These are a few of my favourite things…
Updated: Jan 23
Welcome again dear reader….
I mentioned in a recent blog post, about my love of instrumental music, in particular soundtrack music.
So I’ve put together a little Spotify playlist with some of my favourite composers or pieces of soundtrack music. I was unable to find some of the tracks I really wanted to include, so some really special tracks that I hold dear to me, are not included unfortunately.
--- press on the image above to go to the Spotify playlist ---
This playlist is not exhaustive, as certain composers could be hours and hours just on their own, so I have tried to limit, but still highlight some lovely music, to give a taster of the kind of music they are known for.
Others I have included, are more because I just love that particular album or piece.
So who is included? - in no particular order:
John Barry - legendary English composer of some of the most iconic themes and beautiful music created for movies and TV. Best known for 007 James Bond, but his output is not indicative of just that sound and is so varied, with passion and originality. From The Ipcress File and being responsible for how Spy music can sound, to Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa, which sweep with such majesty. You should really check out his whole catalogue if you can, especially the two non-soundtrack albums The Beyondness of Things and Eternal Echoes.
John Williams - likewise, along with John Barry, the American composer - John Williams is responsible for some of the most iconic and much loved music ever created for movies and TV. From the Bum Bum.. of Jaws, to Star Wars and Indiana Jones, there is something memorable and long lasting in his vast output over an incredibly long career. So many incredible scores to mention, you really should check everything out.
James Horner - another favourite and beloved American composer - although he is responsible for THAT Celine Dion song - with some of my favourite soundtracks of all time. From Field of Dreams, through Braveheart to an overlooked Casper, his music is moving and can create the goosebump moments. While some say he reused a lot of his previous scores in other soundtracks, that does not take away from how brilliant the music is.
Ennio Morricone - the Italian composer is probably most famous for the sound of the Western from the 60’s onwards, but that just means he isn’t given credit for an extremely long output, of some beautiful and creative ideas. His music for the Sergio Leone movies though are definitely up there are some of my favourites of all time, but you should also check out The Untouchables - fantastic.
Carter Burwell - this American composer is best known for his work with the Coen Brothers, for which he has created some amazing and idiosyncratic work. From Fargo and The Hudsucker Proxy, to the The Big Lebowski to No Country for Old Men. He has a distinct style, but it works so well.
Craig Armstrong - a Scottish composer who started his career forming the band Texas, to working with Midge Ure for his live shows for The Gift tour, his music is very distinctive and upon hearing it, you can normally tell straight away who has composed it. From Romeo and Juliet, Plunkett and Macleane to Moulin Rouge and Love Actually, he has a very varied career as well as releasing his own albums, which are not soundtrack related.
Alexandre Desplat - this French composer has been churning out some absolutely beautiful soundtracks for a long time now, with some of the best melodies I’ve heard. For me, he is reminiscent of John Barry, which is probably why I like his music so much. Probably best known for his work on the last two Harry Potter movies, for which he created the incredible ‘Statues’ piece, but he has also won plaudits for his work on The King’s Speech, Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Hans Zimmer - the German composer, who is probably one of the best known soundtrack composers on Earth at the moment and for good reason. He can be quite divisive amongst soundtrack lovers, but there is no doubt that his scores are memorable and sometimes, revolutionary, defining how the music sounds and is created. Best known for Gladiator, his Inception and Interstellar soundtracks really upped the game. Another one to check out his whole output, as there will be favourite moments to hear in all of them.
David Arnold - this English composer is a huge John Barry fan, so was not a surprise when he was given the job of scoring a lot of the Brosnan and Craig era films. Very much in the Barry mould, but this does not detract from some inventive uses of sound and clever use of melodies. His TV work has been just as good, including his work on the Sherlock TV series.
James Newton Howard - another American composer, renowned for his solid work and variety. He has worked with M. Night Shyamalan - including the excellent Unbreakable, to the recent Fantastic Beasts movies and the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. So many too choose from when selecting memorable pieces of music.
John Carpenter - probably one the most iconic American directors, he was also responsible for the soundtracks to the majority of his movies. From Halloween to Escape from New York, the music was created primarily on synthesizer, but was still able to convey feeling and suited the films so well. Another one to check out his incredible output, including his newer Lost Themes series.
Michael Giacchino - this American is becoming one of the go to composers in the industry and has been part of some of the biggest franchises over the years. Between being involved in the Star Wars universe, he has provided the soundtracks to the recent Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, Mission: Impossible, Jurassic Park and Star Trek films, as well as working with Pixar. He is next providing the soundtrack for The Batman (2022) movie. Music that invokes the late John Barry, he has become one of my favourite composers.
Ramin Djawadi - an Iranian-German composer, who is another involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, providing the soundtrack for Iron Man and the new Eternals movie. Best known for his TV works, where he has provided the music for the shows Person of Interest, Westworld and the almighty Game of Thrones.
Thomas Newman - this American composer comes from a family lineage in soundtracks, as his father was Alfred Newman. His brother and cousin are also composers. Well known for his beautiful melodies, he has been involved in the James Bond universe and worked with Pixar. He is probably best known for The Shawshank Redemption and American Beauty, but his catalogue is well worth checking out.
Bear McCreary - an American musician and Composer, probably best known for his TV and gaming soundtracks. He has provided the music for The Walking Dead, Outlander and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but his music for me has never been better than on Da Vinci’s Demons, which is a series people should check out, as it is brilliant.
Jerry Goldsmith - Last and by no means least, is this iconic American composer. His portfolio is a who’s who of great movies, for which he has provided amazing music. From Planet of the Apes, to Chinatown, Alien, Poltergeist to the Rambo and Star Trek movies. You will know and probably able to hum along to the majority of his scores. For me, anyone interested in soundtracks needs to check out Papillon and the oft forgotten The Great British Train Robbery. His TV work is not to be forgotten either, with some great themes to iconic shows.
Please check out this playlist, as you may hear something that will make you want to check out more of their works.
Thanks for your time and I hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading through this.
Till next time…