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Manakin Skywalker

What are your favorite "obscure" scores?

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This is a question I've been meaning to ask for a while. What are your favorite obscure scores? Meaning, what are under-rated scores that you enjoy that almost nobody but you seems to like or even know exist? For example, one of my favorite scores is John Debney's Zathura.

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If there is one score that I feel is the most underrated,

one that I wrote 12 years after the premiere to it's composers about,

learned a couple of behind the scenes details,

got a signed copy of,

One that stayed with me the longest due to it's diversity and romantic symphony charisma

 

and one that I only ever met one random person who knew about it

 

it is 2006's  Paraworld, a 2-hour score composed by Tilman Sillescu and Pierre Langer, and played by the Magdeburger Philharmonie conducted by Bernd Ruf.

I searched wide and far to find similar scores and found none, save for Shore's The Lord of the Rings, which had several-fold the time- and financial budget.

The biggest influences, besides 19th and 20th century classical music, are probably Bernard Herrmann's The Journey to The Center of the Earth and Goldsmith's Mummy
The only trick with it, and the tragedy, is that it comes from a videogame, and one that flopped due to a neglect of promotion.

In 2007 it received the international Game Audio Network Guild Award, a handful of videogame music bloggers gave it 10/10s, and that's about it.

 

I was lucky to have had that craving back in 2006 to buy a pulpy RTS from the shop shelf...

 

This is my personal pet. One day I will get it played as a concert, turned into a suite, or re-recorded.

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12 minutes ago, Romão said:

The Bible, by Toshiro Mayuzumi. Absolutely incredible score and in my view, the best biblical epic score ever written:

 

 

 

Holy! So that's where James Newton Howard got his music for the quite biblical Dinosaur 😮

Absolutely love it. Luckily the expanded release is available... 🍹

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The topic is too wide for me. Every year, a lot of great soundtracks score highly on my list that would probably be labelled 'obscure' by most people because they're not from the US, and they're not blockbusters. But I'd need some more parameters than just 'obscure' to be able give any meaningul reply. For example, my favourite score of 2018 was a retro synthwave score called VIDEOMANNEN (VIDEOMAN) by Robert Parker and Waveshaper. Probably obscure to most.

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1 hour ago, Romão said:

The Bible, by Toshiro Mayuzumi. Absolutely incredible score and in my view, the best biblical epic score ever written:

 

 

 

Is there a little Rozsa quote at the very end there?

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Celeste by Lena Raine

 

Wet Hot American Summer by Craig Wedren & Theodore Shapiro

 

Alcatraz by Chris Tilton and Andrea Datzman

 

Ferris Bueller's Day Off by Ira Newborn

 

Now You See Me 1 & 2 by Brian Tyler

 

 

 

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Wing Commander - 1999 (Arnold/Kiner).

 

March 2019 would be the 20th anniversary. Sonic Images released the score back then only a little over 37 minutes. The score heard in the film is about 70 minutes.

 

A bombastic score but I am hoping LLL or Intrada would consider an expanded CD.

 

 

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1 hour ago, shockwave said:

Wing Commander - 1999 (Arnold/Kiner).

 

March 2019 would be the 20th anniversary. Sonic Images released the score back then only a little over 37 minutes. The score heard in the film is about 70 minutes.

 

A bombastic score but I am hoping LLL or Intrada would consider an expanded CD. 

  

 

 

Ah yes that's another of mine!

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We apparently have a different definition of 'obscure', because most of the titles mentioned in this thread are fairly familiar, especially to film score fans.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

We apparently have a different definition of 'obscure', because most of the titles mentioned in this thread are fairly familiar, especially to film score fans.

 

I'm sorry but Wet Hot American Summer is an incredibly obscure score.

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

We apparently have a different definition of 'obscure', because most of the titles mentioned in this thread are fairly familiar, especially to film score fans.

"Underrated" was more the word I was trying to think of when I wrote the title.

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22 hours ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

"Underrated" was more the word I was trying to think of when I wrote the title.

 

I see. Well, I can think of hundreds, if not thousands of great, underrated scores. Wouldn't really know where to begin. Anything particular style you had in mind?

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"Obscure" can have various worthwhile interpretations, of course. Obscure composers, hardly known scores by well-known composers, rather well-known scores that still nobody ever talks about. And due do the nature of their obscurity, I'm sure I have some favourites that don't even come to mind right now.

 

Two prime candidates though:

 

Elmer Bernstein's The Hallelujah Trail:

 

 

A musical, a comedy, and a western score at the same time, with each song serving as a leitmotif (and a few more that aren't songs), at times combined contrapuntally. Sadly, the original recording was lost to water, and all that survives is the album arrangement, which lacks some of the best moments and works more as a (good) song album with a few instrumentals than a representation of the score's full scope. One of my prime candidates for a new recording (beyond the lovely concert ouverture conducted by James Sedaris).

 

Philippe Sarde's Pirates:

 

 

A wonderful pirate/comedy score, with a strong Spanish influence and one of the best mystery themes I've heard.

