Music and Cinema seems to be made one for each other since those times we were used to see the black-and-white images passing through our eyes and the sound of a piano passing through our ears. Even then, music came along with the images, awarding them the right expression in the moments of suspense, of sadness or even on a common scuffle scene. The sympathy between these two artistic expressions is so strong that we can remember a movie because of its soundtrack or, at least, one of its songs. The great filmmakers soon realized this importance and hired the best composers to their movies. Some of them even got specialized on music for movies.
The filmmaker Sergio Leone and the composer Ennio Morricone, for instance, did one of the most fertile associations (see the following articles here and here). The Once upon a time in America actors say the music, which were composed with a basis on the story, was played during the shooting and it strongly supported their performance - an indescribable experience! Besides, Morricone had an extraordinary talent to suggest atmospheres through musical phrases and arrangements.
However, Morricone neither work just with Leone (listen the amazing soundtrack of Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, by Giuseppe Tornatore) nor was the only one to achieve this sympathy. The John Barry's name is maybe less known than the Morricone's one; nevertheless, it is perfectly identified if we tell he is the author of the famous James Bond's theme, as many of the charismatic secret agent of Your Majesty movies soundtracks. And Barry composed dozens of unforgettable soundtracks -- Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, Cotton Cluband, mainly, the wonderful Midnight Cowboy theme, which the Toots Thielemans orchestra eternalized.
Hundreds of movies compositions, television series and theatre are parts of the impressive Michel Legrandcurriculum. His compositions are close to Jazz, as a result of the collaboration with personalities like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Phill Woods or Stephane Grappelli. Some of his themes became standards. Legrand showed a special talent to innovate and open new paths. He is the author of several themes for Nouvelle Vague movies made by Claude Lelouch, Jean-Luc Godard or Jacques Demy. For this last one, he composed Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, which catapulted him to fame. We also recall The Summer Knows (by the Summer of '42 movie) and You Must Believe in Spring.
There is another great name: Nino Rota. For instance, his musics brought to life movies made by Fellini, Visconti and Francis Coppola -- mainly on The Godfather's trilogy, perhaps his most known composition. Fellini said he did not need the images -- on Nino Rota's mind, the stories came up on the musical shape. Maybe the sympathy between music and cinema is made by this immaterial and abstract quality.
Here are the excerpts of some themes. Can you recognize them?