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Saturn in The Black Hole

I love John Barry’s score to The Black Hole. I remember as a kid seeing the main title and thinking it was the coolest music:

It takes a certain kind of genius to translate a concept into music—that swirling, 3/4 vortex—with such simplicity and tunefulness. Barry genius!

So we all know that film music is derived from classical music. It just is. And there are always gestures and orchestrations you hear that come from certain composers or, more broadly, “schools”: the Brits, the French Impressionists, the Russians, etc.

Sometimes you can hear a film composer aping the voice of a particular classical master...and sometimes it gets so literal you can hear the specific work being referenced or mined for its goodies, bars at a time.

I generally don’t think of Barry as aping anybody else. He’s so unique.

However, I chanced upon the opening of “Saturn” from Holst’s The Planets and, well...

It’s basically the opening of the Black Hole main title: those widely voiced notes from the whole tone scale, suggesting floating in space.

It’s curious because, if you research The Planets at all, it’s not meant to be the planets of the solar system (scientific astronomy), but the astrological characters connected to them.

Whatever the case, it’s great, and it works.

There was recently a detailed article in The New York Times (behind a paywall) about how Holst enlisted a team to help him create The Planets—worth the read.

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On another strand... how about lining up Jerry's Lost In The Wild from The Edge with Klaus' I Don't Belong Here from the 2002 Time Machine?

I know it was temped with Jez anyway but still...that scene and the score in TM overall is absolutely stunning!


I think you could say that about a lot of film composers LK...but like you say, how do you translate from that into something that resonates emotionally and really works?

JB nailed it on this mate!

As he did with the 76 Kong...another wow score....all the emotion was in Rick Baker's eyes and couple that with JB's class..Arthusa et al.....pure brilliance! What a great film that is too!

And then there's Raise The Titanic....never mind Two Socks!


Also, the Planets was a big source for John Williams....


The Black Hole is one of my favorite movies. Check out Tomita's 5.1 electronic version of the Planets.


Oh, that is weird! I'm sure I've listened to The Planets before, but it's been ages ago (even though I've got a CD in my library). But yes, "The Black Hole" was one of the first scores I bought, and that made me fall in love with the genre.

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