The Joy of Collecting Soundtracks

Film Scores Are Fun For Movie and Music Lovers Alike

Star Wars. Gone With The Wind. Titanic. Unforgettable movies with unforgettable soundtracks. Great scores can elevate a good film to the level of masterpiece by adding a new level of emotional depth. The shower scene from Psycho would not be as violent and shocking without composer Bernard Herrmann’s shrieking strings, and Indiana Jones’ adventures would seem far more pedestrian without John Williams’ rousing march. Film music, at its best, can be the most exciting part of the movie.


Reliving The Movie Through Its Soundtrack

Purchasing the soundtrack album to a beloved movie is a great way for a fan to relive the excitement of the cinematic experience away from the movie theatre or television. Sometimes a score captures the essence of a film so well that the images on screen and the words spoken by the actors almost seem like a hindrance to the aural pleasures of the music.

Soundtracks allow movie fans to experience the emotion of a great scene over and over without being tied to watching the film itself. The excitement of James Horner’s Avatar or Jerry Goldsmith’s Patton can be appreciated while working out at the gym or completing a late-night essay. Soundtracks allow for a high level of intimacy between an individual and cinematic storytelling at its most visceral form – the symphonic form.

Escaping to Another Time and Place With Movie Music

To say that film score fans collect soundtracks just to relive their favourite scenes from movies is an oversimplification. One needs only to visit the online forums at Filmtracks and Film Score Monthly to see that many film score collectors regularly buy soundtrack albums to movies they’ve never seen before.

Listening to film scores, especially for movies not yet seen, allows the listener to embark on an aural journey of the imagination. Some film scores are very specific in terms of their historic millieu or cultural identity, which can transport the listener to a romantic period in the past or an exotic paradise on the other side of the world. Other scores are less specific in terms of era or geography and can transport the listener to imaginary realms that don’t exist anywhere in any time.

Orchestral film scores, particularly when written in the classical mode, tend to remain timeless and remain relatively immune to the ravages of ever-changing pop sensibility. Star Wars sounds as great today as it did in 1977, but will Britney Spears be as fondly remembered decades from now?


Collecting Soundtracks by Composer

One of the great joys of soundtrack collecting is falling in love with the work of specific composers. By the nature of their job, film composers must be chameleons to a certain degree, able to change styles according to the needs of different filmmakers’ visions. However, the most highly regarded composers of cinema manage to forge a distinct musical voice in their overall body of work.

Some collectors may love John Williams’ epic adventure themes for movies like Superman and Jurassic Park. Others may be fans of John Barry’s romantic work for films like Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves. Soundtrack collecting begets more soundtrack collecting, and hardcore collectors may find themselves enthusiastically searching for lesser-known works by their favourite composers. Collecting by composer becomes a process of continual discovery as the casual fan becomes a dyed-in-the-wool completist. As with all things in life, the fun is in the journey.


Archiving a Piece of Cinematic History With Film Scores

Soundtrack albums allow cinephiles to keep a little piece of cinematic history for themselves, a memento of key moments in moviedom and their unique emotional contexts for the individual. Especially with soundtracks for older films and limited edition releases of scores, collectors play an active role in ensuring that a part of the movie lives on.

Film scores are an important part of cinema’s cultural heritage and deserve to be archived, and releasing soundtrack albums allows the public to become involved in artistic preservation. But above all else, great film scores will always fill the heart and transport the imagination to realms beyond the ordinary. Just dim the lights and press play. You’ll be glad you did.

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