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    • Jay

      Donate to JWFan, win a CD!   05/30/17

      Hello!

      We are significantly behind on our funds for keeping JWFan alive, and need to collect donations again.
      As an incentive, I am offering a series of free CDS to anyone who donates over a certain amount!   Donate at least $10 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $250 goal:   Tyler Bates - God of War; Ascension (OST, La La Land Records) Danny Elfman - Planet of the Apes (OST, Sony) Danny Elfman - Taking Woodstock (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Identity Thief (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (OST) Michael Giacchino - Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (OST, Varese Sarabande) Dave Holmes & Various - Ocean's 11 (OST, WB Records) Joel McNeely & Various - Hollywood '94 (Varese Sarabande) Joe Kraemer - Jack Reacher (OST, La La Land Records) John Williams - Born on the Fourth of July (OST, MCA Records)   Donate at least $20 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $500 goal:   John Barry - First Love (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - The Challenge (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - In Harm's Way (2009 Intrada edition) Jerry Goldsmith - The Red Pony (Varese) Alan Silvestri - Dutch (La La Land) Shirley Walker - Willard (La La Land) John Williams - Family Plot (Varese Sarabande) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   Donate at least $30 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $750 goal:   James Horner - Gorky Park (OOP Kritzerland Edition) James Newton Howard - Outbreak (2CD, Varese Deluxe Edition) Laurence Rosenthal - Clash of the Titans (2CD, Intrada) John Williams - The Fury (2CD, La La Land) John Williams - Jane Eyre (OOP, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   Donate at least $50 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $1,000 goal:   Jerry Fielding - The Wild Bunch (3CD, FSM) Ira Newborn - The Naked Gun trilogy (3CD, La La Land) Shirley Walker and Various - Batman: The Animated Series Volume 3 (4CD, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer     All shipping will be paid by me to anywhere in the world!   I will pull names from a hat for each pool, and you get to pick whatever CD set you want if I pull your name!   To be eligible, leave your JWFan username in the comments area of your donation.  If you want to donate but not be in the running for a free CD, mention that in the comment.   Use this link or the link on the mainpage.       Thank you!   Jason, Ricard, and Andreas.

