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Best film composers & list of their finest works.

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45 replies to this topic

#1 of 46 OFFLINE   JediFonger



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Posted May 06 2006 - 01:06 PM

just listening to John Williams's superman score and it's awesome (especially track#4 The Planet Krypton first 1:20). got me thinking about the greatest composers alive with pure, raw talent. imho, john williams is really the top billing. i'm thinking about bombastic, romantic, melodic and finally thematic to the film itself. i'd put jerry goldsmith, hans zimmerman, james horner on there as well, but for the life of me, i can't think of another john williams. will there be another film composer like him? his equal or better? as of now, there isn't one.

#2 of 46 OFFLINE   Shawn_KE



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Posted May 06 2006 - 04:51 PM

Ennio Morricone. I think his "The Sundown" from TGTB&TU is the single most powerfull song, especially for being so short. Danny Elfman is awesome. And I don't think I could imagine a better score for the LOTR films than what Howard Shore provided.

#3 of 46 OFFLINE   DavidPla



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Posted May 06 2006 - 05:26 PM

Definitely Danny Elfman. Both "Batman" and "Edward Scissorhands" are masterpiece scores for different reasons. Any score that he's done with Tim Burton is inspired. James Newton Howard. Any movie he scores for M. Night is brilliant. "Sixth Sense", "Unbreakable", "Signs" and "The Village". Can't wait to hear what he's got for "Lady in the Water". Another composer/director combo is Bernard Herrman and Alfred Hitchcock. Does it get any better?

#4 of 46 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

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Posted May 06 2006 - 07:06 PM

YiFeng wrote (post #1):

I, for one, would hope not. Although I think his Superman (1978) and Jaws (1975) themes are the top of the line for this kind of thing, most of his stuff is too "Spielbergian" or "Lucasesque" for my taste. And, like them, he is overexposed and (consequently) repeats himself more than once too often. (And I think you hit the nail on the head with the term "bombastic".) I'd easily put Jerry Goldsmith at the top of the heap in big-time movie composing.

Horner's stuff is waaaay too derivative and repetitive. Am I listening to ST II: The Wrath of Khan or Krull? Who knows? (Who cares?) What difference does it make?

Uh, I assume you mean Hans Zimmer here.

One promising young composer whose career took a decidedly wrong turn when he decided to go 100% commercial was Mark Isham (The Hitcher (1984) and The Beast (1988)). His wonderful "all-over-the-place" scores of originality, dynamicism, and (sometimes) ethereal beauty were reduced to also-ran orchestral themes that nobody will remember. An utter waste of talent.

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#5 of 46 OFFLINE   Adam_S



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Posted May 06 2006 - 08:12 PM

John Williams: Empire of the Sun Empire Strikes Back James Horner: Legends of the fall Erich Wolfgang Korngold Adventures of Robin Hood Bernard Hermann Citizen Kane Max Steiner King Kong Maurice Jarre Lawrence of Arabia Randy Edelman Gettysburg John Barry Dances with Wolves Elmer Bernstein Magnificent Seven Ennio Morricone the good the bad and the ugly

#6 of 46 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted May 06 2006 - 08:40 PM

I believe it's impossible to overestimate John Williams' achievements & influence. His score for Star Wars single-handedly revived the art of "leitmotif" scoring in Hollywood (and his incisive liner notes for that film's landmark double soundtrack album introduced a whole generation to leitmotif & other scoring concepts). Has any composer enjoyed such a fertile period as Williams did from 1976 to 1982, when he composed classic after classic - Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters, Superman, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders Of The Lost Arc, and E.T.?? In addition, he cannot be judged strictly by his "big" scores. He has done fantastic work "out of his comfort zone" in films like Catch Me If You Can and Munich. From the 70s on, there is Williams, and then there is everyone else.

The prolific Jerry Goldsmith definitely belongs on any short list of the greats. Planet Of The Apes, Patton, The Omen, Star Trek, Alien, - need I say more?

John Barry may be unsurpassed for the sheer beauty & lyricism of his melodies. From his distinctive work on the Bond films, through such epics as Out Of Africa, his sound is unmistakeable. IMO his score for Dances With Wolves, which contained enough gorgeous themes for 3 or 4 films, is the best of the 90s.

If Howard Shore never writes another score, the LotR scores have cemented his place in history. Although many (including myself) questioned Peter Jackson's tapping of Shore back in 2000, he turned out to be the perfect choice. A complete composer with a classical background and a long resume of excellent, if non-flashy, score work, he dug into the daunting LotR project and came up with three scores that have set a VERY high benchmark for the young century. His numerous memorable themes, his spot-on use of the chorus, soloists, and non-traditional instruments, and his consummate orchestration & conducting skills all contributed to this towering masterpiece. This is breathtaking work which, over 4 years on from FotR, I still can't stop listening to.
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#7 of 46 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

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Posted May 07 2006 - 12:31 AM

Me either and the complete score for FOTR has extended and revitalized my listening pleasure. The LOTR is a layered and epic score.
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#8 of 46 OFFLINE   Bill McA

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Posted May 07 2006 - 06:06 AM

Ennio Morricone just can't be beat!

