Friday, June 10, 2011
Haunting Music from the Movies and TV
I heard one of these this morning and it got me to thinking about some of the wonderfully haunting and evocative music that gets on to movie and or TV soundtracks.
Number one on my list would have to be this one. Also a worthwhile, if confusing movie.
Gheorghe Zamfir - Picnic at Hanging Rock
Picnic at hanging rock - theme soundtrack
Gheorghe Zamfir - ''Doina Sus Pe Culmea Dealului''
Released in 1975
Three students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentine's Day, 1900. Widely (and incorrectly) regarded as being based on a true story, the movie follows those that disappeared, and those that stayed behind, but it delights in the asking of questions, not the answering of them.
My number two would have to be this classic.
Anton Karas - The Third Man Theme [aka The Harry Lime Theme]
Release dates, September 2, 1949 UK 2 January 1950 USA
The distinctive musical score was composed and played on the zither by Anton Karas. A single, "The Third Man Theme", released in 1950 (Decca in UK, London Records in USA) became a best-seller, and later an LP was released.
Before the production came to Vienna, Karas was an unknown wine bar performer. Reed and Howard fell in love with Karas' zither after hearing him play inside a café. Karas agreed to record some of his own compositions on a reel-to-reel tape machine that Reed set up in the bedroom of his hotel; one of these was later to become the Harry Lime Theme and become a popular hit. The exposure made Karas an international star after the movie was released.
Film critic Roger Ebert wrote, "Has there ever been a film where the music more perfectly suited the action than in Carol Reed's 'The Third Man'?"
And I would say that never an introduction to the sadness reality was presented so well.
My number three just has to be this one.
Clannad - Theme from Harry's Game
Clannad were signed up to RCA Records when they were approached and asked if they would be interested in doing a song for a fictional drama on british TV depicting the troubles in Northern Ireland. Clannad got together and wrote the now-Legendary song
"Theme from Harry's Game" entering the british charts at number 5 it remains the only hit single in the uk ever to be sung entirely in Gaelic
Couldn't have a list like this without something from the maestro. So many amazing spaghetti western themes, but finally settled on this one with the chilling harmonica. This is what death sounds like.
Ennio Morricone - Once Upon A Time In The West - Man With A Harmonica
This was an amazing movie if only to see Henry Fonda go against a lifetime of work and switch to a black hat. And boy was he evil.
Story of a young woman, Mrs. McBain, who moves from New Orleans to frontier Utah, on the very edge of the American West. She arrives to find her new husband and family slaughtered, but by who? The prime suspect, coffee-lover Cheyenne, befriends her and offers to go after the real killer, assassin gang leader Frank, in her honor. He is accompanied by Harmonica on his quest to get even. Get-rich-quick subplots and intricate character histories intertwine with such artistic flair that this could in fact be the movie-to-end-all-movies.
And rounding out my top five, although in reality this could also be number one.
DeVotchKa - How It Ends
This song "How It Ends" introduced the band to a wider audience after being featured in the trailer for Everything Is Illuminated, a Gears of War 2 trailer called "The Last Day", and in an episode of Everwood (Season 4).
I first heard it on the Everything is Illuminated trailer, which made me
a) want to see the movie (which I did, and if you didn't you missed out)
b) want to get the album, which i did and all the others before or since
c) turned me into a lifetime DeVotchKa fan.