Score

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  1. I did listen to the damn scores more than once - but I will go back to RotK and see if I agree If this is true, I am not one of those people. I am a musician and I know that a good orchestration does not necessarily equate with frantic activity. It also does not necessarily equate with aleatoric writing or with a minor chord with added 9ths or 4ths played by a choir. It's about the intelligent use of the instruments to achieve a certain effect, and I note when a composer makes a choice that surprises me. E.g. Mozart was a genius orchestrator, even if his orchestra was extremely limited if compared to what we have nowadays. As an example from LOTR, I really appreciate when Shore voices chords in an unusual way, for example by giving the chord to the brass but the lowest note to the timpani (it happens in several statements of the Fellowship theme). If I had seen this on paper only, I would have expected it not to work at all, instead it sounds great: hats off. But I don't remember many more examples of situations like this in the LOTR scores, which I like for other reasons. In the Potter scores, I find something exciting in almost every cue. Take the statements of the Hedwig's theme, where the melody is given to alto flute, English horn and bassoon in a very high register ("Rite-of-Spring"-like!), over a landscape of violins + celesta playing those fast runs, and there is almost nothing in the bass register, except for those pizzicato notes by the cellos, which are actually in their high register. What I find interesting is not the mere fact that the violins are playing fast, but the fact that the combination of woodwinds is unique and well-conceived, the absence of basses combined with the speedy runs perfectly gives the idea of flying, and the combination of all these elements defines the HP sound in a way that is instantly recognizable and evokes a whole world. It's not about woodwind fluorishes or glockenspiel, which I also find irritating when used just for the sake of impressing. But then you could reply that Shore achieves the same effectiveness just with simpler means, you could give me an example with which I could agree or disagree, I could reply, and we could go on forever. At the end, whether an orchestration is great or just good might be a bit subjective. And this thread is about opinions, after all. What impresses me most about the HP scores, however, also compared with LOTR, is the harmony (I have always considered this as Williams' strongest point as a composer). ... at the end, we all like and listen to both the HP and the LOTR scores, right?
  2. Well, this is not what I said . I definitely see what is great about the LOTR scores and I like them a lot, especially FOTR. I just think the Potters are greater, because of more interesting (for me) choices of harmony and orchestration, which make them "better", or if you want, more engaging and more satisfactory, to my ears. Can you point me at some cue/cues from LOTR not included in the symphony that you consider more subtle, more complex, more brilliant etc. than the best stuff in the HP scores? Or to some genius harmonic choice that escaped my attention and will blow my mind? (Of course I would like to compare the best cues with the best cues, not with Aunt Marge's Waltz). As for the poorer cinematic weight of HP compared to LOTR, I agree, but this is not the scores' fault. I tend to separate the score from the movie and let the score tell its own story. Otherwise I could not even listen to TPM...
  3. I couldn't agree more. The Potter scores display a "magic" command of harmony and orchestration from JW. Think of the Prologue from HP1. Those chords playing when Dumbledore switches off all the lights are worth of Debussy or Stravinsky in their top form, and I have always wondered how the hell could he even conceive those sounds. The cue playing when the students reach Hogwarts is masterful in the preparation and resolution of the climax. The ending of the "Mirror Scene" cue that plays when Harry confronts Voldemort is literally terrifying and extremely elaborated, it strangely reminds me of the coda from the first Ballade by Chopin, but this is much more scary (sadly the film mix does not allow to appreciate all the details, which are evident from the recording alone). "Leaving Hogwarts" makes you feel sorry for Harry even if you don't care at all about the story. Not to mention the greatness of Azkaban (all the dementor stuff, all the middle-age-sounding stuff, a great Quidditch piece, the time-travelling cues...). Not to mention the beautiful cues that he wrote for Chamber of Secrets (even the suite alone is great - but he actually wrote much more than that, right? ). I mean, the LOTR scores are great and they were surely an amazing feat, but from the point of view of harmony and orchestration they are relatively simple. This is not a defect in itself. But I also look for more originality in these matters, and that's why I prefer the Potters. The symphony from LOTR is more than enough for me compared to the scores, while I definitely cannot say this with respect to the HP suites vs. the complete scores, where almost every cue is essential.
  4. The best cue from ROTJ is "The Emperor's Death". Yub Nub was actually a reasonably good finale (accepting that the movie contained Ewoks, and it was not in JW's power to change this sad fact). TPM, as originally intended, is overall a far better score than ROTJ. Not a small achievement, considering that he had to score Jar-Jar and child Anakin. Rey's theme is the weakest theme for a major character in the whole Star Wars saga. It's very strange to me that many people rank it as one of JW's best themes. I don't like the score to Jaws. And I like the score to Jaws II even less. I cannot stand Home Alone (maybe it's the movie's fault). I don't find anything interesting nor particularly good in Lincoln. Auschwitz-Birkenau is the most interesting cue from Schindler's List (but this has been said by a number of others as well - is it still "unpopular"?). The fact that there was only one cue in this Bartokian flavour is my only disappointment with that score, which is a great one anyway. ... in all the rest, JW is a perfect being
