Music Break: The Artist’s Waltz for Peppy

Happy Friday everybody. Hope y’all had a nice Valentine’s Day yesterday.

I listen to Classical MPR radio on my commute to work and yesterday morning there were a lot of Valentine dedications and they’re playing some beautiful, sweeping waltzes. One of them is Waltz for Peppy from the gorgeous soundtrack of The Artist. Oh I just love that music so much I wish I could play it on repeat!

TheArtist_Dance

Somehow I missed including George Valentin & Peppy Miller in my list of 14 favorite movie couples! So this is my way to make it up for them. I love this scene when Peppy auditions as a dancer and George spots her, and he then insists that she gets a part in Kinograph Studios’ next production, despite the studio boss’ objections.


Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are simply sublime. Apparently director Michel Hazanavicius played music from classic Hollywood films throughout the shoot while the actors performed.

The soundtrack is composed by French composer Ludovic Bource and was recorded in Belgium by the Brussels Philharmonic. It has won pretty much every single film award that year, including BAFTA, César, Golden Globes, and the Oscar for Best original Score. The music is even more crucial and affecting the fact that it’s a silent film, and it fits the playful yet sweet tone of the film so perfectly.

I remember being absolutely enchanted by this film when I first saw it two years ago (I gave it a 5 star review). I haven’t seen it since. Listening to this makes me want to watch it again real soon.


Hope you enjoy today’s music. What do you think of The Artist?

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Music Break: 1995 Sabrina’s Soundtrack

sabrina1995posterI just realized I haven’t done a Music Break since last November! Well I’m feeling rather melancholy tonight so I watched a little bit of the 1995 version of Sabrina. I adore this movie… it’s just sooo enchanting. It’s a modern-day Cinderella story of sort. Sabrina Fairchild, the chauffeur of the billionaire Larrabee family, is a bit of an ugly duckling whose sudden transformation into a beautiful woman end up standing in the way of a Billion dollar deal.

Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear are not what one would expect as the Larrabee brothers but both worked well here. Julia Ormond is lovely as Sabrina… gorgeous but vulnerable. People who love the original probably scoff that Ormond & Ford are no [Audrey] Hepburn & [Humphrey] Bogart, I think it’s a bit unfair. I thought Ford is perfect as the workaholic, a bit curmudgeon Linus who unexpectedly falls for the carefree Sabrina. And Kinnear is surprisingly charming and affable as the billionaire playboy David. They made those roles their own and they suit the time and era they’re in. Truth be told, after seeing the original, I actually enjoy this remake better [sorry Michael!]

I never get tired of this movie… Syndey Pollack’s direction mixes drama and comedy deftly and boy does he have an eye for scenery. This movie is just gorgeous to look at, everything from the Larrabee estates to the streets of Paris where Sabrina took her long walks are exquisite shot.

But even more beautiful that the scenery is John Williams’ music. This theme song is one of my favorites from his extensive collection, definitely made my top ten scores from this genius composer. It’s so elegant, lush, mesmerizing… and also heartbreaking.

I love Sting’s voice and it works surprisingly well for Moonlight. I listen to this track often… it never fails to sweep me off my feet. Linus tells Sabrina “It’s as though a lovely breeze has swept through this whole house” And the song has that same quality to me… it’s just mesmerizing and the melody has such a timeless feel to it.

There is another song called How Can I Remember sung by Michael Dees that is lovely as well, and I love the moment La Vie en Rose was played as Sabrina recites the quote from Gertrude Stein “America is my country, and Paris is my home town.”

Williams composed this soundtrack two years after Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, two other favorites from his work. It’s amazing how he could make one iconic score after another. Even hearing just a couple of notes you instantly know what that music is and it’d take me back to that specific movie.

Sabrina was nominated for Best Original Music and Best Original Song (Moonlight) at the Oscars in 1995, but neither one won.


Hope you enjoyed the soundtrack. What’s your favorite score by John Williams?

