There are many musical themes that we are familiar with these days outside of their original context, as they have been used in tv commercials or films, in a striking and memorable way. For example, a famous melody from a classical piece of music is known to most people in Great Britain as The Hovis Theme. Of course Mr Hovis didn’t write it, and in fact it was written well before the actual composer would have had the chance to enjoy a slice of the aforementioned bread whilst composing his piece. And as the composer was Czech, and wrote the piece in America, the connection to England is getting really tenuous. Never mind the fact that no-one else in the world would know what you were on about if you referred to “The Hovis Theme” to, say, a Canadian, or even tried to engage a Parisian in conversation by referring to “le thème de hovis”.
Other themes however have a more global recognition, for example the piece that is used at the start of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In fact that piece is the opening section of the rather cumbersomely titled: “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, German for “And so spoke Zarathustra”, Zarathustra being the Persian prophet and founder of Zoroastrianism. No wonder people remember it as “the piece from 2001”. It was written by Richard Strauss, not to be confused with Johann Strauss II, who wrote “The Blue Danube”, which is also featured in “2001” but much later in the film, in the bit where the spacecraft docks with the space station dock, and the twoseem to be performing some beautiful celestial waltz with each other (The Blue Danube is, rather fittingly, a waltz).
The problem of course is, if you want to buy these tracks or play the sheet music for them, it’s a bit tricky to find them if you only know them by their popular reference. So here is a little roundup of some of the most famous ones and what they are actually called and whom they are written by:
The Stella Artois Theme – was actually written for the movie Jean De Florette by Jean-Claude Petit.
The piece of music they blast ouf of the helicopters in Apocalypse Now – is actually “The Ride Of The Valkyries” from Richard Wagner’s famous Ring Cycle.
The British Airways Theme is actually a piece entitled The Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes.
The aforementioned piece that accompanies a spaceship docking with a sapcesation in the film 2001 is The Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss II.
The Opening theme From 2001 is actually the opening theme from Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss (no relation to Johann).
The Theme at the end of Ocean’s 11 is actually Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy.
And finally The Hovis Theme is acually the Largo movement from The New World Symphony (Symphony No. 9 in E minor) by Antonín Dvořák.
We hope you enjoyed that!