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Your favorite soundtracks that incorporate classical music


Jurassic Shark
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I loved how "Fearless" incorporated Gorecki's Symphony No. 3 in the final moments.  They hint at the crash through flashes and cuts that transforms all the characters in multiple ways but Jeff Bridges experiences a god complex after but not till that last minutes does the audience experience it.  Also the score throughout is very minimal in this dialog heavy film but the ending has very little dialog, just this music and visuals and it packs a very powerful punch in context.  It makes the movie feel like a symphony in how the final scene makes you reinterpret all that happened before.  It's a very good film.

 

 

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2 hours ago, karelm said:

I loved how "Fearless" incorporated Gorecki's Symphony No. 3 in the final moments.  They hint at the crash through flashes and cuts that transforms all the characters in multiple ways but Jeff Bridges experiences a god complex after but not till that last minutes does the audience experience it.  Also the score throughout is very minimal in this dialog heavy film but the ending has very little dialog, just this music and visuals and it packs a very powerful punch in context.  It makes the movie feel like a symphony in how the final scene makes you reinterpret all that happened before.  It's a very good film.

 

 

At the top of my list!!!

 

It's so iconic here that filmmakers should never us it again!

 

Photography by the late, great Alan Daviau.

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There's a famous story of how, at a pitch meeting for the film of AMADEUS, the writer recited the storyline, to which one "suit" replied: "That's fantastic! Now, who's going to do the music? :lol:

 

My favourites would be:

2001

2010

FEARLESS

EXCALIBUR

ROLLERBALL

THE ELEPHANT MAN

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12 hours ago, Jay said:

 

Kinda overused. But I like the orchestration!

I prefer Morricone incorporating it into the showdown in THE BIG GUNDOWN ( The villain us German, naturally)

12 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I'd say Marianelli's V for Vendetta is one of the better ones.

 

https://open.spotify.com/album/5mYHOFEuev49xUNaXFmkcF?si=iAFEdU8_T96FMyMuNv2Z7A

What piece?

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I don't especially like needle-dropping classical recordings in films because that's often just a cheap way to make them feel more elevated or whatever. I know some filmmakers like Malick and Kubrick get a lot of credit for that but it often strikes me as less bold than commissioning new original music.

 

But I do enjoy where composers are given a chance to adapt classical pieces into their scores.

Ottman using Mozart in X2 and Beethoven in X-Men: Apocalypse

Williams using Chopin in Empire of the Sun and Strauss in A.I.

Marianelli using Tchaikovsky in V for Vendetta

Kraemer using Puccini in MI5.

 

I'm not saying that those piece are all expertly handled but at least they did something with them.

 

Karol

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I gotta be on brand and single out how Spike Lee beautifully recontextualized the music of Aaron Copland in He Got Game.

 

Just check out this gorgeous use of the coda from Appalachian Spring


Or the use of Lincoln Portrait here

 

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50 minutes ago, crocodile said:

Williams using Chopin in Empire of the Sun and Strauss in A.I.

 

And Schubert in Minority Report.

 

50 minutes ago, crocodile said:

Kraemer using Puccini in MI5.

 

Kraemer did very well blending into his own style.

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16 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I was thinking about both cases. :)


I think I’d like to single out Carter Burwell’s arrangement of Khatchaturian for The Hudsucker Proxy.  It’s so evocative and strikes the perfect tone for that opening narration:

 

 

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12 hours ago, gkgyver said:

 

 

I dislike the movie, but you can never EVER go wrong with Gotterdamerung (and a bit of Parsifal thrown in there for good measure).

 

Nothing even comes close.

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There are a number of sub categories here - films that use one particular classical piece in a central scene, but otherwise not (PLATOON), films that have lots of classical pieces throughout (Kubrick), films that have both classical pieces and original score to varying extent (Malick), films wherein both the classical and original score are stylistically related, films where they are not related etc. etc. So not easy to narrow it down.

