Bright Lights Film Journal

Toru! Toru! Toru!

Jim Swafford, writing at Slate, wants to know who was the greatest film score composer of all time, and answers his own question: it’s Toru Takemitsu!

Swafford acknowledges that Bernard Herrmann was terrific, but goes a little overboard when he claims Herrmann’s famous scoring for the Psycho shower scene “is perfect because it’s nearly invisible, so imbedded in the moment that I suspect a lot of people don’t realize there’s ‘music’ in the scene at all.” In fact, the bit is so well-known that Jay Leno, who, last time I checked, was not being referred to as the King of Edge, uses the “shrieking strings” as a punchline.

But back to Toru. He says that his influences were “Duke Ellington and nature,” which is not quite as bad as saying “Duke Ellington and Jesus.” But, hey, I’ve got a cauliflower ear for these things, and maybe Toru is the best. There’s a nice site for him here.