Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

12/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Or, Here Is Where You Find the Greatest Classical Music After Classical Music Went Wrong

It's not too far-fetched to say that film music has been the 'classical music' for far more listeners than the music played symphony halls around the world for the past fifty years. The time has come to claim to not merely admit it, but to celebrate the music and musicians who have continued to minister to the human ear, and the human heart. 

Film composer John Williams conducts his music to 'Star Wars' with a full symphony orchestra.

Film composer John Williams conducts his music to 'Star Wars' with a full symphony orchestra.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Music

Keywords: best soundtracks, best film music, 100 best, film scores, Dr Deal Hudson


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Going to the trouble of making a list such as this may seem trivial to some, but, in fact, the tradition of musical scoring for cinema should be considered the 'classical music' you've liked but didn't know it was 'classical.'

Let me explain.  I will assume you, like I, enjoy an immediately rapport with great film music, that the main themes to movies like 'Jurassic Park,' 'Gone With the Wind,' and 'Lawrence of Arabia,' I will assume you find them 'beautiful' and that, if you have given it any thought, that you know they are composed for and played by a full symphony orchestra.  In other words, the same orchestra that plays Beethoven at Carnegie Hall on Friday night may be in the studio the next day recording the next John Williams soundtrack. 

Let's go even further: Not only does the film composer employ all the potencies of the modern symphony orchestra, and often vocal soloists and a chorus, the composer draws upon the entire development of Western music (and sometimes non-Western) in creating a 90 to 120 musical narrative to accompany the action and dialogue on the screen. 

But here there's an even more important point to make: At the very time that film music was emerging as a developed art form, the mainstream of classical music took a wrong turn towards atonal and twelve-tone compositions.  The late Romantic musical tradition, as represented by Mahler, Bruckner, and Richard Strauss, was carried forward by film composers like Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner, Franz Waxman,  Miklos Rozsa, and Bernard Herrmann.  Both Korngold and Rozsa had been established classical composers before arriving in Hollywood, so they literally embodied the bridge I am describing. 

As chronicled superbly in Robert R. Reilly's Surprised by Beauty: A Listener's Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music (Morley 2002), the rejection of traditional tonality dominated the concert hall well into the 1980s before composers like George Rochberg and David Del Tredici began to realize the mistake.

If my argument holds, the list below represents a classical music tradition that never broke with the development of tonality in the Western music tradition.  In other words, an appreciation for film music is, necessarily, an appreciation for 'classical music,' that is, music reflecting the legacy of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, Bruckner, and Strauss.
 
As Robert Reilly shows, there were many American composers who never took that atonal turn, such as David Diamond, Paul Creston, Howard Hanson, Vittorio Giannini, Nicolas Flagello, but for decades their compositions were rarely played or even mentioned in surveys of contemporary music. Conductors like Gerard Schwartz and Leonard Slatkin have been at the forefront of rediscovering their music as well as other composers who refused the break with tonality.

It's not too far-fetched to say that film music has been the 'classical music' for far more listeners than the music played symphony halls around the world for the past fifty years. The time has come to claim to not merely admit it, but to celebrate the music and musicians who have continued to minister to the human ear, and the human heart.  

