Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by AntonyF, Oct 10, 2009.
No list of great sci-fi scores is complete without Stu Phillips' Battlestar Galactica...
Jerry Goldsmith. Due to quality, duration of career and innovation with each score.
John Williams was pretty much washed up after Raider of the Lost Ark.
What you said concerning Howard Shore. Regarding John Williams, repetition is a big deal to me; so that pushes him down on my list. Ditto for James Horner. But the late Basil Poledouris kicked ass. He'd be my #2 after Shore. Christophe Beck is #3.
I like lots of them: John Williams (with certain reservations), Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry's early Bond films, etc.
But my favourite genre composer has to be Barry Gray.
I'd definitely have to say John Williams. He created so many sci-fi/fantasy scores that have become, well, timeless classics, I guess.
In addition, I think there's a great variety in the material he produced. "Star Wars"*, for example, is a completely different beast compared to the amazing "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" or "A.I.", for example.
There are definitely many amazing composers out there who've created sci-fi/fantasy scores I love (e.g. Vanglis' music for "Blade Runner", Goldsmith's "Total Recall", Poledouris' "Starship Troopers", and just many, many more). But I think nobody comes close to the body of work that Williams managed to create over several decades.
I definitely also have to mention Bear McCreary. He's still very young, and it's still pretty early in his career. But he has amazed me with the work I've heard so far on nuBSG. If he keeps up like this he could well take over the number one spot. But there's still a long way to go, I think .
*I'd just like to briefly comment on the "Lord of the Rings" music. Personally, I was and am still very disappointed by it, actually. I don't perceive the breadth and depth that was mentioned by Neroon, to be honest. Instead, I find it to be, well, rather lacklustre in its use of 'epic saga clichés' such as the choir that always kicks in when things are supposed to be particularly impressive.
The reason I mention this in connection with the Star Wars scores is that I remember hoping that the "The Lord of the Rings" music would be like a modern version of the "Star Wars" scores, in a sense, delivering the same musical variety in particular with respect to the characters and their themes. But what I heard in the end I found to be far less exciting, varied and engaging.
Well, whatever one thinks of it (I love it to pieces, obviously) I think could be at least fairly said that Howard Shore's score does have quite distinct and varied themes for different characters and groups. The Shire, the Riders of Rohan, Gondor, Sauron, Saruman, etc. all have their own leitmotifs.
For TV (in order top to bottom):
Christopher Franke (B5)
Bear McCreary (BSG)
Joel Goldsmith (Stargate, most recently with SGU)
John Williams (Derivative or not, his stuff rocks)
Michael Giacchino (Incredibles... 'nuff said)
Jerry Goldsmith (Trek)
James Horner (granted most of his stuff sounds alike in places, it still works on film (see: TWOK & Aliens)
The thing is I felt this never really came through in the films. It's hard for me to explain since, yes, obviously, all those themes are there. But for me, personally, they never came close to achieving that same effect that was achieved in the Star Wars scores where the music IMHO not only reflected how characters and places changed but also told part of that story itself.
I think part of the reason might be that, as I mentioned, I find a lot of the music in "The Lord of the Rings" to be rather generic. I suppose the best way I can put it is that I feel the themes from "Star Wars" are firmly based in the "Star Wars" universe whereas I perceive most of the themes in "The Lord of the Rings" to be firmly placed in Hollywood fantasy films.
I also realize now that in my perception you lose part of the story, part of the tale if you take away the "Star Wars" music. I don't have the same feeling towards "The Lord of the Rings" at all. Since it seems rather generic to me you could simply lift cues from other similar movies and it would work as well as it does now.
Just to underline this: This really is just my perception of it. I wished I enjoyed the "The Lord of the Rings" soundtracks more than I do. And I appreciate that many people really love them.
I strongly disagree about Williams, here. His work on the first three "Harry Potter" films stood out form his previous work I think. I thoroughly enjoyed the themes for Fawkes in "Chamber of Secrets" and some of the sweeping themes in "Prisoner of Azkaban" give me chills yet today.
It really can be difficult to describe how & why music affects us or the impressions it leaves on us. Music gets into a person in different ways from what we see. Since we're more used to describing what we SEE, it's easier to convey our impressions there.
It's funny, but I tend to think the same as you but opposite when it comes to Star Wars and LOTR. In Star Wars I tend to hear repetitions that I don't perceive as being intentional. Then again, Star Wars has two particular themes that are iconic in today's pop culture: the original opening fanfare, and the Imperial March. LOTR has nothing like that and very few other films have anything that significant if at all.
What I find in LOTR is a great variation that shows differences in cultures, in more ways than just notes. The instrumentation and choral works for Lothlorien have a distinctly Eastern influence, where as Rivendell is a different type even though both are Elvish communities. When a theme is repeated - such as the fellowship theme for example - it's done with variances in instruments and sometimes tempo, but it's done with a deliberate intent because the characters and story have changed.
Regardless, John Williams probably has a position that no other modern day composer will ever have in American culture at least. Much of that is due to Star Wars. James Horner has composed several of my favorite scores, such as "Titanic" and "Braveheart" and "Apollo 13". On that criterion he might be my favorite. Heck I even answered that on a Facebook quiz. I guess my answer of Howard Shore hear is a bit off the mark, in that it's Shore's work on LOTR that is my all time favorite.... but I don't count any of his other scores among my favorites
Just wanted to throw Murray Gold with his Doctor Who work into the mix....
Read up the thread. Or go to www.google.com, copy and paste his name in and VOILA!
Oh wow... yeah he has to be included here! Myself being new to Who, I'm not very familiar with the people behind the scenes, but he definitely has composed some magnificent scores.
Antony mentioned Christopher Franke earlier, and I have to echo that. His work is so beautiful to me that I've bought most of the soundtrack CDs from the series.
John Williams - For most of his work.
Murray Gold - Doctor Who (favourites are "A Dazzling End", "The Greatest Story Never Told", "This is Gallifrey" and "All the Strange, Strange Creatures")
Alan Silvestri - Back to the Future (favourites are "Doc Returns", "Main Title" of part 3 and the "Main Theme")
Christopher Franke - Babylon 5 (especially for Z'Ha'Dum, Sleeping in the Light and the opening and closing to Lost Tales)
Some of my favorites:
Some I forgot:
"Back to the Future" (trilogy)
"The Omega Man"
And another one from Basil Poledouris:
Goldsmith was a demi-God.
Brian Tyler absolutely has to be recognized for his stunning work on the "Children of Dune" soundtrack. (frequently heard in trailers)
I'm glad to see he is getting a lot of big screen composer jobs these days, although none of them has matched COD yet.
Right now, Bear McCreary is number one. His work on BSG was so original, creative, emotional, different, powerful, memorable... I have the soundtracks and never grow tired of hearing them. He's made a powerful impact and really showed how great music can impact a TV series.
I also really like Michael Giacchino, whose work includes Alias, Lost, M:I:III, The Incredibles and Star Trek.
Christophe Beck's contributions to the early seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were pretty good, too. I have a lot of his tracks.
Of course, I still have love for more well-known icons such as Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Danny Elfman. Their fantastic work is legendary.
I just know I'm gonna get flamed for this, but I found his work dull, uninspired and lifeless. The only things he did remotely right was the re-orchestration of the classic theme and the snippets thereof that were used (such as in the final episode).
I know he did it at Moore's insistance, but Moore obviously caught a case of "tin ear" from Berman with his "minimalist" musical philosophy.
Separate names with a comma.