Saturday, 10 April 2010

Decade in Review: Music of the Night

Somewhere along the line I fizzled out on this series, but it's April and as I said I'm doing the here goes. I like music, actually I used to be obsessed with it (more than books and film, gasp). Not so much anymore, though. I'm probably one of the few who love the music categories at the Oscars though. I've taken a look back over the decade of the pieces of film music that really moved me this past decade.

THE SCORES - I linked to youtube clips of each piece, and embedded my three favourites
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings [Shore] It's as epic as it needs to be and always so moving, especially the bits in the Shire. listen
The Hours [Glass] His use of the wood instruments is startlingly good, the music is just as important as the editing in the joining the lvies of our three women. listen
Cold Mountain [Yared] From the opening note he gets me hooked. Not as lovely as his work on The English Patient, but still excellent. listen
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [Shore] I find it even better than the first two, it's not as made up of refrains as The Two Towers and it's darker than the first. listen
Finding Neverland [Kaczmareck] It's a shame has hasn't done anything notable since. listen    

Pride & Prejudice [Marianelli] I always assumed that actual classical music was being played. The pieces at the ball are particularly jaunty and fun. listen
Atonement [Marianelli]

As soon as that typewriter started clicking I knew I was on to something especial...and I was.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [Desplat]

This particular entry "Mr Gateau" is my favourite portion of the score, but it's all excellent. What a snub that was.
Bright Star [Bradshaw]

What an excellent debut for a newcomer. It's not abundant, but it's excellent.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox [Desplat] listen

It's so different from his good work on Button and Cheri. The music is almost its own character, throroughly original and inventive.
THE SONGS - I linked to youtube clips of each piece, and embedded my three favourites, and another...

"Come What May" from Moulin Rouge! listen

The snub heard around the world...this was due to the always weird rules of the Oscar's music branch.  Moulin Rouge!'s love duet is so lovely and it's so nice hearing Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman harmonise. Isn't it?
"May It Be" from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings  listen

Enya is a talented singer, and her vocalising is major part of why this track is always so haunting. It sets the perfect tone for the trilogy.

"I Move On" from Chicago

I liked this song fine when I heard it play over the credits with Roxie and Velma hoping to "move on", but it was when a pregnant Catherine Zeta Jones and Queen Latifah performed it at the Oscars that I realised the beauty of this number. Ebb and Kander know a thing or two about excellence, and this song is just that.
"Scarlet Tide" from Cold Mountain

Alison Krauss is a talented singer and her ballads for Cold Mountain are lovely. This song easily stands out as my favourite film number of the decade. It's eerie how much the words have to do with the plot for the film...just lovely.
"Into the West" from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King listen

Annie Lennox's number for the trilogy features as a good companion piece for "May It Be". I won't lie, I shed a tear as the credits starting rolling at the cinema and this tune started playing. For shame.

"Learn to Be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera

Even though I actively loathe Andrew Lloyd Webber, hearing Beyonce sing this at the Oscars (remember tha year?) made me realise that the man has his moments. The ballad is simple, but in no way pedestrian and it fits so perfectly with the life of The Phantom. It's not my favourite of the ten, but it really is an excellent performance from Ms. Knowles.


"Falling Slowly" from Once listen
Who doesn't at least like this? Just beautiful.      

"So Close" from Enchanted listen

This stood out as my favourite of the enchanted numbers. It doesn't really do that much in context of the film, but it's a good song nonetheless.
"Once In A Lifetime" from Cadillac Records listen

2008 was a travesty in terms of the song category, they snubbed Springsteen and they snubbed this good piece from Cadillac Records, an underappreciated film. I'm still not sure how it ties to the film's plot (which is probably why it was not nominated), but it really is something special - says me.
"Smoke Without A Fire" from An Education 

It's so clear that the film was written with Jenny Mellor in mind when you listen to the lyrics, and Duffy's unique voice makes it all the more moving with no schmaltz.
Well, you know my taste in films...but what are your thoughts on my musical tastes? Which score remain in your memories from this past decade, which songs can't you stop humming?


Jose said...

I really like the music cats at the Oscars too, damn them all who underrate them!

My fave scores would be:
Far From Heaven
The Hours
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Fellowship of the Ring
The Painted Veil
The Assassination of Jesse James

Come What May
I Move On
You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger
Falling Slowly
Lose Yourself

Robert said...

Great, great choices!!! This decade has been full of fantastic scores. I would definitely add Harry Potter, it's one of my all time favorites.

joe burns said...

Yeah, Far From Heaven would definitely make my list, and I would add Spirited Away as well. The Hours was also great too. 2002 was a fantastic year for films and music!

Peter Chan said...

I've always loved the music categories in film even if the branch is a little screwy. Here are my faves from last decade:

- The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
- Slumdog Millionaire
- A Single Man
- Cassandra's Dream
- Road To Perdition
- The Hours
- The Motorcycle Diaries

- Come What May (OF COURSE!)
- 'Come So Far' (Hairspray)
- 'So Close' (Enchanted), so glad you mentioned this gem
- 'Upside Down' (Curious George)
- 'Love You I Do' (Dreamgirls)
- 'You Know My Name' (Casino Royale)

CrazyCris said...

Lord! It's going to take me all day to listen to this post and by the time I get to the end I'll have finished the beginning!

I used to be a soundtrack fanatic as well! There used to be a time I'd buy anything by John Williams, and then I started branching out. I'd make notes when walking out of a movie if that was a soundtrack I needed to add to my Christmas wish list. I've stopped buying them due to budget considerations, and the annoying fact that they're never on sale and are always more expensive than the actual movie on dvd!!! grrrr

I have all 3 LOTR soundtracks, and have been salivating over the 3 "special edition" sets that include the FULL 3h score.

The piece you chose from ROTK is indeed hauntingly beautiful, and I remember loving to hear Aragorn sing part of it! His singing was such a big deal in the books and this is the only time that's referenced in the movies.

As for Glass and his piano pieces... anytime! Makes for lovely hours just contemplating, or lulling yourself to sleep at night.

Yared I mainly think the English Patient as well.

And that piece you selected from Pride and Prejudice gives me goosebumps at times! Marianelli has been added to my "to listen to" list for some time now. :o)
(and yes those typewriter clicks... perfect!)

Desplat... this is actually one of the few soundtracks I've bought in the past couple of years... beautiful!

Bright Star, haven't seen it yet! :o(

I'll have to wait until later to listen to the songs... :p

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

jose ugh. i just barely left off the assassination score for finding neverland...i'm already regretting it.

robert the soundtrack for prisoner of azkaban is somewhere in the top 20.

joe 2002 waas a good year for everything cinematic.

peter chan despite it's oscar win i always appreciated road to perdition's score more than i liked it.

crazy cris glad you're taking this so seriously :) and you do need to see bright star. i still don't get how desplat is still without an oscar, sigh.

CrazyCris said...

he'll get there... all good things come to those who wait! ;o)
and he's too good for them to ignore him for long...

I don't even know when Bright Star will be hitting screens in Spain! :o( sigh!

Just back from the movies (Clive Owen is fabulous in "The Boys are Back"!) and now on to those songs! :p

CrazyCris said...

damn! Firefox crashed while I was listening to the songs and writing up a massive comment that I can't quite repeat... so I'll just say thx for reminding me of all these lovely songs! :o)