Honor roll: Classical albums

Each of these Classical albums has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Album:The Artist: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Artist: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Ludovic Bource

The Artist is a silent film directed by Michel Hazanavicius using the techniques and expressions reminiscent of old-time movie making. Composer Ludovic Bource’s original music is brilliant and catchy in the spirit of Chaplin, Max Steiner and Franz Waxman and evokes the big romantic symphonic repertoire from the 19th Century. The music speaks and replaces the words—it becomes part of the story and is essential to the film.

Album:Life of Pi: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Life of Pi: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Mychael Danna

Canadian-born Mychael Danna is recognized as one of the pioneers of combining non-Western music with orchestral and electronic elements in his film scores. Life of Pi marks his third collaboration with Ang Lee, having previously written the original music for The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil.

Album:Atonement: Music from the Motion Picture

Atonement: Music from the Motion Picture

Dario Marianelli

The filmmakers of Pride and Prejudice (director Joe Wright) reunite for Atonement, based on the award-winning, best-selling 2002 novel, a classic British romance that spans several decades. The Decca soundtrack will be released on December 4 and features original music by Academy Award® nominee Dario Marianelli, (Pride and Prejudice) with piano solos performed by Decca artist Jean Yves-Thibaudet.

Album:Memoirs of a Geisha: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Memoirs of a Geisha: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

John Williams

Director Rob Marshall hired three of Asia’s most fabulous stars (Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, and Gong Li) for this Japan-set movie, so one wonders why he didn’t put in a call to a local composer as well. Was Tan Dun’s line busy? Was Joe Hisaishi otherwise engaged? In any case, John Williams won the assignment, and he didn’t end up with egg on his face. Mercifully, Williams left the bombast at home and put cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman to good use in this sensitive score. The lovely “Sayuri’s Theme” resurfaces at regular intervals, and it’s good to…

Album:The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Music from the Motion Picture

Howard Shore

This final chapter of Peter Jackson’s sprawling adaptation of Tolkien’s “Ring” trilogy closes out one of the most accomplished cycles in cinema—and film music—history. As he’s done for the saga’s first two installments, composer Howard Shore has honed a mature, brooding orchestral masterpiece that’s long on subtle shadings of mood and nuance, while eschewing the hollow bombast that’s characterized all too many mainstream action and adventure films for three decades. If anything, he’s pared this chapter of his music for Middle Earth even closer to the bone, the…

Album:Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Tan Dun

The classical works of Tan Dun typically fuse compositional elements from the East and the West, but for his soundtrack to Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, musical cultures aren’t so much blurred as coexistent side-by-side. While the magical martial arts film doesn’t boast music as stunning as its visuals, this soundtrack is still beautiful and elegant, a perfect complement to the movie’s mysticism. Just don’t expect epic, John Williams-inspired bombast here. On “A Wedding Interrupted,” the riveting brass and string section introduction segues…

Album:Brokeback Mountain: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Brokeback Mountain: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Gustavo Santaolalla

Argentina-born, California-based Gustavo Santaolalla helped shape the rock en Español movement by producing Mexican bands Molotov and Café Tacuba , and Colombian singer Juanes. In the late 1990s he made a switch to soundtracks, working on well-received albums for Amores Perros and The Motorcycle Diaries. His instrumental contributions to Ang Lee’s tale of two cowboys in love are acoustic guitar-based and, let’s face it, a bit on the sonic-wallpaper side.

The vocal tracks, on the other hand, are uniformly lovely, even if the selection of…

Album:Finding Neverland: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Finding Neverland: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

As did the Lewis Carroll/Alice in Wonderland-rooted Dreamchild before it, Finding Neverlandexplores the all-too-human roots of an English children’ s literature classic, in this case author James Mathew Barrie’s (Johnny Depp) enduring fable, Peter Pan. Polish stage composer cum film scorer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek takes the film’s fantasy-leavened, yet ultimately bittersweet tale of Barrie, his losing battle with adulthood and the magic world of prose it inspired and invests it with an exuberant score that positively pulses with…

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:Argo: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Argo: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Alexandre Desplat

Music by famed French composer Alexandre Desplat.

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