Hollywood film music is often mocked as a disreputably 'applied' branch of the art of composition that lacks both the seriousness and the quality of the classical or late-romantic concert and operatic music from which it derives. Its composers in the 1930s and '40s were themselves often scornful of it and aspired to produce more 'serious' works that would enhance their artistic reputation. In fact the criticism of film music as slavishly descriptive or manipulatively over-emotional has a history that is older than film - it had even been directed at the relatively popular operatic and concert music written by some of the emigre Hollywood composers themselves before they had left Europe. There, as subsequently in America, such criticism was promoted by the developing project of Modernism, whose often high-minded opposition to mass culture used polarizing language that drew, intentionally or not, upon that of gender difference. Regressive, late-romantic music, the old argument ran, was - as
Peter Franklin is Professor of Music at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine's College. He has written on Gustav Mahler and the post-romantic symphony, early twentieth-century Austrian and German opera and Hollywood film music. His publications include the books Mahler: Symphony no.3 and The Life of Mahler.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; LIST OF FIGURES; INTRODUCTION: APPROACHES, PROBLEMS & THE GREAT DIVIDE; PART ONE: MUSIC INTO FILM - CRITICAL CROSS-FADES; PART TWO: WATCHING SYMPHONIES - CAUTIONARY TALES; INDEX