One of the things I love about the Internet age is the ability to email your childhood heroes. Someone I'd always wanted to send some fan mail to was Sally Stevens—so I did. We had a little chat, in fact. What I loved isn't just that she happily answered my questions about the many films she'd sung on, but the fact she gave me her time. It was just before last year's Oscars and when we finished our chat, she said she was just off to rehearse the chorus for the Oscar ceremony! What the... I had no idea. She's got such a job to do and she was giving time to me? Wow!
But, d'ya know what? I felt a bit two faced afterwards. Why? My appreciation for Sally is absolutely genuine. She's brilliant and I've always loved the vocals she lent to Dirty Harry and Klute. However, I've also been pretty outspoken about what I perceive to be an over-use of choral music in films recently. Why is it that whenever I go the movies, by the time the trailers are finished I've been bombarded with five or six apocalyptic chorales? Even the comedies, for crying out loud! I swear, if they make another Fantastic Four movie, there'll be a scene where Reed Richards will be reaching for his Corn Flakes and it'll be scored with—you got it—son of Carmina Burana.
Now, it's true that some of my favourite scores have choral parts. I love The Lion In Winter and The Last Valley. The Omen was the score that first compelled me to buy a soundtrack album, so that one will always be very, very special to me. But if John Williams didn't need a chorus for Jaws, Superman The Movie or Star Wars—and they worked just brilliantly—I don't think it's necessary for every semi-dramatic moment to be scored like it's the end of the world.
I love Sally Stevens. I really do. What a talent. What a voice. What a great lady. I just think this apocalyptic chorus thing is overdone now and I hope she'll forgive me for saying so.