Saturday, November 25, 2006

Can a film score ever be considered Classical music?

Classic FM devote an extraordinary amount of air-time to music from the movies.

Now I'm not suggesting for a moment that the offerings are not sometimes stirring, relaxing or moving. I would however put forward the view that without an image to accompany them they are only half complete. Musical wallpaper. A backdrop for the creative work of a film producer. Their intention surely is to add ambiance and atmosphere to what your eyes are seeing and are not originally conceived as a stand-alone musical works.

One could I suppose, extend this argument to ballet music. This is surely a vehicle for prima donas to tippy toe across the stage to!

What do you reckon?


  1. Val.Trendell@classicfm.com19 Dec 2006, 18:54:00

    Good morning Mr Hillman

    You raise an interesting questionaboutwhat actually constitutes 'classical music', one about which there are many differing opinions. Of course much of the 'classical' music we play was in it's time'modern pop music' - certainly Verdi's tunes, for example, were widely sung in the music halls, chantrd in thestreets by crouds, and gy the organ grinders of their day.

    Classic FM's policy about film music is that it represents one area of contemporary music that is orchestral, generally stirring in an emotional sense and of a very high quality. It provides listeners with a very good launch pad or access point from which they can get into the wider world of classical music. Many newcomers to classical music get their first taste of symphonic music through it's use in films or by being swept along by a dramatic score by John Williams or Hans Zimmer. For these reasons we beleive film music has a plac e on our radio station.

    With very best wishes

  2. klezclaire (Sandra Petersen)25 May 2007, 15:48:00

    Hi, Keith.

    You raise an interesting point. There are some film scores that I think have to have the support of the visual picture to make sense.

    But there are some film scores that rely on classical music. There was a war picture years ago that took Samuel Barber's 'Adagio For Strings' to emphasize the most poignant scene. When I saw the title of the music that had moved me so much I found it and other works by Barber. He fast became one of my favorite contemporary composers.

    I also remember some of the old Looney cartoons with Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck that were my introduction to classical music when I was young.

    I would think some of the music, like the hornpipe dance, from Pirates: Dead Man's Chest, may qualify as good classical music.

    Good classical music stirs the emotions and has melodies that are recognizable even if you can recognize the melodies only after several times listening. I agree that the music to be considered classical should stand a certain test of time but the composer should not have to be old, moldy, and in the grave before his music is appreciated.

    Great article, by the way. Thought-provoking.



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