Music Break – Favorite fairy tale music inspired by ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’

I just started catching up on the ABC show Once Upon A Time this past weekend, so that inspired me to pick the music for today’s Music Break. I’ve only watched two episodes from the first season but I quite like it so far, though some of the acting is a bit over the top. As someone growing up with Disney fairy tale movies, the premise appeals to me so we’ll see if the show has enough going for it to keep me interested. Nice to see Robert Carlyle in it as Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold. The Glasgow-native is easily the best actor on that show, and no I’m not just saying that for my penchant for Scottish actors ;)

Anyway, inspired by that show, here are three favorite fairy tale music from the classic and current fairy tale movies:

SNOW WHITE (1937)

You can’t beat the classics. Even 75 years later, Snow White is still hot property, what with two films made with that character this year alone! There are really too many to choose from as the whole soundtrack is great, but I love this finale of Love’s First Kiss. It’s enchanting, sweet and full of hope, the kind of stuff Disney music is known for, and the choir singing Someday my Prince will come really warms the heart.

Original music by Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith, with Adriana Caselotti and Harry Stockwell as the voice of Snow White and Prince Charming, respectively.


P.S. My all time favorite music from Disney ‘Princess’ movies is actually Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty, which I’ve highlighted in a stand alone post a year ago.

TANGLED (2010)

Tangled is Disney’s 50th animated feature and it boast the maestro that is Alan Menken as the composer. I grew up listening to his Disney songs, it’s amazing how he could keep churning up beautiful music for every piece that fits the theme of the film so perfectly! According to IMDb trivia, he’s currently tied with famed costume designer Edith Head for third most Academy Awards won, with eight Oscar win. He has won best score and best song for four Disney animated movies: The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and Pocahontas (1995).

This romantic piece is by far my favorite from the film. I always tear up every time I watch it. The scenery with all those lanterns are pure Disney magic, I love Rapunzel’s face as she watches them fly to the sky. I LOVE both Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi’s voice in the duet, I had no idea he could sing so well! I was rooting for this to win Best Original Song at the Oscar, but ironically, Randy Newman’s We Belong Together for Pixar’s Toy Story 3 ended up taking the trophy.

BRAVE (2012)

I was thrilled when I heard that Scottish composer Patrick Doyle was going to work on this film! I LOVE his work in Sense & Sensibility and Thor, among others (see my tribute post). Per Wiki, in order to bring some of Scotland’s native flavor to the music, Doyle used native Scottish instruments such as bagpipes, a solo fiddle, Celtic harps, flutes and the bodhrán, with an electronically treated dulcimer and cimbalom to give it a more contemporary feel. “I employed many classic Scottish dance rhythms such as reels, jigs, and strathspeys, which not only serve the action but keep it authentic,” said Doyle.

Well the result is a gorgeous and lush Celtic music that adds so much to the authenticity of the film. I like the joyful and rousing Touch The Sky that matches the exuberance of Princess Merida, but my favorite is the instrumental piece that captures the Scottish theme so well. I LOVE this one called Legends Are Lessons, especially after the 2:35 mark when the bagpipes start playing. I wish I could be transported to the Scottish Highlands as I’m listening to it! :D


I hope you enjoy these songs. What are YOUR favorite Disney/Pixar soundtrack?

Top Five Favorite Andy Williams Songs

A piece of sad news came over the radio waves this morning as I heard that legendary crooner Andy Williams passed away after a year-long battle with bladder cancer at the age of 84.

My mother was a huge fan of his music, along with other popular vocalists in the 60s and 70s like Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro, etc. so I grew up listening to his songs. There might have been at least a half dozen Andy Williams CDs at my house, and every Christmas, his holiday album would be a staple.

His photos in his album covers always show a warm, inviting smile… on top of being one of the world’s greatest singers, the Iowa-born gentleman is also a natural entertainer. No wonder his TV variety show aptly titled The Andy Williams Show was a huge success, it ran for almost a decade from 1962 – 1971. If it were around now I’d sure be watching that as he often showcased fellow singing legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, etc. His charming, easy-going personality made him the perfect host for a variety of award shows like the Grammys, the Golden Globes, etc. which he did a few times.

I LOVE his high baritone voice, it’s just so beautiful and soothing to listen to. Somehow his vibrant, genial personality always come through his songs, whether it’s an upbeat tune or a more melancholy one.

A lot of his songs have been used time and time again in various films. Hi signature song is of course Moon River, one of my personal favorites that got a lot of play in my house growing up. The song from Audrey Hepburn film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) won an Oscar for Best Original Song and Mr. Williams sang the song during the Oscar ceremony.

As a tribute to the music legend, here are five of my favorite songs:


A Time for Us


Can’t Get Used to Loving You


Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You


It’s The Most Wonderful Time in the World


Moon River



So what’s YOUR favorite Andy Williams’ song(s)?

Music Break: John William’s iconic Superman theme

The worst thing about the Man of Steel movie is how long the wait it. The movie isn’t scheduled to arrive until June 14, 2013. Bah, that’s a year away, so right now, I’d be happy if I’d see a trailer, which will likely arrive around Comic-Con in two weeks, yay! I’d love to see if the rumor about the Kryptonian war possibly playing a big part in the movie (per GeekTyrant) is true or not. Is that why they hired Maximus as Jor-El? :)

Anyway, we’re here to talk about the music and this post was sparked by the news I heard last week that Hans Zimmer will be scoring the Zack Snyder’s movie. Now, with Christopher Nolan being one of the producers, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by Zimmer’s involvement. Zimmer’s worked on four of Nolan’s movies: all three of the Batman films and Inception.

I’m a big fan of the German’s composer’s work, as I’ve outlined in my top five list from last year. He’s certainly done a lot of great scores in the past, but even a composer of his caliber should realize the daunting task ahead of him. In this FirstShowing article, he’s quoted as saying

You are allowed to reinvent, but you have to try to be as good or at least as iconic and it has to resonate and it has to become a part of the zeitgeist. That’s the job.

Photo courtesy of capedwonder.com/music

So he obviously realized that with John Williams has created one of the most iconic scores in the history of cinema, at least as far as superhero movies are concerned.

In last year’s Hero Complex Film Festival, Donner talked about how he got to work with John Williams, which was recommended by Steven Spielberg. It’s interesting how that came to be as Williams initially wasn’t available due to another project (it might have been Close Encounter of the Third Kind), so Jerry Goldsmith, who scored Donner’s The Omen, was hired. But then the schedule was pushed back again and Donner lost Goldsmith, but Williams became available. Talk about fate, eh?

Upon hearing the Superman theme for the first time, he said he was thunderstruck. “I couldn’t believe it, tears to my eyes…” Donner told Geoff Boucher, “He’s a genius, he’s a genius.” Donner even said in the interview that if we listened to the music very carefully, it’s almost as if you could hear the music say the word Superman. It’s like the music itself has superpowers!

Let’s take a listen at that wonderful rousing score right now…

I also adore the LOVE THEME of Superman which has romantic and sweeping feel to it, but still as majestic as the main theme. The Can You Read My Mind sequence is just hard to top, with Margot Kidder reciting the lyrics… she pretty much sums up how every young girl feels watching that scene, wishing it was us in Lois’ place ;)

Now, even though I think Zimmer is brilliant, I really don’t know how anyone could top that score. I feel that I think Snyder and Nolan should somehow keep the March theme, at least during Superman’s first flying sequence. I mean, this score is practically as inseparable as James Bond’s theme with 007 movies. I know Bryan Singer did use part of the score in Superman Returns, so it’d be weird to see Superman flying without that iconic score.


