The first time the Lumière Brothers projected their flickering images onto a screen, there was musical accompaniment. In the early days it was most often a pianist playing “stock” pieces, selected to be compatible with what was being shown. Soon after the pictures began to talk, Max Steiner is credited with starting the tradition of creating original compositions for films. Other esteemed composers and songwriters were hired by the studios and they created a rich legacy of marvelous symphonic music. Music that is equally enjoyable on and off the screen. On this page is a selection of works either from or inspired by film music. We have more fantastic film music on the pages dedicated to the composers Elliot Goldenthal, Bernard Herrmann, Jerome Moross and David Shire.
Arranged by Marc Shaiman, Orchestrated by Larry Blank
INSTRUMENTATION: 2,2,3,2 / AATTB / 4,4,4(IV.=BsTbn),1 / Timp, Drums, Perc:[SusCym, Xylo, Bells, Chimes, Bell Plate] / Gtr, 2 Pianos, Harp / Strings / NOTE: WW/Sax doubles possible.
Music by Herbert Stothart, George Bassman and George Stoll
Re-orchestration by Larry Wilcox, Adapted for Symphony by Larry Blank
INSTRUMENTATION: R1: Fl, R2: Picc, R3: Ob, R4: Ob2,EH, R5: Cl, R6: Cl, R7: Cl,BsCl, 2 Bsn / 4,3,3(III.=BsTbn),1 / Timp, Perc:[Xylo, SusCym, Bells, Vibes] / Drs; Hp, Pno / Strings (Vlns, Vla, Vc, Bs)
From the 1956 MGM motion picture Forever, Darling, the composer reusing a theme from his Oscar Award-winning score, Lili
Composed by Bronislau Kaper
INSTRUMENTATION: 3(3=Picc).2.EH.EbCl.2.3/ 220.127.116.11/ Timp, Perc:[SnDr. Xylo. Glock] / Harp, Celeste, Pno. Guitar / 18.104.22.168.3
From the David Rubinoff collection, the song “Easy to Love” from the MGM film Born to Dance reimagined in a Russian Symphonic style.
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
INSTRUMENTATION: 3(III.=Picc),3,3(III.=BsCl),3 / Alto Sax 1, Alto Sax 2 (dbls BbClar, BsCl, Alto 2), 2 Tenor Sax (both dbl BbClar) / 4,3,3,1 / Perc1:[Timp, Bells, Gong, SusCym], Perc2:[DrumSet, Vibes, Bells, Chimes] / Harp, Piano / Strings
The Overture from the 1957 MGM film Raintree County starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint and Lee Marvin. Johnny Green was an American composer, pianist, conductor and arranger. After a long and distinguished career on Broadway, with Paramount Pictures (1930-1933), on radio, as dance-band conductor and other musical ventures, he wound up at MGM and with arranger Conrad Salinger changed the sound of the MGM Symphony Orchestra. He was nominated for an Oscar 13 times—one of those nominations was for his original score for Raintree County—and won for conducting the orchestra for the films An American in Paris, Easter Parade, West Side Story and Oliver!
Composed by Johnny Green
INSTRUMENTATION: 2(both=Picc).1(=EH).3(2=EbCl.3=BsCl).2 / 22.214.171.124 / Timp. Perc(6)[Crash Cymbal, SusCym, BsDr, Glock, Sm SnDr, Xylo, Woodblock, JimJik] / 2Harps. Piano / 126.96.36.199.3
Composed by Hugo Friedhofer
INSTRUMENTATION: 2,2(II.=EH),2,2 / 188.8.131.52 / Timp, Perc:[Cymbal, Xylophone, Triangle] / Harp, Celeste, Rhythm Bass / 184.108.40.206.2
An instrumental version of the song from the classic MGM film Meet Me in St. Louis
Music and Lyrics by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane
INSTRUMENTATION: 2.1.EH.2.2 / 220.127.116.11 / Timp, Perc(3):[Cymbal, Xylophone, Triangle] / Harp. Celeste. Rhythm Bass / 18.104.22.168.2