Two Composers: A New Trend?

Hans ZimmerImage via Wikipedia

On the recent new Batman flick two of Hollywood’s top composers (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard) once again got together (they also collaborated on ‘Batman Begins’ in 2005) to create what the critics hail as ‘yet another masterpiece’. It’s quite common in almost every other area of the music industry for collaborations and co-writers to get together in hopes of stimulating creativity and generating new ideas. Yet in the movie business it’s something that is very rare. There hasn’t been a major collaborative effort between two major composers since the early 50’s.

Obviously with the success of the Batman movie and the results of the collaboration, one might consider more studios giving this method a shot. Not only is there a chance that the collaboration may result in an award winning score, there is also the added bonus of obvious PR material and marketability. Sometimes studios may put together some soundtracks full of the day’s popular hits or maybe the composer will write something specifically for a certain artist to perform on. There may also be some cases where a specialist is brought in to help on a specific style; bringing in a hip hop producer to help on an urban type flick, for example. This though, is different.

This is collaboration at the most basic level between two major composers. There may be arguments about who created what but according to the composers, it was a collaborative effort. It will always come down to the composers and style of writing but if you think about it, there could be some interesting combinations depending on what you were looking for. Some say the results were good mostly because these two composers did have a different style of writing. If you were to combine a tradition composer with someone more into the dance vein, or combine a rocker with a jazz composer for example, the results could be very interesting. Film composers traditionally are able to wear many ‘musical hats’ but most have a definite ‘feel’ and do some genres better than others.

This sort of collaboration may result in some interesting ‘discussions’ in the studio between the composers and director but there’s no doubt that it could result in some very interesting scores!

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