So what say you folks? Do you think John William’s Superman theme should be use in Man of Steel? Let’s hear it.

Music Break: Casino Royale Score (City of Lovers)

Happy Thursday everyone! It’s been over a month since my last music break, and I definitely could use one today.

As a preview to our monthly Bond post coming next week, I feel like highlighting one of my favorite Bond scores. I’ve posted my top five Bond title songs, but as far as main scores go, this one is definitely on the top of my list. So much so that it’s one of the twelve piece of music I wish I have with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island. I might as well bring the Blu-ray too, it’s not just a great Bond film, it’s a great film, period.

The whole soundtrack is splendid, but City of Lovers is by far my favorite. It’s a love theme of sort as it’s played during the scene when Bond and Vesper arrives in Venice. It’s an impossibly gorgeous day and Bond has just typed in his resignation. He’s a man in love. But we know that such blissful state is short-lived and there is something hauntingly melancholic in this score… yet the soothing, elegant strings has that buoyant effect that gets me every time.


What I love about this score is that it sounds a lot like the classic John Barry’s Bond themes of the 60s and 70s, but there’s something fresh and edgy about ‘em. So it’s no surprise that composer David Arnold is apparently a big fan of the Bond franchise, AND of Barry’s work. In fact, it’s Barry who recommended Arnold to Barbara Broccoli for Tomorrow Never Dies, having been impressed with his Bond-related project called Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project. (per Wiki) Since then the English composer has worked on the scores for two other Pierce Brosnan’s Bond movies, this one and Quantum of SolaceI do think this is the best and most memorable soundtrack since Barry left the franchise.

I’m looking forward to what Thomas Newman will bring to the table with Skyfall. He’s worked numerous times with director Sam Mendes in American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road. Meanwhile, Arnold will be working on the score for the opening ceremony for this year’s Summer Olympics in London.


Are you a fan of Casino Royale‘s soundtrack? Please share YOUR favorite Bond score.

Music Break: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

I’m not feeling too well today so naturally I turn to lush, gorgeous music to make me feel better and this one just immediately came to mind. In fact, as I said in my Cinema Paradiso review, I had fallen in love with Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack long before I finally saw the film. Of course the film itself is just as beautiful as the music and I have since bought the Blu-ray and hope to re-watch it soon.

I didn’t know until much later that the Roman-born, 83-year-old composer is more well-known for his work in Spaghetti Westerns directed by his friend Sergio Leone, including A Fistful of DollarsThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West. He ended up composing music for over 40 Westerns. Not a fan of that genre, my favorite soundtrack of his are the non-Western soundtracks such as The Mission, The Untouchables, and of course Cinema Paradiso, which I regard as one of my all time favorite movie music.

I read a while ago that the composer was involved very early in the process with the film’s director Giuseppe Tornatore, even as early as the screenplay process, which perhaps explain the integral part the music plays in the film. Now, this love theme was composed by Ennio’s son Andrea, and they shared their BAFTA win for Best Original Score.


I’m often drawn to music that truly stirs the soul, one that gets me feeling all emotional, the more tear-inducing the better. This melody is so hauntingly beautiful, poignant, romantic, heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. It’s impossible not to be moved by the story of bittersweet relationship between a young Italian boy and a local cinema projectionist… and the music is the perfect complement to such a marvelous film. It’s one of those evocative music that soothes the soul and warms the heart. It also takes me back to the wonderful scenes of the protagonist Toto and Alfredo in that charming Sicilian village.

Normally I prefer the instrumental version of a soundtrack but a few years ago, I discovered this lovely song by Monica Mancini (Henry Mancini’s daughter) titled Remember… I absolutely love it, the melody, the lyrics, her voice. I like it so much that I bought her CD. Take a listen below…


Cinema Paradiso‘s soundtrack the kind of music as timeless as the everlasting magic of the cinema… a masterpiece work by a maestro that can be enjoyed by any generation for years to come.