-1.  City Lights, Charles Chaplin (1931)
-2.  King Kong, Max Steiner (1933)
-3.    She, Max Steiner (1935)
-4.    Modern Times, Charles Chaplin (1936)
-5.    The Charge of the Light Brigade, Max Steiner (1936)
-6.    Anthony Adverse, Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1936)
-7.    Alexander Nevsky, Sergei Prokofiev (1938)
-8.    Gone With the Wind, Max Steiner (1939)
-9.    Sea Hawk, Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1940)
-10.    Thief of Bagdad, Miklos Rozsa (1940)
-11.    49th Parallel, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1941)
-12.    Citizen Kane, Bernard Herrmann (1941)
-13.    The Uninvited, Victor Young (1941)
-14.    That Hamilton Woman, Miklos Rozsa (1941)
-15.    Now, Voyager, Max Steiner (1942)
-16.    Kings Row, Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1942)
-17.    The Song of Bernadette, Alfred Newman (1943)
-18.    Mr. Skeffington, Franz Waxman (1944)
-19.    Henry V, William Walton (1944)
-20.    Laura, David Raksin (1944)
-21.    Spellbound, Miklos Rozsa (1945)
-22.    Forever Amber, David Raksin (1947)
-23.    Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Bernard Herrmann (1947)
-24.    Red River, Dimitri Tiomkin (1948)
-25.    Scott of the Antarctic, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1948)
-26.    The Red Pony, Aaron Copland (1949)
-27.    The Heiress, Aaron Copland (1949)
-28.    All About Eve, Alfred Newman (1950)
-29.    Quo Vadis, Miklos Rozsa (1951)
-30.    A Christmas Carol, Richard Addinsell (1951)
-31.    A Place in the Sun, Franz Waxman (1951)
-32.    Scaramouche, Victor Young (1952)   
-33.    The Bad and the Beautiful, David Raksin (1952)
-34.    High Noon, Dimitri Tiomkin (1952)
-35.    The Quiet Man, Victor Young (1952)
-36.    Shane, Victor Young (1953)
-37.    I Vitelloni, Nino Rota (1953)
-38.    Around the World in 80 Days, Victor Young (1954)
-39. Prince Valiant, Franz Waxman (1954)
-40. On the Waterfront, Leonard Bernstein (1954)
-41. Richard lll, William Walton (1955)
-42. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, Alfred Newman (1955)
-43. Night of the Hunter, Walter Schumann (1955)
-44. Diane, Miklos Rozsa (1956)   
-45. Peyton Place, Franz Waxman (1957)
-46. Raintree County, Johnny Green (1957)
-47. The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Malcolm Arnold (1957)
-48. Vertigo, Bernard Herrmann (1958)
-49. Ben Hur, Miklos Rozsa (1959)
-50. North by Northwest, Bernard Herrmann (1959)
-51. Journey to the Center of the Earth, Bernard Herrmann (1959)
-52. The Nun's Story, Franz Waxman (1959)
-53. The Magnificent Seven, Elmer Bernstein (1960)
-54. Exodus, Ernest Gold (1960)
-55. Psycho, Bernard Herrmann. (1960)
-56. The Alamo, Dimitri Tiomkin (1960)
-57. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Henry Mancini (1961)
-58. King of Kings, Miklos Rozsa (1961)
-59. El Cid, Miklos Rozsa (1961)
-60. Lawrence of Arabia, Maurice Jarre (1962)
-61. To Kill a Mockingbird, Elmer Bernstein (1962)
-62. Taras Bulba, Franz Waxman (1962)
-63. The Pink Panther, Henry Mancini (1963)
-64. Charade, Henry Mancini (1963)
-65. The Leopard, Nino Rota (1963)
-66. Goldfinger, John Barry (1964)
-67. The Fall of the Roman Empire, Dimitri Tiomkin (1964)
-68. Doctor Zhivago, Maurice Jarre (1965)
-69. Sylvia, David Raksin (1965)
-70. The Greatest Story Ever Told, Alfred Newman (1965)
-71. A Man and a Woman, Francis Lai (1966)
-72. Sand Pebbles, Jerry Goldsmith (1966) 
-73. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Ennio Morricone (1966)
-74. Casino Royale, Burt Bacharach (1967)
-75. Two for the Road, Henry Mancini (1967)
-76. Far from the Madding Crowd, Richard Rodney Bennett (1967)
-77. The Lion in Winter, John Barry (1968)
-78. Romeo and Juliet, Nino Rota (1968)
-79. David Copperfield, Malcolm Arnold (1969)
-80. Anne of a Thousand Days, Georges Delerue (1969)
-81. True Grit, Elmer Bernstein (1969)
-82. Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Miklos Rozsa (1970)   
-83. The Last Valley, John Barry (1971)
-84. The Godfather, Nino Rota (1972)
-85.    Lady Caroline Lamb, Richard Rodney Bennett (1972)
-86.    Antony and Cleopatra, John Scott (1972)
-87.    The Wind and the Lion, Jerry Goldsmith (1975)
-88.    Jaws, John Williams (1975)
-89.    Superman, John Williams (1978)   
-90.    Death on the Nile, Nino Rota (1978)
-91.    A Little Romance, Georges Delerue (1979)
-92.    Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, John Williams (1980)
-93.    Somewhere in Time, John Barry (1980)
-94.    Body Heat, John Barry (1981)
-95.    Krull, James Horner (1983)
-96.    Once Upon a Time in America, Ennio Morricone (1984)
-97.    Splash, Lee Holdridge (1984)
-98.    Out of Africa, John Barry (1985)
-99.    The Mission, Ennio Morricone (1986)
-100.    Untouchables, Ennio Morricone (1987)
-101.    Cinema Paradiso, Ennio Morricone (1988)
-102.    Time of Destiny, Ennio Morricone (1988)  
-103.    A Summer Story, Georges Delerue (1988) 
-104.    Born on the Fourth of July, John Williams (1989)
-105.    Henry V, Patrick Doyle (1989)
-106.    Glory, James Horner (1989)
-107.    Dances With Wolves, John Barry (1990)
-108.    Dracula, Wojciech Kilar (1992)
-109.    Gettysburg, Randy Edelman (1993)
-110.    Jurassic Park, John Williams (1993)
-111.    The Age of Innocence, Elmer Bernstein (1993)
-112.    Sense and Sensibility, Patrick Doyle (1995)
-113.    Apollo 13, James Horner (1995)
-114.    Far From Heaven, Elmer Bernstein (2002)
-----

Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D, is president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Music

Christian singer Danny Gokey's shares how wife's death tested - then strengthened his faith Watch

Image of His wife Sophia's death did not immediately call Danny Gokey's faith into question, recalling the moments of darkness that he said crept up during the healing process.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Singer Danny Gokey, who came in third place on season eight of "American Idol," has gone on to a flourishing musical career. The 34-year-old Christian singer shared how the unexpected death of his wife Sophia, a few weeks before his national television debut, ... continue reading


Iconic Sixties pop singer Lesley Gore dies at 68 Watch

Image of Lesley Gore had four Top 5 singles in 1963, including the sunnier anthem

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Lesley Gore was a female pop singer of the early Sixties - with a marked difference. Her first hit record, "It's My Party" charted when she was all of 17 years of age. The song was a peek into how cruel teenage girls could be to each other. Her so-called friend ... continue reading


Amazing love song medley mashes up the greatest love songs from the 60s to now just in time for Valentine's Day Watch

Image of David Osmond, Ashley Hess and Eric Thayne in their love song medley YouTube video.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five talented musicians take you on a fun time-trip with their love song medley that takes songs from different decades in their viral YouTube video. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ashley Hess, AJ Rafael, David Osmond, Maddie Wilson and Eric Thayne start off in ... continue reading


Newcomer Sam Smith rocks the Grammys, winning Best Song, Record and New Artist of the Year Watch

Image of British newcomer Sam Smith, all of 22 years of age, knocked it out of the ballpark at this year's Grammy awards. Wining both Song and Record of the Year for his

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

British newcomer Sam Smith, all of 22 years of age, knocked it out of the ballpark at this year's Grammy awards. Wining both Song and Record of the Year for his "Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)," Smith also won Best New Artist of the Year. LOS ANGELES ... continue reading


Rock drummer Dallas Taylor beat addiction and encouraged others; dies at 66 Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Imagine a lifestyle so reckless that Who drummer Keith Moon would advise you at one point to slow it down! Such was the case of rock drumming great Dallas Taylor, who pounded the skins for such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Taylor has ... continue reading


Legendary Gospel singer Andrae Crouch dies at 72 Watch

Image of Andrae Crouch along with his sister, Sandra Crouch, lived in the Pacoima area of Los Angeles.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Arguably, the most prominent name attached to Gospel and contemporary Christian music, singer, songwriter and performer Andrae Crouch has died from a massive heart attack at the age of 72. Battling health issues in his later years, such as cancer and diabetes, ... continue reading


'Gangnam Style' breaks YouTube's bank - surpassing 2,147,483,647 views! Watch

Image of Dating as far back as 2012,

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

A high-energy music video with a catchy techno beat has proved that sometimes, there is such a thing as being "too popular." "Said video, "Gangnam Style" by South Korean rapper PSY has proven to be an international super smash. So much so, that YouTube's ... continue reading


Here's the right song for the season! Listen and share, 'Mary Did You Know?' by Pentatonix Watch

Image of Mary did you know?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Here is a new, moving take on a Christmas classic. We know it's a bit early for Christmas, but as long as it moves us closer to Mary and our Beloved Jesus Christ, it transcends the holiday and touches our heart, no matter the season. Mary did you know that your baby ... continue reading


Legendary blues bassist Jack Bruce dies at 71 Watch

Image of Jack Bruce formed Cream with guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker. Bruce along with co-writer Peter Brown, for penning the majority of the band's songs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jack Bruce, bassist and singer for the classic rock group Cream, has died aged 71. He had been suffering from liver disease. Announced on his official Web site this week, his death was confirmed by his publicist Claire Singers. "Jack died today at his home in ... continue reading


Paul Revere of Paul Revere and the Raiders dead at 76 Watch

Image of Paul Revere kept touring well into his later years, in spite of an ongoing battle with cancer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Kicks" keep getting' harder to find, Paul Revere - his real name, sort of - of Paul Revere and the Raiders warned in their hit single. "Kicks" was a staunch anti-drug anthem at a time when a generation was encouraged to tune in, turn and drop out. Decked out ... continue reading


All Music News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
8 Do not count against us the guilt of former ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
13 And we, your people, the flock that you pasture, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:36-38
36 'Be compassionate just as your Father is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 2nd, 2015 Image

Bl. Charles the Good
March 2: In 1086, St. Canute, King of Denmark and father of Blessed ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter