soundtracks | Texas Public Radio

soundtracks

Gene Kelly
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Music has been linked to moviemaking since the birth of the cinema. Before recorded sound, live musicians would accompany silent films to enhance the mood of a scene, and to this day, the right score can elevate a film, and a great score can sear itself on your heart.

The new movie, Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler as a New York jeweler and gambler always out for the next score, is a cinematic panic attack. Amidst the din of New York's Diamond District and the hectic habitat of Adam Sandler's loudmouth Howard Ratner is the meditative music of analog synthesizers. So why does such a frenetic film feature a cosmic, New Age score?

Courtesy photo

Composer John Lunn didn’t start writing music for films and television programs until he was 32. Two decades after he began that journey, American audiences fell in love with the Crawleys – and Lunn’s memorable themes – from “Downton Abbey,” the ITV/PBS program that follows an aristocratic family through the first decades of the 20th century.

"I once said to Fred Astaire, 'Isn't it wonderful what the Gershwin brothers did for you at RKO?' " John Williams recalls. Astaire answered. "Yes. But Irving Berlin did more."

Ready for more Disney déjà vu? The Lion King is the latest software update to one of Disney's beloved animated movies, this time featuring photo-realistic graphics — and Beyoncé. The musical performances are all new, but it's the same classic songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, and composer Hans Zimmer also returned to Pride Rock with an upgraded version of his Oscar-winning score from 25 years ago.

Over the past five years, Justin Sherburn and his band Montopolis have been creating not just music, but a series of immersive concert experiences that focus on the diverse landscape of Texas.

Anlo Sepulveda

Pianist and composer Justin Sherburn has enjoyed a long career as a touring musician with Austin bands like 8 ½ Souvenirs and Okkervil River, but now finds himself in front of the big screen with his ensemble Montopolis, performing original soundtracks to silent classics, and now creating a series of multimedia productions highlighting the natural wonders of the Lone Star State.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a film about how the California city has transformed in ways that have benefited the extremely wealthy and harmed its black residents. It's also a fairy tale about a deposed prince, and so, it requires a grand, fairy tale score.

From the cello-laden soundtrack of If Beale Street Could Talk to the symphony of "wrong notes" he created for Vice, composer Nicholas Britell seeks out sounds that capture each film's essence. His process involves many discussions with a film's director before the film has even been shot — and a lot of experimenting.

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