A new series by Craig Lysy
As part of Movie Music UK’s tradition of innovation, I have decided launch a new series charting the 100 Greatest Scores of All Time. I had always wanted to undertake this daunting challenge, and after 35 years of procrastination, finally summoned up the resolve and courage necessary to bring it to fruition. So, every Monday, over the course of the next 2 years, I will list my choices for the Greatest 100 Scores of All Time, in reverse chronological order, culminating in my 100th pick during the summer of 2017, 109 years after the first recognized original film score – “L’Assassinat du Duc de Guise” by Camille Saint-Saëns – was written.
In regards to rankings, I was not successful after numerous attempts to listen them in order of merit. Ranking 100 scores would seem to be an exercise in futility, so instead, I have chosen with this series to take you on a journey through time, beginning with the score, which launched film score art – King Kong, by Max Steiner. I will relate to you why I believe each score merits inclusion, and my hope is to provide an insightful and enjoyable journey.
I believe simplicity of criteria was needed to be successful. Firstly, the score must have achieved a masterful synergy with the story’s imagery, characters, setting and narrative, which served to elevate the film. Secondly, the score must have provided an exceptional and memorable listening experience within both film context and as a CD/MP3. Finally, the score must have made an indelible and lasting impression due to its creativity, innovation, sophistication, or thematic beauty.
My selections cover scores dating from 1933 to 2014. An assessment of my choices reveals that 38% of my choices come from the “Golden Age” from the 1930s through the 1950s, 27% from the “Silver Age” of the 1960s and 70s, 25% from the “Bronze Age” encompassing the 1980s and 90s, and 10% from the “Modern Age”, since the turn of the millennium.
Scores by 42 different composers made the list, and Maestros Bernard Herrmann and John Williams secured the most acknowledgements with eight each. In all, twenty-two composers achieved the status of being acknowledged for two or more film scores.
I freely admit that this is but one man’s opinion, that I like everyone has certain biases, and that these manifest in my choices. But we must be authentic, and true to ourselves. So I offer my voice to the chorus of voices that have preceded me, and hope to achieve some degree of consonance.
All the best!
Composer James Horner has been killed in a plane crash. Horner died when the single engine S312 Tucano plane he was piloting crashed in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, California. He was 61 years old.
James Roy Horner was born in Los Angeles in August 1953, the son of Harry Horner, an Oscar-nominated Hollywood production designer and occasional film director who emigrated from Austria. He attended high school in California and Arizona, but spent most of his formative years living in London, where he attended the Royal College of Music, and later completed his PhD at UCLA in Los Angeles. After scoring several short film projects for the American Film Institute in the late 1970s, and spending several years teaching, Horner joined the staff at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, scoring several low-budget genre films, including the popular Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), and working with soon-to-be Hollywood bigwigs such as director James Cameron and producer Gale Ann Hurd.
Horner launched into the big time in 1982 with his score for the critically acclaimed and commercially popular science fiction sequel Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and from that point on Horner quickly rose to become one of the most in-demand composers in Hollywood. In the 1980s and 90s Horner became known for his grand, large-scale, emotional orchestral works; he scored a succession of box office hit movies including 48 HRS. (1982), Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989), The Pelican Brief (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Apollo 13 (1995) and Ransom (1996), and wrote enormously popular scores for films such as Krull (1983), Cocoon (1985), Willow (1988), Field of Dreams (1989), Glory (1989), Legends of the Fall (1994) and Braveheart (1995), culminating in the massive Titanic in 1997, which remains one of the biggest-selling orchestral score albums of all time. Following the turn of the millennium Horner’s career continued apace, with scores for further box office successes such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Perfect Storm (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Avatar (2009) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) amongst his efforts. Read more…
In the Best Original Score category French composer Alexandre Desplat won the award for his score for directed Wes Anderson’s quirky period comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel. In his acceptance speech, Desplat said:
“Merci. Merci beaucoup. Wes [Anderson], you’re a genius. This is good! You offered me a great view from the Grand Budapest. Thank you. It’s been a beautiful decade for me in Hollywood. I’ve worked with great directors and producers, and I’m very grateful. I need to thank Laura Engel, Mark Graham, Katz, my Greek mother. Soleil [meaning his wife, Dominique Lemonnier], I met you long ago, for my first session, you played a violin, and you made everything happen for me. So, this is for you. Thank you”
The other nominees were Desplat again for The Imitation Game, Jóhann Jóhannsson for The Theory of Everything, Gary Yershon for Mr. Turner, and Hans Zimmer for Interstellar.
