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Best Living Composers


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Who is the best FILM composer?  

37 members have voted

  1. 1. Who is the best FILM composer?

    • Danny Elfman
      7
    • Hans Zimmer
      3
    • James Newton Howard
      8
    • Michael Giacchino
      2
    • John Ottman
      2
    • John Powell
      0
    • James Horner
      2
    • Harry Gregson-Williams
      0
    • John Debney
      0
    • Alan Silvestri
      1
    • Christopher Beck
      0
    • Howard Shore
      2
    • Klaus Badelt
      0
    • David Newman
      0
    • Alan Menken
      0
    • John Barry
      3
    • Vangelis
      0
    • Randy Newman
      0
    • Thomas Newman
      0
    • Other (please specify)
      7


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JUST FILM COMPOSERS!

For me, it goes:

1. Danny Elfman

2. Hans Zimmer

3. James Newton Howard

4. Harry Gregson-Williams

5. Alan Silvestri

6. Howard Shore

7.John Debney

8. James Horner

9. Michael Giacchino

I don't really care from here on.

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Gabriel Yared and Alexandre Desplat are two of the best out there. They actually know how to write a strong, melodic main theme, and better yet, they know how to vary it through a variety of musical means.

Henry, as a composer and musician myself, I must disagree with your assertion regarding Ottman. He might be an adequate film composer but one of the best living composer's he ain't. I would also include John Adams if the topic heading is to be interpreted as any composer current alive rather than just film composer.

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I voted other...becuase I would have liked to see a non-film composer on the list. You know...considering the poll is about the best living composers...not the best living FILM composers. :)

If I had to choose from the list I'd say Horner...he may do some things that I dislike, but on the whole I think he is an amazing composer and and equal to Williams. He just needs to be more original.

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I voted other...becuase I would have liked to see a non-film composer on the list. You know...considering the poll is about the best living composers...not the best living FILM composers.

Indeed. There are many non-film composers alive today who are better than everyone on that list.

Einojuhani Rautavaara for one.

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Henry, as a composer and musician myself, I must disagree with your assertion regarding Ottman. He might be an adequate film composer but one of the best living composer's he ain't. I would also include John Adams if the topic heading is to be interpreted as any composer current alive rather than just film composer.

I don't understand. I'm also a composer and musician. I love Ottman!

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I voted other...becuase I would have liked to see a non-film composer on the list. You know...considering the poll is about the best living composers...not the best living FILM composers. :)

I fixed the poll, it is now for film composers.

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Voted for Shore, though it was a tough one, almost all of them deserve a vote. :) My personal favourites (in no particular order) are (aside from JW, of course) Horner, Debney, Elfman, Morricone, Silvestri, Goldsmith, Conti, Zimmer, Gregson Williams, Newton Howard and Barry.

Speaking of non-film composers, I really like modern concert band stuff, guys like Johan de Meij, Jan Van der Roost, Alfred Reed, Eric Whitacre, Jacob de Haan, Robert W. Smith, Pavel Staněk, Bert Appermont, Bart Picqueur etc.

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James Newton Howard.

Duh.

Followed by James Horner.

Duh.

Followed by Elliot Goldenthal (Not on the Poll) (!)

The only thing that keeps James Horner behind JNH is his occasional overt humor in ripping.

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JNH all the way. Nobody can compose, arrange, and deploy a bombastic, Maestro-esque theme like that guy, and he's hard to match in the quiet moments as well.

To be honest, I felt a little traitorous not voting for Alan Menken, but he's not a film composer in the same sense as the others. He's a melodic genius and a brilliant pastiche writer--and in my opinion, the most culturally influential composer of the last twenty years, second only to JW in the past thirty--but he's a songwriter first and a score composer second. He doesn't belong in this poll (although his score for ENCHANTED has reminded me of just how well he can manipulate instrumental themes and sub-themes to fit various emotional purposes).

I've still got to go with Newton Howard, simply on the strength of how much he reminds me of JW when he's at his best.

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James Newton Howard, followed closely by Danny Elfman. The second and third most interesting film composers working today.

FYI, I always mean to say this and forget, but his last name is Howard, not Newton-Howard. It's not a hyphenated name.

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That would be Danny. He writes circles around JNH, and from all I have read about their projects and processes, is actually more responsible for what he writes. Danny has more memorable scores, better action music, sadder sad music, and so on, so on. JNH is what all film composers should be at the very least - competent and effective. But he doesn't push through to being a legend, an icon, and a master.

PS - If you haven't heard Nightbreed, Darkman, Dolores Claiborne, Sommersby and Simple Plan, you missed out on Elfman.

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I think out of all the major working film composers, John Ottmann is the absolute worse.

Now, now, at least he doesn't resort to cheap synth pop. He may not have a hummable tune in him, but he does a servicable job.

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On a more serious note than my last post, I have to say JNH. Clemmenson calls him the 'ultimate aural chameleon' and I complete agree. I'm pretty sure he's done absolutely every genre now, and I remain convinced that if he slows down a bit he could pump out his absolute masterpiece (although IMO King Kong came damn close).

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I hated the score to King Kong, I didn't even bother to buy the soundtrack.

Of course, this doesn't affect my opinion of JNH, since he had only a few weeks to write the score.

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John Corigliano?

But I voted for Zimmer, because he is the most successful and in demand of all current film composers. That makes him "the best", because Hollywood films are entirely directed by profit, and Zimmer is what they want, noone else can do quite what he does. Wether I agree with that or not, that's how it works.

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But I voted for Zimmer, because he is the most successful and in demand of all current film composers. That makes him "the best", because Hollywood films are entirely directed by profit, and Zimmer is what they want, noone else can do quite what he does. Wether I agree with that or not, that's how it works.

That doesn't make him the best (while I am a huge Zimmer fan). This poll is supposed to be about your personal opinion, not about the personal opinions of a majority who happen to be in film buisness.

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I hated the score to King Kong, I didn't even bother to buy the soundtrack.

Of course, this doesn't affect my opinion of JNH, since he had only a few weeks to write the score.

What didn't you like about Kong? I loved it since I first heard it - there's barely any indication for me that he only had a month to write it, and the finale is one of the best and emotionally powerful I've heard for a while. The memorability of the themes also rose above his usual output for me, which also strengthens my opinion that most composers can come up with a good theme if it's needed for the film. Yes, even Ottman (take Usual Suspects).

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Which saddistic chap voted for Hans Zimmer?

I can only think of the two who voted that fit the bill.

Incidentally, I voted for Jerry Goldsmith as well. Steef is right. He is ALWAYS right!!

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Right! The worst orchestral music is always better than the best synthesized music or pop-influenced music.

So "Battling Doom" from Fantastic Four is better than CheValier de Sangreal, Jack Sparrow, Up is Down, This Land...

I hated the score to King Kong, I didn't even bother to buy the soundtrack.

Of course, this doesn't affect my opinion of JNH, since he had only a few weeks to write the score.

What didn't you like about Kong? I loved it since I first heard it - there's barely any indication for me that he only had a month to write it, and the finale is one of the best and emotionally powerful I've heard for a while. The memorability of the themes also rose above his usual output for me, which also strengthens my opinion that most composers can come up with a good theme if it's needed for the film. Yes, even Ottman (take Usual Suspects).

Then perhaps I should buy it. The film was so covered in sound effects and stuff, perhaps I didn't hear the music properly. I might give it a shot.

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