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 News Soundtracks 21/02/2019

Pitchfork Names Jonny Greenwood, Philip Glass Scores Among "The 50 Best Movie Scores Of All Time"

Pitchfork Names Jonny Greenwood, Philip Glass Scores Among "The 50 Best Movie Scores Of All Time"

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Pitchfork, as part of its inaugural Music & Movies week ahead of the Oscars, has published its list of The 50 Best Movie Scores of All Time, and among them are four for which Nonesuch Records has released recordings: Jonny Greenwood's There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread and Philip Glass's Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and Koyaanisqatsi.

Philip Glass's score to Godfrey Reggio's 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi is on the list at No. 43. Nonesuch released a new, fuller recording in 1998, and Glass's own Orange Mountain Music released the complete soundtrack in 2009. In Reggio's hypnotic, wordless film, images of natural wonders are contrasted with environmental devastation. "A microcosm of a million moving parts, Glass' score makes everything feel important and urgent, with enormous dynamic sweeps and interwoven melodies that seem to multiply and surround you," writes Pitchfork's Grayson Haver Currin. "Koyaanisqatsi marked the start of Glass' career as a major film composer, but it also helped redefine how tightly bound film and sound can be, and how much they can say together."

Glass is on the list again for his score to Paul Schrader's 1985 film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, a highly stylized vision of the life of Japanese author Yukio Mishima, at No. 17. Nonesuch released the soundtrack, performed by Kronos Quartet. "[T]he fact that Glass chose to adhere exclusively to Western tonalities only drives home the film's operatic nature," writes Pitchfork's Noah Yoo. "It remains an important work for Glass, who described it as a turning point in the development of his film-scoring technique."

Jonny Greenwood's fourth and most recent collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread, for which Nonesuch released the soundtrack in January 2018, is on the list at No. 21. The film is set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, and the soundtrack, which was nominated for an Academy Award, includes eighteen compositions by Greenwood and was recorded in London with a sixty-piece string orchestra. "Phantom Thread is a film about the limits of perfection. The pursuit of beauty is solitary and futile; love brings bitterness and disappointment," writes Pitchfork's Matthew Strauss. "The Phantom Thread score captures the hope that's always out of reach, the desire for something more, and the acknowledgment that as you settle back down to reality, you realize that what's around you is not to be taken for granted."

Greenwood returns to the list, at No. 3, for his first collaboration with Anderson, 2007's There Will Be Blood. "Anderson treats his adaptation of muckraker Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! as a tale of demonic possession. The demon in question, though, happens to be money. So if Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's original music for There Will Be Blood sounds like the score for a horror movie, that's because it is," writes Pitchfork's Sean T. Collins. "Greenwood creates a soundtrack for a haunted hotel where the elevator doors gush crude, and the killer's ax is embedded in the earth itself."

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