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Score

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  • Birthday 12/06/84

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  1. Sadly true. He seems to underestimate the ability of his audience to enjoy anything different from the standard tricks. He could easily make full concerts of great music that he has written without including a single cliché fanfare, just by taking some cues as they are from his film scores, without additional "popularization". If he started to do that, I guess the attitude of the few remaining "elitists" would be gone forever. But no, despite the immense art that he puts in his work, he somehow thinks that for the movie music concerts he needs to re-arrange the cues so that you build up to an operatic finale in the time of three minutes, which triggers the big applause.
  2. Yes, absolutely! I would never put Schindler's List or E.T. in the same league as Family Plot or the few pieces that I know from Heartbeeps. So, to be more precise (maybe): in my opinion, his great film scores (and fortunately, there are MANY!!) are more important than his concert music (maybe with the exception of the Violin Concerto), which is more important than his minor film scores.
  3. I completely agree both with your opinion about John Williams compared to other "classical" composers and with the perception that this is starting to be noticed also by music professionals who are not strictly connected with movies. The signs are very encouraging. The fact that a first-class conductor like Gustavo Dudamel has developed such a friendly relationship with Williams, has conducted a full concert of his music, and has conducted the recording of the end credits from "The Force Awakens" is fantastic in itself. Then, so many other "classical" conductors have included pieces by Williams in their performances (mostly from Star Wars, as far as I know): Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Franz Welser-Möst... and I am really, really happy to see that Simone Pedroni is becoming a champion of Williams' music in Italy. But I know some very good musicians who still resist the idea of considering Williams as a "real" composer (probably because they have never listened to a complete score of his with some attention). Here I have a different view. I think his film music is most representative about him, and if he will be remembered and loved mostly for that, it will be the right thing. His "concert music" has several merits (mostly about harmony and orchestration, for which he has an outstanding gift), but I would not rank that at the same level as that of, say, Ligeti, Berio or Messiaen, or, to mention a more similar situation, as Korngold's Symphony or Violin Concerto. I would say this mostly for reasons of musical form. I will always be convinced that the place where Williams expresses himself most deeply and where he gives his best is film music and the point, as TownerFan already mentioned, is that his film music is so good that it can be enjoyed and ranked as pure music. Based on his film music, I would rank him among the most important composers of the second half of the 20th century (I would not think so based only on his concert music).
  4. Yes, there is a cue called "The Jedi Steps (concert version)", which is the one that you are hearing here, and a cue called "The Jedi Steps and Finale", which is the movie cue tied to the End Credits. If the first piece is performed, the editor recommends to skip the first 36 bars of the last cue (that's the film version of "The Jedi Steps"), thus starting with the End Credits.
  5. Yes! It's the official concert cue, written note by note by John Williams. Its score is available in "The Force Awakens Suite", from the Hal Leonard Signature Edition series. Great video! I really liked the performance. It is a bit slower than it would be supposed to be according to the score, but I prefer it this way - everything really "sings".
  6. Maybe you already know, but there is shakuhachi in Jurassic Park, already in the very first cue of the score. Another nice contribution by John Williams, definitely not for ethnographic association. Also, I don't know if the pan flute qualifies as well as a world instrument, but Morricone uses it in "Cockeye's Song", from the score of "Once upon a time in America".
  7. Definitely not vain . Reading a score is as close as you can get to talking with the composer himself. I am convinced that the benefit of reading a score, for someone who loves music, would be enough to justify the process of learning to read music, even for people who do not play an instrument (although in this case it is more difficult). Of course, the problem is that it takes time, effort, and to invest some money to buy the scores, so it is always a matter of priorities and possibility to balance with the other aspects of life. The latter problem can be in part avoided by studying public domain scores, most of which can be downloaded for free at www.imslp.org . And definitely, John Williams' scores are not the way to go for beginners, since the orchestra is always big and one should start with smaller ensembles, just to learn to read several staves simultaneously. Besides piano music, the first scores that I read with the intent of "understanding everything" were rather simple pieces, like Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" and Vivaldi's "Four Seasons". Only strings (so, no transposing instruments), just a few lines to be read at the same time, and simple harmonies, rather easy to grasp after some training. Williams' scores are much more complex from every point of view.
