Prior to the Spanish Inquisition, peace, tolerance, and shared learning existed. This shared knowledge influenced all subjects from the sciences to the arts. The music composed and performed during this time was about being in the moment: Some pieces tell stories–'Cancionera de la Columbina' for example–while others express emotions, as in the 'Romances.' Interestingly enough, the "non-Jewish" selections were written during the Inquisition, while the Sephardic selections were written right before it. Director Jordi Savall and Hesperion XX, an ensemble that specializes in early music from all over the world, are like chameleons. Soprano Montserrat Figueras is able to inhabit each work with great authenticity and individual style…
Call it a soundtrack producer's dream. One of the most vital and influential bands in modern-day music cuts a song entitled "If God Will Send His Angels" just months before you are hired to put together a soundtrack for a movie entitled City of Angels. The band is U2, and their song not only opens the City of Angels soundtrack, but it is also the anchor of a group of tracks that narrowly escapes the sappy trail that the movie blazed when it hit theaters. In all actuality, the soundtrack sounds much too dark, menacing, and legitimate to be attached to the film. Alanis Morissette assures the direction of the album when she follows U2's less-than-perky offering with "Uninvited," which is nothing if not vintage Alanis. From there on the quality drops off somewhat, but not until after Jimi Hendrix comes in with "Red House." It's still amazing to this day how the sounds of Hendrix on the guitar could be so many things all at the same time – soothing, moving, eerie, and untouchable.
The film received a pasting from UK critics but as the soundtrack chooses from a vast archive of great performances, it’s possible to retrieve something from the experience. The opening track, the Grosse Fuge, is a bold choice given the wider audience for whom this soundtrack is aiming. It receives a magnificent performance from the Takács Quartet which is as finely attuned to the music’s jagged outcrops as its sheltered byways. The uninterrupted flow of the sweet and soulful second movement of the third Razumovsky is pure poetry in their hands. Ashkenazy gives a brilliant but never rushed performance of the finale to the early Sonata in C minor and his straightforward manner in the Arietta from Beethoven’s last sonata is illuminated by the very clear Decca recording. Haitink’s performance of the finale of the Ninth Symphony with the Royal Concertgebouw and a quartet of soloists led by Lucia Popp does not storm the heavens and I don’t ever recall being so aware of this movement’s proceeding by paragraphs. However, it would seem to have found a comfortable place in a well planned and wide-ranging celebration of Beethoven’s genius.
The soundtrack to director Ron Howard's 1995 blockbuster Apollo 13 effectively blends dialogue, actual audio clips from newscasts, classic songs, and portions of conductor James Horner's original score, creating a worthy aural companion. Included are songs from the period of the titular spacecraft's peril-fraught mission, such as the Young Rascals' "Groovin'," Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," the Who's "I Can See for Miles," and a classy version of the oft-covered "Blue Moon" by the Mavericks (produced by Nick Lowe). The orchestrated score manages to capture the drama of the events in a manner that ranges from quietly stirring to sweepingly epic, with Eurythmic Annie Lennox adding her distinctive, ethereal vocal accompaniment to several of the cuts.
Director Roman Polanski's film The Pianist is based on the memoirs of Polish classical pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman about his harrowing experiences under the Nazi occupation of Warsaw during World War II. The soundtrack album consists almost entirely of Chopin piano pieces, most of them played by Janusz Olejniczak. Most of those, in turn, are solo performances, although Olejniczak is joined by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Tadeusz Strugala, for Grand Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra. The sole non-Chopin track is the excerpt from Wojciech Kilar's score, "Moving to the Ghetto October 31, 1940," a klezmer-like piece running only 1:45 in which Hanna Wolczedska plays clarinet, accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic. Appropriately, the album ends with an actual recording by Szpilman of the Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4.
There are a few movie and soundtrack pairings that represent the wild 1980s. None more so than Top Gun (Footloose and Pretty in Pink are also strong contenders.) A whirlwind romance set in the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War, Top Gun featured wild aerial acrobatics, steamy sexual tension, and macho competition. And the soundtrack had the songs to match. Featuring the huge hits "Danger Zone," "Take My Breath Away," as well as "Playing with the Boys," "Mighty Wings," and a handful of classic soul tracks, the Top Gun soundtrack may be the perfect example of the outrageous '80s. This version expands on the original, including a number of songs not featured on the initial release, such as "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and "Great Balls of Fire" .