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Gone with the Wind (1939) – Max Steiner
Max Steiner’s score perfectly captures the Deep South before the American Civil War. Sweeping themes, redolent with nostalgia, conjure up images of the film every time I hear them. Nominated for an Oscar at the 1940 Academy Awards, but lost out to Herbert Stothart for The Wizard of Oz. Well, if you’re going to lose out to anyone…
Cinema Paradiso (1988) – Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone can do a lot more than spaghetti Westerns. This is beautifully wistful music, perfectly fitting a bygone era in a small Italian town. Inexplicably not nominated for an Oscar, but deservedly winning a Bafta. Morricone has actually scored more than 500 films. Unbelievable.
Schindler’s List (1993) – John Williams
I have said it repeatedly on Classic FM, to me the main theme from this film is like a modern Violin Sonata. That a composer can write music for films like Jaws and Star Wars, as well as this, is extraordinary. John Williams is arguably the finest living composer of film music (along with Morricone).
Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources (1986) – Giuseppe Verdi
A tale of jealousy, rivalry, and thwarted love in a small French village in Provence after the First World War, where Fate and Destiny combine to devastating results. Who better to provide the music than Giuseppe Verdi? The films make marvellous use of Verdi’s Overture to La Forza del Destino.
Sense and Sensibility (1995) – Patrick Doyle
Beautiful lyrical score by the Scottish composer Patrick Doyle. Perfectly English, middle-class, with emotional outbursts, becoming more mature as the story progresses, in the composer’s own words. Earned him his first Academy Award nomination.