Tuesday, February 27, 2018

#ClassicsaDay #ClassicalFilmScore - Week 4

For the month of February 2018, some of the contributors to #ClassicaDay feed wanted to celebrate film. The Academy Awards are held in February, so it was a good time to share examples of classical music influencing film scores (and vice-versa).

There are many ways to look at that intersection. Some classical composers also wrote for film. Some film composers wrote classical works for the concert hall. Some classical music has become famous primarily because of its use in a film, and some film scores have been expanded into classical works.

Here were my selections for week one of #ClassicaDay #ClassicalFilmScore. I only post on the week days, and there were only two in the first week.)

John Corigliano (1938 -) - Violin Concerto No. 1, "The Red Violin"
(The Red Violin, 1997)

The movie "The Red Violin" traces the history of a violin from its creation in 1681 Cremona through its auction in 1997. John Corigliano, working closely with violinist Joshua Bell. The score mirrors various styles of classical music and won an Academy Award. In 2003 Corigliano reworked the material into a concerto for violin and orchestra. He also created a set of caprices for solo violin from the score.


John Williams (1932 - ) - Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra (1985)

John Williams is justly famous for his many classic film scores. Less well-known are his classical compositions. Some, such as Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, are repurposed from film scores. Most, though, are entirely original. Over the years, Williams has written at least ten concertos for different instruments, including one for tuba.

Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) - Score to "The Master and Margarita" (1994)

This massive film was the nineteenth -- and final -- film score Schnittke composed. The 204-minute film was only shown in Russia. Complicated rights and political issues prevent its distribution. The only part of the film to become public was Schnittke's soundtrack.

Elmer Bernstein (1922 - 2004) - Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra

Bernstein studied with Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, and Stefan Wolpe. Although best-known for his film scores, such as "The Magnificent Seven," "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "The Great Escape." He also composed many classical works. His guitar concerto was written for Christopher Parkening.

Nino Rota (1911-1979) - Concerto for Harp and Orchestra (1947)

One of the most famous Italian film composers, Nino Rota also had a distinguished concert career. He composed ten operas, five ballets, and many concertos for various instruments.

George Antheil (1900-1959) - Score to "Ballet Mécanique" (1926)

Avant-garde composer George Antheil was also a successful film composer, with almost 30 scores to his credit. His most popular concert work was originally conceived as a film score. The Ballet Mécanique was written for an experimental film by Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy.

Arnold Bax (1883-1953) Score to "Oliver Twist" (1948)

British composer Arnold Bax is best known for his orchestral tone poems and symphonies. Yet he had a film career as well (albeit a short one). His score to "Oliver Twist" was the second of three films he wrote music for.

Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) - Score to "The Battle of Stalingrad" (1949)

Although best known for his ballet scores, His "Sabre Dance" has been used in countless films, TV shows, and commercials. But Aram Khachaturian also wrote original film music. "The Battle of Stalingrad" is one of 22 film scores that he composed. It won the Stalin Prize in 1949.

#ClassicalFilmScore Week1

#ClassicalFilmScore Week 2

#ClassicalFilmScore Week 3

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