Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Featured Soloists

Film scores have often featured instrumental or vocal soloists in addition to the main orchestra.  It is no surprise that many of these names are well known, but there certainly have been plenty that haven't.  Yes, there are plenty of singers that perform songs, but I've focused more on the solos that are integrated into the film score itself.  I don't know why the soloist adds such an interesting dynamic, but as you can see from the list, composers love that effect.  Here are some soloists that have stuck out in my mind. 

Itzhak Perlman - violin
Schindler’s List (John Williams, 1993)
Hero (Tan Dun, 2004)
Memoirs of a Geisha (John Williams, 2005)

Yo-Yo Ma - cello

Seven Years in Tibet (John Williams, 1997)
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Tan Dun (2000)
Memoirs of a Geisha (John Williams, 2005)

Joshua Bell - violin
The Red Violin (John Corigliano, 1998)
Iris (James Horner, 2001)
Ladies in Lavender (Nigel Hess, 2004)
Dreamer (John Debney, 2005)
Defiance (James Newton Howard, 2008)
Angels and Demons (Hans Zimmer, 2009)
For Colored Girls (Aaron Zigman, 2010)
The Flowers of War (Qigang Chen, 2011)

Hilary Hahn - violin
The Village (James Newton Howard, 2004)

Mark O’Connor - violin
The Patriot (John Williams, 2000)
Gods and Generals (John Frizzell/Randy Edelman, 2003)

Jean-Yves Thibaudet – piano
Pride & Prejudice (Dario Marianelli, 2005)
Atonement (Dario Marianelli, 2007)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Alexandre Desplat, 2011)

Lang Lang – piano
The Painted Veil (Alexandre Desplat, 2006)
The Banquet/Legend of the Black Scorpion (Tan Dun, 2006)
My Week with Marilyn (Alexandre Desplat/Conrad Pope, 2011)

Lisbeth Scott – vocal
Shrek (John Powell/Harry Gregson-Williams, 2001)
Passion of the Christ (John Debney, 2004)
Munich (John Williams, 2005)
Kingdom of Heaven (Harry Gregson-Williams, 2005)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Harry Gregson-Williams, 2005)
Avatar (James Horner, 2009)

Other notable solos:
Annie Lennox, vocal
- Apollo 13 (James Horner, 1995)
Sissel Kyrkjebø, vocal – Titanic (James Horner, 1997)
Christopher Parkening, guitar – Stepmom (John Williams, 1998)
Emily Bernstein, clarinet - The Terminal (John Williams, 2004)
Kathleen Battle, vocal – House of the Flying Daggers (Shigeru Umebayashi, 2004)
Alison Lawrance, cello – World Trade Center (Craig Armstrong, 2006)

Nicola Benedetti, violin
- Eastern Promises (Howard Shore, 2007)

Jack Liebeck, violin – Jane Eyre (2011)
Rodrigo y Gabriela, guitars – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Hans Zimmer, 2011)


The Lord of the Rings trilogy contained so many soloists; I wanted to do a special section for that.  There are many instrumental soloists in the scores that would be crazy to list out, but I’m thinking of them. 

  • Fellowship of the Ring featured many vocalists including Enya, Edward Ross, Elizabeth Fraser, Mabel Faletolu, Miriam Stockley, and Hilary Summers. 
  • The Two Towers featured Elizabeth Fraser, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Sheila Chandra, Ben Del Maestro, and Emiliana Torrini
  • The Return of the King featured Renée Fleming, Ben Del Maestro, Sissel Kyrkjebø on the Extended Editions, Sir James Galway on flute, and Annie Lennox.  Cast members Viggo Mortenson and Billy Boyd also sing in the film.   
Joshua Bell on violin, composer Aaron Zigman on piano

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