  5. It is not so straightforward. Old scores were recorded with handwritten parts, so the SE are relatively recent engravings, often done much after the recording. I have to say that the more recent scores such as TFA do not have such problems (at least, none that I noticed), perhaps because they start from the computer-engraved file that was used for the recording. What bothers me is that they are (or, hopefully, they were) so inefficient in proofreading, given that the score then gets used even by JW himself to conduct. I think even Conrad Pope complained about this some time ago, in a Facebook post that I cannot find anymore. He had conducted from a SE score a cue that he had orchestrated himself for the movie, and he was quite suprised to find that it was engraved so badly. And I am talking of mistakes that can be detected by anyone who can really read music and knows the piece from listening, often appearing even in the main melodic line (e.g. Luke and Leia, the intro of Jurassic Park theme).
  6. Unfortunately, no, not at all. Although the layout is visually stunning, there are usually tons of unbelievable errors (wrong notes, wrong accidentals, and if I remember correctly I even saw a few bars in the trumpet part of Duel of Fates that were transposed wrongly). Which is completely unjustified, given the exorbitant cost. ... But of course, we all buy them anyway
  7. Very beautiful and in need of an extension (especially of the central part)!! I hope he will do that. Is it known if he had some inspiration from literature when writing this piece? It seems to represent something concrete, and it would be nice to know what. It is definitely dramatic and dark, but I don't perceive it as "desperate". The ending makes me think of flying. Also, what about the title? Does it refer to music notation?
  8. Maybe William Ross did those...
  9. That's what I was talking about. It is of course impossible to mistake the two handwritings. For a cue like this one in Ross's handwriting, which is clearly based on the Three-Note Loop from HP1, for me we are talking about "music composed by JW, adapted by Ross" (however, others may call this "composing", as there is an element of originality). What people are wondering about is, how much of the score was done in this way, what about important cues like "Spiders", etc. Without having seen the sketches, everything leads me to believe that all the completely original material is by JW (so it was sketched as in the first example). The part done in the second way might me the larger part of the score, but it is still adaptation, according to the criterion discussed above. Otherwise they would have talked about co-composition.
  10. The point is what it is meant by "writing", and to what extent "adapting" involves creative decisions, in this particular case. Reading again this whole thread, which dates back to many years ago, it is apparent that nothing is straightforward. A user who claimed to have the sketch in front of him said that most of the score had been written by Ross... which is at odds with what others have said in other occasions. Who is reliable, who is not? In my opinion, we should just take the credits as given on the CD for good, and that's it. At the end, people may not even agree on the definitions of "composing" and "adapting" (the latter inevitably involves some composing), so the debate might not be objective even in the presence of the sketches. Maybe what Ross did is "composing" according to some people, and "adapting" according to others, even including himself!
  11. Without looking at the sketch scores, it will be impossible to know. As far as I know, the only person who has discussed the sketches publicly is Bill Wrobel, who published online his rundowns of the first two HP scores many, many years ago. He said what follows: "However, when I looked at the sketches, I discovered that Williams did indeed compose all of the music. So what Ross did exactly besides some conducting work, I am not sure." Now, this would seem quite a definitive statement, right? It is also consistent with something that Ross said in an interview some time ago. However, on 2016-9-19 Wrobel added a postscript to his original rundown, quoting a fellow researcher named "Jack" who claims that JW basically contributed the themes of the suite plus something else, but most of the score was written by Ross, who "decided humbly to write "John Williams BMI" on the top of each sketch". This looks strange to me, but who knows how these things work behind the scenes. Since many years have passed between the original rundown and the 2016 update, it is not clear to me if the revised statement is substantiated by a look at the sketches, or it all relies on "Jack's words", whoever Jack is. Note that, if the second version is true, then looking at the orchestrated scores would maybe not reveal anything, as they would probably bear the writing "John Williams BMI" on them. Only the sketches would tell the truth. The only thing on which everybody (?) seems to agree is that JW wrote for sure all the cues that form the suite (Fawkes, Dobby, Gilderoy, Chamber). For all the rest, anyone is free to guess.
  12. ... who has absolutely nothing to do with Jaws, by the way!
  13. Film: TESB, no question. ROTJ, for the largest part, is on the same level, but the teddy bears defeating the Empire troops on Endor (and this playing a major role in the destruction of the second Death Star) ruined it a bit for me. These were the first signs of the "Jar-Jar / Gungans / child Anakin" attitude appearing in George Lucas' works. Score: I chose TESB again, although ANH is close. TESB seems to me more "mature". The best parts of ROTJ are equal or even superior to TESB, but I just don't like all the dark Jabba part as a listening experience in itself.
  14. The sheet music is not a problem. "Only" the recordings are gone forever...
  15. It sounds like that. Still, "someone" managed to produce something just as iconic and epic as Williams' best efforts. My vote goes to TLJ.