The Fort Wayne Philharmonic presented a free concert featuring movie themes Thursday evening at Auer Performance Hall at IPFW's Rhinehart Music Center. The selections included familiar melodies that are readily identifiable with the films they scored.
It made me wonder what movie music might be considered the top 10 choices of all time. That's a daunting challenge, and if you search for top movie themes you'll find an endless array of lists with an endless disagreement about what themes were the best of all.
However, in my limited search I did find a number of movie themes that pop up on several lists, and the philharmonic's wonderful performance, led by associate conductor Bradley Thachuk, had a representative selection. They played the themes from “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Hedwig's Theme.” There were more, including Richard Strauss' “Also sprach Zarathustra” and Johann Strauss' “The Blue Danube,” both from “2001, A Space Odyssey,” and Richard Wagner's “The Ride of the Valkyries” from “Apocalypse Now.”
Here's one list I liked from Ianthecool's movie reviews online (you can actually play the music on this site at http://ianthecool.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/the-ten-most-memorable-movie-themes/), the Ten Most Memorable Movie Themes, ranked from 10th to first:
10. “The Godfather”; 9. “Rocky”; 8. “Beverly Hills Cop”; 7. “The Pink Panther”; 6. “Dr. No” (the James Bond theme song); 5. “Raiders of the Lost Ark”; 4. “Psycho”; 3. “Star Wars”; 2. “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”; 1. “Jaws.”
“Jaws” was a frequent No. 1. On another list, Harry Potter was first, followed by “Rocky,” “Halloween,” James Bond, “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Mission Impossible,” “Jaws,” “The Godfather” and “Jurassic Park.”
Of course, many of the best are John Williams compositions, which are often rousing instrumentals that connote heroism and adventure, his “Star Wars” being one of the most recognizable of all movie themes.
But “Jaws” and “Psycho” carry the spine-chilling terror imbued in the movie itself through simplicity. Although characterized by only a couple of notes, probably no other soundtracks are quite as haunting or ominous.
Others you might argue should be on the list: How about “The Exorcist,” “Back to the Future,” “Austin Powers” or older yet, “The Sound of Music,” “Saturday Night Fever” or “West Side Story”?
I won't even attempt to compile my own top 10 because it's just too difficult. What a copout, eh? But it might be fun to try.