  8. I have Star Wars, Music from SW saga, The Phantom Menace Suite, 3 pieces from Schindler's List, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and I have ordered The Force Awakens. Despite the unacceptable errors that appear sometimes, they are very beautiful editions. If only the proofs were checked more expertly and/or passionately...
  9. In no particular order, and referring specifically to the concert arrangements: 1. Leia's Theme 2. Luke and Leia 3. Imperial March 4. Harry's Wondrous World 5. Duel of the Fates 6. Theme from Schindler's List 7. "Closing In" from "Catch me if you can" 8. Across the Stars 9. The Chamber of Secrets (4th movement from the suite) 10. Adventures on Earth
  10. I did not say this. The first time the Imperial March appears in full power in the movie, it is in G minor. The concert arrangement is in G minor. When it appears in the End Credits suite, it is in G minor. I think we agree that this is the "natural" key in which the march was conceived. In my opinion, the reason is mostly instrumental, and not that the key of G minor represents something particular. This is what I meant. The question is: what about the other instances, when it appears in different keys? Were those keys chosen case by case for expressive reasons related to some meanings that Williams associates to the individual keys (some composers did that - Beethoven once said that B minor is a "black key"), or based on instrumental issues?
  11. Yes, but you are referring to the concert arrangements, although they also coincide with the first appearances in the respective movies (but, to be precise, the Imperial March appears in the initial cue of ESB, shortly after the opening crawl, played by the piccolo in B minor). Throughout the scores, the themes appear in many different keys. For example, in the "Chasm Crossfire" cue, Luke's theme is played in G major, and it is definitely heroic as well. The Imperial March appears many times also in C minor and B minor, for example, and in F minor at the peak of the cue which scores Han Solo's carbon freezing. Not to mention the Force theme, which probably appears in all the keys throughout the saga. The question is: can we find a rationale beyond certain choices in specific moments of the movies? To be honest, I have always thought that the instances of the Imperial March in G minor (including the first "big" appearance and the concert arrangement) are mostly motivated by the fact that G is an open string in violins, violas and cellos, which provides a particular sound quality to the rhythmic accompainment at the beginning. Similarly, B flat is a good key for trumpets and brass in general, hence the big blast of the main theme. So, in these cases I think it is more a performance-oriented choice (which of course is very relevant for the sound that is obtained, which is more "natural"). I am wondering if the choices done in the less "in-the-face" cues are due to specific expressive reasons related to the keys, or related to the instruments. Probably, a bit of both.
  12. Also in Gladiator. The main theme is in D minor, the "Patricide" cue starts in D minor and ends on the D major chord (although it modulates a lot in between), the second part of "The might of Rome" (when the scene is actually in Rome) starts in D major. Morricone seems to be also quite fond of D. Most of the score of "The Mission" is in D major (with some pieces in close keys like B minor and G major), as well as several main themes from "The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean", the first part of the main theme of "Once Upon a Time in the West", the cue "Abolisson" from Queimada (which he often plays in concert), the main theme of "Casualties of War", the main theme from "Il Deserto dei Tartari"... and many others. And the main themes of several of his Westerns are in D minor. In the case of John Williams, as Datameister was saying, he doesn't seem to favour any particular key. Maybe it would be interesting to study whether he associates certain keys with certain specific "moods" or situations, but I don't have specific ideas in this respect. It seems to me that he just uses almost all keys freely, trying to vary as much as possible.
  13. From the moment I met you, all those years ago, not a day has gone by when I haven't thought of you. And now that I'm with you again... I'm in agony. The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of not being with you- I can't breath. I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating... hoping that kiss will not become a scar. You are in my very soul, tormenting me... what can I do?- I will do anything you ask. If you are suffering as much as I am, PLEASE, tell me.
  14. That could be a very good and interesting point, and what you say might well be the reason. The fact that also "Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra", which is one of the very last Signature Editions published, uses C Trumpets, might be indeed the signal of a trend.
  15. He uses Trumpets in C also in "Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra", "Summon the Heroes", "Call of the Champions" and "Olympic Fanfare and Theme".