It’s that time of year again where I pick out my top 10 favourite movie scores of 2016. I really enjoyed the variety of jazz scores that a lot of films used, whether those films were about jazz music or they simply utilised background jazz music.
Counting down the best scores from 2015. It was a solid year for music from movies. We got epic action compositions, poignant dramatic arrangements as well as uplifting pieces. Enjoy these beautifully written scores.
I’ve collated some of the best scores of 2015. I haven’t listened to them in full (and there are some scores I’m sure I’ve missed) but these are some of strongest in my opinion. A few of them have a good chance of being in the run for an Oscar nomination. I’ve included some that I just liked as well. As we get nearer to the awards season, I’ll give my favourites as well as my predictions for Best Score. Anyway, have a listen to some of these:
The Irish Summer has finally arrived. We’re getting great weather, and by that I mean not rain. But no, it’s actually warm and feels nice outside. And so I decided to discuss a score that really suits this fine weather: the Academy Award winning score to Up (2009) by Michael Giacchino.
One of the most epic movies of 2014, and of our generation, has to be Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014). This monumental movie about space travel has outstanding visual effects and production and sound. But what is truly epic about the film is Hans Zimmer’s impeccable and other worldly score.
Christmas has just gone and over the holidays I watched all eight Harry Potter movies (as they were on TV). I was quite nostalgic watching the whole story arc over a couple of days, so I decided to pick my favourite tracks from the series. The list is based on nostalgic memories of the tracks and also how affecting they are. I tried really hard to whittle it down but of course there’s just so many good songs. I couldn’t even get it to a rounded 15 so you’re just going to have to listen to 16! The scores are quite nostalgic and moving. They’re incredibly made and I feel each composer brought something to each film. John Williams is a genius and for me his scores are really nostalgic and intricate. Patrick Doyle wasn’t around for a long time but he did create good tracks for the Triwizard Tournament. Nicholas Cooper & Alexandre Desplat were my favourites during the series, I really can’t decide who I liked more. Nicholas Cooper had such fun and upbeat tracks as well as being epic or emotional. Alexandre Desplat is a really serious composer for me. His sounds really have something I can’t quite describe. I wouldn’t say “adult,” as that’s a bit condescending, but more affecting and emotional I think. He just has these brilliant sounds. Obviously each composer has to play off the plot they’re given, but all did a really impressive job in applying music to the story. Anyway, here are the top 16 tracks for me:
Le Week-end (2013) follows a married couple’s holiday in Paris as they try to reinvigorate their love and marriage. A quaint and quite likeable film, it is a pleasurable watch. What really stood out for me was the soundtrack composed by Jeremy Sams. I am a sucker for jazz.
The soundtrack is filled with jazz pieces and we get a lot of rich sounds which does wonders for the Parisian backdrop. One of my personal favourites is the muted trumpet. It’s a sound that I love to hear in any song. It’s found throughout the soundtrack in particular “Train Music,” “Bank Girl” & “Doing A Runner.” It’s a quite solitary sound is it works well on its own. It conjures up this idea of solitude. But obviously because of the film the music isn’t bleak and the trumpet becomes a sort of comfort and warmth. In “Doing A Runner” the trumpet is accompanied by a double bass, drums and saxophone. It’s much more up tempo than the other tracks and consequently has an uplifting feel to it.
The piano plays an important role throughout the soundtrack. It’s used greatly in the contrast with silence. The notes are short and hang in the air like in “Nick In Corridor.” It’s quite minimalist and intermittent. We get this kind of gliding feeling when the piano is accompanied by the double bass like in “Train Music.”
In “Restaurant Wander” we get this smooth jazz vibe. The electric guitar (I think) is used to great avail here in creating this relaxing feeling. We also get the accordion which is an essential instrument in creating the Parisian sound-scape. It’s used prominently in “Hotel Escape.”
One of the more memorable tracks, “Madison,” is used during the dance scene. It’s an up tempo piece and in many ways the most fun. It works in contrast with all of the other tracks as it feels as though each instrument comes into its own in this piece. They really let go in this song and it’s almost like a catharsis. The trumpet is playful and unrestrained along with the saxophone, piano and drums. A great piece to end the movie on with a classic finish.