I think it is human nature to aggrandize the past and complain about the contemporary.
Selective memory allows us to cherry-pick the cream and skim past the rest. Looking back to the “Golden Age” of Hollywood we still remember the brilliance of the best of Herrmann, Rozsa, Korngold and a few others.
But that still leaves thousands and thousands of mediocre, clichéd and insipid scores composed by others less gifted that we no longer consider while rhapsodizing about the past.
It is also not surprising that people often glorify things associate with their own impressionable and passionate years. Or to cling to things surrounding our own days of former triumphs and past powers. This tradition of rose-colored nostalgia has continued generation after generation.
I fight the temptation to see things that way.
Attending Hans Zimmer’s concerts and witnessing the electrifying connection the audience has with his music, I can safely say contemporary film music is beyond alive and well. It is speaking to the hearts and emotions of so many, including young people. Which I find exciting and inspiring.
There is some value in looking back to learn from and take inspiration from the past. But, staying too focused in looking backwards can turn you into Lott’s wife, calcified and stuck, unable to adapt and thrive in the present.
A lack of time-traveling Deloreans makes dwelling in the past a bit unproductive, too. As Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman say in HAIRSPRAY, “Yesterday is history and it’s never coming back.”
Rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia filter out a lot of truth and reality.
Film music was always great and it was always lame. It was always groundbreaking and it was always shopworn. It always soared and it was always pedestrian.
It was always flourishing and it was always broken.