Film Scores & Movie Music


Jan C. Nielsen

Sometimes when I come across music I like to try to fit it to some scene in the Titanic disaster. I just finished listening to Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No. 3 II Lento E Largo. It's a haunting piece of music, that's often referred to as the "Symphony of Sorrows." I imagined it as the background music for the body recovery operation, i.e., the incident with the Bremen bypassing the bodies on April 20, 1912, the Mackay-Bennett's arrival on the scene, its commencement of operations, etc. There's a particulary intense part at about 5:23 minutes into the movement that I imagined to be the sorrowful recovery of the 2 year old child.

The music is accessible through Windows Media at Radio 13, under "Classical." Alternatively, you can go to

and click on "Classical." Gorecki's symphony is several songs (like five or six) from the beginning --and they play in sequence --so be patient.

Any other thoughts about music that fits the events here?
Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

Jan- yes- so many compositions seem to fit the scenes. I have often thought of the Dvorak Largo from the New World Symphony while looking at underwater scenes of the wreck and the Barber Adagio for Strings while recovering the bodies at sea. John Barry had a peerless score for Raise the Titanic, especially the scene where the ship breaks the surface and then the piece when Pitt is walking through the rusted diningroom- so haunting. Joplin's Bethena was exactly right for SOS Titanic- wistful. The Mozart Ave Verum was used often in television specials during the underwater scenes when victims were spoken of. The Elgar Enigma Variations set a woeful enchanted spell as well. The midi link I have found useful is
Some of the most poignant footage I remember of Titanic has not one spoken word- only the music-universal and instantly comprehended by all.

Jan C. Nielsen

I wholeheartedly agree, Shelley. Further, once the Titanic disaster impacts you, only music helps to comprehend it. It's such an extremely tragic, empty and wasteful failure. Gorecki's (proun. "Goretski") symphony was, I think, written mainly to address the harsh treatment his nation suffered during the Second World War. But interestingly enough, the music includes the voice of a soprano singing a Polish folk song that goes as follows (the double-spaces separate the first, second and third movements):

My son, my chosen and beloved
Share your wounds with your mother
And because, dear son, I have alway carried you in my heart,
And always served you faithfully
Speak to your mother, to make her happy,
Although you are already leaving me, my cherished hope.

No, Mother, do not weep,
Most chaste Queen of Heaven
Support me always
"Zdrowas Mario" (opening of Polish prayer to the Holy Mother)

Where has he gone
My dearest son?
Perhaps during the uprising
The cruel enemy killed him

Ah, you bad people
In the name of God, the most Holy,
Tell me, why did you kill
My son?

Never again
Will I have his support
Even if I cry
My old eyes out

Were my bitter tears
to create another River Oder
They would not restore to life
My son

He lies in his grave
and I know not where
though I keep asking people

Perhaps the poor child
Lies in a rough ditch
and instead he could have been
lying in his warm bed

Oh, sing for him
God's little song-birds
Since his mother
Cannot find him

And you, God's little flowers
May you blossom all around
So that my son
May sleep happily

William Ajello

Well I wholeheartedly agree with Shelley on Two points:

1. The Music in RAISE THE TITANIC where the TITANIC is breaking the surface after being raised.

2. The Piece being played while pitt is walking the decks after it surfaces, very haunting indeed.

But if you pull out your ANATOMY OF A DISASTER Soundtrack and scan to track 2, in the middle of this track, which comes in 3 parts, there is a piece called "HISTORY", it is only two mins long but does the job very nicely.

But then there is always James Horner's TITANIC Soundtrack....ROSE for one, the piece that is played while she is floating in the water, waiting to be rescued for another. Actually, Horner is good for Haunting Soundtracks, check out "FIELD OF DREAMS" if you don't believe me...that CD is full of eerily good stuff.

I am one of those individuals who can equate music or pieces of music to certain life situations, I think my whole life is a soundtrack sometime.

Thank you for your time, this time, till next time....

Sam Brannigan

Sam Brannigan

While doing my final composition dissertation for my degree in music, I shamelessly plagiarised William Alwyn's score from ANTR!!

