Question of the week: who’s your favourite TV or film composer?

Music’s an often-overlooked aspect of film and TV production. It can create a mood or it can destroy it – indeed sometimes one composer can do both (cf Murray Gold). So today’s quick question is: 

Who’s your favourite TV or film composer?

Mine is Clint Mansell, who composed the music from Requiem for a Dream (aka "the music from the Lord of the Rings trailers"), Black Swan and Moon amongst other things. In fact, I don’t know of any time he’s ever produced anything that was less than excellent. But how about you?

As always, leave a comment with your answer or a link to your answer on your own blog

  • Chris

    It’s interesting that at the very moment I read this, I happened to be listening to a track from Shawshank Redemption – Thomas Newman. And I guess he probably is my fave. Other notables are Howard Shore, David Newman, Christophe Beck, and of course Angelo Badalamenti.

  • Electric Dragon

    I am a bit of a sucker for film and TV music. I love Howard Shore’s work in LOTR and the sainted Delia Derbyshire’s original (and still best) arrangement of Dr Who, and Bear McCreary’s music for Battlestar (New) is consistently outstanding, but my favourite favourite is probably John Barry – among loads of other highlights, Capsule In Space (

    ) from You Only Live Twice is amazing.

  • Hannibal

    For films I would have to go with Jerry Goldsmith who produced more memorable themes even than John Williams during his career – which also included the theme from The Man from UNCLE. For TV I think it has to be Laurie Johnson who gave us The Avengers, the New Avengers, Jason King, and the mighty Professionals. Special mention to Stewart Copeland for his Equalizer music, though.

  • John Williams is the daddy of distinctive themes and I’ve always had a soft spot for Alan Silvestri’s stuff. Danny Elfman has done some decent themes too.
    Oh and Ennio Morricone is great too!

  • John Williams is the daddy of distinctive themes and I’ve always had a soft spot for Alan Silvestri’s stuff. Danny Elfman has done some decent themes too.
    Oh and Ennio Morricone is great too!

  • I was going to mention Danny Elfman. Love the Halloween song from Nightmare before Christmas.
    Also with Aaron on Ennio Morricone.
    But my favourite film score ever is the one for Last of the Mohicans (also one of my favourite films)which I really think lifts the film from a good one into something really special. (By Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman apparently. I never knew that!)

  • MSK

    For me, I am a fan of a number of composers:
    Rachel Portman (Emma)
    Howard Shore (LOTR)
    Bear Mcreary (Battlestar Galactica)
    Bruno Coulais (Le Libertin)
    Greg Edmonson (Firefly)
    Patrick Doyle (Gosford Park)
    Thomas Newman (Josh and S.A.M., Phenomenon)
    There are many more, but these stand out to me.

  • Agree re: Clint Mansell – Mr ex-Poppies himself. Not even the over-use of Lux Aeterna everywhere can diminish the awesomeness of that track.
    I’d also add Morricone — the music for The Mission stands up as well as any of the great tunes from Once Upon a Time in the West. Barry at his height was also pretty damn fine, especially for themes/songs (though less for underscoring).
    Can I also drop in a reiteration of how brilliant the sound/soundtrack for The Shadow Line has been? Just wonderfully evocative music – especially the theme – by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Trio.

  • bob

    Another vote for Bear McCreary. BSG’s soundtrack is breathtaking.
    Plus Danny Elfmann.

  • Jeri

    Bernard Hermann– his work for Hitchcock, Welles and Scorsese is probably some of the most imitated music in the world.
    Ennio Morricone– Ditto, for the Dollars trilogy. ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ is perfect. There’s a high, lonely harmonica chord that might as well scream ‘trouble,’ and Morricone owns it.
    James Horner– for the soundtracks of ‘Wrath of Khan’ and ‘Aliens.’