Two of this year’s biggest, most moving musical scores were for larger-than-life spectacles. Avengers: Endgame became the year’s top-grossing film, and its massive symphonic score by Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) matched the galaxy-spanning scope of the Marvel Universe finale. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World featured some of the finest music written for an animated feature in many years, no surprise considering its composer, John Powell (Oscar-nominated for the first Dragon film), devoted months to crafting its lavish orchestral and choral score. Special sections of Variety featured both of these articles: here is the Silvestri piece and here is the Powell story.
Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) has been writing music for films for more than 40 years, and he is still at the top of his game as demonstrated by his music for the year’s highest-grossing movie, Avengers: Endgame. At a Society of Composers & Lyricists Q&A after a screening at The Grove on Thursday, Silvestri was both articulate and entertaining in explaining how he went about the final two Avengers scores (Infinity War in 2018 and Endgame in 2019), his earlier Marvel movies (Captain America and The Avengers in 2011 and 2012) and the inspiration required to write music when few if any of those all-important visual effects aren’t yet in the film. My 38-minute “For Scores” podcast with Silvestri can be found here.