Classical music is everywhere. Especially in film...
For many of cinema's greatest films, their soundtracks have been built around stunning original scores, carfully chosen pop tracks, and the best that the world of classical music has to offer.
With the help of the wonder that is the internet, we've compiled a list of five critically-acclaimed films whose soundtracks all feature the work of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Ex Machina (2015) |Unaccompanied Cello Suite #1 in G Major BWV 1007 - Préludé
A science fiction thriller released in January of 2015, the plot of Ex Machina is built around the story of Caleb – a programmer, Nathan – Caleb's employer, and Ava – an impressively human-like android with Artificial Intelligence. Along with a largely original score composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, Ex Machina's soundtrack also features the prelude of this cello suite.
Trainspotting (1996) |Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727
Acknowledged as one of the best British films of all time, Danny Boyle's Trainspotting sits between drama and dark comedy as it follows the story of a group of heroine addicts living in Edinburgh during the late 1980's. Built into the film's award-winning soundtrack (along with dozens of rock and pop tracks) is this choral piece.
Se7en (1995) |Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 Air
This American physcological thriller dons neo-noir trappings as it explores the seven deadly sins. Directed by David Fincher, Seven's plot twist ending continues to shock viewers to this day. Like many of the other films on this list, Seven's soundtrack weaves an original score with both contempoarary and non-contempoaray tracks – including August Wilhelmj's arrangment of the second movment of this Bach suite, "Air on G."
Silence of the Lambs (1991) | The Goldberg Variations, BMV 998
One of only three films to every take home Academy Awards in the five major categories – picture, actor, actress, director, and screenplay – The Silence of the Lambs has earned a place in cinematic history as one of the greatest thrillers of all time. Along with an original orchestral score composed by Howard Shore, the film features work by Mozart as well as some of Bach's Goldberg Variations.
The Godfather (1972) | Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
A classic and bohemoth among films is Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. The film's score, which includes the famous Love Theme, was largely written by the Italian composter Nino Rota. Along with Rota's richly dramatic score sits Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, which serves as the musical backdrop for the cinematically bold and undeniably memorable baptism scene.
Clearly, Bach's work does an excellent job of lending itself to cinematic drama. This list only highlights five out of the hundreds of television shows and movies that have featured the work of J.S. Bach.
To get a better idea of film scores that include his work, we recommend taking a look at his officail IMDB page.
Stay tuned for more Classical in Cinema from The Long Island Violin Shop blog as we make our way into 2016!