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Film Music: My Favourite Pieces

The is part of the "Best of..." series.

Music is ingrained in us a creatures and it is a strange phenomenon. We also associate certain pieces of music with certain aspects of life. Pieces can be incredibly emotional, but incredibly simple, and others can be intended to be dramatic but ends up being comical (check out "Entrance of the Gladiators" by Julius Fucik - I bet you didn't know this is supposed to be a military march!).

It has been very difficult to select just a few favourites from the range of film scores because music is used for such a wide range of purposes. It can be a transition between scenes, it can become the personification of a character (this Darth Vadar) or it can just simply represent an emotion. But sometimes, music can twist a meaning or instill conflicting feelings in the listening, and I think that is what is the most wonderful thing about film scores. There are so many out there that you know, but don't know why, and there are so many that you don't realise you know until the penny drops in that moment when you find out why you know it. Here are some of my favourites - I apologise for the use of YouTube links as they have ads!

Inside Out "Bundle of Joy"- Inside Out is one of Disney's more recent films, which tells a story akin to The Numbskulls in The Beano. Five emotions live in the head of our main character, Riley, and as she goes through moving town, house and school, her emotions have a wild adventure too.

The main theme, "Bundle of Joy" is ethereal. It feels both happy and melancholy intertwined together which goes hand-in-hand with the themes within the film. I think it is a gorgeous piece that I could listen to all the time.

The location for Edoras in New Zealand

Lord of the Rings "Rohan Fanfare" - The whole score of Lord of the Rings is phenomenal. There are such iconic pieces and individual scores for each race that help build the textures and layers to the films. My personal favourite sections is the music for the Rohirim and Rohan. There is a deep layer of peacefulness to the music that gives a sense of solitude and calm, which is echoed by the images you see in the film. The Lord of the Rings score was voted #26 in Classic FM's Hall of Fame 2023

Pirates of the Caribbean's Main Theme - Pirates was a pioneering film for many reasons, and the music is one. It is an instant classic. It is dramatic, romantic, calm and chaotic. Disney have redefined the Pirate genre, and if you listen to other modern sea-faring or pirate-themed tracks, many will use aspects of Klaus Badelt's original score. It was voted #214 in Classic FM's Hall of Fame in 2023.

The Man with the Harmonica - Once Upon a Time in the West - An amazing little piece from Ennio Morricone. Harrowing and daunting, smooth and piercing, this is truly a masterpiece of film music. How electric guitar can complete the music for a Western is beyond me but it does! The drama within the music is incredible.

The Road to Perdition's Main Theme - For a film about Tom Hanks being a gangster, this music is beautiful. Perdition means damnation, but this music is such a beautiful juxtaposition to that it fits it perfectly. Throughout the film, Hanks' character is trying to protect his son, all while being a gangster. He is caught between two worlds and somehow this piece sums up the conflict and the film so well. It is peaceful, smooth, echoes of vast images and deserves so much more recognition than it gets.

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