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How My Favorite Soundtracks Helped My Career

And of Course, it Starts with "Citizen Kane"

"Movie Music" had a major impact on how I decided to craft our earliest slide show (eventually video) soundtracks.

 

As a 22 year old in a competitive corporate climate, I wanted to make sure that our "sound" was big time. I knew that the proper use of "movie style" music was the key.

 

Eventually, I found the right music to "borrow"-- a combination of classical and movie soundtrack-- and we were on our way. I first learned my craft doing family "Tributes" for my family, and some of the listed music was for these in-house "practice" projects.

 

I borrowed from some of my favorite soundtracks, and here's a list of what I borrowed (this was 42 years ago, so I assume the statute of limitations has run out. If not, well, then, who hacked my Wordpress?)

 

Citizen Kane. Bernard Herrmann's music made this movie for me. His symphonic compilation, "Welles Raises Kane", covers all the emotions... pride, enthusiasm, triumph, a life's summation. I combined this with "The Memory Waltz" from Jane Eyre to add early moments of nostalgia.

 

Midnight Cowboy. Not for the Nillson songs. For John Barry's beautiful "Joe Buck Rides Again". It romances, then it gallops.

 

The Magic Christian.  Three great pop songs came out of this, but I loved the energy in Ken Thorne's underscore to "The Hunting Scene."

 

 On Her Majesty's Secret Service. John Barry again, and this time it's for the lilting, then marching Journey to Blofeld's Hideaway.  I used this to help paint a picture of my parents' trip to San Simeon for a slide show my Dad was putting together. He was amazed.

 

And some classical favorites that actually work within the context of arts or industrial soundtracks:

 

The Overture from the School for Scandal. Samuel Barber's first composition for full orchestra. It was composed in 1931 while Barber was completing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. We used in in our first professionally completed slideshow for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

 

The Academic Festival Overture. Johannes Brahms. Brahms composed the Academic Festival Overture during the summer of 1880 as a musical "thank you" to the University of Breslau, which had awarded him an honorary doctorate the previous year. It is amazing to me how cinematic this piece is, and we used a recording of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performing it in a slideshow documentary for the Milwaukee Symphony, conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn.

 

After these first few practice runs, with the hope that our output (and income) would increase, we began investing in music libraries, which in those days came on 12" stereo LP's. My early favorite was The Chappell Library, which souerce music from England, France and Germany, and later, KPM, which primarily distributed the works of top notch British composers / conductors.

 

But it all started, as it did for so many in so many ways, with a viewing of Citizen Kane.

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