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About Marcus

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  1. Williams confirms EPISODE IX !!

    Certainly! There's quite a bit available on Spotify etc. You can also check out my website, Here's some stuff off YouTube:
  2. Williams confirms EPISODE IX !!

    If I were to be perfectly candid, it's precisely the lack of imagination when it comes to handling the orchestra, that I find disappointing in a lot of contemporary film scoring, including Shore's LotR scores. It's the lack of curiosity about how an orchestra may be utilized, and I think it stems from many composers not really knowing all that much about neither repertoire, nor what the instruments are really capable of. To claim that Conrad Pope, and what must by now be an almost endless list of conductors, butcher Shore's scores live or in studio due to their not understanding his intentions, is obviously preposterous. You would think that by now, at least someone would get it right? For all their merits, these scores sound less thrilling live because Howard Shore's orchestral imagination has led him to make decisions that simply don't project as well as they could have. There's nothing groundbreakingly new or fancy about they way they're conveyed on the page that would stand in the way of these scores sounding stunning. It's very traditional writing, largely far safer, less virtuosic than anything in Star Wars (not that I wish to compare the two sagas nor their music any further), penned in a way that puts an orchestra at a disadvantage live. The only rules "broken" have to do with ending up with a less satisfying result where some adjustments would have made all the difference. It's taxing and unrewarding due to how frequently it gets tiresome for the strings to only play pads, and the horns to pretend they're trumpets. It's a bit like Bruckner with orchestral dyslexia. I think Shore's Middle Earth scores would really come alive if played by a group that had more of a band structure at its core. Some synths, various ethnic winds and percussion, and a couple of solo performers on featured orchestral instruments. Something like what one could imagine Enya would tour with, or Secret Garden. And that's closer to the musicality these scores really stem from, I think. There's a pop sensibility to them, and a certain folkloristic flair. A live orchestral context does them no favors. There's no need to pretend it's because they're not properly understood by orchestras or conductors, who routinely handle not only daunting works of the past, but also much more complex, cutting edge, state-of-the-art (or not...) contemporary classical music.
  3. Williams confirms EPISODE IX !!

    As a professional composer, I have to say that Williams' strength is more than just his brass writing. Rather, he has a knack for making the entire orchestra really shine in music that is complex, but very rewarding to play. I can't think of that many composers who write more consistently to each choir's strengths, while at the same time keeping instrumentational choices interesting, and often unorthodox, even if the subtleties of his craft may elude the casual listener. I think it's easy to take Williams for granted, simply because there's such an elegance and panache to his style. Everything works, and sounds perfectly polished. But there are so many layers of not only expertise, but genuine artfulness and inventiveness to his orchestrational choices, and his way of seeing the orchestra, his concept of what an orchestra is. One thing that ought to be studied more by any aspiring composer when it comes to Williams, is the economy of his writing, and just how much mileage he can get from even a solo instrument. There's often a chamber-like lucidity in passages even from his most heavily orchestrated scores. He knows exactly what colors can be achieved by peeling away, as well as by layering. I think this modus operandi, which really bears more resemblance to how a concert composer might approach an orchestra, is part of what makes Williams' scores stand out. He is simply an outstanding practitioner of his craft by any standard. Not to compare the two, but Howard Shore is an entirely different kind of composer. His dedication seems to be to the film he scores, and not to the craft of writing music per se. His Middle Earth scores do an outstanding job of imagining and creating a musical landscape for Peter Jackson's take on Tolkien's mythology. But concert performances of those scores, as popular as they might be, tend to fall a little flat, simply because Shore isn't a particularly skillful orchestrator. There are a lot of choices that end up sounding very forced because of how unidiomatically written they are. I think Conrad Pope's contributions rectified some of it, but there's still the problem of the music perhaps having been conceived more abstractly. You can tell (and this, I'm sure it could be argued, is for better or for worse) that Williams conceives his music with the orchestra, or a particular instrument, in mind, lending a sense of natural grace and fluency to his writing.
  4. Alex Ross on Williams' The Last Jedi

