Anglo-Filles Episode 23: Peak John Williams

Music is food for the ears and the soul. We feed your soul (….that sounds appropriately creepy) with our Senior Music Correspondent (Or just Music Correspondent, depending on the timestamp) Ian, from A Matter of Taste!

Ian also composed and recorded our awesome new theme music! You can find him personally on Tumblr at Making New Mistakes. You can follow A Matter of Taste on Blogspot, Tumblr, and Twitter.

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Composers we talked about:

Hans Zimmer Gladiator, Inception, The Lion King

Howard Shore
Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silence of the Lambs
James Newton Howard
The Village, The Last Airbender, Maleficent, The Hunger Games

Klaus Badelt
Pirates of the Carribean, K-19: The Widowmaker

Danny Elfman
Spiderman, Batman, Dick Tracy, Oingo Boingo
Thomas Newman
A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A.R. Rahman
Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours.

Tyler Bates
Guardians of the Galaxy, Watchmen

John Ottman
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Trent Reznor
The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

John Williams
Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List, Lincoln
Ramin Djawadi
Pacific Rim, Game of Thrones, Iron Man

Bruno Coulais
Coraline, Don Juan

Trevor Morris
The Tudors, The Borgias, The Pillars of the Earth

Harry Gregson Williams
The Chronicles of Narnia, Prometheus

Brian Reitzell
Hannibal, 30 Days of Night

Alan Menkin
Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Pocahontas

Bear McCreary
Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, Outlander

David Newman
Throw Momma From the Train, Matilda

Yoko Kanno
Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell
Wendy Carlos
Tron (Original flavor), A Clockwork Orange, The Shining
Rachel Portman
Belle, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything- Julie Newmar

James Horner
Titanic, Braveheart, Avatar
Akira Yamaoka
Silent Hill (Games and movies)

Nobuo Uematsu

Indiana Jones Theme:

Superman Theme

Watchmen Opening Credits

Enjoy! We’ll be back at you next month!


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7 Responses to Anglo-Filles Episode 23: Peak John Williams

  1. socky

    Just a point of interest–Howard Shore didn’t compose the Misty Mountains theme. That was a kiwi folk group called Plan 9 who’d also composed the party music (“Flaming Red Hair”) for Bilbo’s eleventy-first in lotr.

    Some recs:
    *Did you mention Joe Hisaishi or did I miss it? All the gorgeous Studio Ghibli stuff. Princess Mononoke, swoon.

    *I know you mentioned Clint Mansell, but I have to really recommend the Stoker soundtrack, for maximum creepy deliciousness.

    *Seconding Kayleigh for Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (there’s a compilation called White Lunar.)

    *For more old-school stuff, John Barry and Ennio Morricone are cool (but really obvious, I guess).

    There’s a composer called Martin Phipps who bobs up on a lot on British tv e.g. The Virgin Queen, North and South–lovely, esp. the latter.

    *Also if you like Irish/French Celtic music, Bruno Coulais’s stuff for the Book of Kells is stunning.

    *Yann Tiersen (Amelie), Abel Korzeniowski (A Single Man, I think?).

    • redheadedgirl

      He still worked into into the score, but not enough into the soundtrack album and that makes me sad.

      Oh John Berry! I loved the Dances With Wolves soundtrack so much.

  2. Elizabeth D.

    Since you mentioned women composers and the lack of same I figured I’d mention Yoko Shimomura. She’s probably best known for the Kingdom Hearts games (or possibly the Legend of Mana games) but she’s done some of the Mario spin-off stuff, Brawl, Little King’s Story, etc. and is definitely worth checking out. She’s done some really interesting things such as Dearly Beloved (the carryover between all Kingdom Hearts games) being evocative of a heartbeat and some of the remixing of Disney classics into game music.

    Two Steps From Hell is also interesting in that pretty much all of their music is “that song from that commercial/movie/trailer/etc.”

