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View Poll Results: Favorite contemporary film score composer

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  • John Williams

    31 21.68%
  • Jerry Goldsmith

    8 5.59%
  • John Barry

    5 3.50%
  • James Horner

    5 3.50%
  • Hans Zimmer

    7 4.90%
  • Howard Shore

    17 11.89%
  • James Newton Howard

    3 2.10%
  • Danny Elfman

    6 4.20%
  • Alan Silvestri

    2 1.40%
  • Thomas Newman

    2 1.40%
  • Ennio Morricone

    22 15.38%
  • Alexandre Desplat

    3 2.10%
  • Patrick Doyle

    1 0.70%
  • Elliot Goldenthal

    0 0%
  • Other

    31 21.68%
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Thread: Favorite contemporary film composer

  1. #31
    Member poptart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    I like JG too, and the score from Alien.

    The thing is, it's not a 'pure' score.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_(soundtrack)



    Goldsmith himself laments the treatment of his work on the 25th (or was it the 30th?) anniversary DVD.
    This is interesting, thanks. I wasn't aware parts had been written for another film. I'm sure many composers, in common with writers and actors, lament the cavalier way their work is treated by Hollywood. Tis the nature of the beast, it seems. But whatever the purity the finished product is still remarkable.

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  3. #32
    Junior Member Fermat's Avatar
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    John Williams, easily.

    Least favorite is James Horner

  4. #33
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    I opted for John Williams, but it was not an easy choice especially with such names as James Horner and Alan Silvestri. Williams has done so much over the years that you can not put your finger on any particular theme he has written But one that does come to mind is Harry Potter and Hedwig's theme simply wonderful.

  5. #34
    Senior Member Jeff N's Avatar
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    My favorite right now is Jonny Greenwood, who scored PTA's There Will Be Blood and The Master. A more progressive film composer with a rock background. Second favorite would be Thomas Newman (Shawshank, obviously).

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  7. #35
    Member ericdxx's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of all these Composers but I'm also very critical at times:

    John Barry - The Dancing with wolves theme is legendary for supposedly being one of the most popular themes of all time. Other than that I guess he is mostly famous for NOT writing the James Bond theme.

    John Williams . All he did was to rip off classical works left and right early in his career. His Star wars work is a big fraud. The big bulk of his career is **. His biggest talent was writing themes. Especially late 80s, early 90s. The Indiana jones theme is great, the Jurrassic Park theme is great, I love the song from Home Alone

    James Horner Wonderful talent. Mostly I come to find out that he ripped off stuff. The Troy theme in Troy is from Benjamin Britten, The Three note danger motif is from Shostackovic. The rumbeling piano and brass could be his invention. The entire Bischops countdown from Aliens is an incredible track

    Jerry Goldsmith - I like many of his themes but he was NOT a gifted orchestrator. Orchestrations throughout his career mostly sucked.

    Hans Zimmer - The question is how much of that unique style he brought into film music was unique? Some of it came from Vangelis, the big action themes came from Wagner. Maybe some of it was his own style and that is something I respect.

    Danny Elfman - I would say an intelligent Composer and stylistic buthe always suffers from his lack of formal training and education

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  9. #36
    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Default Orchestrators

    Quote Originally Posted by ericdxx View Post

    Jerry Goldsmith - I like many of his themes but he was NOT a gifted orchestrator. Orchestrations throughout his career mostly sucked.
    Because of the time constraints (Film composers frequently have only several weeks to compose sixty minutes of music)film composers would employ orchestrators. The one that Goldsmith employed the most was Morton Stevens. John Williams started out as an orchestrator. He orchestrated the music for the Guns of Navarone.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericdxx View Post
    James Horner Wonderful talent. Mostly I come to find out that he ripped off stuff. The Troy theme in Troy is from Benjamin Britten, The Three note danger motif is from Shostackovic. The rumbeling piano and brass could be his invention.
    The background concerning the sound track for Troy is interesting.

