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  1. I'm thinking about working on an art project that features some of our favorite composers. I'd like to narrow it down to 8 that represent the film score world well, but are also easily recognizable or have an iconic look or identifiable features. I'd love your help in naming who of the composers do you think are most easily recognizable?

    So far, I'm thinking about including, but need to narrow the list down or swap some out depending on your feedback:

    John Williams
    Hans Zimmer
    Elmer Bernstein
    Ennio Morricone
    Jerry Goldsmith
    James Horner
    Alan Silvestri
    Rachel Portman
    James Newton Howard
    Danny Elfman

    I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks so much!
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2018
    Bernard Herrmann.

    Lots more. I'll chime in later.
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBobdH
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2018 edited
    If you want a selection that would represent filmmusic as a whole, my first thought would be that your current selection contains composers that mainly seem to be from roughly the same era (even though Goldsmith and Elmer Bernstein represent both old-fashioned and modern scoring), are largely American (despite Morricone), and work within a certain style. Not enough time right now to seriously give it a thought, but I would start by broadening on these fields; like Thor said, Bernard Herrmann from a different era of scoring, or Cliff Martinez to represent a more electronic approach, Michael Nyman or Philip Glass from a more modern-classical point of view, and so forth?

    Mind you, you might need to sacrifice some of your modern favourites for this, if you really want to maintain 8 composers in total wink.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsdtom
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2018
    Bernard Herrmann is my vote too. smile
    listen to more classical music!
  2. Perhaps:

    Sergei Prokofiev - Alexander Newski
    Erich Wolfgang Korngold - Robin Hood
    Bernard Herrmann - North by Northwest
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Ennio Morricone
    Jaws - John Williams
    Das Boot - Klaus Doldinger (electronic music)
    The Rock - The Zimmer Cooperative
    Princess Mononoke - Joe Hisaishi
    Bach's music is vibrant and inspired.
    •  
      CommentAuthorchristopher
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2018 edited
    Sounds like a cool project!

    You might want to include one of the "fathers of film music" like Steiner or Alfred Newman or Korngold. Their faces certainly aren't as familiar to film music fans today, but I think one of them ought to be on it. I like including Herrmann. You also might think about including Rosza, maybe?

    As for the list you initially included, I might not include Silvestri, Portman, or Howard. Although they have written some undeniably great music, I'm not sure their influence has been as significant as the other composers we've been talking about. Although, then you would have only men on this thing, which would also be kind of sad, so maybe you should include Portman, as she's probably the most influential female film composer? Maybe take her over Elfman?

    As for Bob's contention that more international composers should be included, I'm not so sure. I've you're going for the most identifiable and influential composers, I just don't know any composers outside the States that have had the same kind of impact. Delerue, maybe? Desplat is huge recently. Hisaishi is huge in Japan. Rahman in India. Would Korngold count?

    I wouldn't include Martinez, Nyman, or Glass. While their contributions to film music have been very distinct, I don't think they've made enough of a splash.

    All of this is, of course, my own opinion. In the end, this is your project! Choose whoever you want! You could pick your 8 favorite composers and that would be great. smile
  3. This is of great help, thanks so much! Not sure why I totally blanked on Herrmann, but he HAS to be in it! Thanks for the suggestion from several of you. The reason I picked 8, is so that it's not quite as overwhelming of a project. smile

    My newly revised and edited list is:

    John Williams
    Hans Zimmer
    Elmer Bernstein
    Ennio Morricone
    Jerry Goldsmith
    James Horner
    Erich Wolfgang Korngold or Alfred Newman (can't quite decide - but Newman seems more recognizable to me)
    Bernard Herrmann
    •  
      CommentAuthorWashu
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2018 edited
    Do they have to be from the entirety of the last 100+ years of film music or can they be from the same era?

    Herrmann for sure if we are including dead composers - he is easily one of the most distinct and original film composers of all time.

    Out of living film composers the eight most recognizable to me would be:

    John Williams
    Ennio Morricone
    Joe Hisaishi
    Howard Shore
    Elliot Goldenthal
    Thomas Newman
    Vangelis
    Hans Zimmer

    Note, these are not nessicarily the best living film composers (even if all of them except Zimmer are), but all have distinct things about them, probably more than any other living film composers. I am not counting Philip Glass here - he is more of a concert composer who has written film music rather than a film composer primarily.

    As for the ten names you mentioned, I agree with Williams, Zimmer, Bernstein, Morricone and Goldsmith but probably not on the others even if some of them do have some quite distinct features, not in my opinion it is not enough to be ranked with the most distinctive/recognizable film composers.

    If the entirety of film music has the be represented (and not just eight living composers) then the eight would probably be:

    Hans Zimmer
    John Williams
    Jerry Goldsmith
    Nino Rota
    Thomas Newman
    Bernard Herrmann
    Alex North
    Erich Wolfgang Korngold

    Although you can come up with quite a few variations on the list. You could easily include composers like Hisaishi, Morricone and Shore etc instead of some of the names I have mentioned above. Eight names is a bit too little, I would have made it top 10 most recognizable living film composers or alternatively the top 20 most recognizable film composers of all time.
  4. This is a great starting point and I'll see how it goes with my drawing. If I have the energy or need to add more faces as it goes along, I definitely will. smile
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018 edited
    OK, I'm back and hung over. smile

    Filmscoregirl, you might find some interest in a quiz I did in January. It was for fellow Norwegian film critic colleagues, and it was about recognizing composer sounds rather than the name of the film (which in all cases was too obscure for them to catch). As such, their sound had to be recognizable, even for those that are "only" film critics, not hardcore film music fans like us. So it's kinda relevant to what you're asking for.

