Let me start out by saying, that of all the movies I have seen, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is my all-time favorite movie. The soundtrack ranks up there among my personal favorites, and it was one of the fastest purchased soundtracks upon seeing a movie ever in my life.
Unfortunately, due to there not being one original piece of music composed for this film, I cannot rank it any lower. It was not always like that, though. Kubrick commissioned Alex North, the composer for a previous work of his, Spartacus, to write the score, and he succeeded in writing the massive piece of music.
But when Kubrick finished filming and put the music in, it just did not sound right to him. So he paid North for his work and shelved the entire musical score in preference to using classical pieces of the soundtrack. The main theme of North’s score, along with others, can be heard here. Ironically, it was in 2001 when Jerry Goldsmith finally had the music played out and recorded, where it could be heard by the public for the first time. This music is available on CD for purchase.
So as for what made it to the final print, such great classical pieces were selected by Kubrick, including one of the most well-known pieces in the world, Also Sprach Zarathustra, written by Richard Strauss. For a lighthearted tone as the movie shifts into the space age, Johann Strauss’ The Blue Danube can be heard.
However, the best pieces of music used in this film come not from well-known composers, but by a contemporary by the name of Gyorgy Ligeti, who instantly became one of my favorite musicians upon hearing his work here.
His futuristic, and downright eerie sounding music blended in all too perfectly in this movie. The music during the most crucial point in the film, when Doctor Bowman enters through a star-gate was dubbed Jupiter and Beyond, but was really a combination of two Ligeti pieces, Requiem for Mezzo Sopranos and Atmospheres.
Over all, I really wanted to rank this higher but I could not bring myself to do it, because of the work it takes by a musician to bring a certain theme or tone to a movie. The next movies I have on my list may surprise you, because not all of them are well-known blockbusters. The next one, was in fact, a major flop, but the music is perfect. Actually, it’s about the only good the movie had going for it.
Until next time, folks…
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