    I just thought I'd chime in briefly: Williams' leitmotivic technique is often more symphonic than dramatic, which is to say that narrative/extra-musical connotation will at times be subservient to purely abstract musical qualities. An aspect of this, is that Williams will tend to deconstruct and develop his material on purely musical terms, working in this respect (unlike Howard Shore, since he is inevitably mentioned) more like a composer of concert music.
  5. To claim that Williams' score to TLJ is "lazy" is just absurd. I'm only beginning to discover all its layers, but you can pretty much take any track you like off the OST, and what you'll hear, is a level of nuance and artfulness simply not found in traditional orchestral film scoring anymore. There's so much beauty and detail and craft in every bar of this music. I'm stunned to see people actually feeling let down by it... It may be just another film score. But it happens to be a phenomenally well-written one.
  6. I see your point, especially in terms of texture: There's a lushness to TLJ that contrasts the sobering leanness of TFA's aesthetics. Still, a great deal of TFA's score is given a kind of '2.0' update throughout TLJ. Parts of the new material are also very much contingent on the established new (TFA) themes, to a degree I find really impressive, compositionally. The theme that is varyingly attributed to Luke, Holdo or the Island, is actually a development of Rey's fanfare (the one often played by celeste, harp and vibes), and "The Rebellion is Reborn", save for Rose's theme, is essentially a deconstruction/reconstruction of the other themes and motifs pertaining to the Resistance. I'm sure there's lots more to discover!
  7. It's a marvelous score, and exactly the score the film needed. The writing feels energized and fresh, and there are some truly original orchestrations both in the action oriented cues, and in some of the more subtle underscore. To me, it really is an extension of TFA, but with more room to let that material breathe, sing and soar. The new material offers charming additions to the glossary, while the older material is given some really terrific new spins. I think it's probably the most consistently well-spotted Star Wars film scores since the OT. If the sequel trilogy is symphonically conceived, this score serves as its development section.
  8. Just saw the film (which I thought was very good), and can only say that it was perfectly scored. I'm sure I'm echoing many in stating that the film really is an extension of TFA's narrative (more so than any previous SW film in relation to its direct predecessor), something which certainly does inform the score. It really doesn't call for any big new themes, and in providing one for Rose, Williams is already more than generous (even though I'm glad he supplied it). What I will say, is that the score as heard in the film feels fresh, despite the many callbacks (many of which also have a bittersweet tinge to them). Looking forward to hearing the OST!
  9. So it would seem the skeptics among us were right, if recent reports are to be believed...
  10. Well, in his TFA, BFG and Dear Basketball scores, and in his recent concert works, the sophistication of his writing remains undiminished...
  11. Having just listened to it again, I'm just having a hard time imagining this is Williams. There are so many choices that simply don't strike me as something Williams would do. Why are the strings simply holding a static pedal just as the March kicks into gear? I suspect the rhythmic oddities are mostly a matter of editing. The ending sounds like generic trailer music. In a score possibly sporting both the Imperial March and March of the Resistance, it seems a bit redundant to add another march that is essentially a cross between the two. There are also aspects of the melodic writing that strike me as "un-williamsy", such as the escape tone on the 4th beat of the theme's second measure, especially since it sounds like it is played by a lone trumpet (and not doubled at the octave). I just don't hear that "Towner touch"... Of course, it could all be a question of something being lost in translation, chopped up, edited and adjusted on the altar of Verizon. Or maybe my ears simply aren't as infallible as I thought they were...
  12. One thing about it that sticks out as a slight surprise (and I often find that it's the surprises, not only the trademarks, that sets Williams apart), is the Bb augmented chord (before it turns into first inversion Gm) cadencing to A at the end of the main thematic statement. But if this is indeed Williams, I think it would actually be the first time I haven't immediately recognized a piece as such upon first aural glance. And perhaps it's precisely the expectedness of it that throws me. It is essentially an "Imperial March 2.0" (which I guess is justified, given the nature of the sequel trilogy's antagonists). Either way, I look forward to finding out!
  13. Well, it's unusually light for a Star Wars concert title. It's more in the vein of "Jazz Autographs", or "A Whirl Through Academe". Then again, TFA had "Scherzo for X-Wings"...
  14. "Revisiting Snoke" certainly sounds like a concert title, and a playful one at that (as in offering the composer the opportunity to do another take on a character he already provided some music for).