In the Best Original Song category, the winners were John Legend and Lonnie ‘Common’ Lynn for their song “Glory” from critically acclaimed civil rights film Selma.
The other nominees were Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois for “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, Glenn Campbell and Julian Raymond for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me, Shawn Patterson for “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, and Diane Warren for “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights.
The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2014, in the 2014 IFMCA Awards.
The award for Score of the Year goes to composer Hans Zimmer for his work on the Christopher Nolan-directed epic science fiction odyssey “Interstellar”. IFMCA member James Southall called the score “one of the most impressive creations of Zimmer’s career” and felt that the film “inspired him to create something unusually personal and about which he is understandably proud,” while IFMCA member Kaya Savas called Interstellar “one of Hans Zimmer’s finest accomplishments as a composer”. This is the third IFMCA Award of Zimmer’s career, and the first time he has been awarded Score of the Year.
French composer Alexandre Desplat was named Composer of the Year, for his astonishingly accomplished work on a half dozen scores spanning multiple genres; his work in 2014 included the blockbuster monster movie “Godzilla,” director Wes Anderson’s quirky comedy “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” the critically acclaimed biopic of British code breaker Alan Turing “The Imitation Game,” and the George Clooney-directed WWII drama “The Monuments Men,” all of which were nominated in their respective genre categories. The score for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was also named Best Score for a Comedy Film. These are the tenth and eleventh IFMCA Awards of Desplat’s career, and it marks the fourth time he has been named Composer of the Year, following his previous wins in 2006, 2007, and 2010. Read more…
In the Best Original Score category composer Alexandre Desplat won the award for his score for director Wes Anderson’s critically acclaimed quirky comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel. In his acceptance speech, Desplat said:
“Thank you. Merci beaucoup, I am very moved and honored to be here. It all goes back to Wes [Anderson]. Wes is unique. His world looks like nobody else’s. He is not here tonight but I am sure he is watching TV. I am not sure actually. But we will send him a video. There are many people involved, of course, the great musicians, Mark Graham, my agent Laura Engel, but I would like to share it with the best musician I have ever met, Sergei, this is for you.”
The other nominees were Jóhann Jóhannsson for The Theory of Everything, Mica Levi for Under the Skin, Antonio Sanchez for Birdman, and Hans Zimmer for Interstellar.
The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2014, for the 11th annual IFMCA Awards. The most nominated composers are American James Newton Howard and Frenchman Alexandre Desplat.
Howard received seven nominations, including nods for Score of the Year, Composer of the Year, Best Action/Adventure/Thriller score, and Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror score, all of which were split between his two main works of 2014: the action adventure sequel “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I,” and Disney’s reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty story, “Maleficent”. Howard also received an unprecedented three nominations in the Film Music Composition of the Year category, including one for the song “The Hanging Tree,” which he co-wrote with Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers, and Hunger Games book series author Suzanne Collins, and which was performed by the film’s lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence. Howard has previously been nominated for a total of 23 IFMCA Awards, winning six of them, including Score of the Year in 2006 for “Lady in the Water”. Read more…
It’s been an outstanding year for film music in 2014. I managed to get experience over 350 scores this year, both by watching movies and listening to their soundtracks independently,and I strongly feel that the soundtrack industry is thriving. Looking at the big picture, on a global scale, outstanding music is coming from all corners of the globe: this year, I have nominated works from China, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Spain, and Venezuela, as well the USA and the UK. If you look outside the mainstream, you can still find a lot of outstanding work being written for under-the-radar projects that demand our attention.
As such, narrowing down my choices for the best of the year has been a very difficult task – one of the most difficult in recent memory. However, I’ve finally been able to put everything into some sort of logical order – so, for your reading and listening pleasure, I present the 2014 Movie Music UK Awards!