I am posting this in tribute in a few places.
Three composers have died in the span of one month. Two of whom were absolute LEGENDS and who were still working to this day. I am a huge film music fan and collector, and would like to post little notes about their careers.
JERRY GOLDSMITH was born in 1929. He started working under the legendary Alfred Newman (who composed the music for the original Fox Fanfare and many great film scores such as 1956's ANASTASIA) and started composing for himself in the late 1960s. He was chosen to compose the music for the original Planet Of The Apes in 1968. He was asked to compose the music for the very first Star Trek movie, an immense task because the television theme was so well-known. He surprised and pleased listeners and viewers with an amazing theme that would be used later in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He would compose most of the Star Trek films, including Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Nemesis. In 1976 he earned his first and only Academy Award for his absolutely CHILLING score to THE OMEN, and was also nominated for Best Original Song for the film's opening title, Ave Satani. In 1982 he composed for his first animated film, The Secret of NIMH. Goldsmith said he had no idea how to score an animated film, so he acted as if it were live action, and that proved very successful. Its lush strings and beautiful main theme, a lullabye, earned him critical praise. He would go on to create scores for tons of films using all kinds of technology such as synthesizers and he would compose for nearly every genre of film.He was nominated for another Oscar in 1998 for his work on MULAN for which he did the incredible score. Skating fans will remember him best for scores to The Mummy, which was used by many a skater including Angela Nikodinov and Elvis Stojko and Takeshi Honda, and First Knight, which was used by Todd Eldredge in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano. He continued to score films in the 2000s but unfortunately he was diagnosed with cancer (I am not sure when or which type, so sorry). He continued to give concerts worldwide, and a big concert was planned in London for his 75th birthday in June. Sadly, he was too sick to go, but the concert was still on for another conductor. A box set of music was released to honor the big 75, but sadly after his birthday, on July 21st, Goldsmith lost his battle with cancer. His funeral was attended by many a composer, including James Newton Howard (The Village, Atlantis, Dinosaur, Signs, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense), Thomas Newman (nominated for an Oscar this year for his work on FINDING NEMO) and David Newman (who was nominated AND ROBBED in 1997 for his work on Fox's animated film ANASTASIA), both of whom are sons of the late Alfred Newman. The last film Goldsmith composed for was Looney Tunes: Back In Action. He composed also for Timeline, but the score was rejected. Now, there is talk of taking his score and releasing it on CD. Goldsmith also wrote many a classic television theme, including the well-known TWILIGHT ZONE.
On August 9th, another composer died. David Raksin, best known for his theme to the mystery Laura, passed away from heart failure. He was 92. Sadly I know very very little about any of the films he composed for, but he was best known it seems for his mystery themes.
Raksin's Profile on IMDB
Perhaps you may know more films than I do. Though I do not know his work well, and though his last work was 5 years ago, he will still be missed.
Finally, the crushing blow came on August 19th. The reason I fell in love with film music passed away at 2:00 PM. I was 7 years old when my father forced me to watch The Ten Commandments. The opening credits were long, and there was nothing really to do but listen to the music. I fell in love with film music because of this man. The incredible score to that film filled my ears and heart with delight.He is one of the reasons I love the movie so much. Oscar-winner ELMER BERNSTEIN was as legendary as Goldsmith. He too lasted through six decades and composed for over 200 feature films. He composed the music for The Magnificent Seven, The Ten Commandments, Thoroughly Modern Melville for which he won his first and only Oscar, Ghostbusters, Far From Heaven, and many other films. He was nominated 14 times for Oscars, including last year (2003) for his work on Far From Heaven. When I heard on the news that he died I was absolutely devastated. Three composers in a month's span. Honestly that's unheard of lol. Bernstein was 82. He and the other two are truly legends.
All my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these magnificent composers and wonderful men.
I should like to add that November last year the world lost another composer, who was only 53 or so. That's younger than my mom. MICHAEL KAMEN was a thematic and melodic composer best known for his work on X-Men the TV show and first feature film, as well as MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, and best known to skating fans as the composer of THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1993) and ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES. He died of heart problems. I know I for one will miss him dearly.