CINEMA SOUNDS

"If I weren't a director, I would want to be a film composer."
Steven Spielberg

Most films have music. Some films would not be what they are without their music. Film music, often ignored by audiences, can be great music. What’s more, it can elevate a potentially ordinary film to greatness.

Cinema Sounds presents a series of films that succeed in large part through their music. Richard Guérin, who has produced many recordings of great film music, will join us for prescreening examinations of the art and craft of film scoring, as we feature some of the greatest musical scores in the history of cinema. Richard has worked for many years with award-winning composers of film music such as Philip Glass (Candyman, The Truman Show, The Hours) and Elliot Goldenthal (Batman Forever, Interview with a Vampire, Alien 3).

Join us for these cinematic and musical adventures.


 
Matrix poster

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 7 PM
THE MATRIX - Buy tickets

Composed by Don Davis
Directed by The Wachowskis

 

Don Davis has been writing music for television and film since the late 1970s, amassing a long list of credits. But it was THE MATRIX really put him on the map. The score is monumental, widely regarded as one of the greatest in recent memory. Combining orchestral, choral and synthesizer elements, it features a compendium of 20th century compositional techniques corralled into a distinctive individual compositional voice. The result is a seminal score that goes deeper than The Matrix itself.

 

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Previous Cinema Sounds programs

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 11 AM
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - Buy tickets

Score by Elmer Bernstein
Directed by Robert Mulligan

During his 54-year career, Elmer Bernstein (no relation to Leonard) wrote some of the best known and wide-ranging music in film history. His 150-plus scores include everything from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS to THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (immortalized by the Marlboro man) to ANIMAL HOUSE and GHOSTBUSTERS.

In TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962), one of his most highly acclaimed scores and a personal favorite, he wanted the music to carry the emotions of the child narrating the story. Music, Bernstein said "can express what [the story’s characters] are not willing to express, or are unable to express."

Film composer James Newton Howard said of Bernstein, "Somehow, he has always been able to achieve gigantic effect with the most gentle and graceful gestures. Never has that been put to better use than in his incomparable score to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.'”

 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 7 pm
PSYCHO

Score by Bernard Herrmann
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

October demands horror. Fortunately, this quintessential thriller, arguably the first slasher movie ever made, has one of the great film scores by another surefire GOAT contender. It is generally acknowledged that PSYCHO owes much of its greatness to Herrmann's score.

A 2010 Wall Street Journal article stated that “Bernard Herrmann did more than just enhance 'Psycho' with his music; he probably saved it.”

Hitchcock himself said, "Thirty-three percent of the effect of 'Psycho' was due to the music.”

Join us in taking a look at Herrmann's magic and how he made it work.

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 7 pm
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

Score by John Williams
Directed by Steven Spielberg

If there were a GOAT (greatest of all time) award for film composers, Williams would surely be on everyone's contender list. Williams has named this score as one of his own favorites. As seems fitting. Among other feats of cinema scoring, this film's music represents an intergalactic conversation between the human race and alien visitors. It rises to the occasion.

The film itself is great and deserves its score. Had CLOSE ENCOUNTERS not been released the same year as STAR WARS, it probably would have been the sci-fi movie of the year. Williams famously composed scores for both films, and Spielberg engaged him for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS while he was still working with George Lucas on STAR WARS. (And he lived to tell the tale.)