    Composer Gabriel Yared originally worked on the score for Troy for over a year, having been hired by the director, Wolfgang Petersen. However, after having screened the film with an early incomplete version of the score, the reactions at test screenings were against it and in less than a day Yared was off the project without being given a chance to fix or change his music, while Warner Bros was already looking for a replacement. According to Yared, his score was removed due to a complaint by the screening audience that the score was too "old-fashioned".

    The replacement score was written by composer James Horner in about four weeks. I recall reading an interview of Horner where he admitted that he was stealing left and right in order to get the score completed in time.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

  10. #37
    Senior Member Zabirilog's Avatar
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    John Williams, of course.
    And Howard Shore, though I use to think that he's the scariest composer ever!

    Das ist kein Mann!

  11. #38
    Senior Member TudorMihai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericdxx View Post
    I'm a fan of all these Composers but I'm also very critical at times:

    John Barry - The Dancing with wolves theme is legendary for supposedly being one of the most popular themes of all time. Other than that I guess he is mostly famous for NOT writing the James Bond theme.

    John Williams . All he did was to rip off classical works left and right early in his career. His Star wars work is a big fraud. The big bulk of his career is **. His biggest talent was writing themes. Especially late 80s, early 90s. The Indiana jones theme is great, the Jurrassic Park theme is great, I love the song from Home Alone

    James Horner Wonderful talent. Mostly I come to find out that he ripped off stuff. The Troy theme in Troy is from Benjamin Britten, The Three note danger motif is from Shostackovic. The rumbeling piano and brass could be his invention. The entire Bischops countdown from Aliens is an incredible track

    Jerry Goldsmith - I like many of his themes but he was NOT a gifted orchestrator. Orchestrations throughout his career mostly sucked.

    Hans Zimmer - The question is how much of that unique style he brought into film music was unique? Some of it came from Vangelis, the big action themes came from Wagner. Maybe some of it was his own style and that is something I respect.

    Danny Elfman - I would say an intelligent Composer and stylistic buthe always suffers from his lack of formal training and education
    A few completions:

    John Barry - Apart from his theme for Dancing with Wolves, he wrote beautiful themes for Out of Africa, Born Free and he composed a masterful score for The Lion in Winter

    James Horner - Indeed, his notorious danger motif is becoming quite tiresome. But it was not written by Shostakovich, but by Rachmaninoff. It is a motif from the first movement of his First Symphony. Apart from that, he has a wonderful talent for writing sweeping scores, especially for romantic-themed films.

    Hans Zimmer - Yes, his contribution to film music is somewhat debatable. There are two facts that I find disturbing about him:
    One, he hasn't composed a film score on his own for a very long time. Two, for the last few years his scores sound way too artificial. Too many electronics.

    Jerry Goldsmith - He wasn't the best orchestrator but I always admired his creativity and his habit for experimentation. His music for The Russia House is one of the greatest scores I've ever heard. And his experimental music for The Planet of the Apes is quite original and adequate. Plus, he was one of the first film score composers to use electronic instruments, particularly synthesizers. And he did a wonderful job with that, listen to his music for Hoosiers and you'll see what I mean.
    Last edited by TudorMihai; Aug-29-2013 at 16:10.
    "The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause." - Gustav Mahler

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  13. #39
    Junior Member mchriste's Avatar
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    I voted for "other" - Eric Serra.

    I love his soundtrack of The Fifth Element (even if the movie is kinda goofy)



    and particularly of The Big Blue

    Last edited by mchriste; Aug-29-2013 at 22:39.

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  15. #40
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Personally, I can't bear John Barry (even though he scored Zulu). I find his work...can't think of the right words...too heavy, serious, over-dramatic: those soaring and dipping strings, those massed horns.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

  16. #41
    Senior Member DeepR's Avatar
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    Vangelis does have a distinct sound. He isn't a good orchestral composer in the traditional sense, but he is good with melody and atmosphere.... and of course electronics. If only he had made a few more atmospheric electronic soundtracks in the vain of Blade Runner, Antarctica and The Bounty....
    Last edited by DeepR; Aug-30-2013 at 12:31.

