The best music you'll hear in the movies

October 11, 2012

Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele

Film and music have always been intrinsically linked. Even before the rise of talkies, movies were backed by live orchestras, underlining and magnifying the images and emotions on the screen. As the 48th Chicago International Film Festival kicks off, WBEZ music aficionados Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele are joined by Chicago musician Daniel Knox on Thursday's Morning Shift to talk about their favorite composers, and those indelible moments when music and film perfectly meld. Here are some of their picks:

Tony Sarabia:

"Sheeshy Ki Botal" - M. Ashraf

"O My Love" - M. Ashraf

"Ek Bottle Bagal Main" - RD Burman

"Chand Sa Mukhda Gora Badan" by Ahmed Rushdi for Saperan

Richard Steele:

Leo Brouwer is a composer and classical guitarist. This extraordinary Afro-Cuban musician has written more than 30 film scores. His original music reflects classical, Afro-Cuban and jazz influences. Brouwer is a major music figure in Cuba and back in the ‘60s, he was music director of the Cuban Institute on Cinematographic Arts and Industry. During that period, Brouwer was also a professor at the National Conservatory. Brouwer completed his musical studies at Juilliard during his stay in America. He has played and recorded with some of the most important orchestras in the world. In 1992, he wrote the music score for the top grossing Mexican film Like Water for Chocolate. Listening to the soundtrack will give you the opportunity to hear Brouwer’s very fine acoustic guitar work. The track is called “Theme of Tita Knitting.”     

Michel Legrand is an Academy Award-winning French, songwriter, conductor and pianist. This son of a composer/actor was born in a Paris suburb in 1932, and he studied at a Paris conservatory in the mid- to late ‘40s. Legrand’s interest in jazz began after hearing Dizzy Gillespie at a 1947 concert. His recording career started in the mid ‘50s, when he became part of the French New Wave and went on to write scores for more than 15 films throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s. The most musically significant of these was The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in 1964. The film is said to be the first film musical that was done entirely in song, with no spoken dialogue, and I think the music is some of the most beautiful ever written. This composition is called “Chez Tante Elise."

Daniel Knox's picks:

The Theme from Twin Peaks: "Fire Walk With Me" - Angelo Badalamenti

"Unsolved Mysteries" - Malkin & Boyd

"Baroque" - Michael Galasso

"You Know Him" - Ryuichi Sakamoto