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Lewya

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Everything posted by Lewya

  1. We are limiting ourselves to one track per score. I am curious what you guys would select as his five finest tracks from the 21st century. My top 5 John Williams's film music tracks from the 21st century (so far) are: 1. Abandoned in the Woods from A.I. Artificial Intelligence 2. Confluence from Memoirs of a Geisha 3. The People's House from Lincoln 4. A New Beginning from Minority Report 5. The Abduction from Star Wars: The Force Awakens The three first ones were easy to decide on, the two last ones was much harder and keep changing. What would your top 5 look like?
  2. If you had to select just one film music track above all others in Williams's body of film music - what would you pick? You are allowed to mention nine honorable mentions by the way, but no more than one track from a single score. I don't know the answer to this question myself, that is partly why I am curious what others would select as his best ever track. Maybe it would help me with this challenge if others weighted in. What would you select as his finest film music track of all time? Also, what would your list of the top 10 Williams's film music tracks look like (limited to one track per score)?
  3. I would never go for the poor Titanic or a relatively mediocre pastiche score like HP 3. Neither of them are "essential" nor do they represent film music at its best. You could argue that Titanic is even a score that gave film music a bad reputation. A Streetcar Named Desire and East of Eden would be two good candidates to begin with though I think. Why? Because they used modern music and both of the scores contain music that represents film music at its best. At their best, they have never been surpassed in the field. Both by two of the most formidable composers to ever work in the field as well.
  4. Yes, I don't like Alfred Newman's music much - I said more original and individual - not more late romantics. Oh, I prefer T. Newman almost any day over Williams.
  5. Of course, these days I don't feel that attracted to Williams's music. I prefer more original, individual and inventive composers over him. Newman for instance, I feel far more attracted to and close to. There hasn't gone by a month where I don't listen to any of Newman's music, but there have gone months where I don't listen to Williams. Too much of Williams music is way too bombastic for my taste. My taste in music is generally more alternative, experimental... ambient music. Almost the opposite from the stuff Williams usually does. And when I listen to Williams, I easily prefer things that aren't any of the Star Warses or E.T. Close Encounters and A.I. are my two favourite JW scores.
  6. In his new biography Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words, Ennio Morricone is complimentary but critical of John Williams - Star Wars scores in particular. "My criticism was not directed to Star Wars in particular, which I enjoyed a lot from the very beginning of the saga, but the scoring style which (especially Hollywood) composers and directors have made us used to. I attempted a new direction with my score for The Humanoid by Aldo Lado, in which I devised a six-voice double fugue based on tonal harmony (the six voices were split in half between the orchestra and the organ, with a double subject and a double countersubject). The piece was titled "Incontro a sei" (Six-Faced Encounter): The work was grueling, but very stimulating at the same time. Although the production could not remotely compete with Star Wars, to me this piece seemed to somewhat mirrror the imaginary of the universe, the infinite spaces and the sky, without giving in to clichés. Obviously, such experiments were self-imposed necessities, rather than obligatory pathways. Still, speaking both as a composer and a filmgoer, I believe that a rather simplistic standardization of stylistic choices has made film music less interesting over the years, in terms of both conceptional depth and compositional methods." Morricone said that Williams is “an exceptionally gifted composer whom I greatly respect”, but even he is criticised for making “a commercial choice” about the space epic franchise. It was, he says, “understandable, but still commercial. I could not have scored Star Wars in that way”. He adds: “What seems hazardous to me is to associate a march, no matter how well written, to outer space. Oftentimes, solutions of this sort stem not so much from the lack of creativity or skills, but from mere commercial concerns – as consequences of the rules imposed by the film industry … Speaking both as a composer and a filmgoer, I believe that a rather simplistic standardisation of stylistic choices has made film music less interesting over the years, in terms of both conceptual depth and compositional methods.”
  7. The Wind and the Lion is top 20 Goldsmith material and the best one of the three, The Mummy, I am not sure would crack his top 20. It is a solid score and one of his best of the 90s together with Mulan and Basic Instinct, but a bit too cheesy for my taste, I almost never listen to it. Never had any affection for The Ghost and the Darkness, but it isn't bad, it is still a decent score. But overall, none of these three scores is something that I listen to, even if especially the first two are good.
  8. Lewya

    Hans Zimmer's DUNE (2020)

