Friday, 27 February 2015

Movie Music: My top six cinematic composers

Nothing makes me feel more emotional than beautiful music, and I often find that the best can always be found in film scores.

For me, one of the best thing about watching a film is the soundtrack, especially if it can tug at the heartstrings, envelop me in calm or fill me with the sense of the greatness of the world.

I particularly love to listen to film scores while I work (I can't write with lyrics blasting into my ears), or as I travel. They're not only the perfect soundtrack to a big screen masterpiece, but the perfect soundtrack to life too. They can make me feel so much, and I really think they can be overlooked in the world of music.

Let's face it, who doesn't love to imagine that they're starring in their very own big-screen hit!

More often than not I find that my emotions are affected mostly by the music rather than the action in the film - if the music was turned off, for example, I bet that I wouldn't cry nearly as much! I can be happily watching a scene, and then they amp up the strings. BAM - I'm in bits.

So, for something slightly different thought I'd bring together the work of seven of my favourite cinematic composers and their work to share with you!

Of course, I can't include every single track - I may even write another little list in the future - but here are the first that came to me when I was drafting this blog post.

Each name is linked to YouTube videos of their work, so you can hear them for yourselves.

I hope you find a few new favourites and maybe something to listen to while you relax / commute / study!

John Williams is possibly the most obvious first choice - his music is incredibly famous, used in cult films such as ET, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Jurassic Park. I would be incredibly surprised if you didn't know who he was! I love the grandeur of his work - everything is performed with gusto and energy. Besides, who doesn't love a classic soundtrack?  My favourite scores have to be from the Harry Potter films.

Thomas Newman's scores are beautiful. Newman had worked with Williams, and is also another classic film composer - Shawshank Redemption and American Beauty are amongst his work. I love his more recent pieces, however - Finding Nemo and meet Joe Black, for example. My ultimate favourite has to be his work for A Series of Unfortunate Events - quirky, haunting and beautiful. If you want a piece that will break your heart and fill it with beauty at the same time, I recommend The Letter that Never Came. I also utterly adore his score for Road to Perdition which is another wonderful film, and can't recommend that enough too. The title theme is just stunning.

Alan Silvestri is not a name you'd recognise as easily as the previous two, but his music is wonderful. I love his scores for Forrest Gump, The Polar Express and Castaway. Notably, also films starring the brilliant Tom Hanks!

Hans Zimmer's music is instantly recognisable and incredibly dark and powerful - he's the one that came up with the iconic theme tune for the Pirates of the Caribbean films. I also love his work for The Dark Knight and Inception, as well as Sherlock Holmes and Gladiator. Did you know he composed the score for The Lion King too? I often turn to Zimmer's work when I'm feeling a bit angry, stressed or in need of some pure motivation.

I listen to Howard Shore's work for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit - each piece is so powerful and dramatic. The music is instantly recognisable but always makes me feel emotional - I can't help but imagine the rolling hills of Middle Earth and the close bonds between the characters in the film adaptation. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure.

Ludovico Eunaudi isn't very well known for  his movie scores - Doctor Zhivago and Black Swan are the main ones I recognise. However, I still had to include him in my list. I adore his classical music and cannot recommend it enough. It is utterly beautiful - if I could have a soundtrack to my life, I'd chose his scores. Each note is stunning - and perfect to relax to (or even for a romantic dinner!). Two of my favourites are 'Una Mattina' and 'Nuvole Bianche'. I dare your heart not to break.

Do you have any favourite scores, or films which you think have great music? I'm always looking for new soundtracks to work to, so recommend them in the comments below!

She Wears Burgundy


  1. I need to show this post to my boyfriend. I'm sure he'd have some recommendations foy you - he is literally obsessed with movie soundtracks and listens to them all the time. He only has to listen to the opening few notes of something and he can tell you immediately what song it's from! He gets giddy in the cinema lobby cos they're always playing music he loves!

    Chloe x

  2. I used to listen to film scores when I was writing my essays in Uni, they just make you feel so epic! I have to say that 2 of my favourites are Hans Zimmer and Alan Menken. The Interstellar soundtrack is amazing, especially the track S.T.A.Y! And Kingdom Dance from Tangled & Farewell from Pocahontas are two of my favourites from Alan Menken!

    Cat | Cat Crawford

  3. I absolutely love listening to music scores whilst I'm working or reading too! I love The Lord of the rings and Harry Potter soundtracks too!

    Sophia :)

    Small and Happy lifestyle blog

  4. To be honest, I like your blog very much! I think that you do a great job! Everything is so beautiful!
    I’ll be happy to see you in my blog!)

    Diana Cloudlet