Score

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  1. ... which makes your comment out of place (as well as contradictory). Also, check on the dictionary the meaning of "boasting". I cannot imagine a word which is less appropriate to describe anything JW has ever said in his life about his own work. Sometimes you have a point in what you say (sometimes you don't), but you almost always use disparaging words when you refer to JW, especially in comparison to your beloved Shore. This will not help your cause (if you have one). Also, you often make these such disparaging observations based on what you think JW meant, or what you think he said, or what you think he should have done, with absolutely no concrete basis. If you want to make a case about precise statements, it is your duty to provide your sources, not just "I think he said". And anyway, it is a fact that JW writes new material that co-exists with the previous themes, he did it in TLJ as well (although we might be more or less pleased than with other scores of the franchise), so I don't understand what you want to imply.
  2. The Best Star Wars Soundtrack

    Indeed, there is no overarching main theme in ROTJ, but the Emperor's theme gets quite some memorable statements (I think much more worthy of attention than the Ewok material). The cue for the Emperor's Death has some outstanding writing and shows a very intelligent use of dissonance. The episodic nature of the movie greatly affects, for example, the possibility to use the beautiful theme for Luke and Leia, which appears only in two cues and does not get the development that it deserves. Fortunately, JW made one of the best concert arrangements of the saga out of it.
  3. The Best Star Wars Soundtrack

    1-2) TESB, SW 3) TPM 4-5) ROTS, ROTJ 6) TFA 7) TLJ (based on album only) 8) AOTC
  4. Happy 86th Birthday, Maestro Williams!

    Very nice. I particularly like this passage:
  5. I have not seen TLJ yet, unfortunately, so I have to postpone giving my opinion on this, however "it scoring Leia’s attempts at retrieving Han’s effigy" and "her distraught when it is taken at the end of Empire" are exactly instances of what I was saying: even when Han is not there, it scores stuff that has something to do with Han. Always (at least, in the movies that I've seen). From a certain point on, you just cannot distinguish the two applications. I'm not saying that this theme has nothing to do with the love affair, of course it has, I'm saying that it makes no sense to distinguish the two functions as a theme for Han and as a theme for the love relation. It would make sense only if there were two different themes, one used for Han before the love relation, and one after it starts. Or if Han was not scored at all with a specific theme before the relation. As a matter of fact, he was scored with this theme. ANH of course, does not count, since JW had not established yet a more systematic leitmotivic structure for the saga (even Darth Vader gets his full individual theme in TESB, which replaced the smaller motives used for the Empire in ANH). But this is your opinion. What is it based on, since there is no other theme for Han? Saying that the theme has nothing to do with Han is logically equivalent, in this case, to saying that you would have scored Han in a different way. Honestly, I'm quite happy about how JW handled it (it's one of my very favourite themes from the saga). ... because both characters are there! Or, because JW is foreshadowing the yet-to-come love relation! As you prefer, but there are no "right" and "wrong" interpretations about this. You see what I mean? Almost any instance of that theme can be interpreted in both ways, so the distinction does not exist in JW's mind. Otherwise, there would be two different themes. What matters is how the theme is used, and it is used in both ways.
  6. As far as I remember, Chewie is nearly always seen with Han (they form a sort of "a single character") and, when he is not with him, he is together with other more important characters (Leia, Luke) trying to save Han. So, there is nothing that identifies him enough as a separate entity to warrant him a theme of his own. In the case of Han, this theme we are talking about works as both his own theme and the theme for his love relation with Princess Leia, since most of times they appear together (so, there is no need to use two separate themes), or Leia is trying to save Han (so, it's appropriate to use this theme, whatever we want to call it), or else Han is displaying his skills independently of the Princess (escape from Hoth, end of Asteroid field - after that, the love relation starts and there is no more distinction). It just makes no sense to consider this theme as either Han's theme or the love theme, since the two functions cannot be distinguished from a certain point on. If one really wanted to make this pointless distinction for the sake of giving a single name to this theme, then in my opinion it should be Han's theme, since it is sometimes used independently of the Princess, but never independently of Han, as I have expressed in another thread.
  7. Happy 86th Birthday, Maestro Williams!

