Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Leonard Rosenman (1924-2008)

Some sad news from Jeffrey Wells' Hollywood Elsewhere blog: film composer Leonard Rosenman has died. He was 83.

According to a 2004 Film Music Society article, Rosenman suffered from frontotemporal dementia (FTD) for several years, but despite the FTD, he continued to write music.

Rosenman was best known for being unafraid to go atonal on Fantastic Voyage and Beneath the Planet of the Apes. I know the outspoken Rosenman was not well-liked in some circles. Film music fans hated the choral chants of "RoboCop! RoboCop!" during Rosenman's RoboCop 2 score ("No matter what audio format you hear it in... Rosenman's score from RoboCop 2 is still an abomination!" complained Film Score Monthly and The Aisle Seat reviewer Andy Dursin) and Star Trek fans are split on his Oscar-nominated Star Trek IV score (some enjoy the lightweight, change-of-pace Trek IV score, while others think it sounds too much like his 1978 Lord of the Rings score).

I always liked Rosenman's contribution to the Trek film series--the Trek IV score LP was given to me as a Christmas present from a family member when I was a kid and it was one of the first soundtrack albums I ever owned.

I prefer Rosenman's score over Dennis McCarthy's banal work for Star Trek: Generations, which is the weakest score in the Trek film series (blame it on Rick Berman and his hatred of leitmotif and anything that sounds energetic), despite a spectacular rendition of the Trek fanfare at the end of the Generations opening titles.

I'm also fond of Rosenman's East of Eden overture and main title theme.

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