No doubt, everyone has their favourite nostalgic Christmas soundtrack. At ThinkSpace Education, when we are not teaching masters courses in sound design and music composition, we love a good musical debate. Since it’s the season, we have come together to discuss some of the best Christmas soundtracks of all time.
You’ll definitely find Christmas with James Horner’s score for The Grinch. Whoville is definitely drenched in Dr. Seuss’s style and childlike wonder and characterised by the joyous brass section (especially in that first scene…you know, when a tiny person pops out of a tuba), which stirs up all the festive feels. Plus, any soundtrack that led to a duet between Jim Carrey and Busta Rhymes is guaranteed to be a favourite of ours.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic Christmas movie, which gives us all the hope and inspiration that one needs at Christmas. The soundtrack, composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, is an incredibly uplifting classic of cinema. Interestingly due to the movie reportedly tacking a loss at the box office, the Christmas staple of ‘It’s a wonderful life’ only gained its permanent slot once it was shown on television. Possibly more surprising now, is that the soundtrack only received a release in 2014.
C’mon, you can’t think of Christmas films without Macaulay Culkin’s sweet, screaming face. Home Alone is, arguably, one of the classic Christmas scores, as it’s composed by none other than the Godfather of film composition, John Williams. Somewhere in my Memory is Christmas, delivering that nostalgic festive punch every time you hear it. I’m not crying, you’re crying…where’s the mulled wine?
A Nightmare Before Christmas
It’s a tough call to choose, as Danny Elfman’s Edward Scissorhands was *this* close, but it has to be A Nightmare Before Christmas, mainly because it’s just that more festive. Shunning traditional Hollywood Christmas scores, The Nightmare Before Christmas delivers individuality and fresher take of Christmas music, with catchy numbers such as the now-classic, This is Halloween and Making Christmas provided alternative kids a Christmas classic they could relate to. It fits perfectly between an established classic everyone can enjoy, and something just different enough to remain burned into your memory.
Whatever you say, this is a Christmas film and along with it, we get a perfect, if a little sinister at time, score from Michael Kamen. With classics such as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy to the suspenseful Assault on the Tower, the music really cemented Die Hard as the coolest, most dramatic action flicks today—festive fun for the grown-ups of the family.
What is your favourite Christmas movie soundtracks? Let us know in the comments!
If you want to learn more about being a composer and writing music for different genres, whether it’s festive, action, or a hybrid of the two, take a look at our Masters courses in film, games and television and learn how to create amazing music for different mediums.
If you have any questions, as always contact a member of the ThinkSpace team through our website or via our Facebook page, and we will reply as soon as possible.
Ho-ho-hope you enjoy the festive season, guys!