Have you seen Cinema Paradiso? What’s your favorite Ennio Morricone’s work?

Music Break: Top 10 Favorite John Williams Score

I’ve been meaning to write a tribute for one of my favorite composers for a while and since February 8th is his 80th Birthday, it seems like a good a time as any.

As I’ve mentioned several times on my blog, my two all time favorite music genres are classical and movie soundtracks, so naturally I have a soft spot for John Williams’ Neoromanticism style of music. They’re not only iconic but also beautiful to listen to.

Just a brief history on Mr. Williams courtesy of Wikipedia:

John Towner Williams was born in Long Island, New York. His father was a jazz percussionist who played with the Raymond Scott Quintet. In 1948, the Williams family moved to Los Angeles where he went to school and later attended UCLA, studying privately with the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. In 1952, Williams was drafted into the U.S. Air Force, where he conducted and arranged music for the Air Force Band as part of his assignments. After that he moved to New York City and entered the Juilliard School. During this time, Williams worked as a jazz pianist in New York’s many clubs and eventually studios, most notably for composer Henry Mancini.

Williams’s first major film composition was for the B movie Daddy-O in 1958, and his first screen credit came two years later in Because They’re Young. Williams received his first nomination for an Academy Award for his film score for Valley of the Dolls (1967), and then was nominated again for his score for Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969). With his double Oscar nominations this year for War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin, he is now officially the most Oscar-nominated film composers of all time. Previously he tied the record with Randy Newman’s uncle Alfred Newman with 45 nominations! Williams is not only a prolific movie composer but he also spent over a decade as the Principal Conductor for Boston Pops Orchestra, as well as write music for various TV programs and high-profile events such as the Olympic games.

His longtime collaboration with Steven Spielberg began in 1974 for Spielberg’s feature directorial debut,The Sugarland Express. But it’s their second collaboration in Spielberg’s second film Jaws that perhaps remained his greatest work of all time. That two-note motif is perhaps the most instantly-recognizable score ever conceived and you can’t listen to it without thinking of shark or danger in the water!

I’ve always wondered about the secret of his method, churning out amazing score one after another for the past five decades! This site has a glimpse of insight into his process of writing music for the movies:

My choice always is not to read scripts. I’d rather go into a projection room and look at a film to have that same pristine, unprepared reaction that the audience will have, however special effects (added later) complicate that process.

I’ll run the scene several times and have a timing cue sheet that’s been prepared for the scene, and then I’ll write three or four bars and go back and look at it and then write four bars more and look at it again. And it’s a constant process of writing, looking, checking, running it in my mind’s ear against the film, even conducting with a stopwatch against the action of the film. It’s driven almost measure by measure by the film itself.

Now, though I have quite a few favorite movie composers, I’d be typically hard pressed to name even just five favorite scores from most of them, but the thing with John Williams is, it’s actually more difficult to narrow down to just 10! In any case, here are my top five favorite work that still moves me every time I listen to it. Now, I’m going to be running out of adjectives before I’m even done with my list! :)

In any case, here they are in random order:

SUPERMAN

This glorious main theme definitely echoes the theme of truth, justice and the American way. The rousing score always evokes childhood nostalgia every time I hear it and never fail to lift my spirits. But it’s this love theme is what gets me every time… there’s something so ethereal and otherworldly about it yet sooo romantic. No matter how many superhero movies they’ve made since Superman: The Movie, there’s still no scene that can hold a candle to that ‘can you read my mind?’ scene.


JURASSIC PARK

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this score. I know there is nothing romantic about flesh-eating T-Rex but somehow the music gets me feeling warm and fuzzy. I guess the only word I could find to describe it is majestic… it somehow captures the wonderment the characters feel when they first arrive on the island. There is a hint of something enigmatic and even menacing amidst such a lush sounding arrangement.