  3. princess-starr

    Oh my God, this is pretty much the perfect episode for me because about half of my extensive iTunes folder, about a third of it is film soundtracks and scores. I tend to hoard film scores so I can use them for writing soundtracks later. The three composers that I will almost always check out are Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and one that you guys did not bring up- Michael Giacchino. He’s mainly known as JJ Abrams’s pet composer- I got into him because of Lost, he did the Cloverfield ending theme, both of the new Star Trek movies. BUT Giacchino also has done a few Pixar films, most notably The Incredibles and Up. (oh god that one sequence in Up- it’s just perfect story-telling through music.) Also, he makes terrible puns for most of his track titles.

    I actually do love Danny Elfman’s work with Tim Burton- for as repetitive as it can get, I still really enjoy it. Although my favorite score from their films is Big Fish which even though it has the usual Elfman/Burton attributes, it’s this great bluegrass score. Last November, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra did a Danny Elfman evening that was all of his work on the Burton films (and Nightmare Before Christmas even though that’s a Henry Selick film) and my mom managed to wrangle tickets for my sister and I at the last minute. It was cool- they would show the concept art and clips from the movies as the orchestra played and they had a full choir as well. (When they did the Beetlejuice main theme, my sister and I started cracking up because the entire choir burst into “DAAAAAYOOOOO!”)

    Seconding the love for both Joe Hisaishi (holy shit the Mononoke-Hime soundtrack) and Yoko Shimomura. I also really love Yuki Kajiura, who is probably best known for her work with the .hack// series, but I got into her after hearing her work on Puella Magi Madoka Magica which is AMAZING and surreal and just utterly gorgeous. Go look up Credens Justitiam (or Believing in Justice) because it’s one of my favorites from that series. (I’d link it, but my computer is throwing a fit right now.) Kajiura also worked on Sword Art Online, which has some pretty epic music, and Tsubasa Chronicle.

    OH and getting into the more popular songs used in films, HOW DID YOU GUYS FORGET ABOUT JOHN HUGHES? I mean, The Breakfast Club starts with the lyrics from David Bowie’s “Changes” and you really can’t disassociate any of the songs he uses from those movies. Same with Cameron Crowe, although I don’t think you could really top That Scene in Say Anything. (You know the one.)

  4. Hey folks,

    There are a certain number of films/shows and composers on my own list that hadn’t been mentioned in this podcast; it would be quite a shame not to share them with you. Though I keep hope that they would be worked into the next Music Episode of Anglo-Filles, consider them as my HONORABLE MENTIONS for the time being:

    Joe Hisaishi, long-time collaborator with Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki Hayao, the album “Piano Stories” deserves a particular mention (they’re themes from the Ghibli movies only they’re all rendered as piano solos), go listen to “Innocent” and “Resphoina” if you haven’t already.
    (Apparently the original Japanese release of “Castle in the Sky” and the English dubbed version featuring Mark Hamill as the That (Evil) Guy with the Glasses has different musical scores, with the latter being richer in certain parts and having a few extra scenes. Watch them both to see and hear the difference.)
    (Also, there are MusicBox versions of the themes from CITS and Spirited Away out there, really worth a try.)

    Scott Bradley, who composed the scores for many animated MGM shorts including all of Droopy and just about every Fred Quimby era Tom & Jerry short (save for “The Missing Mouse”, the one where a white lab mouse ate explosives and scares the cr@p out of Tom). Two of the seven T&J Oscar wins — “The Cat Concerto” and “Johann Mouse” — have strong classical music themes, and that ought to tell you something about his skills.

    [To Reidan:
    Mars Attacks! has a Music Only soundtrack in the DVD that I own, and it’s not even a “Fancy package for the snobs” version of DVD. I think you might be ripped off with Gladiator if it’s so hard to get one with ‘Music Only’.]

    Stanley Kubrick’s films’ usage of pre-existing classical music deserves a mention in a future episode.

