Kat of the Musicals

Well now here’s something different- I had forgotten I wrote this one! Basically I’m a huge film score nerd (I even wrote my Honours thesis about the key processes and methods of film composition) and I decided to do an article about some of my favourites that were released back in 2014!

Maybe one day I’ll put together a list of my all-time favourites… It would be quite long. Very long in fact.

The feature was originally posted on the AU Review.

Kat Czornij counts down her five favourite motion picture soundtracks of 2014. To avoid any confusion, this list only takes into account the original soundtracks – the ones that feature the film scores and original compositions – rather than the soundtracks inspired by a motion picture. You know, the one that has 14 tracks that probably weren’t in the film. This is the music that made the film…

5. How To Train Your Dragon 2 – John Powell

Returning to score the sequel, Powell lives up to his Oscar nomination with a new equally as energetic and adventurous score. His use of orchestra interweaving with Scottish and Irish tones (using instruments such as the penny whistle and the bagpipes) creates a unique sound- bringing home the historical Vikings and tying their legends to the mighty dragons.

4. Dracula Untold – Ramin Djawadi

Dracula is a dark and shadowy figure, full of mystery and foreboding. Djawadi manages to capture this figure in his score, creating music that reflects both the historical Vlad the Impaler and the arcane creature all at once. Djawadi really knows how to do the “medieval” scores (as his Game of Thrones work would testify) with just the right mix of instruments and sound to capture both the intense and bloody battles, as well as the more subtle and emotional moments of character depth.

3. Unbroken – Alexandre Desplat

Although I’ve yet to even seen the film I knew this would be a magnificent score from Desplat. And I was absolutely right. As usual Desplat shows an incredible ability to capture and relay emotional storytelling at it’s very best. You can feel the heaviness of the material in his work, a dark but hopeful score that grows and builds into this beautiful emotional crescendo in “The War Is Over”.

2. Interstellar – Hans Zimmer

The standout film of the year comes with a standout score. This one was really something different than what we usually hear from the master Zimmer- with a marked absence of the drums of pirate ships, gladiator arenas and bat caves, and in it’s place an overwhelming pressing score of “space”.

The key moment in the film for me was coming through the first half with the ever-present underscore, to have it suddenly and completely cut to absolute silence as they’re launched into the vast emptiness space. The cleverness of both score and silence together was so effectively utilized here.

1. Maleficent – James Newtown Howard

Of course my favourite composer would have to be my number one, but Maleficent is truly one of the most wonderfully magical scores that I have heard in the past few years. As soon as I heard the opening theme I was already planning to head out and purchase it as soon as the film finished.

The music takes you through every moment of the enchanted journey of Maleficent, with touching themes, dramatic battles and all the wonder of the beautiful landscape. Newtown Howard always manages to create the most perfect scores for the most crucial moments and “True Love’s Kiss” holds every bit of the powerful emotion of that beautiful scene.

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