INDIANA JONES

Just like the movie, this score awakens your spirit of adventure. It’s so full of energy and sense of fun all around, but towards the middle of the score it gets a bit serious and majestic-sounding, only to start again with another rousing fanfare to finish it off. I always picture Harrison Ford’s crooked smile in his sweaty disheveled glory every time this theme is playing.


SCHINDLER’S LIST

Movie music doesn’t get more heartbreaking than this. Itzhak Perlman’s masterful violin solo just touches you right down to your core. If this music doesn’t move you in some way even without having seen the film, you might want to check your pulse. Sometimes music can convey certain expression no words ever could… such as the horror of the Holocaust. Yet no matter how dire life gets, there is always a glimmer of hope, and this haunting score reflects that.


EMPIRE OF THE SUN

This score is perhaps not as well-known as the others he’s done but I remember really liking it when I saw the film just last year (check out my review). At times it’s jubilant and full of wonder like the young Christian Bale’s character, but at times it depicts the grim and gloomy-ness of the war.


STAR WARS – Duel of the Fates

I know that the main Star Wars theme is the most celebrated and I do agree it’s one of the best and most identifiable of all his work, but I love this one in particular from the prequel trilogy. It takes place during the epic battle scene between two Jedi masters Qui-Gon Jinn & Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Per WikiWilliams stated the chorus was introduced to give a religious, temple-like feel to the epic lightsaber duel. Williams compared the setting of the battle to a pagan altar, and that the duel itself “seems like a dance or a ballet, a religious ceremony of some kind, probably ending in the death of one of the combatants.” I actually love this score so much that I used it as the accompaniment to a trailer for Face/Off I did in a video class.


E.T.

Oh the nostalgia this music brings. The first time I saw this movie I was a wee kid, but the music always brings back my memory of the most famous extra-terrestrial being ever put on film. It’s so wholesome and sweet, nothing science-fiction-y about it, simply a marvelously magical relationship between a boy and his weird-but-friendly-looking alien friend.


HARRY POTTER – Hedwig’s Theme

Now that I’ve listened to this theme again, somehow it reminds me a bit of the Home Alone score he did years before. Hey there’s nothing wrong with recycling one’s own music. Hans Zimmer does it all the time and I’m sure so do other famous composers. Again, the second you hear the twinkling sound of this score, you instantly know it’s about that boy who lived. The magical-sounding tune is just gorgeous and it has that aura of mystery yet innocent feel about it.


SABRINA

If I could only bring ONE score of John Williams to a desert island, I’d easily take this one. I adore the movie and fell in love with the soundtrack. In fact, for quite a while the CD is a staple listening every night for me, it’s so dreamy and romantic. Like the protagonist, there’s something so inherently graceful about this music… and when she is in Paris and La vie en Rose is playing, I just want to be transported to Paris right then and there. The two songs in the soundtrack, How Can I Remember and Sting’s In The Moonlight are absolutely breathtaking as well.


THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN

Part of what I love about Spielberg’s movie is John Williams’ energetic and whimsical score! I don’t know if Mr. Williams actually read the comics as part of his research… he must have as he somehow just nailed that adventurous spirit of the Belgian journalist and his quirky relationship with the mercurial Captain Haddock. It’s also the score that doesn’t  bear too much of Williams’ signature style, making it sound fresh and even youthful.


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Well, those are my top ten favorite… now join me in paying tribute to this great composer by sharing some of your favorites from his prolific work.

Music Break: Mozart in the Movies

Today January 27th 2012, marks the 256th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birth. I listen to classical NPR to and from work a lot and they’re promoting a special program commemorating this event. Well, as my two of my all time favorite music genres are classical and soundtracks, I thought I’d sort of combine the two in today’s music break post.

Tom Hulce as Mozart in AMADEUS

Just a bit of history on one of the greatest classical composers of all time… Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria and started composing from the age of five and already performed before European royalty at such a young age. He only lived until the age of 35, but in such a short life he was incredibly prolific and influential. Per Wikipedia, he composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers and his music will always remain timeless.

Whether you notice it or not, you’ve likely have heard Mozart’s music in all kinds of films. Whatever the genre, Mozart’s music seems to have a place in a variety of them. This forum from a few years ago compiled over 400 movie titles from all over the world that uses Mozart’s music. And this site actually compiles a list of how many times Mozart’s work has been used in dozens of films.

This piece called Eine kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) is the most widely used, 13 times as of 2006, in movies ranging from Ace Ventura, Bonfire of the Vanities to Nikita, and of course it’s part of the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film about the musical genius, Amadeus (1984) .


If you haven’t seen Amadeus, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not a fan of classical music, it’s still a fascinating story and the film was amazingly done. It won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham for his superb performance as Antonio Salieri, Mozart’s main rival. Tom Hulce in the title role was also nominated for an Oscar. The film is told in flashback mode by Salieri who’s now confined to an insane asylum. Check out the trailer below:


My introduction to Mozart in movies is actually courtesy of an unlikely source, a James Bond film! Ahah, yes, it was The Spy Who Loved Me as it’s played in this scene where Bond’s arch nemesis Stromberg played Piano Concerto No. 21 as his octopus-like hideout rises from the sea. I didn’t even know it was a Mozart piece until much later as I was only a wee kid at the time. I was mesmerized by that music… and Jaws’ teeth :D It remains one of my all time favorites to this day.


Alexandre Desplat’s Oscar-nominated soundtrack for The King’s Speech also uses Mozart’s piece La Nozze di Figaro. One of my favorite parts about this film is definitely the music, and naturally classical music is fitting for the subject matter.


So those are just some of my favorite Mozart’s music in movies. Do you have one? Please do share in the comments.

Music Break: Five Fave Scores from Gregory Peck Films

Hello all, I’m kind of taking a blogging break today… I was going to write a review of The Artist but I’ll save that for next week. So how about a bit of movie music to perk up your day.

Peck on the set of 'Duel in the Sun'

As you already know, my recent Gregory Peck marathon has been a blast. Out of the eighteen films of his I’ve watched so far, quite a few of them actually have a memorable soundtrack. Here are five of my favorites so far:

To Kill a Mockingbird

Elmer Bernstein crafted this beautiful, evocative score to match the poignant masterpiece. This particular one in the opening sequence captures the childlike wonderment of Atticus Finch’s kids, Scout and Jem. Such an amazing melody that makes me well up with tears of joy every time I hear it.

The Big Country

This one reminds me of the Marlboro theme song used in the TV commercials I saw growing up. I LOVE this score and it’s just perfect for this epic Western, it captures the lush and majestic feel of the American West. It makes me want to go out there and ride a horse into the sunset… preferably with Mr. Jim McKay by my side ;)

Spellbound

I heard on NPR a while ago that Hitchcock knew that music can convey emotion in ways images cannot, hence the music in his films almost like a character on its own. This particular one by Miklós Rózsa is quite memorable, it’s mysterious & suspenseful, though at times it feels a bit overwhelming. According to Wiki, Hitchcock actually wasn’t fond of this music, saying that “…it got in the way of his direction.”


Arabesque

This fun score is reminiscent of 1960s Bond-esque theme songs. A longtime Stanley Donen collaborator Henry Mancini added a bit of Middle Eastern flair and a sense of whimsy to fit the plot. It may not be as memorable as his other works such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Charade, but I think it’s as entertaining as the movie.

Guns of Navarone

I wasn’t familiar with Dimitri Tiomkin’s work before my Gregory Peck’s marathon, but he wrote the score for Duel in the Sun and this one. He apparently wrote the score for It’s a Wonderful Life as well. This rousing score captures the bravery and adventure of the six Allied troops portrayed in the film, no wonder this stands as one of the most celebrated war movie themes.


Hope you enjoy this music break. Any particular favorite from the list?