Those who REALLY know me, know that i’m quite the fan of classical music. It calms me, is good for facilitating mindfulness, can really plug into your emotions, helps me concentrate, is really good background music. Hell I just really enjoy it.
More and more,over the years, i’m drawn to film and tv scores. You don’t realise how much a movie or tv show is made by it’s soundtrack. The emotion you’re feeling? It’s MORE the music than the dialogue. This was brought home to me recently when re-watching Saving Private Ryan. The scene with the elderley Ryan collapsing in tears at the War Graves, would have little of the emotional impact if it wasn’t for John Williams‘ patriotic, heart tugging music. Watch Lord of the Rings without Howard Shore‘s score and it’s just little people with big feet plodding down a road. Forrest Gump without Alan Silvestri? Nope.
I mentioned earlier, that I love classical music for it’s calming effect, so here’s my top 10 film scores to chill out to (I could just as easily have made a top 10 for invigorating/creepy/workout -delete as appropriate- film scores). It’s way longer than 10 tracks because picking just 10 is a monumental task and i’m bound to change my mind tomorrow.
10.Chi Mai – Ennio Morricone
Chi Mai was used in the films, Maddalena (1971) and Le Professionnel (1981), as well as the TV series, An Englishman’s Castle (1978) and The Life and Times of David Lloyd George (1981).[Because of its appearance on the latter, “Chi Mai” reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart in 1981. It’s also been covered by the Shadows, sampled extensively and used by many supermarket house bands. As a result, it’s becoming dangerously muzak, but I still love it.
9. Father Christmas – Harry Gregson-Williams (Album: Narnia The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe).
8. Amelie Soundtrack – La Valse d’Amélie (Original version)- Yann Tierson.
Tierson is a musician in his own right with many wonderful albums to his name. His music just happened to be chosen for the film Amelie, which if you’ve never seen, you really should. It’s as wonderful and eccentric as this track suggests.
7. Dances with Wolves – John Barry
Not a great fan of the movie but the soundtrack is sublime.
6. Forrest Gump Theme – Alan Silvestri.
5.”Now We Are Free” – Gladiator theme -Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard.
If you are not entertained by this then what is wrong with you?
4. A Beautiful Mind 15: All Love Can Be (James Horner)
An underrated movie with another great film score from James Horner. I considered putting the Titanic score in here but sorry, Celine Dion ruined it for me. Yes, it’s a little bit of a cheat because it’s got vocals and now i’m into songs from movies territory and wondering if I can include Into the West by Annie Lennox but heyho,it is what it is.
3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy – Howard Shore.
Concerning Hobbits is my go-to hiking song and there are many tracks I love from the trilogy but the main theme is clearly the most recognisably Lord of the Rings. Good job sir.
2. Chariots of fire theme – Vangelis.
Chill out or run, this is good for either. Vangelis, synthesisers and the best of British. What’s not to love?
1.John Williams – EVERYTHING.
Possibly the most talented and best-loved composer of modern times. A genius and absolute legend. You know his music even if you haven’t seen his films. Who doesn’t humm the two-note riff to Jaws , every time they even think about a shark? Even kids do it and most of them don’t even know what Jaws is; such is John Williams embedded into our cultural identity. For relaxation purposes i’ve discarded most of his most famous themes and gone with Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan, since it was this theme that got me thinking about this post in the first place.
So you see, film composers are the classical geniuses of the modern day and you should love them as much as I do.
ps: I’ve linked my favourite tracks here from youtube but i do hope you’ll give these composers the money they deserve and buy a track or two (available from all the usual outlets such as itunes, Amazon and good old fashioned record stores).