 

Both are wonderful and underrated films, too, with excellent casts (Lancaster in Hallelujah Trail and Matthau in Pirates are brilliant) and a great sense of humour, even if both falter a bit in their second half. Polanski's film is still the last good pirate film I've seen, retaining a strong romantic swashbuckler flair through all its comedy antics. In fact, when I recently watched it again, I was surprised how many similarities to the Monkey Island games it has; I'm pretty sure Gilbert and/or Schafer must have seen and liked it.

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Another one... Stephen Endelman's The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain:

 

 

 

Another comedy score (do I see a pattern?) with its share of epic, Morricone-esque moments. Another wonderful film, too - with Colm Meaney as a Welshman.

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I too have a hard time deciding what is considered "obscure". I guess it differs from person to person. These are some of my favorites I don't see get mentioned often;

 

"Valhalla" by Ron Goodwin (1986)

"Fortunella" by Nino Rota (1958)

"Himalaya - l'enfance d'un chef" by Bruno Coulais (1999)

"Bébé(s)" by Bruno Coulais (2010)

"Flåklypa Grand Prix" by Bent Fabricius-Bjerre (1975)

"Hannibal & Jerry" by Thomas Hass (the songs excluded) (1997)
"Stato interessante" by Ennio Morricone (1977)

 

There are plenty of others, but I'm unsure how "obscure" they are (some of them were Oscar-nominated, after all). Like "Avalon" (Randy Newman), "The Secret Garden" (Zbigniew Prisoner), "Les triplettes de Belleville" (Benoît Charest), "Sunshine" (Maurice Jarre), "Nebraska" (Mark Orton), "Far from the Madding Crowd" (Craig Armstrong), "Mr. Bean's Holiday" (Howard Goodall), "In Bruges" (Carter Burwell), or the television scores for "Poirot" (Christopher Gunning), "Midsomer Murders" (Jim Parker) and "30 Rock" (Jeff Richmond).

Okay, I might have included some quite known scores. 😅 They're all worth a listen, anyway, I guess.

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9 minutes ago, Once said:

"30 Rock" (Jeff Richmond).

 

His scores for Kimmy Schmidt are good too, and almost every episode gives him a minute or two in the end credits to showcase his material

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2. the Dmitri Shostakovich scores (Cheryomushki, Gadfly, First Echelon, Hamlet, October, King Lear, Pirogov, Adventures of Korzinkina...) most available as wonderful suites

 

3. Scores of Leigh Harline (1907-1969). 

For example: The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm / The Enemy Below / House of Bamboo / Pinokio

 

4. Ogniem i Mieczem (1999) by Krzesimir Dębski. A beautiful epic score build on Polish folk tunes

5. also from 1999, Asterix and Obelix vs Caesar by Jean-Jacques Goldman and Roland Romanelli

 

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13 hours ago, Once said:

I too have a hard time deciding what is considered "obscure". I guess it differs from person to person. These are some of my favorites I don't see get mentioned often;

 

"Valhalla" by Ron Goodwin (1986)

"Fortunella" by Nino Rota (1958)

"Himalaya - l'enfance d'un chef" by Bruno Coulais (1999)

"Bébé(s)" by Bruno Coulais (2010)

"Flåklypa Grand Prix" by Bent Fabricius-Bjerre (1975)

"Hannibal & Jerry" by Thomas Hass (the songs excluded) (1997)
"Stato interessante" by Ennio Morricone (1977)

 

There are plenty of others, but I'm unsure how "obscure" they are (some of them were Oscar-nominated, after all). Like "Avalon" (Randy Newman), "The Secret Garden" (Zbigniew Prisoner), "Les triplettes de Belleville" (Benoît Charest), "Sunshine" (Maurice Jarre), "Nebraska" (Mark Orton), "Far from the Madding Crowd" (Craig Armstrong), "Mr. Bean's Holiday" (Howard Goodall), "In Bruges" (Carter Burwell), or the television scores for "Poirot" (Christopher Gunning), "Midsomer Murders" (Jim Parker) and "30 Rock" (Jeff Richmond).

Okay, I might have included some quite known scores. 😅 They're all worth a listen, anyway, I guess.

 

Two tumbs up for Flåklypa!

 

I love Ron Goodwin's war scores, but I can't remember if I've checked out his score to Valhalla. Does it have an official release?

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12 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I love Ron Goodwin's war scores, but I can't remember if I've checked out his score to Valhalla. Does it have an official release?

Yes, but I think it's out of print. Fair warning; the score contains too much mickey mousing, but the themes are great.

 

4 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

Not obscure to anyone who has seen the godfather! 😉

Haha, true. But while it's fun to here the Godfather waltz (edit: the love theme!) arranged in many different ways (like this silly arrangement) Fortunella is much more than just that theme.

 

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2 hours ago, Once said:

Yes, but I think it's out of print. Fair warning; the score contains too much mickey mousing, but the themes are great.

 

Haha, true. But while it's fun to here the Godfather waltz arranged in many different ways (like this silly arrangement) Fortunella is much more than just that theme.

 

2

 

You mean the love theme! The Godfather Waltz is the main theme.

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2 hours ago, Once said:

Oh, right, of course. I'm a bit stressed out at the moment, haha!

You got a stranger to hear a magnificent brass version of "Speak Softly Love", and the rest of Rota's wonderful album for Fortunella.

you can consider your insignificant faux pas absolved :) 

 

Right, @TheUlyssesian ? ☺️

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