Search Results for : Music

The Music of The Lion King: A 20th Anniversary Conversation with Rob Minkoff and Mark Mancina – Part II

Read Part I.

Songs were among the very first elements needed to make The Lion King, since they were performed by members of the voice cast and animated in sync. Rice was the conduit between the directors and the elusive Elton John, who would submit demos of just his voice and piano.

“‘Circle of Life’ he wrote two versions of,” said Minkoff. “The first version is not the one you know. It was just…very different. We were sort of stuck on the approach, because nobody but Tim was in touch with Elton. We barely saw him during the making of the movie. He was…wherever he was, because you never knew. Tim would write a lyric, give it to Elton, Elton would write a song and send a demo. And we’d get a cassette tape. The demos were quite different from what we ended up with in the movie.”

The Music of The Lion King: A 20th Anniversary Conversation with Rob Minkoff and Mark Mancina

As a nine-year-old cub myself when I saw it the first time in the summer of 1994, The Lion King hit me in that sweet, magical spot of childhood where movies become enshrined as idols for a lifetime—sometimes regardless of their quality. But I would have plenty of backup arguing that The Lion King is a serious contender for Disney’s best animated film, despite my biases. Shakespearean drama and excruciating loss are acted out by memorable, endearing characters, couched in some of the studio’s most lavish animation since the days of Pinocchio.

The final layer elevating the film to greatness is its music: classic songs written by (arguably) the greatest pop songwriter of the 20th century, and a serious, dramatic score by a young and explosively talented Hans Zimmer. The sum total is a powerhouse of a “family movie” I don’t think has ever been rivaled.

Scoring the Cosmos: A Conversation with Alan Silvestri and Seth MacFarlane

MacFarlaneIt still feels weird that the creator of the wisecracking, puerile, and frequently crude cartoon Family Guy is the executive producer of a series that (in his words) earnestly explores the science of the cosmos. But it seems Seth MacFarlane loves defying expectations as much as he enjoys spinning a dozen plates at once as an undeniably talented voice actor, regular actor, writer, director, and producer (despite your or my opinion of his sense of humor).

John Lunn, Jeff Beal, and Mark Snow on the ascension of TV music

I wrote an LA Weekly piece, posted today, on television music in light of the upcoming concert hosted by the television academy. In it I said that “TV music has largely languished in a sea of forgettability”—and while I admit it’s not totally fair to paint the whole medium with such a broad brush, I do think most TV scores throughout the decades have been pretty bad.

I’m not talking about TV theme songs, which are their own animal. Actual television underscore has suffered from the limitations and weaknesses of the format: short, choppy cues, the repetitive use of reheated “library” cues, and either a busy style that apes manic action or boring, ambient drones.

Film music shines at the first ever Oscar Concert.

I went to the rather brilliant first Oscar Concert last month, and wrote a review for Film Score Monthly Online. Here’s a taste:

The biggest surprise of the night was Gravity, which I was certain would crumble apart in the denuding light of a live concert. It did not, and the pre-recorded electronic elements were brilliantly synchronized with the live players, generating a slowly building, visceral thunder in the modest hall that surged through and electrified the audience. I was already defending this score and its Oscar nomination—it is effective and emotional, more than warrants its blend of sound design and music, and does far more heavy (narrative and environmental) lifting than most film scores—but I was utterly stunned when Price’s inherently Frankenstein, cut-and-paste, computer-reliant construction came alive and roared in the hands of a symphony orchestra. A good omen for its win three nights later.