Friday, March 25, 2016

My Top Six Favorite Composers

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Mae Govannen!  (Well-met, to those of you who have not read The Lord of the Rings!  :)

Speaking of LOTR, though, puts me in mind of film score, the subject of this post today.  
I listen to a lot of film score and so does most of the other members of my family.  If you happened to walk into our house during clean up time, it would sound like the climax of a very emotional drama, or possibly an epic battle.  (Those crusty dishes never go down without a fight, after all.)
I figured it's probably about time I did a list of my favorite film score composers- and I've got a lot.  So I'd probably better stop rambling on and just get to the good stuff!

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My number one spot is kind of tied between James Horner and John Williams.  They both write such wonderful music!  But in the end, James Horner is the one who writes the music that I hear in my heart, but have no skill to put on paper.  The chord progressions he uses and the semi-celtic melodies that always seem to occur seem like home to me.  
Horner was one of the few famous people I actually had an honest desire to meet in person, just to give them my appreciation.  My list is of course smaller now after his passing, but I've still got a few left.  

My favorite piece:  The Princess Pleads for Wallace's Life  (Braveheart)

Other beautiful pieces:  Main Titles:  The Land Before Time,  Theme from the Pelican Brief, Rooftop Kiss (The Amazing Spider Man)



And since he did't get the number one spot, he must have number two. This modern-day classical genius has probably influenced every other film score composer of the past few generations.  Exciting, beautiful, and intelligent, Williams' songs have a distinct style that sets them apart from any other artists'. 

My favorite piece:  Anakin's Betrayal  (Star Wars Episode III)

Other beautiful pieces:  You Are the Pan (Hook), Hatching Baby Raptor (Jurassic Park), Theme from Always



Although I cannot help but try to crack jokes about his last name ("Alexander Diplodocus"), Alexandre Desplat's works have a kind of serene magic to them that is unique.  Though influenced by John Williams very much, he has developed his own style, and I believe he will continue to be one of the best composers of this age.

My favorite piece:  Girl With the Pearl Earring (from Girl with the Pearl Earring)

Other beautiful pieces:  Lily's Theme (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), The Master is Painting (Girl With the Pearl Earring), River Waltz (The Painted Veil)



Thomas Newman's scores have a kind of depth to them that makes my bones vibrate.  Every time I listen to one of his more emotional songs, I find my creativity soaring.

My favorite piece:  Whisper of a Thrill  (Meet Joe Black)

Other beautiful pieces:  Cathedral (Road to Perdition), Define Dancing (WALL.E), Just the Feller (Road to Perdition)



I have to admit, I had a very difficult to decide whether I should put James Newton Howard as number 4 or number 5.  He and Thomas Newman have very similar styles, with subtle details to set them apart.  Regardless of his standing on this list, Newton Howard writes beautiful and intriguing music with may different colors.

My favorite piece:  Reflections of Elijah  (Unbreakable)

Other beautiful pieces:  Aurora in Fairyland (Maleficent), Fairy Dance (Peter Pan), Tinker Bell (Peter Pan)



Lovely piano melodies are featured prominently in many of Aaron Zigman's pieces.  He composed the score for one of the most iconic romance films of this age, The Notebook.

My favorite piece:  Flight of Magorium (Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium)

Other beautiful pieces:  Main Title (The Notebook),  On  the Lake (The Notebook), Main Titles (Bride to Terebithia)

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And that concludes my list for today!  What are some of your favorite composers and soundtracks?  Let me know in the comments below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

-Emmarayn Redding

(DISCLAIMER:  I do not own any of the songs contained within this post.  Credit goes to the copyright owners.)


  1. My favorite composer is Howard Shore, although he doesn't compose as many movies as some of the others on this list which is sad :(
    My favorite song from the Braveheart soundtrack is For the Love of Princess--it does have that trademark Celtic feel with the little trills on the violin. I have been working on learning to play that one and it certainly is awesome to be able to create that kind of sound yourself.
    This is a great list!

    1. Ah yes, Howard Shore is another great one. :) The only other film I know he's done is Mrs. Doubtfire, though. That score sounds nothing like his Lord of the Rings stuff.

      I've been practicing playing For the Love of a Princess on my penny whistle. It takes a lot of breath support to do that trembling tone, but it sure sounds pretty when I get it right. :D

  2. Thanks for sharing! I love working to music- or even just sitting and thinking to music. the Braveheart score is so epic; epic and sad.
    I'm not sure I have a favourite composer, but I do know I have favourite soundtracks. Here are just a few:

    -Man from Snowy River
    -Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
    -The Chronicles of Narnia
    and, of course -Lord of the Rings

    1. I love all of those soundtracks! :D Harry Gregson-Williams is a very good composer, but I'm not nearly as familiar with his work as I am with others.

      The Man from Snowy River soundtrack has such an energetic, adventurous feel. :)

  3. I love Howard Shore and the person who did the soundtrack for the Chronicles of Narnia . . . can't remember his name. No, wait, Harry Gregson-Williams. I think.

    I haven't listened to most of the composers on here, but I'll have to try them sometime soon. :)

    1. You definitely should- they're very helpful for inspiring great writing. :D

  4. So many wonderful composers!! Soundtracks are some of the best things to listen to, and you have quite a nice list. :) Also, I've tagged you in a little challenge on my blog if you're interested, heehee.