Now that I've finished the private writer's conference, which went well and is now in preparation for next year, I'm getting ready for Write On Con, which will be right before I leave for college. I've also found one more online writing conference to go to! (Editor's Note on 20 October 2012: I would not recommend the new conference after having attended.)
Today, I'm writing about music! Music is very important to me, almost (but not quite) as important as writing. It makes since given that I'm both a singer and a cellist and will be starting out at college as a music minor.
So today, I'm writing about movie soundtracks that I enjoy--by which I mean the scores. Once upon a time, "soundtrack" and "score" were synonymous words. Then someone decided to start creating full CDs of vocal tracks that usually don't even show up in the movie, but which feature famous artists and bring in a lot of money, I'm sure. A few of these are decent (check out "Come Away to the Water" from The Hunger Games soundtrack for example, or "Breath of Life" from Snow White and the Huntsman.) But mostly, I love the scores, all the background orchestral music that plays in the movie. This is because of a mix of my orch dorkiness, the pure awesomeness of movie scores, and the fact that I'm writing books I hope someday will BE movies. Here are my favorite movie scores for you to check out (take note: I only buy scores for movies I've seen):
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Desplat is pretty much my all time favorite score composer. He composed works for movies including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Twilight: New Moon. He's got a great, lush string-centric sound, perfect for epic fantasy or romance stuff, and he makes my day every time I listen. His music doesn't have a happy vibe, exactly, but it's definitely very intense and emotional. Sometimes I cry listening to it. Of course, that could also be because of my Harry Potter obsession....
Some of Desplat's best tracks are "You're Alive" from Twilight, "Obliviate" and "The Elder Wand" from HPDH1, and "Lily's Theme" and "Courtyard Apocalypse" from HPDH2. Actually, most of HPDH2 is really good. Take a listen!
Music by James Newton Howard
This guy is my other big favorite. He composed for The Hunger Games and for Snow White and the Huntsman, both of which are amazing films people must see. He's not a string-centric composer, although string instruments are included. What I like about him is that I've never heard stuff like his before. I don't even know what some of those instruments are. But it's intense yet simple, and creepy when necessary. The tracks fit with the moments onscreen perfectly.
Some of his best are "Escape from the Tower" and "Snow White" from Snow White and the Huntsman, and "Preparing the Chariots/Horn of Plenty" (which really should be one track, I think) and "The Countdown" from The Hunger Games. Oh, and "Rue's Farewell," of course. If you listen, I think you'll get the hint of the type of music he likes to work with. It's really awesome.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The score for this movie series is the classic orchestral obsession. Everyone who plays a string instrument has played this, I can almost guarantee. It's like orchestra's Phantom of the Opera (which singers love). Of course, this means it's slightly overdone, but my gosh is it good. This movie score opened up the way for scores being popular music--plus, it focuses on the electric cello. COME ON. THE ELECTRIC CELLO. Composers Hans Zimmer (one of the kings of movie scores) and Klaus Badelt, guys.
I've not heard the soundtrack for the fourth movie, which I think hardly counts as being one without Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, but the others are all amazing. I'd tell you which individual tracks to listen to, but that would take all day. Start with "The Medallion Calls" and go from there, OK?
More of the Harry Potter scores
Harry Potter is amazing, both in sound, in story, in movies, in life, in author.... have I ever mentioned that J.K. Rowling is my idol? Yeah. She is. I love this series. So naturally, I like the score too. I'm less familiar with the classic John Williams scores of the first few movies (though Williams is probably the most revered score composer of all time). But I do really like the tracks for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince--by Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Nicholas Hooper again--which utilize Williams' original themes.
The best tracks would be "The Quidditch World Cup" and "Death of Cedric" from HPGF, "Fireworks", "Flight of the Order of the Phoenix", and the two Sirius tracks from HPOP, and the first few tracks along with "Into the Rushes", "Journey to the Cave", and "The Weasley Stomp" from HPHBP.
The Chronicles of Narnia
I own and enjoy both The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian soundtracks. Both are done by Harry Gregson Williams, who does a pretty magnificent job at filling the series with similar, epic fantasy themes. I'll bet you anything you'll know it when you hear it. Check out "Raid on the Castle" from Prince Caspian or "The Battle" from Lion, Witch and Wardrobe. It's great stuff.
Of course, there are so many others I love. At left is the cover for X-Men: First Class by Henry Jackson which is the only superhero score I've truly adored, with a very intense modern sound. Check out "First Class" or "Frankenstein's Monster." Then there's Race to Witch Mountain (the recent version) by Trevor Rabin, which has good sci-fi-y tracks like "Unidentified Main Titles." National Treasure is also by Rabin, but it's repetitive. I also like Twilight: Eclipse by Howard Shore, who does great orchestral stuff like "Victoria" and "The Kiss." Inception has some good but low-key stuff, and yes, I have a thing for the Tarzan score. And don't forget Star Wars: check out "Across the Stars," which is the love theme from the second episode, and "The Imperial March," because who doesn't like thinking about Darth Vader?
That essentially covers my soundtrack obsession.
One last thing before I go--on the topic of music, check out the new tracks I uploaded onto the C4 site! Go to Bonus Material/Sample Chapters/Audio, and you'll find, along with the first chapter of ON THE DAWNING, two tracks that I recorded myself. One is a vocal track from the actual text of ON THE DAWNING, done on piano and voice, and the other is a score piece (currently with the interim title "A Theme for the Chosen Four") that I composed and played on cello. I swear, they're not going to bite you, and I sincerely hope they don't make your ears bleed. :) *Editor's Note on 10 October 2016: Content is no longer available.*
See you again on Saturday!
Pictures via albumart.org.
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