A Web guide to movie music
These sites tune in to scores and soundtracks both popular and obscure
Ah, summer blockbuster season: undead pharaohs, world wars, wisecracking computer animations, and hour upon hour of mellow instrumental music — especially so online, where soundtracks are in greater demand than collectible ”Shrek” cups. ”When you’re a fan of film music, you don’t have a lot of outlets,” says Ryan Keaveney, who runs Danny Elfman’s Music for a Darkened People. ”The Internet is the only place.”
Composers too are drawn to the Web, says Hans Zimmer, who has scored such box office beasts as ”Pearl Harbor,” ”Hannibal,” and ”Gladiator”: ”The Internet lets you hide in a peculiar way, behind words and misinformation. It seems to fit very well with what we do.” While artists go online to promote their creations, avid fans prospect for never-released or obscure soundtracks. Even A-list composers can’t — for legal or financial reasons — release every note they write. For those who care deeply about such things, there’s joy in hunting these musical artifacts. Here, we help you follow the acolytes into the darkened theater of the Web.
The John Williams Web Pages This text-y repository paints Williams as the dean of film music, not just that guy who wrote the ”Star Wars” and ”Jaws” themes. Sure, he’s scoring Steven Spielberg’s ”A.I.,” but what about his work on ”Gidget Goes to Rome” and ”The Poseidon Adventure”? Or his sonatas and fugues? ”Most people don’t know he’s written a cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma,” says webmaster Jeff Eldridge. With so much here, we forget (as the maestro might hope) he had anything to do with ”1941.” B+
Danny Elfman’s Music for a Darkened People Basically an Elfman radio station, these pages stream samples of scores from the former rock star’s post-Oingo Boingo works, from ”Beetlejuice” to ”Mars Attacks!” Also discover such Elfman goodies as hard-to-find themes from ”Dolores Claiborne” and even a Nike commercial. With the longtime Tim Burton coconspirator now scoring ”Planet of the Apes,” webmaster Keaveney can’t help drooling ”We can expect some of his best action music since ‘Batman.”’ A
“Soundtrack.net” If film music had its own EW, this might be it, with reviews (”Shrek”: ”There are several songs I wish they had replaced with white noise”) and interviews with the likes of Alan Silvestri (”The Mummy Returns”) and George S. Clinton (”Scary Movie 2”). There’s even a database detailing music used in trailers (the advertised film’s score usually isn’t written in time). Site editor Dan Goldwasser explains his attention to detail: ”A lot of people would like to know what Elmer Bernstein was thinking when he composed ‘Ghostbusters.”’ A?
Ask Hans Most fans who post Q&As on Zimmer’s site are looking either for unreleased music or for info on his arsenal of synthesizer equipment (”What, in your opinion, is the best SMPTE sequencer software program?”). Says the besieged Zimmer, who sometimes takes weeks or even months to respond to queries: ”I wish I had more time to answer every question. [This site] seemed like such a good idea at the time.” B