Leonard Rosenman (b.1924)
Born in New York in 1924. He planned to make a living as a painter, taking a break in 1943 to join the Air Corps. He studied art at the Pratt institute
, where his love of music overcame his desire to paint. While in California he studied with Arnold Schoenberg
and taught piano to James Dean
, who gave him his first film scoring job, which he was not interested in pursuing at the time.
He has scored numerous films, become the resident composer at Tanglewood
, and was commissioned to write a one-act opera
. His style has been described as an "abrasively edged sound". He divides his absolute music
from his film music
very clearly, and it is often said that his style has changed very little over the length of his career. This is often used as a criticism, but at the same time nobody will deny the intelligence of his music. Rosenman is often called the most cerebral
of the contemporary American film
composers. He has often infused his scores with ideas and devices well outside of the "normal box"
. Rosenman has stated that he feels scoring does not lend itself to concert adaptation, which perhaps explains some of the lack of popularity for his soundtracks, as they always work wonderfully with the movie but often flow at an oddly paced rate without the story to provide a backdrop for.. All is not love and adoration for Mr. Rosenman, however, as he has been accused of "piling on millions of fifths until it becomes one big, post-modernistic mess" by his detractors. Rosenman still prefers writing absolute music for chamber music
and concert groups
over his film work.
He received an Oscar for his score for Barry Lyndon
(1975), as well as for Bound for Glory
(1976), and was nominated for an Oscar for his work in both Cross Creek
(1983), and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
His movie scores include:
Most people agree that his best film score is the stunning backdrop he created for the animated film Lord of the Rings
On a personal note, the Lord of the Rings soundtrack was the backdrop to my early childhood. I often find myself humming a tune, wondering where I heard it, and can trace it back to this soundtrack. It had a huge impact on my imagination, along with the wonderful and much maligned animated film.
I can still remember the music of the ringwraiths and the drums and horns of the orcs vividly...