 

But broadly speaking, these are some of my favourites that belong to either of these categories:

 

RESTORATION

THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE

SHADOWLANDS

Most anything Kubrick and Malick, as previously mentioned

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD

TRAFFIC

SOLARIS

THE BUTCHER BOY

THE MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY

SLEEPING BEAUTY

BLACK SWAN

CRIMSON TIDE

THE WHITE CROW

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

ALIEN

YOUNG INDY - "VERDUN"

THE PAPER CHASE

EMPIRE OF THE SUN

JFK

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

LOVE & FRIENDSHIP

AD ASTRA

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (heck, all Merchant/Ivorys, really)

HARDWARE

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

EXCALIBUR

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN

PORTRAIT OF A LADY

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Bach: "Little Fugue" In G Minor 

Telemann: Concerto In D Major (Allegro)

 

They are both arranged by Williams, according to the liner notes.

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3 hours ago, Datameister said:

My girlfriend and I were watching The Wizard of Oz last night. Always love the bits of classical and popular music that crop up in the score.


I thought of this too!  It’s actually a really fun approach to scoring and I’d be kinda down for a composer doing some modern version of it. 

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47 minutes ago, Thor said:

Bach: "Little Fugue" In G Minor 

Telemann: Concerto In D Major (Allegro)

 

They are both arranged by Williams, according to the liner notes.

 

Cool! I'll have to check that out.

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I forgot about SOLARIS! thanks Thor!. Fantastic use of J.S.

Also added THE NEW WORLD

 

 

Fyi that " famous story" about AMADEUS.   I've heard the SAME story attributed to every famous composer biopic.

It's apocryphal!😁

15 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:


I thought of this too!  It’s actually a really fun approach to scoring and I’d be kinda down for a composer doing some modern version of it. 

It's actually a pretty common facet of " Golden Age" scores.

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And there is of course the opposite way. In The Witches of Eastwick I personally would have prefered Williams' composition for the ballroom scene. 

1 hour ago, Thor said:

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

I almost hate what James Newton Howard did to Tschaikowski's wonderful ballet music. But it more or less in line with what the movie did to the story. 

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

THE BUTCHER BOY

 

:up:

 

2 hours ago, Thor said:

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN

 

This is an interesting case depending on which "type of use" we're talking about (I find existing classical music integrated into the original score much more interesting and relevant that when it's just copy pasted into the film's soundtrack). Kilar's score on album has a badass statement of the Schubert theme by the full orchestra as its climax, but the film doesn't use that, only the original Schubert as source music.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

A fun variation on/deconstruction of "Für Elise" in "Pig Für Elise".

 

And the titular song in The Francie Bradie Show. Traditional rather than classical, but close enough.

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I think Barry Lyndon and 2001 set the standard for how classical music could function as a proper dramatic score for entire films. 

 

Some other good examples

 

Beethoven's 7th for the finale The King's Speech

I Am Love has a fantastic score full of John Adams - specially great use of the Chairman dances as the main theme

Melancholia uses Wagner's Tristan and Isolde prelude to absolutely magnificent effect specially in its unforgettable prologue

Actually his last 3 films - Melancholia, Nymphomaniac and House That Jack Built all have fantastic and eclectic classical selections

 

Some other good uses include 

 

Xerxes' Largo used in Clouds of Sils Maria 

 

 

Ave Maria in The Square

 

Casta Diva in Lazzaro Felice

 

Swan Lake in Of Gods and Men

 

Lust Caution trailer has the best instrumental rendition of Ella giammai m'amò from Don Carlos that I ever heard. They should have just used this as the main theme of the movie despite Desplat's fine score.

 

The use of Schubert's  3rd Impromptu as Amour's main theme is devastating

 

The Favorite and Mysteries of Lisbon also had great classical soundtracks.

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24 minutes ago, KK said:

Bach + Tarkovsky = Magic

 

 

And of course...

D

Did you see my post above?!

 

1601864314036.jpg

 

Another great one:

RAGING BULL

 

The opening scene of TREE OF LIFE made great use of Taverner ( unfortunately, the rest of the film was uninspired , musically)

 

The opening scene of TREE OF LIFE made great use of Taverner ( unfortunately, the rest of the film was uninspired , musically)

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That Mozart clarinet concerto in Out of Africa, and that variation from Paganini in Somewhere in Time.

 

And this favourite of mine:

The Music Teacher (Le Maître de Musique) 1988 DVD

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By the way, I've deliberately avoided all the references to the "Dies Irae" in a gazillion film scores, because then we would be here untill the end of time. That probably requires its own thread.

 

I just remembered another favourite - NOSTRADAMUS.

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