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  18. #42
    Senior Member TudorMihai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeepR View Post
    Vangelis does have a distinct sound. He isn't a good orchestral composer in the traditional sense, but he is good with melody and atmosphere.... and of course electronics. If only he had made a few more atmospheric electronic soundtracks in the vain of Blade Runner, Antarctica and The Bounty....
    And let's not forget 1492: Conquest of Paradise (which, in my opinion, is his masterpiece), L'apocalypse des animaux, Opera Sauvage, Alexander and El Greco.
    "The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause." - Gustav Mahler

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  20. #43
    Member ericdxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggio View Post
    Because of the time constraints (Film composers frequently have only several weeks to compose sixty minutes of music)film composers would employ orchestrators. The one that Goldsmith employed the most was Morton Stevens. John Williams started out as an orchestrator. He orchestrated the music for the Guns of Navarone.
    I tried to think if there was one Goldsmith score where I liked the orchestration and I could only think of Mulan so I looked it up and surprise surprise it wasn't orchestrated by this Morton Stevens! So you're right in a sense...

    With that being said I think of James Newton Howard who is revered among orchestrators because he makes it so easy for them but because all the groundwork is already there for the orchestrator(s) to build on. So it goes both ways. So part of blame has to be on Goldsmith for all those poor orchestrations...



    The background concerning the sound track for Troy is interesting.

    Composer Gabriel Yared originally worked on the score for Troy for over a year, having been hired by the director, Wolfgang Petersen. However, after having screened the film with an early incomplete version of the score, the reactions at test screenings were against it and in less than a day Yared was off the project without being given a chance to fix or change his music, while Warner Bros was already looking for a replacement. According to Yared, his score was removed due to a complaint by the screening audience that the score was too "old-fashioned".

    The replacement score was written by composer James Horner in about four weeks. I recall reading an interview of Horner where he admitted that he was stealing left and right in order to get the score completed in time.[/
    I remember reading about that. Horner did a great job with Troy outside of those rip-offs and the love-theme that I don't like (it's actually from Glory I believe and a very similar theme was used as the theme for Stargate and SG-1)

    Speaking of Newton Howard. He had a similar assignment with King Kong and as far as I know managed to not rip-off classical works with that score.
    Last edited by ericdxx; Sep-04-2013 at 12:26.

  21. #44
    Member ericdxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TudorMihai View Post

    John Barry - Apart from his theme for Dancing with Wolves, he wrote beautiful themes for Out of Africa, Born Free and he composed a masterful score for The Lion in Winter
    I like that stuff. Nothing tops the theme from Dancing with wolves though...probably the most relaxing, Beautiful theme in all of filmmusic....there are other good themes like Horners theme for Cocoon but nothing beats that theme ...

    Definitely sounds like he was ahead of his time with Lion in the Winter. That sounds like 80s and 90s filmmusic but it was composed in what, 69?



    Hans Zimmer - Yes, his contribution to film music is somewhat debatable. There are two facts that I find disturbing about him:
    One, he hasn't composed a film score on his own for a very long time. Two, for the last few years his scores sound way too artificial. Too many electronics.
    It's weird that he went from composing wonderful scores like Lion king and Prince of Egypt, all by himself...to always working with a team of composers.

  22. #45
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Where's Basil Poledouris? A very talented, reliable, and on-time guy. Maybe his movies are a little too mass-market? A few of his efforts:

    The Blue Lagoon (1980)
    Conan the Barbarian (1982)
    Red Dawn (1984)
    Conan the Destroyer (1984)
    RoboCop (1987)
    The Hunt for Red October (1990)
    Free Willy (1993)
    Lassie (1994)
    Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994)
    Starship Troopers (1997)
    Lonesome Dove (TV mini-series) (1989)


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