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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A dying art

There will always be those who warn of the impending "death of classical music". But Variety reports on another genre of orchestral music undergoing hard times - the movie score. This may not be readily apparent to many movie goers, as music is still very much a part of feature films, but an increasing number of directors and producers are eschewing original soundtracks by trained composers. Instead, they are turning to generic music libraries.

Twenty or 30 years ago, [composer Richard Bellis] says, "the person who composed the music had to be knowledgeable about live scoring, had to be able to write music, conduct music, create music from whole cloth rather than 'selecting' music," as often happens today with the availability of such tools as Band-in-a-Box, Cinescore or generic library music.
"Today's filmmaker is more inclined to think 'I need a composer because I'm just too busy to do it myself' and there are literally hundreds of kids out there who will do it for next to nothing," Bellis says.
What they're missing, say many on the music side of the biz, are the dramatic instincts and creative spark of the trained, experienced composer. Agent Richard Kraft, who represented film-scoring giants Jerry Goldsmith and Elmer Bernstein, says, "We are in a period where the thought that film music is an artistic expression is at an all-time low."
Read the whole article here.

I should note that ESO performances of film music are among our most popular offerings. We usually feature composers like John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and Bernard Hermann. So many movies are forever linked to their musical themes, that film makers should be wary of giving the music short shrift.

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