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Knox Harrington

JWFan Unchained: We're Here Because You're Looking For The Best Of The Best Of The Best, Sir! (Or: What Is The Last Great Score You Listened To?)

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5 hours ago, TheWhiteRider said:

Curiously, in the second and third installments, yes.  


Very interesting. I've noticed Morricone is more sloppy when he's conducting -either due to budget reasons of his older scores or he just likes a more raw sound-, but what do you think about Williams? 

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The essentials:

Ben-Hur by Miklos Rozsa.  Rozsa's magnum opus.  He perfected a singular soundworld here.  It uses themes, gorgeous themes, to tell its story, but does not simply rely on them.  The themes serve the overall dramatic structure, not the other way around.  Particularly masterful is Rozsa's religious writing here.  Some of the most heartfelt since Bruckner and Bach.


The Sea Hawk by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.  Golden age film scoring was never quite so golden.  Korngold found just the right blend of operatic lushness and all-out adventure.  An absolute pleasure to listen to on its own.


The Mission by Ennio Morricone.  More than a film score, it is a musical and human triumph.  One is a better person just for listening.  The new and old worlds come together in Morricone's score.  An emotional listen, to be sure.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind by John Williams.  Here, (and as @TGP rightly maintains, in A.I.) we hear John's true compositional voice.  Close Encounters is the symphony many wish Williams would write.  The orchestral writing is glorious, the purpose sure and maintained.  Myth and the modern man come together.  A post-modern triumph.


Schindler's List by John Williams.  Profound.  This is the composer commenting on a film and a time rather than scoring it.  Williams channels Bach here, and does much with a choice palate.  Perlman's violin playing naturally brings the score to life, but some of the highlights for me are the cues where he does not play, like the orchestral rendition of the Remembrances theme.  Music of the highest order.


The Rocketeer by James Horner.  Horner may be the most joyous composer since Mendelssohn, and this joy really shines through here.  It is a score without pretentions, quintessential Horner.  Great fun to listen to.  And the love theme is to die for.            

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