|Maurice Jarre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When an audience watches a movie at the theater much of the attention is on the characters playing the parts, on the story line, and on the movie setting. Many times the music that accompanies the actions on the screen is heard but does not command the attention as the movie's visual elements do. Yet cinematic music composers make valuable contributions to the overall cathartic feeling movies generate. A movie's music is one of the things a viewer will remember long after the movie is over. If you do not believe that, try humming the theme to "The Pink Panther" or "Star Wars".
An early film music composer from the Golden Age of Hollywood was Victor Young. The great movie director Cecil B. DeMille utilized Young's scores in many of his movies including "The Greatest Show on Earth". It was Young's score for the 1956 movie "Around the World in Eighty Days" that won a posthumous Oscar for him.
In the late 50's and early 60's, movie theme music gained popularity and the names of cinematic music composers became widely known. Ernest Gold wrote the music for the 1961 movie "Exodus", and the theme ascended the music charts that year. Henry Mancini wrote the theme for "The Pink Panther", a score nominated for an Academy Award in 1964. He also wrote the Academy award-winning score for 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" from which the song "Moon River" came.
Other notable composers of movie music from that time include Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Miklos Rozsa, Ennio Marricone, and Dimitri Tiomkin. The movies to which they contributed, were nominated, and won awards for are impressive. Titles like "Doctor Zhivago", "Lawrence of Arabia" (Jarre), "The Man With the Golden Arm", "The Magnificent Seven" (Bernstein), "Ben Hur", "El Cid" (Rozsa), "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", "The Untouchables" (Marricone), "High Noon", and "The Guns of Navarone" (Tiomkin).
|John Williams. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
If the names of modern cinematic music composers are fairly well known, their music is even more so. One of the best known of these composers is John Williams. His amazing career in music includes five Oscars, twenty Grammys, and four Golden Globes among other awards. You may have heard some of his music. His film scores include "Fiddler on the Roof", "Jaws", the "Star Wars" movies, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", the "Indiana Jones" series, "Jurassic Park", "Superman", "Home Alone", "Schindler's List", "Saving Private Ryan", the "Harry Potter" series, "Memoirs of a Geisha", and "Munich", among many others.
James Newton Howard may not be a household name like John Williams but his film music credits are notable. He penned the scores for "The Prince of Tides", "The Fugitive", "King Kong", "The Village", "Batman Begins", and "The Dark Knight". The two Batman scores were co-written with Hans Zimmer, another cinematic music composer with many credits including the "Pirates of the Caribbean" scores, "The Prince of Egypt", and "The Lion King".
The next time you watch a movie and find yourself remembering the music long afterward, take note of the composer.