The section that really struck me was his treatment of "Nearer my God to thee" as the ship was sinking. The way he incorporated the hymn (while not changing the melody) with a descending harmony, reflecting the sinking, was a mindblowing piece of orchestration. As far as I am concerned, the score for that film is right up there with Strauss' "Til Eugenspiegel" and Smetnas' "Ma Vlast" - all truly great pieces of descriptive music known as "tone poems".

Apart from Alwyns score, from the world of classical music there are a number of pieces which bring the Titanic to my mind whenever I hear them, namely "Mars" from Holsts "The Planets", Ravel's Bolero (God knows why!!), and Prokovievs third piano concerto (if you haven't heard it, get it.....incredible!!!), and the all time "oooooh, that reminds me of the big T winner is.....Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony, second movement.

Sorry about all this, I'll let someone else get a word in now!!


Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith

Bill, you're not the only one who is a "walking soundtrack". I've always associated certain pieces of music to certain times in my life. Many people I've known have their own "theme songs"; that is, songs that remind me of them. And certain pieces of music are what I consider to be representative of an era. For instance, Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue represents the 1920s to me (that one's pretty easy).

Sam, I was also a music major when in college, but I never got my degree. I majored in music performance, and my instrument was the French horn. Haven't played in years.
Sam Brannigan

Sam Brannigan


Double Bass man myself........speaking of Tchai 5, has there ever been a more lovely French Horn solo?


Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

For years I have had a theory about the profile of Titanic historians and have kept stats- invariably -and I mean nearly 70% play an instrument and are frequently artistic or involved in the perrsforming arts in some way. Clarinet and piano are my forte- hey Phil-how about an ET band?!

Geoff Whitfield

Shel, Ooooh yes! I'm told I'm very accomplished on the triangle and would like to offer my services. I think an added advantage is that I can "tinkle" on command!
I'm sure we'd all be very good, Cook could play the buffoon (sorry bassoon) and Behe could blow his own trumpet! I understand that Randy can yodel? Count me in my dear!


Geoff Whitfield

As an aside, we had our cat orchastrated and it wouldn't speak to us for weeks!

Pat Cook

For what it's worth (all bassoon remarks aside) I did earn part of my meager (meagre for you English-types) living as a supper club (read 'dive' here) and ragtime piano player for several years in my 'salad days' (Yeah, right, like anybody really EATS those things!).

Melodically yours,
Fats Cook

George Behe

Geoff wrote:

>As an aside, we had our cat orchastrated and it >wouldn't speak to us for weeks!

Hi, Geoff!

Is it true that your dog is so intellingent you've had him 'tutored?' :)

Hey, I'll gladly play a little blues harmonica with your shady musical ensemble if you, Randy and Pat will don the obligatory black suits, porkpie hats and Raybans.

("We're on a mission from God." -- 'Joliet Geoff' Whitfield.) :)

All my best,


Kris Muhvic

Got my opera glasses, now I'm ready!
This is quite wonderful to me, since I thought I was the only one who keeps a soundtrack in my head!
Barber's "Adagio"...Yes Shelley, one of, probably the most, favorite piece of music of mine. Others in the classical vein are all things Baroque...Pachelbel anything, Vilvaldi etc. Now, some modern composers, I can't help think of Yo-Yo Ma's "Appalachin Waltz" (Mark O'Connor's piece) for "Southhampton" scenes. Karl Jenkins, of "Diamond Music" fame is quite gifted in creating an atmosphere for any film.
I love choral...Thomas Tallis' "The Lamentations of Jeremiah" by the Hilliard Ensemble: listen to that, think of Titanic, a guarantee to un-clog the tear ducts!
There are a few artists that get pidgeon-holed in the "alternative" genre that merit a nod here. Moby, lumped in the techno scene, has made a number of tracks that could be considered classical in style: "Hymn", "God moving over the face of the waters" (perfect for the "stretch her legs" part!), "When it's cold I'd like to die" could be subtitled 'Jack's Theme'!
Another group, from the 80's, "This Mortal Coil"...they did a version of 'Song to the Siren': one of the best sea-faring tunes out there. And I can not leave out anything by "Dead Can Dance"...all come highly recommended.
Yeah, indulged enough. But for anyone who would like to try some different stuff for their ear, give 'em a try!

Take care!

Randy Bryan Bigham


I wish I had musical talent. I play the piano only creakingly and sing about as well. The yodeling rumor is unfounded; I think Geoff was confusing my talent for groaning and hissing.