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Writing music for movies is a serious thing. Music must intensify the experience and support the plot, on the one hand, and yet must not distract the viewer's attention from occurrences on the screen. Good film music is music that is not felt - that is the opinion common among writers of music for the cinema.

In the early days of cinema, music was performed by live players or with a gramophone (the compact disc's grandfather and the LP player's father). Films were silent in those days, and no score was inserted anyway. By an early stage of motion picture development, music began to be composed especially for movies, building on ideas, intensifying feelings and accompanying occurrences on the screen. The movie "L'assassinat du Duc Guise" was made in 1907, and it is among the first movies with their own sound score.

Later on, sound began to be added to film. The first talking movie was "the Jazz Singer", with Al Johnson. From that day on, many of the familiar composers of art music started writing film music. Britten wrote music for many movies (including "the Young Person's Guide to Orchesrta"), as did Honegger, Copland, Milhaud, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. It was Schönberg who refused to write the music for a movie "the Good Land" for 50,000 dollars. Legend also tells that Stravinsky refused a million dollars offered to him, to write the score for a movie.

Nowadays, music serves a significant component in a movie production, and the best composers are hired for this purpose. Composers of film music come from a variety of musical styles and directions. The tremendous growth in the amount of movies produced every year allows more composers than ever to practice their art, make a good living and gain popularity. An Academy Award given every year emphasises how colourful and qualitative this field has become. Composers who write music for movies such as "Titanic" (the big Academy Award winner of 1997), actually became rich. Pop artists and writers such as Elton John, who had written the music for "Lion King" had great success in this field.

The development of television as a separate art added interest to the arena, and music for a television series is a particularly profitable business. Mark Snow, the composer of the music for "The X Files" series, became a successful, recognised writer practically overnight, thanks to the original music he wrote for the show.

Hundreds of movies used classical parts for their soundtrack. many producers did so, assuming that in this way they could pay less royalties, yet others were simply enchanted by the music itself, and viewed classical music as the natural choice to accompany the movie's story. We can note movies such as "Death in Venice" (accompanied by the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony), or the movie "Soylent Green" that combines music of many classical creators (with the great opening section, accompanied by the first movement of Beethoven's "Pastoral" symphony). The animated motion picture "Fantasia" by the Disney studios emphasised, with wonderful animation, some of the most beautiful works in the classical repertory. The movie "Elvira Madigan" was so well matched with Mozart's music, that the piano concerto from which the music was borrowed was renamed "Elvira Madigan".
And yet the most spoken of movie to use classical music for a soundtrack was the harsh "Clockwork Orange". In this violent, cruel film, classical pieces accompany the most horrific occurrences, and the contrast between this eternal beauty of music and evil and violence, becomes the core of the movie, as the hero is "rehabilitated" to the sounds of this great music.
"Hilary and Jackie", a fine movie from 1998, was dedicated to the tragic and touching real-life story of the late International concert cellist Jacqueline Du Pré and her life with her sister and husband, the famous pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. She died in 1987 from Multiple Sclerosis.
Some famous movies, such as "Amadeus" (about Mozart's life and death, "Lisztomania" about Liszt, and "La Symphonie Fantastique" about Berlioz, were dedicated to the lives of the great composers.
Elvira Madigan

Clockwork Orange

Billy Elliot



Beethoven Lives Upstairs

Classical music in the movies

Clair de lune - Debussy

Flight of the Bumblebee - Rimsky-Korsakov

'The Moldau' (Vltava) from Symphonic Poem, 'My Fatherland' (Má Vlast) - Smetana

Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring opera Circle) - Wagner

"Carmen" opera - Bizet

'Bolero' - Ravel

Gymnopèdies - Satie

þLes Sylphides (Ballet arranged by Douglas from Chopin's Piano Music) - Chopin

'Blue Danube' Waltz - Johann Strauss II

Minute waltz - Chopin

The Enigma Variations, Op.36 - Elgar

Goldberg Variations, BWV.988 - J.S. Bach

Toccata and Fugue in Dm, BWV 565 - J.S. Bach

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Britten

'Water Music' - Handel

Miserere - Allegri

Beethoven's sonatas 'Moonlight' & 'Pathetique'

þSymphony No.1 in D, 'Titan' - Mahlerþ

'Symphonie Fantastique' - Berlioz

Symphony No.6 - Beethoven

Symphony No.9 - Beethoven

'New World Symphony', Symphony No.9 in Em, Op.95 - Dvorak

Symphony No.40 in Gm, K.550 - Mozart

"The Planets" - Holst

'William Tell' overture - Rossini

Die Forelle (The Trout) - Schubert

'Carmina Burana' - Orff

Nutcracker ballet - Tchaikovsky

The Rite of Spring - Stravinsky

Firebird - Stravinsky

Symphony No. 5 - Beethoven

Peer Gynt Suite - Grieg

St Matthew Passion - J.S. Bach

Also sprach Zarathustra - Richard Strauss

Finlandia - Jean Sibelius

Brandenburg Concertos - J.S. Bach

Concerto de Aranjuez - Rodrigo

Double Violin Concerto - J.S. Bach

Violin Concerto - Beethoven

'Four Seasons' violin concerto - Vivaldi

Violin Concerto - Mendelssohn

Piano Concerto No. 5 - Beethoevn

Piano Concerto No. 1 - Tchaikovsky

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor OP.18 - Rachmaninoff

Piano Concerto No. 21 'Elvira Madigan' - Mozart

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra Op. 85 - Elgar

Concerto for Orchestra - Bartok

'Carnival of the Animals' - Saint-Saens

Sabre Dance - Khachaturian

'Rhapsody in Blue' - Gershwin

Requiem K.626 - Mozart

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - Dukas

Scheherazade - Rimsky-Korsakov

'Pictures at an Exhibition' - Mussorgsky

'Kinderszenen' - Schumann

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