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I've never been much interested in film music either, so I know a couple of names, but not a lot. And of course, more often it's the Bach and Handel in movies like Barry Lyndon that really attracts our attention, or the Samuel Barber in whatever Vietnam movie that was that I never saw. Korngold I should know more about, that's about the only one where I am ashamed of my ignorance. He was one of the first to get film composers looked at seriously as modern classical composers.
[I have deleted the rest of this because I thought it was a little insensitive]
Rozsa and Williams have also been significant modern classical composers, though their music for the concert hall has been played less because it is mostly modernist and does not resemble their film music at all. Each of the two composed an excellent viola concerto, in fact.
Two Japanese composers best known for their film scores were arguably better modern classical composers than film composers. Akira Ifukube became famous for scoring the Godzilla films, but his two best works are probably his Sinfonia Tapkaara (a symphony that incorporates Ainu dances) and his Symphony Concertante for piano and orchestra (similar inspiration to Antheil's Ballet Mécanique). Yasushi Akutagawa was also best known as a composer of film, TV, and radio scores, but was also a prolific art music composer with eclectic influences that included everything from Prokofiev to Indian classical music.
The disappointing thing about most film composers is that, for some reason, very few of them are string players. Sometimes the string players in studio orchestras have to edit their parts to make them playable. I took a few classes in UCLA Extension's film scoring program while I lived in Southern California. In my orchestration class, I was informed by the instructor that I was the first string player in four years to enroll. The breakdown of primary instruments among the 16 students in that class: 7 pianists, 7 trumpeters, 1 clarinetist, 1 violist (me).
I like modern film composers.. Think they create nice work. Do they know everything about each instrument and the correct way to play them all..dont care. Since its not at a symphony hall being performed with an opera I would think the muscians can be in jeans and tshirts and play the parts how they want. As long as they play the right part. Seems like I read or heard Zimmer was even self taught. Although Im sure theres more to his story thats has played into him being able to do what he has other than playing an instrument well. Maybe an understanding of how music invokes emotion and being able to match a scene in a movie to music. Giving certain characters their own music that will forever conjur up that characters image when a score is played...darth vader, indiana jones, a shark. John Williams did that well.
It does matter, though. I'm referring to parts sometimes being extremely awkward or even physically impossible to play, which is why the studio musicians sometimes have to change the notes. It happens much more often with string parts than with other instruments. No composer knows everything about every instrument, and all composers write for instruments they don't play. But if they want their music played as written, composers should at least know enough about each instrument to be aware of what each instrument is capable of playing.
John Williams is an exception. He's one of the few famous film composers active today who know string instruments well. He wrote for the concert hall before he became a film composer, his father played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and both of his brothers are professional orchestral musicians.
Hans Zimmer is one of the good guys too, even if he's not that familiar with strings. He not only hires people to do the orchestration but also credits them as co-composers, sometimes at the cost of forfeiting eligibility for some awards due to having too many composers on a film score. He's willing to go to that length, and give everyone appropriate credit, to make sure all the parts are playable without extra editing by the studio musicians.
I wouldnt know all that watching a film and hearing a score that stuck with me though. I suppose if I played in an orchestra and was looking for work and saw Jody Whats his name on the title..and knew Jody didnt know how to write music for the violin section..Id hate the job and move on to the next job. Im assuming that if a composer comes up on my Thomas Newman Pandora channel and I like the score.. if it has a persons name on it he wrote it and got the credit. Or at least was the originating composer or writer. And from that point on I would associate that music with that author. Thats my vantage point in it. I struggle with 1st posistion folk music on violin...couldnt being to understand or see all the pitfalls involved in scoring a modern film or tell the composer how to rearrange his music. I just know either I like it or not. Thats what I meant by dont care. Im sure at a higher level all that other stuff important. I was just wondering if anyone cared for those 4 writers and if so which one and what else was out there that people liked.