by Danny Elfman
Gramophone film music good CD guide, 3rd ed.1998
I was about 10 or 11 years old when I realized, while watching the brilliant
The Day The Earth Stood Still that there was something commanding my
attention which I had never been consciously aware of before. The music! Until
that time, I had assumed, like many people, that music simply existed. It just
was. When it was done well, it just seemed so perfectly glued to the movie that
it was impossible to imagine the movie without it. But at that moment I also
became aware that an individual actually created that music. An individual's
personality went into it and it wasn't all the same. From that moment on, whenever
Bernard Herrmann's name came on the screen of one of my many favourite films,
I knew that I was in for something special. And, from that moment on, I became
what we all know as a "Film Music Nerd". In other words, one of those
strange people who not only noticed film music at all, but cared about it, talked
about it, argued strenuously about it, and occasionally was ready to take off
my jacket and fight over it.
I am not ashamed of being a "Film Music Nerd". So when I say that
Gramophone's Film Music Good CD Guide is designed for "nerds"
I am speaking with pride of myself and people like me.
Some years ago I often found myself tuning into the middle of some old movie
on TV at three in the morning and until I knew who wrote the score I couldn't
fall asleep. I had the luxury at that time of knowing David Kraft (brother of
my friend and agent Richard Kraft) a man who definitely qualified as a tried
and tested "Film Music Nerd". Knowing that David was, like myself,
a night-owl, I would call him up and pick his brain. He never let me down.
Unfortunately for us all, David passed away several years ago and as well as
losing a wonderful human being, a walking film-music computer disappeared forever.
David would have loved the Gramophone Film Music Good CD Guide. He would
have had it by the side of his bed. From Steiner, Waxman and Korngold (for me
the Granddaddies of us all) to Goldsmith, Williams and Bernstein (my contemporary
idols), it covers just about everybody and everything in between. God Bless
all the "Film Music Nerds" who keep the torch burning.