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By Jeff Koterba

Let’s Go to the Movies!

February 12th, 2024

Pop the popcorn! Cue the music!

The Oscars are on the horizon. But first stop, the Omaha Film Festival, Feb. 27-March 3 at Aksarben Cinema. Founded in 2005, OFF has become an important destination for local and international filmmakers alike.

And what else is important to filmmakers? Among other things, the soundtrack.

Often, the music in a film becomes its own character and an integral part of the story. So much so, that just hearing the music can conjure up images and feelings you might have experienced when first seeing a film. Other times, even if you haven’t seen a particular movie, the score often stands on its own.

If you’re a regular listener of KVNO, you know that we weave music from films into our playlist and, hey, now that the popcorn is popping, how about we go to the movies!

Here are just a few of the many works from films that our hosts love, in no particular order…

Allyson Jay’s current favorite composer for the cinema is Alexandre Desplat.

“I especially love his soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1,” she says. “It’s a hauntingly beautiful score. In particular, the contrast between the piece titled Ron Leaves—which is gorgeous, followed by The Exodus which has a unique and disarming violin solo to start. Not to mention Farewell to Dobby which always leaves me weeping.”

Desplat also composed the score for The King’s Speech, which Coleen Cook enjoys. The music that especially stands out to Coleen in that film, however, is the second movement from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92.

Coleen is also a fan of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini as heard in the soundtracks from Somewhere in Time and also Groundhog Day.

Ben Rasmussen’s all-time favorite score is from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ben says, “Evoking powerful magic, towering mountains, nameless evil, and rustic yet wholesome goodness, Howard Shore’s music is the backbone of the trilogy.”

Sherry Brownrigg loves the entire soundtrack of The English Patient, composed by Gabriel Yared. “The film’s music,” she says, “brings together the longing of love, the sadness and tragedies of war, and the locations where the movie took place. It’s absolutely magical!”

Katrina Naraine votes for Disney’s Fantasia and the sequel, Fantasia 2000, for “the wonderful classical music throughout,” she says.

Andy Schilling is a fan of the music from Chariots of Fire by electronic composer Vangelis. Not to mention, Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now—the main theme from the original  Rocky movie, which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. “The theme,” he says, “recalls the iconic scene at the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum, where Rocky holds his arms in a victory pose.”

Andy finds the Ennio Morricone soundtrack to Cinema Paradiso to be luscious and emotional. “It will tear your heart out.”

Cinema Paradiso is one of the few DVDs Jeff Koterba owns, in part because of the music.

Coleen also casts a vote for Morricone. Especially for Gabriel’s Oboe in The Mission.

Otis Twelve is a big fan of the epic. Maurice Jarre’s music for Lawrence of Arabia, Miklós Rózsa’s Ben-Hur, and Elmer Bernstein’s Magnificent Seven. “Anything by Elmer Bernstein,” he says. He’ll always have a warm spot for the music from To Kill a Mockingbird, also composed by Elmer Bernstein.

Emily McIvor says Dario Marianelli’s score for Pride and Prejudice is “gorgeous music. Period.”

Emily also enjoys the music of John Williams from the original Harry Potter—Hedwig’s Theme. It’s “evocative and immediately iconic.” She also adds that the music from The Empire Strikes Back speaks for itself. “It’s some of the best movie music ever.”

Steve Weiler recalls the soundtrack from a 1973 British comedy-drama fantasy, O Lucky Man. The soundtrack is by Alan Price of the rock band, the Animals.There’s a really nice piano piece called Pastoral, which is short and sweet.”

Jeff says he can’t imagine the whimsical French film, Amélie, without the music of Yann Tiersen nor 2001: A Space Odyssey without its inventive use of classical music.

If the next time you’re listening to KVNO you start getting hungry for popcorn, it just might be because you’re hearing movie music that you also love.

Click here to listen to our favorite movie music!