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Get to know the facts behind the finest scores from the 2000's, including Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hans Zimmer's The Da Vinci Code and Dario Marinelli's Pride and Prejudice.
One of Disney's biggest success stories of the past 10 years, Pirates of the Caribbean, based on the theme park ride of the same name, boosted Johnny Depp to pure superstardom. Central to this entertaining swash-buckling adventure has been its score, however the story of its creation is one of the strangest in film music lore. Composer Alan Silvestri was originally hired to write the music, however Silvestri left due to creative differences between himself and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. So director Gore Verbinski called upon Hans Zimmer to write the score, who declined to do the bulk of the composing, as he was busy scoring The Last Samurai. So the task fell to a relative newcomer to Hollywood - Klaus Badelt. Despite this, Zimmer stayed on to collaborate with Badelt on the main themes, but since the schedule was very tight and the music was needed for the film in three weeks, seven other composers — Ramin Djawadi, James Dooley, Nick Glennie-Smith, Steve Jablonsky, Blake Neely, James McKee Smith, and Geoff Zanelli — were called upon to help orchestrate the music and write additional cues! Though 9 seperate composers deserve credit for Pirates' music, the much-loved main theme is credited to Klaus Badelt, and has propelled him as one of Hollywood's in demand composers.
Watch the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting and you're looking at something approaching a 12-hour cinematic experience. But even if you were to just sit and listen to all of Howard Shore's music for the epic trilogy you won't save much time - the Academy Award-winning composer wrote over 10 hours of music for Peter Jackson's stunning adaptation, the most famous of which is the main theme, otherwise known as The Road Goes Ever On, a lilting pastoral masterpiece that embodies the pastoral surroundings of the Shire and the extraordinary journey ahead in just a few minutes. As well as winning Oscars for both the first and third of the Rings trilogy, Shore reworked his music into the 2004 Lord of the Rings Symphony, a format that has proved incredibly popular around the world. In this travelling concert, the work has six movements, two from each of the three films, performed by a large symphony orchestra and a choir, set against on-screen images.
Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard's score for Ridley Scott's Roman masterpiece was nominated for an Academy Award. It's a powerful score, complete with Wagner-like anthems of war, particularly in the scene of Commodus's entry into Rome, accompanied by music evocative of the Prelude to Das Rheingold and Siegfried's Funeral March from Götterdämmerung—from Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungs. Some however felt that Hans Zimmer's score bore too close a resemblance to the great composers of the past - in June 2006, the Holst Foundation sued Hans Zimmer for allegedly copying the late Gustav Holst's work, after it was noted taht music for many of the battle scenes were similar to Holst's "Mars: The Bringer of War".
Scarlett Johansson was the servant girl who wins the attention of the Dutch painter Vermeer, played by Colin Firth in this film named after a painting of the same name by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. The film was noted for its striking colours similar to the painting its based on. Alexandre Desplat provided the understated, effective music which would go on to be nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He lost out to Lord of the Rings and Cold Mountain respectively, but he would go on to win a Golden Globe in 2007 for Painted Vail, before finally reining victorious at the BAFTAs in 2011 for The King's Speech.
Hans Zimmer produced a powerful spine-tingling score, full of chanting monks and ethereal sopranos, for Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown_s hugely successful novel. With a huge orchestra at his desposal, Zimmer set out to create what he described as a dramatic stained glass cathedral feeling, in keeping with the film's religious subject. The score was recorded at London's Abbey Road, and Zimmer would go on to receive a nomination at the 2007 Golden Globes for Best Original Score for his work.
Using the piano sonatas of Beethoven as his springboard, composer Dario Marianelli set about writing a soundtrack that sounds as if it could have actually have been heard by any of Jane Austin's characters. Indeed, given that several scenes involve some of the characters playing a piano, Marianelli found himself in the unconventional position of actually having to have music ready well before the film's completion. The soundtrack also features contributions from acclaimed pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet who was accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra. So evocative is the music in this film that it_s difficult to shake the feeling that it would have met with the approval of Jane Austin.
Ang Lee's fantastic martial arts movie wowed audiences as much as Tan Dun's magical soundtrack. Composer Tan Dun is chiefly known as a writer of breathtakingly original "concept" works of modern music - works like 'Paper Concerto for Paper Instruments' and 'Orchestra' - and his score for CTHD was equally imaginative. Tan Dun not only won the Best Foreign Language Oscar but also gave Tan Dun an Academy Award for his brilliant soundtrack.
