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Classic FM Greatest Soundtrack poll

General questions regarding E.W.Korngold

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Classic FM Greatest Soundtrack poll

Postby Peter Timoney » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:44 am

I have just read the Classic FM poll of the 150 greatest movie soundtracks and it has depressed me, although not in the slightest surprised me. In the top 150 'definitive' poll E.W. Korngold gets only one mention with The Adventures of Robin Hood at No. 64. Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, Alfred Newman and Miklos Rozsa fared only slightly better. At least Hugo Friedhofer got a mention too! Some of the films which beat Robin Hood are The Da Vinci Code, The Thomas Crown Affair, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Forrest Gump, Ladies in Lavender, Apollo 13, Last of the Mohicans, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Carribean etc. I do not wish to denigrate these scores as most of the scores in the list really are fine scores. But better than Robin Hood? Or the Sea Hawk etc, etc?

John Williams is top composer with 19 scores in the list. Naturally number 1 goes to Star Wars, which is an underhanded compliment to the likes of Korngold, Rozsa and their era. To be fair to Williams though, he says in an interview in the magazine, "...I should say though that polls like this may be a little deceiving. Every score functions in a different way. So it might do some disservice to other scores that have worked brilliantly in their roles but wouldn't be recognised in a poll like this." The magazine have listed the top 10 composers based on their numerical positions in the poll. From 1 to 10 they are John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, Maurice Jarre, Ennio Morricone, Thomas Newman, Hans Zimmer, John Barry, Elmer Bernstein, Patrick Doyle and James Horner. All fine composers, but is Thomas Newman really better than his father Alfred etc, etc. Of course, one should never get too hung up on such polls. Classic FM polls have Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending as the greatest piece of music ever. Enough said (again, not to denigrate a fine piece). My biggest complaint is only the use of 'Definitive' when taking a poll judged on popularity and not necessarily on quality.

So what do we Korngoldians think about it. Should we be concerned or should we just let an unimportant matter lie, while we smile the smile of reason and sit comfortably with the soothing thought that we know better.

Peter
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Just as you said...

Postby Dennis Miller » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:07 am

"...one should never get too hung up on such polls."
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Postby peter hodgson » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:13 pm

The point is not that 10th rate music is more popular than good music. The point is that the people who participate in polls for Classic fm are as ignorant as *******. After all, just take a look at the content of Classic fm's "Top 300 Hall of Fame" which includes a load of tripe from TV ads.
If all this matters to you, then get a few dozen people to vote online for "die tote Stadt" and you'll get Marietta's Lied into the Top 300! :P
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Postby Peter Timoney » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:28 am

Of course I do not get hung up on such polls as regards their ability to tell us anything about the quality of music and I know such polls always tend towards a populist list with an overwhelming emphasis on the more recent pieces. However, I have a general unease about the very poor performance of the golden age composers in this poll because it seems to confirm what I perceive from people in general around me. An increasing number of people are not watching black and white, or old, films. Indeed many younger people I talk to say that if a black and white film came on they would simply change the channel. I am only 41 and when growing up classic films and serials were on TV all the time and watched by most of my contemporaries. Many young people now simply aren't interested. Indeed for the most part the films aren't even shown, except perhaps by some of the satellite channels with very small viewer numbers. This may be a problem for the future of the promotion of Golden age composers when the cultural references cease to exist for the new general public. There will be no nostalgia element to help attract them to the music. Yes, there will always be the enthusiasts and those who make the effort, but for the broad expanse of the population this music is no longer part of their everyday life as it was ours in our youth. That is why I take such polls slightly more seriously than I should. It does confirm what I see around me and frankly I think it IS a cause for concern. Korngold will probably survive well as he has more strings to his bow, but some of the others may fall away when their tireless advocates are no longer here. Sorry for being so negative. It must be these long, dark scottish december nights. Bring on the sunshine.

Peter
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