Torn Music: Rejected Film Scores, a Selected History

Title: Torn Music: Rejected Film Scores, a Selected History

Author: Gergely Hubai

Publisher: Silman-James Press

Film music is a complicated subject for discussion.

Some people never get to first base because they disapprove of films and therefore the music associated with them is tarnished with the same brush.

Some people disregard film music, as lacking the artistic integrity and importance of non-film music, largely because it communicates with people rather than serving itself.

Other people regard film music as something that is better done by concert composers than the "commercial" experts, who have made their names in the field.

Thus, in the plainest terms, we have the prudes, the snobs and the super-snobs. And none of them understand film music.

There is much to be understood. Film music has kept us thinking that music still has soul and melody. Film music has allowed us to hear harmony although it is these days a cultural aberration. Film music has given creative and well-executed pleasure, while John Cage told the audience that they were the music.

In Beauty & Joy: The Christian Nature of Music I rely on the old-fashioned values of film music to expose the corruption in music today. We can learn a lot from it. Rather than it being the deranged cousin of Classical music, it is the last bastion of good music. Those who want to learn to write well must these days work for a film director.

However, that does not mean that all in the garden is rosy. There are complications that the prudes, snobs and super-snobs have never dreamed of, as they disregard the film composer. That is what Torn Music is all about. It is an overview of certain portions of film music history, broken down by film, to reveal what happened behind the scenes. Some things are surprising. For instance, Maurice Jarre's celebrated score for Lawrence of Arabia was not really his composition. Film is an art of collaboration. He who receives the praise did not necessarily do all the work.

For those who want a career in film, this book is a reality check that it is not about you. Young film composers cannot, must not, should not, want to "be" John Williams, anymore than a modern young actor can aspire to be Cary Grant. You cannot jump into the shoes of an icon without a lot of hard work. It will look nothing like you expect. It doesn't matter how established you are in your work, you are still replaceable.

This is a humbling book, that shows how composers who work in the industry must abide by the laws of the industry, even if they are changeable and sometimes contradictory.