Classical Bash

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


After posting this as a comment on another blog. I am offering it here in praise of my favorite film score composers.

I loved a 1979 movie called ALIEN. This may shock you but I loved the Jerry Goldsmith film score, which sounded a lot like minor key Allan Hovanhess (check spelling). This was the same composer (Goldsmith) who wrote the background music for the original PLANET OF THE APES; STAR TREK--THE MOTION PICTURE: the theme music for STAR TREK--THE NEXT GENERATION (which was derived from ST--TMP); the theme music for THE WALTON'S TV series; POLTERGEIST; the Satanic Chants from OMEN I and DAMIEN--OMEN II, not to mention a myriad of science fiction and crime drama movies. Regrettably, Mister Goldsmith has passed away, but his many compositions live on in our favorite movies and soundtrack recordings. But back to ALIEN The Main Title is both haunting and magical. A hard combination to achieve, but it actually sets the tone for the entire picture. Wonderful composition for a wonderful science fiction movie.

As for STAR WARS...Could we ever imagine them six without John Williams film scores? I'm serious. Can you imagine the double sunset on Tatooine without the soaring, romantic "Force Theme?" Can you imagine any other music except the themes that you've heard since 1977? Luke's Theme; the Force Theme; Princess Leia's Theme?: Doesn't the music fit every scene to a T in those films?

The next time you watch the movies--any of the above will do, STAR WARS related or not--give an extra listen to the compositions in the background. Far from just background music, you will hear reoccurring themes, l Wagnerian Leitmotifs, swirling through the action, often emphasizing or predicting the action.

Just think about it.

The closing title of STAR WARS I--the PHANTOM MENACE: Though you never hear it in the movie proper, the final notes of the closing credits are a very slow and very quiet version of the Darth Vader Theme,What about STAR WARS II? The scene where Anakin reveals rage and pain at the loss of his mother; where he confesses to Padme about the way he murdered the sandpeople. Could you imagine any other music besides the Darth Vader Theme? And what about the end to REVENGE OF THE SITH?. With the inclusion of a few snippets from the movie proper, this is actually a replay of the end title of STAR WARS--A NEW HOPE, PART IV. Like I said, it uses a number of themes from REVENGE OF THE SITH, but for the most part, we're talking about an expanded version of the finale to STAR WARS IV--a wonderful form of foreshadowing in which we are told that there will indeed me a happy ending at some point.

I'm sorry about "wasting your time," but this topic that has been tempting me for some time. I love film music, especially John Williams and the late Jerry Goldsmith and I wanted our readers to know that I consider their works to be legitimate works of art.




I'm not sure where I heard this for the first time, but it never fails to bring a smile to my face. The following version was provided by my friend, Kelli Fitzgerald, who is engaged to my best friend, Brandon. It has been cleaned up somewhat for our more sensative readers.

A group of four pregnant women are sitting in the doctor's office, chit chatting about their soon to be born children, when one of the women, the first offered the following comment.

"You, on the day that I found out I was pregant, I'd been listening to Duet for Violin and Cello by Mozart and we had twins. I always thought was a little strange."

Amazed, but not to be outdone, the second woman chimed in. "Now that's very odd," the second woman added. "On the day I found out that I was pregnant, my husband and I had been listening to the Beethoven Trio in C minor and we had triplets.

Equally amazed, the third woman added her remarks. "Now that is strange," she commented. "On the day that I found out I was expecting, the good doctior told me that we would be having quadruplets and my husband had been listening to Bach Concerto for Four Harpsichords."

All of a sudden, the fourth woman began to cry.

"Why deary, what's wrong?" the first woman asked, clearly concerned.

"We only found out we were expecting last week!" The fourth woman now howled, tears now rolling down her face.

"But that's wonderful," the second woman added. "Whatever could be wrong with that?"

"On the morning we found out," the fourth woman wept, "my husband and I had been listening to the Mahler 'Symphnony of a Thousand.'"