Midterm 2 Essays
1) Ben-Hur is the last great film score in the tradition of the golden age until 1977. Describe the characteristics of the classical film score as exemplified in this film. Include a description of significant themes and scenes. (10 points)
William Wyler directed a 1958 American epic historical drama film, Ben-Hur. This film is well known to be one of the greatest film scores reflecting in the classic traditions. The film portrays lives of two men (i.e., Jesus Christ and Judah Beh-Hur), in which the plot illustrates number of parallels and reversals. Rozsa utilizes modal harmonies and parallel chords to deploy the spirit of the Roman era. Throughout the film, he embraces traditional love themes
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During this time, pessimism and cynicism were two primary themes in films. It is clearly evident that there were three significant developments where music composed for Film Noir, the appearance of several outstanding scores reflecting the American nationalist musical style, and the resurgence of European centers. Film noir gave numerous unique characteristics consisted of one prevailing mood (primarily dark and pessimistic), minimal usage of musical cues, orchestration for small ensembles, predominantly low-pitched instruments (e.g., bass clarinet), focus on the lower registers of the strings, non-traditional orchestral sound, angular melodies, harsh dissonant harmonies, and the usage of jazz. Miklos Rozsa, one of Hollywood’s finest composers, earned much respect for film noir scores including his work through Double Indemnity and The Killers. In the late 1940’s, many of the excellent film scores reflected the musical style of American nationalism. Hugo Friedhofer created one of the most memorable score The Best Years of Our Lives, where he integrated many of the features of Copland’s American nationalist style. As for Aaron Coplan, he composed his last two scores for films The Red Pony and The Heiress.
In the 1950’s, the American film industry suffered from decreasing revenues and increasing costs due to major competition from television industry. This in return made American filmmakers to respond with outputs of