Why are so many film scores done with orchestras? Well, having a 100 piece sound palette at your disposal is quite versatile in communicating virtually any emotion – without getting in the way of the story. Film music has been driving a lot of so-called “serious” music for quite a while now. Orchestras can only play so many from the repertoire of 300 year dead white Europeans. Now, any time film scores are added to the concert bill, a much younger crowd can be seen. In fact, many orchestras around the world are now going out of their way to entice film composers to record with them offering package deals, translators, copyists and waiving all kinds of union fees. One can record in the former Czechoslavakia with 3 to 5 different orchestras starting at $10,000 US. And…many indie films (and some Hollywood ones) are done this way. I haven’t had the opportunity yet, though I know it’s only a matter of time that I’m on the other side of the planet with an outsourced orchestra.
Animation is one genre of film that reallly appreciates the composer for without the soundtrack, much of the life of the story, the world – the magic- is gone.
In Japan, animation is appreciated on such a different level than here. Can you imagine a composer for cartoons being appointed music director of a leading symphony orchestra in the States? The composer for Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and other great modern classics performs live in Korea next week…and yes, he’s the musical director of the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra.