Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Purely Because of a Movie – Songs on My iPod Part 5


Continuing my summer of 2014 series, which was begun right here and chronicled my history with said device, examining the music that ended up on my iPod byway of the films that featured it on their soundtracks. An inventory, as it were, and one I continue to add to. Especially since I press on with my movies-watching and music-listening.

New song and those of a more vintage variety, even years after the initial screening, which still got there purely because of a movie. As alluded in another series, the convergence of the music and film arts is one I’ve spent much time toward. I’ll attempt to break these songs up into the categories most fit into, at least for my bizarre thinking, purely to make it more manageable in presentation. Fewest to most.

Classical Music

– serious or conventional music following long-established principles rather than a folk, jazz, or popular tradition.

  • music written in the European tradition during a period lasting approximately from 1750 to 1830, when forms such as the symphony, concerto, and sonata were standardized. Often contrasted with baroque and romantic.

I should note the one famous piece that’ll be missing from my list. The finale to the William Tell Overture. Stirring beyond words for classical music enthusiasts, like me. Covered extensively in my 8th grade Music Appreciation class, too. Yet, I wasn’t introduced to this in school, or from a movie — although last year’s Disney movie did use a revamped version of it. No, the climatic music came byway of watching reruns of an American western television program, which originally ran from 1949 to 1957.



Waltz of the FlowersFantasia (1940): Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (1840-1893) stirring and momentous piece instantly became one of my favorite’s, of this composer and genre, when I initially caught this film as a kid.


Ode to JoyHelp! (1965): I know a few thought I’d have said Die Hard was the influence for this standard, Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) final movement of his 9th Symphony. Nope, Richard Lester’s second film with The Lads would be it!

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The Blue Danube: I was simply mesmerized during the transition to and beyond Earth orbit with Johann Strauss II (1825 –1899) music accompanying those sequences in Kubrick’s conundrum of a sci-fi film.

The Gayne Ballet Suite (Adagio): The Adagio movement from Aram Khachaturian’s (1903–1978) four-act Gayne Ballet Suite “…is simply an elegant and evocative piece of music…


Rollerball (1975)

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor: I know I had heard this piece by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) before seeing the speculative sci-fi film. Seeing and hearing how it was deployed, I had to have the soundtrack.

Adagio for Strings and Organ in G minor: Discovering this haunting Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1750) piece was the revelation on the soundtrack. It traced the lead character’s dissolution sadly, beautifully.

Sleeping Beauty Waltz: Like Bach’s Toccata above, just ditto that for Tchaikovsky’s ballet piece with this.

all that jazz

Concert in G – All That Jazz (1979): If  the “Alla Rustica” movement in this concerto by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) awoke the Bob Fosse character in the film, it’d work for me, too.


Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Romanze)Alien (1979): The lovely intimacy and tenderness of Mozart’s (1756-1791) second movement won’t help Capt. Dallas. In fact, it kinda betrays him.


Bolero10 (1979): Let me just say that my 8th grade music appreciation teacher never…NEVER asserted Maurice Ravel’s (1875–1937) Boléro as the film contended. If she had, we’d have paid more attention. Believe me.


O FortunaExcalibur (1981): The open and shut case for the Carl Orff (1895 –1982) piece was here for me in the film’s cataclysmic battle sequence. Bar none.

the right stuff

Clair de LuneThe Right Stuff (1983): One of the great split-scene sequences, in the final act of this film, was shaped by Claude Debussy’s (1862 –1918) most famous piano suites. So memorable.


Adagio for Strings, Platoon (1986): Samuel Barber’s (1910–1981) second movement for his String Quartet, Op. 11 was that rare piece. Oddly spectacular and heartrending in the film’s signature sequence.

