The Films That Changed My Life: Richard Tognetti

March 29, 2016
On the eve of his Cinemusica tour (which will bring cinema’s most indelible music scores onto the concert stage), Australian Chamber Orchestra director, Richard Tognetti, picks the films (and the film scores) that have changed his life.

TAXI DRIVER (1976)

“It’s a great story in itself. That opening scene is unforgettable, mainly because of the reflected light in the rain in the old New York taxi which we know only too well from our youth. And then there’s that score. [Composer] Bernard Hermann had been shunned by Alfred Hitchcock, because Hitchcock wanted to move on and utilise more modern sounds, and then Hermann was given this amazing gig by Martin Scorsese. He came up with one of the most modern sounding scores in the history of cinema…that screaming saxophone! It’s extraordinary movie making and composition.”

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007)

There Will Be Blood was the first time that I’d heard [Radiohead guitarist and occasional composer] Jonny Greenwood’s music in the cinema, and I was blown away by. It was my first introduction to him as a composer. [Director] Paul Thomas Anderson uses music in an overwrought way; it’s almost like you’re inside his head when a character goes partly deaf due to explosives. It’s a style of music that hypnotises the ear. It’s a very clever use of that, and then there’s the Brahms violin concerto and Johnny’s music as well…the use of music is sensational in the oil rig scene.”

BLADE RUNNER (1982)

“It’s so futurist and yet somehow it hasn’t dated, which is extraordinary. It’s amazing, and we remember so many things from it, like the scene where Harrison Ford zooms in on the TV. Who thought that we would be able to do that in our lifetime? It’s an electronic score, and it’s way ahead of its time. It has this really futuristic sound, and what’s extraordinary is that it’s a really brooding score. It was from 1982, which is unbelievable…this brooding, extraordinary sounding music. I didn’t watch it again for many, many years, and I thought that it would be dated and it’s not. It’s of its time, but it hasn’t been stuck in its time, which is extraordinary.”

RIFIFI (1955)

Rififi is about these thieves who plan the perfect crime, and there’s this famous scene that goes for some 15 minutes when they’re robbing this place, and there’s no music. There’s nothing, and that’s the best use of anti-music. Peter Weir has always said that he wanted to work on that type of film: an anti-music film.”

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)

“You can’t ignore composer, Ennio Morricone, or any of his spaghetti westerns. His Oscar [for this year’s The Hateful Eight] was more of a life achievement award, because it’s nuts that he’d never won an Oscar prior to that. His work is truly incredible – Once Upon A Time In The West, Once Upon A Time In America, and so on – but The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is the movie soundtrack that inspired Radiohead. He just captured so many people’s imaginations.”

Cinemusica will be touring through Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Adelaide. For all venue and ticketing information, head to www.aco.com.au.

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