I also enjoy the scores of
Bernard Herrmann
Angelo Badalamenti
Pino Donaggio
Michael Nyman
Georges Delerue
Goblin/Claudio Simonetti
Jerry Goldsmith
Maurice Jarre
Wendy Carlos
Zbigniew Preisner

Outside of his Superman score and some of the Star Wars themes, I personally find John Williams' music to be incredibly dry and boring.

#9 of 46 OFFLINE   JediFonger



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Posted May 07 2006 - 06:13 AM

yeah, but that's WHY i love his music. i love the bold, big bombastic sounds of JW.

#10 of 46 OFFLINE   Dave S.G.

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Posted May 07 2006 - 06:19 AM

Not to pick nits, but didn't Elmer Bernstein write that score? Either way I have to second that score AND Morricone.

#11 of 46 OFFLINE   Adam_S



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Posted May 07 2006 - 08:33 AM

yeah you're right, I was tryign to jot too many down at once, i even mixed up herman and steiner with king kong and citizen kane but I caught that one. :P

#12 of 46 OFFLINE   Magnus T

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Posted May 07 2006 - 09:52 AM

I may be biased since the Matrix Trilogy are my favorite films, but the song Navras by Juno Reactor vs. Don Davis is perhaps the coolest piece of filmscore I've ever heard. It's over the end credits of The Matrix Revolutions so I don't know if it really qualifies as a filmscore.

The Burly Brawl
by Juno Reactor vs. Don Davis is also extraordinary piece of music.
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#13 of 46 OFFLINE   Shawn_KE



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Posted May 07 2006 - 11:31 AM

Yea, Don Davis and Juno Reactor did wonderwork on the Matrix movies. Overdrive rocks with it's opening rolling bassline.

#14 of 46 OFFLINE   Peter McM

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Posted May 07 2006 - 11:42 AM

Jerry Goldsmith. His end title overture for Star Trek - Nemesis (titled "A New Ending" on the soundtrack CD) is the most stirring piece of modern symphony I've ever heard. Note, however, that you must have the CD to hear the whole thing; the piece was edited differently for the movie's closing credits.
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#15 of 46 OFFLINE   ThomasC


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Posted May 07 2006 - 04:36 PM

I love Navras, and I must've played it 1000 times in the span of a year after it came out. I asked my college choir director if we could perform it, and he agreed to. We performed it with a world music ensemble in October 2004, and I got to read off some of the translation of the lyrics (the Upanishads) in my deep bass voice right before we performed it. Posted Image

#16 of 46 OFFLINE   Brook K

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Posted May 07 2006 - 06:49 PM

Off the top of my head:

Ennio Morricone
Bernard Herrmann
Peer Raben
Goblin/Claudio Simonetti
Wendy Carlos
Toru Takemitsu
Joe Hisaishi
Nino Rota
Angelo Badalamenti
Max Steiner
Dmitri Tiomkin
Popol Vuh/Florian Fricke
Jon Brion
Clint Mansell

My favorite current composer is Joe Hisaishi who's best known work is for Hayao Miyazaki...Spirited Away is my favorite of these. He also has scored most of Takashi Kitano's films of which A Scene at the Sea features some of his best work.

Another favorite I can't put on my list because I am completely unfamiliar with his other work is Jerome Moross. He did few "big" films and was only active for about 15 years, but created one of my favorite of all movie scores - The Big Country.
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#17 of 46 OFFLINE   Kirk Tsai

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Posted May 07 2006 - 08:20 PM

FWIW, I posted the following thread in the Polls section a while back:

All I will say is that this common notion of Williams' "sound" does not fully represent him.

#18 of 46 OFFLINE   JediFonger



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Posted May 08 2006 - 12:44 AM

imho, the first matrix score was OK, but not extraordinary, reloaded didn't really have a score album, it was mostly the pop soundtrack with limited tracks in terms of score. revolution had an awesome score. nav was a great song, but the trinity+neo love theme was tragic and it was awesome too...... dude =).

#19 of 46 OFFLINE   Jude Faelnar

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Posted May 08 2006 - 02:55 AM

In addition to John Williams and Ennio Morricone, I also like the work of the following:

Henry Mancini
a] Pink Panther Theme
b] Victor/Victoria
c] Breakfast At Tiffany's
d] Hatari!

Andrew Lloyd Webber
a] Jesus Christ Superstar
b] Evita

Marvin Hamlisch
a] The Sting
b] The Way We Were

Paul Williams
a] Phantom of the Paradise
b] Bugsy Malone
c] The Muppet Movie
d] A Star Is Born

#20 of 46 OFFLINE   nickGreenwood


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Posted May 08 2006 - 06:23 AM

Michael Giacchino. He could be considered Williams Jr. Giacchino seems to like the big, grand scores, but will do something gentle and soft and simple when called for. His work on Lost has made the show, his work on M:I-3 was amazing. I liked his "jazzy" score for the Impossibles (about the only thing I really still like from that flick). Williams - Schindlers List is still one of my favorite score's of all time.
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