Sunday, May 27, 2018

Movies and Music Part 2

Like other aspects of movies, music is international and being its own language easily flows across borders.  Although many of the composers in part one were born outside the United States, they are best known for American cinema.  Below are others who made their mark overseas and some of whom have been asked to do American films.

Whereas Hollywood used to release soundtracks if they felt the movie had generated enough interest. In India a soundtrack is usually offered before the movie to help promote it.   I have bought a few Bollywood and Tamil tunes off iTunes before the movie was available.

My overall favorite is Shankar Ehsaan Loy who are very well known in Bollywood (which stretches around much of the world), but have not really been courted for western films.  A playback singer, a guitarist and a keyboardist got together for radio jingles and went onto to create an amazing range of movie music  The single song that led to my obsession was "Kal Ho naa Ho" in two versions.  Their versatility amazes me, but movies require a range of emotions and they have mastered them.  Some of their musical creations include "Kal Ho Naa Ho," "Dil Chatha Hai," "Don," "Rock On," Bunty aur Bibli" "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kahna" and "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" for some of the most memorable music on this list.

A R Rahman, a bit better known in Hollywood from "Slumdog Millionaire" which attracted more Hollywood business.   "Million Dollar Arm," "127 Hours" and "The Hundred Foot Journey."  Did an American movie with a Brazilian theme, "Pel√©" and captured the right beat.   In Bollywood he is famous for such masterpieces as "Jodhaa Akbar" "Guru," "Rang de Basanti" and "Lagaan"  He has also done many movies in Tamil and other southern languages including "Kadal" (which has the #1 song on my iTunes)

Pritam Chakraborty has the appearance of a rock band leader, but some of his music defies preconceptions. In "Jab we met" is one of the most romantic songs I"ve heard as well as some other interesting ones.  One other song from the same movie made it to "The Second Best Marigold Hotel."

First noted Joe Hsiashi with the score from "Departures," a Japanese movie about a cellist forced to change his job.  The movie won an Oscar and I feel the music contributed to the warm feeling the movie left.  Other than that I discovered Joe wrote music for a number of animated films by Hayao Miyazaki. that did well in America including "Spirited Away," "The Wind Rises" and "Ponyo"

Ennio Morricone was a school mate with spaghetti westerns producer Sergio Leone.  This helped form a partnership in such movies as   "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."  He has a range  that includes French, American and Italian.   I have admired his music the longest.  Has won one Oscar for "The Hateful Eight" plus an honorary Oscar for musical contributions plus another 5 nominations along the way.  Some of his other great Italian movies include "Cinema Paradiso" "Malena" and "Baaria," working with Giuseppte Tornatore. 

His French movies include "La Cage aux Folles" and "The Battle of Algiers."

Nino Rota worked with Federico Fellini.  He is perhaps most famous in North America for "The Godfather."  His Oscar nomination for that was rescinded when it was discovered he had re-worked his music from an earlier Italian film.  He did win an Oscar for "The Godfather Part II."   Among many others he was noted for "La Dolce Vita."

Gustavo Santalo from Argentina won Oscars for "Brokeback Mountain"and "Babel."   He also composed music for "Wild Tales," that won best Oscar for Foreign films.

Johan Soderqvist had done music for some of  my favorite movies--I can only excuse myself as I too often multi-tasked while watching a DVD- my very favorite "After the Wedding ( did buy one track--interesting combination with Indian music), "Brothers,"  "In a Better World,"   Also collaborated with Gustavo Santaolalla with "Things We Did After the Fire."   One not seen was written for a video game, "Battlefield 1."

K-pop has made inroads in North America, but there are still movie music that really adds to enjoyment.  Yeong-wook Jo wrote music for "The Handmaiden" (with my top rated movie music theme, other than Bollywood) and some other favorites, "The Glove" and "The Beauty Inside." 

Max Richter, German born has left a mark  more widely around the globe than anyone else on my list, except maybe Alexandre Desplat. German language films include "Lore" (actually produced by Australians) and "When We Leave" (about Turkish immigrants).  He composed for "The Lunchbox" for Bollywood.  In French he worked on "The Mark of Angels"  and "Sarah"s Key."  He also did the music for an Arabic movie, "Wadjda". He also composed for a Croatian movie, "Penelope" and for a Polish film and also with Czech.  Oh yes, he also did English language movies.  "Miss Sloane" (, "Shutter Island" "A Sense of an Ending" and "A Testament of Youth."

The Spanish Alberto Iglesias, has 3 Oscar nominations for "The Kite Runner," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." and "Constant Gardener."  Some notable Spanish movies he composed include  "Volver" "Julieta" "Ma Ma" and "The Skin I Live In."  Has also did music for movies in Argentina such as "The Summit" starring Ricardo Darin.

France has produced a number of international prominent composers.

Michel Legrand was well established in France having written music for 7 films of Jean-Luc Godard and most famously "Les Parapluie de Cherbourg"  In 1966 he moved to California and won musical Oscars for "Summer of 42," "Thomas Crown Affair" and "Yentl."

Maurice Jarre, unlike most composers on this post was a latecomer to music.  As a university student he took courses in percussion.  In some of his movies he emphasized percussion and also ethnic instruments.  One of his early compositions was for "The Tin Drum."  Later in English language he worked a lot with producer David Lean and that partnership helped him get musical Oscars for "Lawrence of Arabia,""Passage to India" and "Doctor Zhivago" including the popular "Lara's Theme."

Alexandre Desplat is the most recent Oscar music winner for "The Shape of Water."  Previously he had won for "The Grand Budapest Hotel."  He seems to split his time on both sides of the Atlantic and with a few sidetrips.  In French he has composed music for "Renoir," "Un prophete," "The Valet" "Rust and Bone," "The Well Digger's Daughter."and "The Beat That My Heart Skipped,"  A Chinese film directed by Ang Lee, "Lust, caution."  Some other English speaking films are the "Harry Potter" series, "The Danish Girl" and "The King's Speech."

Creative composers are coming from all corners of the globe. Music truly is an international language.  As they say in restaurants, "Enjoy."

Part 1 is here:

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