Just because Céline Dion won an Academy Award in 1998 for the song we darest not speak of (lest it be stuck in your head all day) doesn't necessarily make it one of the best songs in the history of filmography. But it was a huge worldwide hit, and as such, it will be included this weekend in theHouston Symphony's Red Carpet Oscar Party
(plan your toilet breaks accordingly!). Thankfully, the Symphony's homage to theAcademy Award for Best Score
will feature some higher-brow selections too, from the era of Golden Hollywood when men like Charlton Heston were
instead of gun-toting fogies, and when starlets looked likethis
. The Symphony will also perform scores from this year'snominated films
(as though James Cameron needed another statuette). No doubt the Symphony will also perform some of the work ofAndre Previn
, winner of four Best Original Score Oscars, including the soundtrack fromGigi.
From 1967 to 1969, Previn was music director of the Houston Symphony.
Rocks Off started thinking about exactly what a soundtrack adds to a film, the kind of mood a certain music creates, and we immediately thought of one of our all-time favorite movies,Apocalypse Now
. There are a dozen reasons to love this movie, from its notoriouslytroubled production
to the scathing simplicity of itssource material
to the clever way the story was reworked to apply to the Vietnam War. And don't forget Dennis Hopper."Ride of the Valkyries," Apocalypse Now
But more than any other movie,Apocalypse Now
serves as this film nut's archetype for how music can take a film to a whole other level. According to folklore, Francis Ford Coppola first befriended Jim Morrison in college. Coppola told Morrison he wanted to become a film director, and Morrison told Coppola he wanted to be a rock star. Coppola replied that if Morrison became a musician, he'd use his music in a film. And thus we get theiconic bone-chilling opening scene
. Yes, Rocks Off knows "Ride of the Valkyries" isn't anoriginal
score. But it does add something to the film that an actor, a few edits and some special effects never could, especially if you know a little bit about the history ofWagner
."Blue Danube," 2001: A Space Odyssey
In a film full of tension and confusion, this is a delightful musical interlude reminiscent of a ballet or an elaborate mating ritual. It's beautiful."Main Theme," 2046
Every single bit of music for Won Kar-wai's retro-modern tale of unrequited love is a perfect compliment to the vintage feel of the flashbacks and the subservient femme-bots in the year of the title. Wong also uses songs from Dean Martin, Xaviar Cugat,Connie Francis
and Nat King Cole to great effect. In fact, the other films in Wong's trilogy reveal hisexquisite musical touch
as well."Original Score," Amélie
Yann Tiersen's entire catalogue was purchased by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet on a whim after Jeunet's assistant played a CD for him. The director later commissioned Tiersen to compose some original songs for the film's bittersweet soundtrack.Jaws and Psycho
Both scores show how a simple two-note tune can set the hair on your arms at attention. Hitchcock originally wanted no music for the now-famous shower scene. Can you imagine the most infamous murder in cinematic history without the screeching violins?
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Jeez, does this not freak you out just now hearing it in the middle of the afternoon? Art history fun-fact: the