    These were the selections I made:

    John Williams - "Sunday Night Football"
    Abel Korzeniowski - "Charm/Cartier Montage" - W.E.
    Bernard Herrmann - "Overture" - THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY
    Cliff Martinez - "Involunatry Man Slaughter" - ARBITRAGE
    Danny Elfman - "Tales from the Crypt"
    Elliot Goldenthal - "Arrow of the Gods" - TITUS
    Ennio Morricone - "The Lady Caliph" - LA CALIFFA
    Georges Delerue - "Main Title" - LE JOUR DE DAUPHIN
    Giorgio Moroder - "Rotwang's Party" - METROPOLIS
    Hans Zimmer - "I Dreamt I Woke Up" - BEYOND RANGOON
    Henry Mancini - "Theme" - A SHOT IN THE DARK
    James Horner - "Ride of the Firemares" - KRULL
    Miklos Rozsa - "Prelude" - KING OF KINGS
    Randy Newman - "Track 4" - THE NATURAL
    Tangerine Dream - "After the Call" - MIRACLE MILE
    Jerry Goldsmith - "Hot Water" - OUTLAND
    Thomas Newman - "Theme" - THE MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE
    Vangelis - "La Mort Du Loup" - L'APOCALYPSE DES ANIMAUX
    Philip Glass - "Opening" - O APOSTOLO
    Howard Shore - "Elevator" - PANIC ROOM
    Joe Hisaishi - "Kiseki No Ringo" - MIRACLE APPLES
    Michel Legrand - "Chanson de Lola" - LOLA

    Also:

    Elmer Bernstein


    He's recognizable to us, but he's not the composer whose sound is the most recognizble "in general", I think.

    Erich Wolfgang Korngold or Alfred Newman (can't quite decide - but Newman seems more recognizable to me)


    Again, none of these are particularly recognizable "in general", IMO (especially not Newman).
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsdtom
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018
    Alfred Newman=Street Scene
    Elmer Bernstein=Magnificent Seven
    listen to more classical music!
  5. Bernstein is absolutely recognizable "in general" - he and Morricone between them basically defined Western music. Play some random snippets of Bernstein to the average cinemagoer and they might not be able to tell you who wrote it, but you'll at least get an "I dunno, some John Wayne cowboy movie?" response and that's pretty significant.

    Eh, since everyone else did it, my eight:

    John Williams
    Hans Zimmer
    Ennio Morricone
    Bernard Herrmann
    Jerry Goldsmith
    James Horner
    Elmer Bernstein
    Danny Elfman (or maybe Thomas Newman...Tough between the two of them)
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018 edited
    Edmund Meinerts wrote
    Bernstein is absolutely recognizable "in general" - he and Morricone between them basically defined Western music. Play some random snippets of Bernstein to the average cinemagoer and they might not be able to tell you who wrote it, but you'll at least get an "I dunno, some John Wayne cowboy movie?" response and that's pretty significant.


    You missed my point. Of course, Bernstein has several famous themes that most people will recognize or even identify, but not even my film critic colleagues are able to differentiate between a Bernstein western score 'sound' and one by someone else.

    We who are hardcore fans can hear some Bernstein trademarks -- like the 'cloppetyclop' rhythmic figure, the ondes martenot and so on, but of the big famous composers of that generation, I'd argue that he has one of the least recognizable 'sounds'. I didn't include him in my aforementioned quiz for a reason.
    I am extremely serious.
  6. Thor wrote
    but not even my film critic colleagues are able to differentiate between a Bernstein western score and one by someone else.

    And sometimes it's hard to tell Zimmer from his imitators and vice versa, but that doesn't make him any less iconic either. Bernstein INVENTED that Western style (well...with a lot of help from Mr. Copland).
    •  
      CommentAuthorsdtom
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018
    You're right again Thor sad
    Bernstein, Goldsmith are very diffiult to pick out. I could say Magnificent Seen was Moross and some would believe me. Got your point.
    listen to more classical music!
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018
    Edmund Meinerts wrote
    Thor wrote
    but not even my film critic colleagues are able to differentiate between a Bernstein western score and one by someone else.

    And sometimes it's hard to tell Zimmer from his imitators and vice versa, but that doesn't make him any less iconic either. Bernstein INVENTED that Western style (well...with a lot of help from Mr. Copland).


    I don't disagree with you. Bernstein is as iconic as it gets -- as an influence, 'figure' and as a composer. But I've tried to quiz people about him before, and no one was able to get him the way they were with some of the other composers mentioned earlier.
    I am extremely serious.
  7. Thor wrote

    Again, none of these are particularly recognizable "in general", IMO (especially not Newman).


    I think there's been some confusion about what I was asking initially, haha. smile Rereading my question, it's totally my fault - sorry about that! I was originally asking about faces actually - which composers would you most recognize in a drawing and who are also very influential to the world of film music.

    It's cool that we're now talking about the iconic sounds of composers or who has the most most recognizable sound outside of film music fans - that's a very interesting topic too.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsdtom
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018
    whole different situation!
    listen to more classical music!