Alongside the title song performed by Madonna (who also had a small acting role in the film), the twentieth Bond film Die Another Day featured a score from David Arnold, who also penned music for Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Like his previous Bond outings, David Arnold made use of electronic rhythm elements in his score for Die Another Day, and even included two of the new themes originally created for The World Is Not Enough.
Michael Nyman has cited his luscious romantic soundtrack for Michael Winterbottom's film Wonderland as his favourite score. It is the first of many collaborations of Nyman with director Michael Winterbottom, with Nyman later providing a score for The Claim, and arrangements and re-used tracks for A Cock and Bull Story. Nyman's daughter, Molly, has continued the family working relationship with Winterbottom, scoring The Road to Guantanamo with Harry Escott. Picture: Photoshot
The Perfect Storm's score bore many of the classic traits of a James Horner score. Having achieved phenomenal success with Titanic, Horner returned to another perilous expedition at sea, which this time told the true story of the crew of the Andrea Gail that got caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991. But instead of the lilting celtic instruments and the power ballads that defined Horner's work on Titanic, Horner included the distinctly modern sound of a chugging electric guitar in to the mix, which when combined with the more calming effect of the acoustic guitar, gave the music real warmth.
Composer Joby Talbot had enjoyed a very successful career in television, not to mention a stint as Classic FM's composer in residence, before he was tasked with providing music for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a modern adaptation of Douglas Adams' much-loved series of hilarious sci-fi novels. Talbot wrote a series of incidental music for the film, a lot of which appeared on the soundtrack release to accompany Stephen Fry's 'Guide Entries', as well as the song 'So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish', co-written by conductor Christopher Austin, and Director Garth Jennings and performed by the Tenebrae Choir.
Howard Shore's restrained score for David Cronenburg's dark thriller Eastern Promises was nominated for an Oscar in 2007. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel, the film tells the story of a British midwife's interactions with the Russian Mafia in London. Upon the film's release, much of the praise directed towards it mentioned Howard Shore's score, which perfectly accompanied the sense of menace and dread that runs throughout Cronenburg's film.
A period love affair that overcomes class conflict and takes in the evacuation of Dunkirk, Joe Wright's successful adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel demanded a stylish score from Dario Marianelli. The third of Marianelli's collaborations with Joe Wright would prove to be the most successful, with Marianelli winning a host of awards for his score including an Oscar and a Golden Globe as well as being nominated for a BAFTA in 2007.
Ever the perfectionist, Patrick Doyle has often commented that it can take him up to six months to write a film score. Such a large amount of time was not a luxury afforded to Doyle when it came to Gosford Park, a mystery comedy-drama set in the British Countryside. In fact director Robert Altman asked Patrick Doyle to write and compose the music for Gosford Park in less than five weeks! Doyle certainly rose to the occasion, creating a delightful understated score that received a great deal of praise even when the film itself was not received so well. Doyle described the collaboration with Altman as "one of the happiest of my career."
Having achieved something wonderful with American Beauty, director Sam Mendes and composer Thomas Newman teamed up again in 2002 for Road to Perdition, a slick American crime drama starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman set during the Great Depression of the 1930s. While retaining the same evocative power as his score for American Beauty, Thomas Newman created something significantly grander and more symphonic for Road to Perdition, a move that landed him an Oscar nomination.
Cate Blanchett gave arguably the performance of her career in Charlotte Gray, Gillian Armstrong's adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' novel of the same name. Set in Vichy France during World War II, Blanchett plays a female agent working alongside the French resistance in occupied France. Accompanying Blanchett's stunning performance was a powerful score by Stephen Warbeck, who had previously won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love.
Stephen Daldry's remarkable story of how the novel Mrs. Dalloway affects three generations of women, including its author Virginia Woolf, caught a great deal of attention upon its release, not least for its three powerful lead actors and Nicole Kidman's striking prosthetic nose. Underpinning the anguish at the heart of The Hours was a beautiful score from the master of minimalism Philip Glass. The soundtrack mixed original music by Glass with a host of his earlier compositions, including a theme from his opera Satyagraha. Glass' repetitive piano motifs capture the passage of time and the universality of human experience as the film parallels the interconnected lives of women straddling three eras.
Although best remembered for a stunning Oscar-winning turn from Helen Mirren as Her Majesty the Queen, Stephen Frears' much-loved dramatisation of the immediate events following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August 1997 also featured a beautiful score from Alexandre Desplat. Nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Original Score and the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, the score put Alexandre Desplat on the map and would pave the way for further success, particularly the final Harry Potter films.