Compose Yourself: Film Scores (Pt. 2)

In preparation for this blog about contemporary composers, I tried to think on the obscure side of the film score spectrum. But honestly, there is only one name that sums up film composition since the 1960s. What is Jaws without the rapid crescendo of the same two notes over and over? What is Star Wars without the iconic fanfare in the opening credits?

Yes, John Williams is the obvious choice. Any time you hear a quality score in the film industry currently, it’s probably John Williams. His name is synonymous with a number of directors, including Steven Spielberg (of which he has composed all but two of his film scores), George Lucas, and Chris Columbus. (He’s even gone behind the backs of those die-hard Star Wars fans and is scoring upcoming projects.)

I think it’s every middle-schooler’s dream to play a John Williams composition as an orchestra member or “orc dork”. I was an orc dork and when my instructor brought out the sheet music for Jurassic Park, I nearly lost it. The moment when the doctors and children see the dinosaurs in the clearing, the scoring is perfect. I love that cinematic moment. As twisted and deep as the narrative of Jurassic Park proves to be, the music has the Midas touch and melts the images within the frame into cinematic gold. Just listen to this…

Who cares if dinosaurs would probably kill you?

Another composer I would like to briefly mention is Alexandre Desplat. Since The King’s Speech arrived in 2010, I have begun noticing his composing style in films. I believe if takes a genius to compose music, especially classical music, but it takes someone from another planet to understand the intentions of a director when scoring music for a film. Desplat seems to score effortlessly. Desplat has worked with directors such as Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox) and David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 & 2). However, I reiterate my love for the film score of The King’s Speech with the song below:

The next time you watch a film, stick around for the credits and appreciate this necessary element and the composers of brilliant scores. Oftentimes, for me, it’s not the scene conjuring tears but rather the film score instructing me to express my emotions.


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