Film Music Friday: Notes On A Working Relationship

By now it’s no secret that I believe that the composer-director relationship is one of the most important in film. I’ve studied it, actively and passively, for as long as I’ve been aware of film music.

Film music is as much about collaboration and relationships as any other part of the art. And that goes beyond the work a composer and filmmaker do together. So today, I’ll be looking at one particular relationship that spanned only two films, but cast a wide shadow.

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Film Music Friday: The Summer Of Spy-Fi

In my last Film Music Friday post, I included a cue from Daniel Pemberton’s rather fantastic score for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. That time, I was using it as an example of a score and a composer that excel at bringing contemporary musical language into the more traditional forms of film music.

But that’s always been typical of the kind of score we’re talking about today. Since Monty Norman’s James Bond theme (as arranged by John Barry) first shot up the screen in 1962, spy scores have always drawn on pop, jazz, and other “modern” forms.

And this summer has seen them come back in a very big way.

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Film Music Friday: Matters of Style

Aaaand we’re back.

A few days ago Watertower Music (the soundtrack arm of Warner Bros.) posted a cue from Daniel Pemberton’s new score, for Guy Ritchie’s take on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. I was already pretty keen to see the film, as I’m a sucker for old-fashioned spy-fi, and listening to “His Name Is Napoleon Solo” pretty much sealed the deal for me:

(Side note: I’m really digging the embed code Soundcloud uses. Doesn’t it just look cool?)

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A Few Choices From The Back Catalog

When you’re a film music geek, you’re very familiar with the more popular labels that cater to your tastes. Intrada, La La Land Records, Varese Sarabande – of course they’ll carry many of the major score releases, but when you’re looking for the kind of titles only a hardcore film music geek would look for, that’s when they really shine.

I have Intrada to thank for the three scores in today’s spotlight. Compared to last week’s selections, I’d say they’re deeper cuts. And that’s part of the beauty of them.

Let’s go…
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What Else I’ve Been Listening To Lately

I go through a fair share of film music in any given week. Classic scores by the great composers. New works from the modern masters. And some unexpected gems. I’ll listen to scores from my favorite films, and scores from films I haven’t seen.

Of course, one of the things I love about this blog is that I get to go on about all this wonderful music. And maybe some reader out there will stumble upon a post and get turned on to film music too. At least I can hope for that.

With that in mind, it seemed a good idea to share some of the favorites I’ve been listening to lately.

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James Horner On Key

I’ve been listening to a lot of James Horner in the last couple of weeks. And I know I’m not the only one. The great film composers – the Herrmanns and Goldsmiths and Williamses and Bernsteins and Barrys – have that gift, that talent for finding the heart of a scene. And so they have that gift for finding your heart too.

That was James Horner. As Matt Zoller Seitz (one of the more thoughtful critics writing today – and his conversation with SI Rosenbaum pays far better tribute to Horner than I could) said, “The films [he] scored were often sentimental, but his music was always emotional, and he understood the difference.” And I think that’s why his death hit so hard for so many fans, like me.

I knew I’d have to write something. And I thought long and hard about how I would pay tribute to the man.¬†Would I draw on the themes and motifs he carried with him throughout his career? Would I choose a favorite score or cue and focus on that? Could I even choose one?

It turns out that I could.

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