This year’s big-screen epics demanded an aural equivalent: big orchestras and often big choirs. For the films Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the directors called on composers Clint Mansell, Alberto Iglesias and Howard Shore to supply appropriate music. For a story in this week’s Variety, I interviewed them and augmented their thoughts with historical perspective from author Stephen C. Meyer, whose new book Epic Sound examines the classic scores of the 1950s and ’60s.
Hollywood has always turned to composers from Europe, and elsewhere, in its search for great music for films. But increasingly, it seemed to my editors, the most acclaimed, and award-winning, scores for major studio films are being written by composers from outside our shores. So I interviewed five of this year’s crop of potential music nominees about the subject: Gustavo Santaolalla (The Book of Life), Antonio Sanchez (Birdman), Alberto Iglesias (Exodus: Gods and Kings), Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything) and Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game), along with Australian-born SCL president Ashley Irwin. This is the lead story in this week’s Global section of Variety.