    Shirley Walker, who supervised and composed much of the music in the Dini/Timm DCAU of the 1990s and early 2000s. B:TAS was already perfect to me in terms of story and voice acting, and the music only makes it even better. She passed away in 2006, though, I get so sad when I hear her speak in the DVD commentaries. 🙁

    Vince Guaraldi, who, before his untimely death, composed much for the early Snoopy TV specials. If you don’t want to hum along to “Christmas Time Is Here” or especially “Linus and Lucy”, than there’s a good chance that you’re actually dead inside. 😛

    The music for the 1991 The Adventures of Tintin deserves a mention, especially the Opening/End theme. I’d give the series itself a B+ on average since the length of time in one episode (or two) isn’t nearly enough to properly adapt the graphic novels, but the music and acting mostly makes up for it. I think it’s a lovely project: An adaptation of a Belgium comic done by a Canadian company, available in at least both English and French, and the main character traveled just about everywhere including the United States, Scotland, the Canadian arctic seas, China (twice if you count crossing the border from Nepal to Tibet) and the Moon.

    So does the music for the 1979 Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy miniseries. I’ll defend that series to death and drag all the people I know along to watch it because the story and performance is awesome, and the music grips you from the very start with that ominous opening credits music with the pissed-off Russian Matryoshka dolls. And the end credits choir makes me want to weep at the tragedy of it all.

    For Anime music that I regularly listen to, I’d recommend the music and songs in Detective Conan. The main themes are catchy enough that you might have them in your head when you have RL epiphanies. 🙂

    I’d also like to recommend the entire soundtrack (the entire music in the actual running film, in fact) of Perfume: The Story of A Murderer. I originally watched it because Alan Rickman was in it, but later grew to love the rest that it had to offer. Apparently the director himself did some of the composing, which is not something you see very often, from what I had gathered.

    Amelié is a film loved by many, but I mostly love the score by Yann Tiersen, especially “Comptine D’un Autre Ete-L’Apres Midi”.

    And now for some non-JW Harry Potter scores:

    “Dumbledore’s Speech”, “In Noctem” and “Dumbledore’s Farewell” by Nicholas Cooper (watch the deleted scenes for HBP to see where “In Noctem” actually fits in, my God can Alan Rickaman act without words or even moving);

    “Lily’s Theme”, “Severus and Lily” and “The Resurrection Stone” by Alexandre Desplat. Bonus Trivia: the One-Woman Wail(tm) that opens DH2 [whereas the other seven films were opened by John Williams’ Harry Potter theme] and appeared many more times in variations are done by the daughter of Joe Hisashi.

    My final entry of recommendation is a personal favorite (and the composer’s also a woman), perhaps you can talk about it more in a future episode about music or maybe one about documentaries:

    March of the Penguins (La Marche de l’Empereur), the 2005 nature documentary about Emperor Penguins in inland Antarctica. The music and songs were written and sung by , she’s one of my favorite singers, and i think she has the voice of a woodland elf. Really. Listen to “All Is White”, “Flowers” and “Chanson de Toile” for starters, if anyone’s interested.


    (Circa 0:22:58)

    The song used in that first Watchmen trailer is actually “The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning” (Send a heartbeat to / the Void that cries through you / Relive the pictures that have come to pass / For now we stand alone / the world is lost and blown / And we are flesh and blood, disintegrate / with no love to hate…), not “The End Is The Beginning Is The End” (The sewers belch me up / the heavens spit me out / From ethers tragic I am born again…)

    This I swear on my collection of postal stamps, foreign coinage, and on my best pair of reading glasses. Although both of those songs (cousins? variations? mutations?) are part of the OST, only the latter actually had the dubious honor of making it into the end credits for [that f*&king film].
    Critical research fail, Alina! The song wasn’t really in that Godawful film but you just had to mention it. (And no one else on the show realized that, either!) For shame, for shame. (-;

    But while we’re still at Watchmen trailers, there’s this *brilliant* fan trailer (Google “Watchmen Wall E Mashup Trailer”, I’ll bet it’s on Youtube but I can’t check to make sure; I myself watched it on Youku, a Chinese video clip site) made by someone on “” that set the exact soundtrack of that Watchmen trailer (the Smashing Pumpkins song and the sound effects e.g. glass breaking because of Comedian, Adrian delivering the smackdown with the lamppost) against clips from Wall•E, making the Pixar film seem so gritty and bleak. And it’s so convincing that I’d reckon Pixar virgins (if there are any) would actually buy it! That fanvid IMHO really encapsulates the idea of “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, seriously just go check it out!