Who's the greatest NON-living film composer?

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
I think people aren't necessarily answering the same question here.

1) Who is your favorite non-living film composer?
For me, Goldsmith. Jerry, that is. :grin: That's just personal taste though.

2) Who is the greatest non-living film composer?
I genuinely don't know enough history to say for sure, but if I had to guess I'd say Bernard Herrmann. Maybe Prokofiev on a technicality, since he did score films, but was much more influential with his ballets and concert work. And historically speaking film composers weren't influenced by each other's music so much as they were influenced by concert works.

Of course once the era of temp music arrived, there's the interesting question of who among the non-living has had the most influence over temp music. That's something I'd love to know.

3) Are there any whose music, without alteration of style, would still be kicking ass in modern Hollywood?
This is the question I'm most interested to hear people's opinions on. I suppose the easy answers are Johan Johansson and Horner, but I feel like that's not the point of the exercise. So other than the recently deceased, I don't know and would be interested to hear other people's thoughts.

It seems like woodwinds would hurt a lot of people's chances. Also, the cheesiness factor. Things are a lot more serious and muscular now, less playful and cheeky.
 
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chillbot

Sock Muppet
I see there are 3 groups that should be in this conversation, you have:

Korngold, Hermann, Steiner, Newman, Waxman, Rosza. Who did I forget? The greats, the classics. The greatest? Not sure. Certainly would be interesting to see what they would have done with modern synths. Give Rosza Omnisphere instead of a theramin, watch out!

Horner, Kamen, Johannsson. Died at age 61, 55, and 48 I believe? I'm not even convinced they should be in this thread. They could have and probably would have been writing music for another 20 years.

And then there is Goldsmith who is probably the correct answer but I actually wish he had retired sooner. I feel like his legacy is tarnished by taking on movies later in life that would have benefited from a fresher and more modern sound. Stick to LA Confidential and skip The Mummy. (EDIT: Dang, John Barry slipped my mind. He should be in this category with Goldsmith.)

Anyway my answer would be Kamen. But you'd probably not be wrong going with anyone mentioned here.

This is a sad thread because I'm sure it will be bumped when the only possible answer is John Williams.
 

patrick76

Senior Member
And then there is Goldsmith who is probably the correct answer but I actually wish he had retired sooner. I feel like his legacy is tarnished by taking on movies later in life that would have benefited from a fresher and more modern sound. Stick to LA Confidential and skip The Mummy.
I don't know, he wrote Soarin' Over California and the score for The Sum of All Fears after The Mummy and I dig those so I'm glad he was still writing. Granted, they are not LA Confidential, but really not many scores can compete with that one imho.

@NoamL what is your answer to the question you posed?
 

gregh

Senior Member
Shostakovitch should get a nod as well but of course there are so many wonderful composers who have written for film. Another young and tragically dead composer we heard too little of is Marcus Fjellstrom
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
There is no best, but as far as raw skill, Michael Kamen was a freak.

He'd watch a scene, ask for a click that hit x and y. Then - without watching - he'd play into the Kurzweil K250 sequencer, make maybe four passes to add some parts, and it would hit x and y (i.e. the film was running in his head). He'd hand that to an orchestrator.

I pissed him off by transcribing a cue with a lot of 64th notes into 3/2 to make them 32nds rather than 3/4 ("Bach would use 3/2 when he was fucking serious!" he said.). So that was it for me. Can't win 'em all. But it was still quite an experience.
 

givemenoughrope

Senior Member
Oh cmon!

My vote goes to Herrmann and Goldsmith (I dont think he tarnished his legacy...Ennio has done a bunch of sappy, unmemorable lovey dovey scores in the late 70s/80s and so what)...maybe Takemitsu??

That said I dont know a whole lot about most of the Hollywood Golden Agers like Max Steiner and them. I need to though.
 

marclawsonmusic

Senior Member
There is no best, but as far as raw skill, Michael Kamen was a freak.

He'd watch a scene, ask for a click that hit x and y. Then - without watching - he'd play into the Kurzweil K250 sequencer, make maybe four passes to add some parts, and it would hit x and y (i.e. the film was running in his head). He'd hand that to an orchestrator.

I pissed him off by transcribing a cue with a lot of 64th notes into 3/2 to make them 32nds rather than 3/4 ("Bach would use 3/2 when he was fucking serious!" he said.). So that was it for me. Can't win 'em all. But it was still quite an experience.
Wow - great story, Nick!