"I'm so sick of music where there's nothing to it," says George Feltenstein, a Warner Bros. vice president. "What we're hearing represents a continuing cultural wearing away of the arts in society in general. This is a culture where Andrew Lloyd Webber is taken seriously as a composer, so it shouldn't be any surprise that we're gradually losing musical theater or good film scores."The article does make the good point that today's composers need to be very versatile in musical genres, more so than in the 40s through 70s. And the blogging fun comes from a list included with the article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of twelve noteworthy scores:
1. "Gone With the Wind" (1939): Max Steiner didn't do subtle, but producer David O. Selznick's epic film doesn't need subtle, it needs some great themes that add a level of characterization that the characters might not have otherwise. A score that works, both with the film, and on its own.And now, commenters, start your snarking of this list. Let me start with Patton. Was it because he felt a need to include Goldsmith? So many better war scores, including Glory or A Bridge Too Far.
2. "The Sea Hawk "(1940): Pomp and heraldry, and there's even a choral number. The film usually cited as Erich Wolfgang Korngold's masterpiece is "The Adventures of Robin Hood," but he pushes himself further with "The Sea Hawk."
3. "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (1946): Bernard Herrmann's gorgeous evocation of the sea and doomed love.
4. "Sunset Boulevard" (1950): Franz Waxman's turbulent but melodic and - at the end - authentically tragic score gets closer to the essence of the operatic tragedy that is Norma Desmond than all of Andrew Lloyd Webber's anachronistic heavings.
5. "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951): Along with Franz Waxman, Alex North was probably the most consistently underrated of all film composers - director John Huston said that North "could break your heart with eight notes." This was North's first movie score, and it captures all the surging, blues-based sensuality and sad poetry of Elia Kazan's film.
6. "Vertigo" (1958): In which Bernard Herrmann first used the odd, tenuously appropriate Spanish rhythms that also enlivened "North by Northwest," another movie that's a concert with attached visuals.
7. "The Magnificent Seven" (1960): Elmer Bernstein's propulsive score pumps up what is actually a rather deliberate Western and convinces the viewers that they're watching a hell-bent-for-leather action-fest.
8. "Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968): A far more romantic score than Ennio Morricone's audacious rattlesnake janglings and wailings from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," but they constitute a complete re-imagining of the art of the film score.
9. "Patton" (1970): Not great music, but a great sound gimmick - Jerry Goldsmith's fading trumpet calls signaled Patton's brilliantly archaic mind-set as much as the opening speech.
10. "Jaws" (1975): John Williams' music brilliantly gives an aural impression of a psychological state of fear. The bruuuump, bruuump of the ominous chords denoting the shark give way to spacious, beautiful writing about the open sea.
11. "Ragtime" (1981): Randy Newman in his nostalgic/lyrical mode, beautifully capturing Gilded Age America.
12. "Henry V" (1989): Patrick Doyle's score for Kenneth Branagh's re-imagining of Shakespeare was in the heroic mold but not afraid of recognizing the cognitive dissonance of the grimy visuals butting up against the splendid declamatory language.
(Machicotage, nice music history term just used as a spelling bee championship word)