The Shawshank Redemption

Canzonetta Sull’aria – Shawshank Redemption (1994): Composed for the third act of Mozart’s comic opera in 1786, it was used as a sweet-sounding and singular sequence in the film that’s unforgettable. Just go here to see why I say that.

the american president

The Flower DuetThe American President (1995): Clément Philibert Léo Delibes’ (1836-1891) famous duet, between characters Lakmé and Mallika, from his opera Lakmé, just worked in this romance tale.

hannibal poster

Vide core Meum – Hannibal (2001): This particularly mournful piece by Patrick Cassidy, incorporating female and male contending voices, worked for Ridley Scott in both sequences of his film adaptation.

Special Mention

Rabbit of Seville

Barber of SevilleRabbit of Seville (1950): Believe me, though I saw it on television in the late-60s, in my grandmother’s living room, this certainly counts. It’s production code is 1138, too (hey, George Lucas!). Care of the Looney Tunes Wiki entry:

“Rabbit of Seville is a 1949 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short released on December 16th, 1950. It was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. The short was re-released on January 18th, 1969 as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodie.”

You can watch this wonderfully ‘classic’ cartoon, directed by the great Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese, right here.

How about you? Any classical music you’ve collected because of a movie?

The entire series can be found here.

14 Responses to “Purely Because of a Movie – Songs on My iPod Part 5”

  1. broadandhigh

    I have to echo you on some of these, especially Ode to Joy and O Fortuna. I knew nothing of Tchaikovsky’s music back in the 70s when I saw Ken Russell’s ‘The Music Lovers.’ But I’ve loved T’s Piano Concerto #1 ever since.


  2. jackdeth72

    Very good stuff, Michael!

    A cool and unique topic of discussion.

    I still think the William Tell Overture finale of ‘Brassed Off!’ rocks out loud! Puling in all the corners of a neat little independent film which includes some of Peter Postlewaithe’s best work.

    ‘Ode to Joy’: Die Hard’. With ‘A Clockwork Orange’ not far behind!

    ‘The Blue Danube’ fits the flight of the Pan Am Orion wondrously for its smooth, flawless elegance. Especially with its Velcro soled assisted Zero G ballistic flight.

    ‘Concert in G’ in ‘All That Jazz’ is a great, upbeat eye opener. Though not classical, I still think Fosse’s use of ‘On Broadway’ in the beautifully edited, before its time MTV music video implemented in the film’s dancers’ audition “Cattle Call” rates in the Stratosphere!

    The ‘Adagio for Strings’ used to open ‘Platoon’ is too bitter sweet for words.


    • le0pard13

      I’ve not seen ‘Brassed Off!’, which I should fix. I’d forgotten about ‘A Clockwork Orange’ with ‘Ode to Joy’. Good one. Also great to know you’re an ‘All That Jazz’ fan, Kevin. The film will make more appearances in this series — I can say no more 😉

      Thanks, my friend 🙂


  3. Rick Ouellette

    Awesome post, a lot of good listening here. My favorites are the “Rollerball” selections and the Gayane Ballet Suite from “2001”, gives the start of the Jupiter mission a perfect sense of foreboding. As for my own choice, I’ll go with my copy of the “Barry Lyndon” soundtrack, more expertly chosen stuff by Kubrick. First half is the Chieftains, after that a great sampling of 18th century composers


    • le0pard13

      Glad to hear it, Rick! I really need to get to “Barry Lyndon”. It remains the one glaring Kubrick film I’ve not screened. Thanks so much, my friend 🙂


  4. ruth

    I listen to classical music all the time on Classical MPR so I LOVE the Beethoven, Mozart picks here. And American President is one of my fave soundtracks! The movie is wonderful & the music is even better! Great stuff, Michael!


    • le0pard13

      So cool, Ruth. At one time, I listened to classical music on the FM dial all of the time. Need to put more of it back into my life, and I have with the vinyl LPs I’ve picked up, of late. I did remember your enthusiasm for American President when I listed it. Thank you very much, Ruth 😀


  5. Sam Juliano

    Well Robert I love ALL of these selections, and over the years have immersed myself in each many times. The beauty here is how you have compiled them–from Mozart to Barber to Strauss to Rossini this is some of the greatest music Western civilization has ever produced. Bravo!



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