Movies: The Ultimate Collection Disc 1
Written by Tim Lihoreau, Classic FM
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Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - Star Wars Main Title
Star Wars Episode IV. Ever seen it? Chances are you have, because it is actually the very first one, from back in 1977. Why is it called Episode IV, then? Who knows? Best not to question it. Just enjoy the music and think of it like doctors' handwriting, women's handbags and where Easter falls: something that's just not meant to be understood.
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring
For lovers of Lord of the Rings - and no doubt there are a fair number - there are innumerable outlets for their passion. There are audio books, merchandise, conventions (The One Ring website has, it claims, been ‘serving middle earth since the first age'. Quite.) and of course, there are the movies and their soundtracks. Canadian Howard Shore is one of those composers who actually writes great tunes - and some composers definitely don't - the one in here being a pearler. Interestingly enough, he was the very first musical director of America's iconic Saturday Night Live in-house band.
Out Of Africa - Main Theme
Karen (Meryl Streep) is a Danish baroness, who runs a Kenyan coffee plantation. Denys (Robert Redford) is a safari hunter who gradually realises that having coffee and Danish in the morning is the best big game he's bagged in years. Of course, as Geoffrey might have said, "it's doomed, it's doomed". The music was a perfect example of a composer - John Barry, in this instance - somehow managing to capture a picture in the music. It's music in the key of the savannah.
The Piano - The Heart Asks For Pleasure First
It's a pretty near unknown fact that Michael Nyman didn't actually write the central tune that runs like a broken chord through the film The Piano. It's actually called "Bonny winter's noo awa". This section of the soundtrack takes the first line of a poem by Emily Dickinson, which runs: "The heart asks for pleasure first, And then, excuse from pain - And then, those little anodynes, That deaden suffering. And then, to go to sleep; And then, if it should be The Will of it's Inquisitor, The liberty to die."
E.T: The Extra Terrestrial
Admit it: you did, didn't you? You did. Go on, say it, you did. It's ok. There's nothing wrong with it. We all cry in the movies. John Williams was at work again here, capturing, in magic music, a magic movie that did for BMX bikes - remember them? - what Brief Encounter did for steam trains. And the Silly Name Track for this movie, designed to make you go "Oh...yeah...I remember that bit..." - track 11, of course: Frogs.
Romeo and Juliet - Balcony Scene
JC 4 RM. This is Baz Luhrmann's updating on the love classic, but retaining the bard's original dialogue. And it works, although some purists will no doubt object to think like the title - strictly speaking it's Romeo + Juliet, not and. Craig Armstrong's score has a disarmingly simple tune which works perfectly. He also joined Baz Luhrmann on the film Moulin Rouge and, more recently, stumped up original music for Ray - the biopic of Ray Charles.
Chariots of Fire - Theme
Nothing says slow-motion like the Chariots of Fire tune. Unless you count the Match of the Day theme (grainy slo-mo, Jimmy Hill, halcyon Saturday nights). Vangelis' electronic main theme was out on its own when it first assaulted the ears in 1981, the unlikely audioscape backdrop to elysian Cambridge quads. It has stuck in the consciousness, though. You can guarantee that if it comes on the radio, any number of 40-something schoolboys-at-heart will start to slowly pretend-race, Six Million Dollar Man-like, because this tune takes them back.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Pelegia's Song
Books of films. They're too easily dismissed, that's what I say. Parts of The Unbearable Lightness of Being were good. The Bible at least made several films instead of just one. And Memoirs of a Geisha is great. So, enjoy Pelegia's Song from the wonderful (book) Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and if you want to conjure up some iconic images, think the blue and white of the cover.
Saving Private Ryan - A Hymn To The Fallen
Ryan is clearly a good celluloid name which produces great movies. Ryan's Daughter, Von Ryan's Express, The Ryan, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Ok, not sure about the last one. 1998's Saving Private Ryan was remarkable for many things, not least the way it was shot, its score - of course - and, bizarrely, the fact that lots of it was shot on location in Hertfordshire with Tony Blair's son acting as a runner. If memory serves. Hymn To The Fallen uses trumpets to poignant, military effect.
The Gadfly - Romance
Reilly, Ace of Spies. Do you remember it? It's vaguely there, somewhere in the backrooms of your mind, surely, alongside the optimistic, canal-hopping delights of Van der Valk and the mournful brassy strains of Sam. (Remember Sam?) But even further back in the recesses came The Gadfly - in 1956 in fact - and featured Oleg Strizhenov as Arthur. You may have also caught him in the 1962 film "V myortvoy petle". Or you may not.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Another Jonny Depp movie, but in this one he's less J.M Barrie and more Peter Pan meets Bluebeard with overtones of Dale Winton. Klaus Badelt may not be a household name but, both in his own right and in collaboration with Hans "Gladiator" Zimmer, he has worked on the music for dozens of movies, including The Thin Red Line, The Time Machine and even Gladiator itself. Intriguingly, Badelt was one of a stable of composers brought in at the last minute when Alan Silvestri decided to abandon his planned score due to musical differences.
Braveheart - For The Love Of A Princess
Performed by Myleene Klass
Here's your chance to experience Myleene Klass, smeared in blue warpaint, fighting at the battle of Stirling Bridge. So to speak. This is a lovely reinterpretation of a modern classic film score, the one that kick-started the craze for Uileann pipes (just a little ironic in this instance as they are Irish in origin, not Scottish).