    A toast to the Maestro! Here's to many more years of wonderful music!
  8. I had a very similar feeling, you put it to words very well. It's as if this arrangement was made with the awareness of how the story ended, and the big statement of the original version of the theme in the middle (similar to the TESB end credits, although one semitone lower and with several other modifications) sounds like a sort of nostalgic recollection of how the relationship between the two characters used to be. On a first impact, I have to say that I prefer the old version. Most of times, I tend to prefer pieces that are more elaborate, longer, and display variations, but in this case I think the original theme is crafted better than all the variations presented here, and since I already know it from the past, hearing the variations first "sounds wrong" to me, as if he is delaying to deliver me something that I actually already know. However, I appreciate that he is still working with pleasure on his SW universe of themes (and anyway, the piece is good, it's just that I prefer the other one, if I have to compare them). I am wondering what he could have achieved if he had done a more extensive arrangement including the themes of Han Solo and the Princess, Princess Leia, and some material from the TFA scene where Han meets Kylo Ren. A sort of narration done by employing all the elements that belong to it.
  9. ... and then we keep wondering and debating whether a theme was meant to represent Han Solo alone, or his love story with the Princess Ah, sorry, I had missed it.
  10. The manuscript does not lie. It was written by Williams, and orchestrated by Herbert Spencer. Just as the whole rental suite from TESB.
  11. Of course reductionism, in the way you define it, is not enough to do anything good, neither in art nor in science. Once you have broken what you want to study (a piece of art or a brain) into smaller pieces, and you have studied them separately, what you miss is their interaction, which often determines the most important features of the final product. The main problem, both in art and in science, is that such interaction is often very difficult to understand, and even to verbalize. However, the smaller pieces exist, so any reasonable discussion about them is worthwhile and can add something to the understanding of the bigger thing. And then, nothing prevents anyone from trying to understand something more by trying to express (at least to him/herself) how the small pieces interact with each other. An example: suppose a piece of music has an expressive climax at some point, and many people agree that "it works greatly". Let's say there is a very loud and dissonant chord played by a full orchestra, with a certain arrangement of the brass, strings and woodwinds, and a timpani roll. Trying to split it into its constituent elements is not useless at all: you start (for example) by realizing that it is a dissonant chord and what chord it is, then you realize that it has a certain shiny flavour because those three trumpets are playing a consonant triad in their high register, while the basses are playing some notes that are completely out of any scale proper to that triad, and so on. Then you can compare it, in your mind, to what would happen if you took away the trumpets, or if you gave a more consonant part to the basses, or if you omitted the timpani roll. The result would probably not be equally satisfactory, and then you have learned a lesson on (one of the many ways) how to make an expressive climax. But then, to understand why the expressive climax works, you have to consider the context (i.e., the interaction with the rest of the piece). Then you see that that moment you like arrives after, say, 10 minutes of music. You can get an idea whether it's at the appropriate place, or if it should have been earlier or later. You can see, e.g., that it is the first moment in the piece where the composer uses trumpets and timpani, and this could be a reason why it stands out during the piece. Etcetera. And when you have done it, you have learned another lesson. If you renounce to do this analysis, everything boils down to "I like it / I don't like it" and there is no understanding at all. Better understanding a part, rather than nothing! But the fact is, if you deny the value of breaking down a piece to simpler elements, you should keep in mind that the path from simple elements to their combination is just the way composers work! Whenever you compose, you are combining small elements (say, a horn line with a bassoon line), and when you change a part of your composition, you are always manipulating small elements (say, you add a ninth to a chord). This is what "composing" means: putting together. The piece works if the composer manages to combine all the small elements in a way that is satisfactory to many people (and here, I mantain that history has a huge influence on this aspect, but this is maybe another topic). He has to do it, whether very consciously or in a more intuitive way (which means, without verbalizing everything). Yes, maybe nowadays, because he is more than accomplished! But of course, he must have spent time in his youth studying the works of the past. Indeed, in terms of musical language, as I think most of us agree, he is not revolutionary at all: he uses (extremely well) all the tricks amassed in centuries of orchestral writing, of melody writing, and of study of harmony. And he uses them so well because he knows them, which means he has studied and analysed the music of the great composers of the past, pieces by pieces and then all together. It does not matter whether he has ever written down an analysis of Mahler's Fifth in words, or of Dave Brubeck's Time Out: there is something in his brain that corresponds exactly to these pieces of information. Of course, then you need a certain talent to get the right combinations of what you know, but you have to start from reducing in order to make progress.
  12. The full score of the original Broadway orchestration is available for sale, published by Boosey & Hawkes (a wonderful score, by the way). The ensemble requires, for example, 7 violins, 4 cellos, 1 contrabass (no violas), and only 5 woodwind players who alternate several instruments, as usual in theater productions. I'm not familiar with the film score, but I guess an arrangement for the Spielberg version could consist in enlarging the ensemble to a full orchestra (I would be against it), and/or altering a bit the (few) underscore cues, while leaving the main numbers unchanged. Other than that, I don't see what else they could do without completely altering the mood of the piece. I would be happy if they just used the original Broadway score to make a full re-recording and fit the movie to that. In this case, I would really be very interested to hear JW's take at conducting it!
  13. One moment. Is there any official announcement about an involvement of JW in the project? As far as music is concerned, West Side Story does not need to be re-arranged at all! A new recording would be welcome, but... re-arranging?? And there should be no ouverture at all. Bernstein wanted the performance to start immediately with the first song, which is written with the specific purpose to set the stage and the mood of the situation, to take you there. He had to write an ouverture, but then discarded it.
  14. How old are you people?

    Right, I remember now! However, the current incarnation must date to 2002, right? I think it was jwfan.org or something like that, before 2002. I don't remember the exact chronology of the various versions of the site.