My favorite soundtracks

Rick is the music connoisseur of our duo, and he does a great job of keeping up with all of the new bands and albums. I like my fair share of pop and rock, but I’m also a big fan of instrumental music, particularly movie and TV scores. I have all of the CDs for “The Lord of the Rings” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, and often after seeing a movie will go home straight away to look up the music.

Howard Shore was the composer and conductor for all of the LOTR music, and he fully deserves all of the awards that he won for it. The soundtrack is one of the most successful of all time, winning three Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and four Grammy Awards. The movies were filmed on such an epic scale and had such a rabid fan base that the pressure on Shore must have been enormous, but he delivered every time. One of his songs, “The Fields of the Pelennor,” gives me chills every time I listen to it, and I’ve listened to it dozens of times. The scene that the song was written for is also one of my favorite in the trilogy: the Rohirrim coming to the aid of Minas Tirith. It’s the perfect pairing of film and sound.

Below is just the song.

Now add in the action.

“Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise, riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken! Shields shall be splintered! A sword day, a red day, ere the sun rises!” It’s one of the most epic battle sequences in the movies. Bernard Hill is amazing in this scene, and Peter Jackson and Co. also deserved all of the 11 Oscars won for “Return of the King.”

“He’s a Pirate” from “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” had me going to the store right away to buy the soundtrack. Klaus Badelt scored the first movie, and Hans Zimmer the second and third. All three scores are great, and there are a lot of influences going on. The theme for Davy Jones starts out wistful and delicate when he thinks of his lost love, and turns bold and aggressive as he hardens his heart against all things good. There are also lively tavern tunes and Asian-influenced pieces. One of the best additions to the third score is the theme for Will and Elizabeth, lovers who will never be together but once every ten years. The score does a great job portraying their bittersweet longing.

“Davy Jones”

Some of my other favorites include the Jason Bourne series, “Harry Potter,” “Love, Actually,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

I’m almost done, I promise. As I said in my “Walking Dead” review, Bear McCreary might have composed the best TV soundtrack ever in “Battlestar Galactica.” “Wander My Friends” sounds like something you’d heard in an Irish pub, not a spaceship thousands of years in the future (or past). McCreary also does the best cover of “All Along the Watchtower” I’ve ever heard. It’s at its best paired with the visual of the show, but it’s also great with just the audio.

What are your favorite movie or TV soundtracks?

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