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There is a short string theme in the Black Panther soundtrack that reminds me of a late 19th century / 20th century work that I cannot seem to identify. On the YouTube version of the track it is at 2:52.

I could have sworn I'd heard it before stepping into the theatre, but the original piece may be somewhat more obscure. It had the same dramatic intensity and sudden onset as the movie. I'd originally thought Ralph Vaughan Williams, Samuel Barber, or maybe even Philip Glass, but can't seem to find anything close. It's not the Lion King as some have suggested.

Anyone with a better memory able to identify the similar classical piece?

  • For what it's worth: reminds me of the theme from the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6: youtu.be/3ebQYH6EpJ8?t=4m59s . Certainly not reminiscent in its exact melodic line, but a very similar tone and voicing. – mlibby Jul 20 '18 at 19:04
  • It does have some of the same character, but as you say it's missing the melody on top, which makes it almost a bit less intense than in the movie. Maybe that helps narrow it down further to early/mid 20th century works though! – madscientist159 Jul 22 '18 at 3:02
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Goerannson himself in an interview acknowledges Ravel as a classical influence. Can't find anything there. I agree on other the likely influences (Ralph Vaughan Williams, Samuel Barber). I'm not so familiar with Phillip Glass pieces for strings, but the ones I've heard sound quite rhythmic, so not able to match there.

There are 3 elements I'd pick on in "Ancestral Plane" : I think it likely the there may have to be several pieces to answer the question, I'm not sure any one has it all exactly.

1) String intro - full strings, which recalls: Concerto grosso, Vaughan Williams also Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis,Vaughan Williams

2) cello solo at approx 2:00 This recalls many pieces for solo cello, but the main accompaniment is strings - the rest of the orchestra is down low in the mix. So cello concertos such as Elgar or Dvorak are probably not intimate enough to be a parallel here. Keeping with Ralph VW, this is one possible: Dark Pastoral, for cello and orchestra (new to me while digging into this, so thanks for that! apparently it was put together from parts of an uncompleted concerto for cello)

3) also the way that the cello is accompanied by the higher strings : Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings many moments where the melody is in lower-down strings with violins hovering overhead e.g. around 2:24, 3:25.

returning back to VW: Fantasia on Greensleeves

  • Appreciate the well researched answer, and found a few new RVW pieces via your links, but I'm specifically interested in that one part at 2:52. I can definitely see the influence of the given composers on the other parts but that one "dramatic" 4-note section continues to elude me. Unfortunately I only heard the similar piece once, and remember the piece / author as obscure but definitely late classical. – madscientist159 Mar 19 '18 at 2:30
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    This RVW has something of it, but not quite. – Angst Mar 19 '18 at 18:38

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