Sound of Cinema: The Music That Made the Movies

The Big Score

Series 1 - Episode 1 The Big Score



In an ideal companion piece to Mark Cousins’ 2011 series The Story of Film, composer Neil Brand puts music top of the bill for an insider’s guide to how to “read” a soundtrack.

Episode one focuses on orchestral compositions and their ability to make marionettes of our emotions; tugging us from terror to sensuality to pathos. Brand's enthusiasm is palpable and affecting – he's like a kid at Christmas when he gets to hold one of Erich Korngold's old batons. But he reserves special affection for Bernard Herrmann, whose astonishing scores for Vertigo, Psycho and Taxi Driver never fail to send tremors down the spine.


Neil Brand celebrates the art of the film soundtrack by exploring the work of movie composers and demonstrating their techniques. He begins by looking at how the classical orchestral score emerged, and investigates how its popularity remains strong today. He sheds light on the 1930s European composers such as Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who brought their Viennese training to Hollywood for movies including King Kong and The Adventures of Robin Hood, and how it took an American talent to produce a darker, more modern sound. He also meets film-maker Martin Scorsese and composer Hans Zimmer to discuss their work.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Neil Brand
Guest Martin Scorsese
Guest Hans Zimmer
Director John Das
Executive Producer Michael Poole
Series Producer John Das
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