When you notice yourself totally swept up in a scene largely due to the music playing in the background it transcends the usual movie watching experience. Here are a few of my favorites...
Theme To Jurassic Park - John Williams
I vividly remember watching the first heli-pan over the "costa rican" dinosaur park. The imagery paired with the gradual build of this piece was like butter on hot toast they melted into each other creating a truly delicious experience. It pressed me back into my chair and put me there for the rest of the movie. When I got the chance to play this in orchestra it brought the song to a whole new level. I think soundtracks a the way to draw interest into the wonder instrumental/classical music can impart.
Main Titles (Chocolat) - Rachel Portman
I love Rachel Portman's work. She has provided the scores to a ton of movies (Benny & Joon, Cider House Rules, Joy Luck Club...) but her work on Chocolat was what first grabbed me. The movie about a nomadic Chocolat maker in Southern France is incredibly sensual yet whimsical and Portman brings that to live with her orchestrations and Jango Reinhard-esqu gypsy guitar score. If you haven't seen it put it on your list!
Ada Plays (Cold Mountain) - Gabriel Yared
The music in this movie is equivalent to another character. Musicans (Jack White) were acting and actors ( Nicole Kidman & Brendan Gleeson) were playing music Yared's score tucks seamlessly into the fold. This track convey so much of Ada's character arc in the movie from city girl to independent mountain woman. Exceptional work.
The Postman Poet (Il Postino) - Luic Bacalav
The threads of art, music and poetry that weave through this movie combine to so perfectly they truly become one and bring life to this simple movie about Pablo Neruda's influence on the love life of his mailman while exiled on an Italian island. The music dances with the rhythm of Neruda's works and reflects the air and mood of Italy perfectly. The same refrain occurs in most of the score's tracks but with subtle variations. It is another movie you should add to your list if you haven't seen it already.
Finally, I don't have a DRM free copy of this one to share so I will leave you with this
Ashokan Farewell (The Civil War) - Jay Unger