Thursday, February 4, 2010

Classical Music In The Films: An Open Spotify Playlist

Inspired by Alex Ross' latest blog entry Lo and Behold! I made a Spotify playlist of soundtracks and film scores.

It includes the soundtrack from Martin Scorsese’s new film “Shutter Island”. You can read about it on the page linked above. And Bernard Herrmann's classic scores for Hitchcock's Psycho and others, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Of course there are film scores by Shostakovich and Prokofiev, and Nino Rota's fascinating sonic landscapes and circus melodies for the Fellini films. Also included are Piero Piccioni’s score for Francesco Rosi’s Hand Over the City and Roberto Gerhard’s score for Lindsay Anderson's This Sporting Life. In the end there's Takemitsu's Suite from Akira Kurosawa's Ran, one of the most memorable films and scores ever.

I think most of the original films scores in this playlist, especially Gerhard and Takemitsu's, are modern masterpieces. By modern I mean constantly seeking new technique of expression and reinventing the musical language, not just bigger IMAX screen and more bombastic surrounding sound system. Yes I do enjoy Avatar, but as long as we live on planet earth rather than Pandora, I think it is better to spend more time on the works of art that intrigue us to think about our relationship with the real world, instead of hiding from the, admittedly not that good, reality. That's what Woody Allen films do, aren't they? So I also put a complication of classical music used in Woody Allen films in it.

I cannot find Giovanni Fusco’s score for Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse. It's like the Pierrot Lunaire in films, watch the extracts below. Nowadays they don't make films like this anymore, and no one can carve another Pietà either.

And this joke just made my day:)

Why is Dmitri Shostakovitch the worst composer of the XXth century?Because he is the worst imitator of the twentieth century, imitator of Prokofiev and of Mahler and of Satie and of whoever else's scores he'd lay his paws on; and because his imitations are of poor quality, coarse, vulgar, thick, unimaginative, repetitive and narrow-minded: an artificious world he fabricated, imitated of the nineteenth century, in the image of the artificious society constructed by the Bolshevists.

You have successfully described John Williams!!!

OK, here's the Spotify playlist for Classical Music In The Films. I made this a collaborative playlist, so you can also add your favourite classical film scores and soundtracks into it. Looking forward to hear from you:)


  1. Just added 2 CDs of Korngold's Film Music to the playlist, including the classic The Adventures Of Robin Hood.

  2. One more update: Leonard Bernstein's symphonic suite from the early Marlon Brando classic: On The Waterfront.

    Another soundtrack to a all-time classic film: Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin. It's kind of electropop so I am not going to put it in this playlist, but you should watch it with this interesting new soundtrack if you can find a chance.

    Soundtrack by the Pet Shop Boys:

  3. Tried to post yesterday - seems to have got lost somehow. I must congratulate you - this really is an excellent blog. I have been struggling to work out how to make best use of Spotify. Thanks Simon

  4. Thanks Simon, your message is much appreciated:)

    About the lost comment... I didn't put any put restriction on leaving comments yet, so I don't know what's gone wrong.

    Since there's no Tarkovsky soundtracks on Spotify for now, this one could make an interesting supplement:

    Songs for Tarkovsky