Annal: 2003 Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music

Results of the Anthony Asquith Award in the year 2003.

Album:The Hours: Music from the Motion Picture

The Hours: Music from the Motion Picture

Philip Glass

How better to score a movie that takes place in three tangentially related time periods than with music that strives for timelessness? The hallmarks of Philip Glass’s minimalism serve The Hours well. The film, based on Michael Cunningham’s novel, tells the stories of three women—Virginia Woolf in the early 1920s, a housewife just after World War II, and a book editor in the present—whose days relate in different ways to Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. Yet rather than construct a sonic montage of these three time periods (perhaps some Ravel for Woolf,…

Album:Catch Me If You Can: Music from the Motion Picture

Catch Me If You Can: Music from the Motion Picture

John Williams

Steven Spielberg veered from the futuristic sci-fi flirtations of A.I. and Minority Report with this brisk, stylish period take on the career of teen con-man extraordinaire Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his dogged G-man pursuer/de facto extended family member Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). As always, the director’s musical collaborator is John Williams, and the scoring legend uses the occasion of their 20th collaboration as a rewarding musical journey back to the days when he was known as Johnny Williams, ambitious young pianist for Henry…

Album:Chicago: Music from the Motion Picture

Chicago: Music from the Motion Picture

Danny Elfman, Various Artists

The movie version of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago was long in the making, but it’s well worth the wait. Director Rob Marshall’s main change was to turn the classic musical numbers into fantasy sequences, but of course this isn’t obvious on CD. Most importantly, the arrangements are bursting with life while being true to the show’s spirit, and the casting is simply inspired. Catherine Zeta-Jones actually started her career on the British boards (she was in The Pajama Game and 42nd Street), so her turn as slinky Velma Kelly isn’t that surprising;…

Album:Gangs of New York: Music from the Motion Picture

Gangs of New York: Music from the Motion Picture

Howard Shore

Martin Scorsese’s sprawling meditation on the rise of street gangs in 19th-century New York (the roots of the modern mafia) also became another soundtrack buff’s “What If?” after the director scrapped the original orchestral underscore of modern collaborator (Cape Fear, The Age of Innocence, Bringing Out the Dead)/veteran scoring legend Elmer Bernstein and replaced it with this typically rich, Robbie Robertson-supervised collection of eclectic pop, folk, and neo-classical tracks. The latter come courtesy of three brooding excerpts from film…

Album:The Pianist: Music from the Motion Picture

The Pianist: Music from the Motion Picture

Wojciech Kilar

Roman Polanski’s telling of famed Polish composer-pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman’s survival in the Nazi-controlled Warsaw ghetto can’t help but be infused with the director’s deepest passions: he himself escaped the Kraków ghetto as a boy of 7. The musician’s status as a musical hero to the oppressed Polish Jews of World War II was surpassed only by that of Chopin, the composer who was at the core of Szpilman’s repertoire. Thus this score revolves tightly around Chopin’s music, with modern Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak paying passionate homage to both his musical…

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