The 2018 Oscars: Nominees for Best Original Score

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony was held last Sunday. French composer Alexandre Desplat’s music for The Shape of Water was awarded Best Original score. Here are excerpts from the five scores nominated for this category for 2018: “The Shape of Water” (Alexandre Desplat) Arpeggios rise and fall in continuous waves of sound in Desplat’s music for the opening scene of The Shape of Water. The composer discusses the music for this love story between a mute …

Read moreThe 2018 Oscars: Nominees for Best Original Score

Remembering Jóhann Jóhannsson

The Icelandic-born composer, Jóhann Jóhannsson, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly over the weekend in Berlin. He was 48. Jóhannsson was the Oscar-nominated composer of such films as Arrival, Sicario, and The Theory of Everything. His scores frequently enter a dark, ambient sound world, augmenting the colors of the orchestra with the sounds of electronic music. This excerpt from Jóhannsson’s rejected score for the film, Blade Runner 2049, ventures into the world of microtonality- nonconventional tuning in which …

Read moreRemembering Jóhann Jóhannsson

Thomas Newman and the New, Ambient Film Score

Today is the birthday of American film composer Thomas Newman (b. 1955). Newman’s scores include Bridge of Spies (2015), Finding Nemo (2003), Road to Perdition (2002), American Beauty (1999), and The Shawshank Redemption (1994). His father, Alfred Newman, was one of Hollywood’s most important and influential composers in the early days of film scoring. Those early days were often characterized by sweeping, lushly Romantic melodies and large orchestral colors. In recent years, as the style of filmmaking has …

Read moreThomas Newman and the New, Ambient Film Score

The 2017 Oscars: Nominees for Best Original Score

The 89th Academy Awards are coming up this Sunday. Here are some excerpts from this year’s nominees for “Best Original Score: “Moonlight” (Nicholas Britell) Nicholas Britell’s score for Moonlight alters and manipulates sound in a way that is similar to expressive techniques used in cinematography. In this interview with The Frame, the Juilliard-trained pianist and composer said, Barry [Jenkins, the director] told me right from the beginning about his love of “chopped and screwed” music, which …

Read moreThe 2017 Oscars: Nominees for Best Original Score

Philip Glass at 80

Tomorrow marks the 80th birthday of American composer Philip Glass. In celebration, conductor Dennis Russell Davies will lead the Bruckner Orchestra Linz in a world premiere performance of Glass’ Symphony No. 11 at Carnegie Hall. Along with Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young, Philip Glass was a leading voice in the American minimalist movement which emerged in the late 1960s and 70s. His music from this period, which includes the gradually unfolding Music in Similar Motion (1969) and …

Read morePhilip Glass at 80

Five Spine-Chilling Bernard Herrmann Scores

Consider your favorite classic Alfred Hitchcock films- psychological thrillers such as Vertigo and Psycho. Many elements add up to make these films enduring works of art, including the innovative framing of shots and voyeuristic camera angles which mimic the viewer’s gaze. Perhaps equally important is the music of Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975). As Matt Williams writes in this 1999 article, Herrmann’s music was groundbreaking, delving into the dark inner psychology of the character more deeply than had ever been done …

Read moreFive Spine-Chilling Bernard Herrmann Scores

Remembering the Twins, Fifteen Years Later

Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. If you’re old enough to remember that day and the numbing weeks which followed, the details of your life at that time, both consequential and trivial, are probably seared into your memory. For me, the horrific events of 9/11 followed on the heels of my successful audition for the Richmond Symphony. On that warm, clear Tuesday morning, I had just …

Read moreRemembering the Twins, Fifteen Years Later

Send this to a friend