    I don't think my preferences are very realistic, I admit that. But I still wish he went beyond the predictable for someone else. I am tired of Zimmer automatically being the go-to man for your promising blockbuster. Goldenthal would have certainly been up there among my top choices, but I admit, it is not very realistic. Same with Brian Eno and Cliff Martinez (he is more realistic than Eno) if it is an electronic score, I tend to prefer their more ambient sounds over Zimmer who is usually more bombastic. Shore in more alternative/experimental mode or Newman (who doesn't seem like a good fit on paper, but who usually delivers) would also interest me far more than Zimmer. I agree with some of these, especially Goldenthal, Shore and Martinez. Maybe Vangelis too, but he is almost retired now. Gabriel would interest me too, at least if he could deliver something like Christ again. I prefer Zimmer over Murphy, Young and Jones.
  9. Lewya

    Hans Zimmer's DUNE (2020)

    Zimmer. Hopefully it won't be another horrible Dunkirk score. His Blade Runner score was just OK. The most recent Zimmer score I really liked was Inception. Not a big fan of Zimmer at all though.
  10. Lewya

    Hans Zimmer's DUNE (2020)

    Boring pick.
  11. https://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/the-50-best-movie-scores-of-all-time/ - scroll down to see their list. As much as I liked both Levi's Under the Skin and Greenwood's There Will Be Blood, I think they might be overrated currently. Thoughts on their list?
  12. It is extremely rare that a film composer receives this kind of attention from leading concert composers, so Rosenman must have done things right. Both John Adams and John Corigliano are fans of him, especially of East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause with Adams favoring the latter and Corigliano the former. Rosenman himself considered East of Eden his best score. Here is what John Adams wrote about Rosenman in liner notes in the East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause recording he conducted: Leonard Rosenman is an important transitional figure in the history of film music: a highly skilled composer whose best work evolved during a critical period between that of old school Europeans like Max Steiner and Dimitri Tiomkin and that of the later, more pop-oriented composers of the 60s, 70s and beyond. Rosenman was doubtless one of the most thoroughly schooled musicans ever to work in Hollywood. Before making an acquaintance of director Elia Kazan in New York in 1954, he studied composition and theory at the University of California, Berkeley with Roger Sessions, the most serious of all serious composers. He was thoroughly familiar with all the latest modern techniques in the works of Stravinsky, Bartók and Schoenberg. Most importantly, he possessed one thing Sessions lacked: the common touch, an ability to mirror the American vernacular experience in his music. This was an essential ability for anyone hoping to make a successful foray into commcercial film music. East of Eden, Rosenman's first score was an ideal vehicle for his talents. The John Steinbeck story combines homespun simplicities of mid-century American social realism with the darker, more symbolic themes of filial disobedience and Oedipal search for his the lost mother. Set among the lush and irresistible beauty of the northern California coast, this 1955 film took the young James Dean into almost instant celebrity in the role of the tormented, misunderstood and unappreciated brother and son. The story, with its consciously Old Testament motifs acted by an ensemble of exceptionally gifted performers, including Julie Harris, Raymond Massey and Burl Ives, is one of the better examples of what a major Hollywood film could achieve. Rosenman's score is, when required, appropriately evocative of a "simple" American past (the story takes place during World War I). He utilizes both the widely spaced harmonies and simple diatonic tunes made famous by Copland, but Rosenman's ideas are never whole-cloth borrowings. His music has its own originality. The famous "Main Theme" with its innocent, almost childlike 3/4 lilt is one of the most memorable melodies in all American cinema. The music matches the qualities of Steinbeck's prose with uncanny exactness, at one moment being simple and plainspoken to the point of rusticity, and then modulating abruptly to a suppressed brooding that is far more sophisticated and self-aware than any earlier example of music for the screen. Written a year later, Rebel Without a Cause was musically even more successful, although the film, with its portrayal of misguided, troubled American youth, lacked the depth and richness of the Steinbeck story. While East of Eden was a period piece evoking for the American viewer an already lost idyllic past, Rebel Without a Cause was harshly contemporary and showed a strong influence of film noir in its treatment of the subject and characters. It may well be the film that created the whole "Fifties" stereotype, with its pompadour male hairstyles, car fetishes, and gangs of disaffected teenagers given to casual violence and unable to communicate with their uncomprehending elders. It is perhaps not insignificant that his film predates the premiere of West Side Story by two years. For the film, which provided another starring role for James Dean and an early appearance by all-too-worldly Natalie Wood, Rosenman created a complex score that moves effortlessly between the urban big band jazz of Stan Kenton and the moody atmospheres of Bartók and Stravinsky. Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, hardly known to the general public in 1955, makes a particularly evocative model in film's "planetarium" scene, during which the 50s' newfound preoccupation with outer space and extraterrestial events is eerily worked into the film's existential themes. The fractured rhythms and polytonalities of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring are felt in the scenes of violence and terror, although here, as elsewhere, Rosenman never loses his own original voice. Unlike many a lesser film composer, Rosenman managed to avoid resorting to hasty pastiche or overt borrowing. The two scores show what could actually be achieved when a skilled composer and a director sensitive to the powers of music were allowed to work together under conditions of artistic freedom, unimpeded by the crush of market forces - a rare moment in an industry in which art and money always maintain a difficult equipoise. - JOHN ADAMS During Sunday's pre-concert talk, conductor John Adams – who recorded Rosenman's East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause suites for Nonesuch in 1995 – described the composer as "one of the most important, skilled and knowledgeable of all film composers." "Adams took the microphone during the concert to extol Rosenman's virtues, calling him a "sophisticated composer" who helped to bring "psychological depth" to 1950s films like Rebel Without a Cause." John Corigliano: "East of Eden with Leonard Rosenman's music, is a great film on every level. It's like a combination of Berg and Barber and it's beautiful, and it has a simple American melody also of pure innocence. That score is great. It's so powerful, and in addition to that highly chromatic and nervous, wonderful sinewy beauty he also has an innocence like Copland. It should have a symphonic version played by major orchestras". My own favourites, aside from East of Eden being my absolute favourite Rosenman score - a score that reside within my top 25 film scores of all time, I think I even mentioned it among my top 10 the last time I did a top 10, include Rebel Without a Cause, Fantastic Voyage and A Man Called Horse - those are the four big Rosenman's favourites I have. I might be alone, especially on this forum, but I prefer Rosenman at his best music over Williams at his best. Williams has more "good" scores to his name, but I still prefer Rosenman's best music over Williams's best music. I might also rank Rosenman above Williams on a top 10 film composers list.
  13. I thought it would be interesting to collect what other composers think about Williams and/or his scores in this thread, I am particularly interested in concert composers. I will share one I just found, Aaron Jay Kernis, a Pulitzer prize winning composer said this about Williams last year in an interview (about The Force Awakens): As it happens, Kernis had just taken his son to see "Star Wars," whose music was written by Williams. Unprompted, Kernis volunteered that the score was "fantastic." That's where the conversation started, before turning to today's landscape and Kernis' own artistic concerns. Question: What was so good about Williams' score? Answer: I felt like he was back to his old powers. I tend to assume that he has an army of assistants, and there are some scores where I felt I heard that more, where he had written really good opening music — "Catch Me if You Can" I felt had fantastic opening music — but the rest was more nondescript. This one had an operatic through line. Quality was maintained. David Lang, another Pulitzer price winner: Lang admits to a certain excitement about the release of the new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens. “What makes that movie so great is John Williams. The core of that experience, the reason why it’s a multibillion dollar empire, the reason why it has captured the imagination of billions of people for the last forty years or however, is because of John Williams. That music makes that movie and makes that franchise revolutionary. “And Jaws is a very exciting score,” he continues, “that score is also operatic, because of its use of motifs. It has little things that tell you this is when to be scared and every time you hear this you are going to be scared. It really does treat the movie as if it is a giant epic which I think is a very powerful way to do it.” Osvaldo Golijov (interview from 2008): Williams's most striking recent achievement is in Golijov's estimation is Munich (2005), where Williams "approaches the score as a young person", using ouds and Middle Eastern street music in ways "new and subtle". Golijov regards Williams as a master who combines high inspiration with great craftsmanship ; he says that placing Williams next to his colleagues in film music is like comparing Mozart to his now-forgotten contemporaries. Please help and post others.
  14. https://michaeldaughertycomposer.com/interviews/michael-daugherty-discusses-his-creative-process-with-robert-raines/
  15. Blade Runner by far in both categories. Both the score and film is top 10 of all time material.
  16. Michael Daugherty: "The wonderful music of John Williams is old school: you hear counterpoint, counter melodies, great orchestrations, changes of tempo and rubatos. I must say, I miss the old days of film music; the scores of Alfred Newman, Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann for example. That way of composing virtuosic film music may come back someday, but at the moment we are in a very technologically driven world of film music, that, in my personal opinion, has inhibited the creative possibilities."
  17. He did (and yes, I know that there are more modernistic elements in his score, but still that is not what most of the score was about, it was retro).
  18. https://variety.com/2019/music/news/andre-previn-dead-dies-composer-gigi-porgy-and-bess-1203152006/
  19. Another poll, I need to know what people here prefer - for fun. The Shawshank Redemption for me on both counts - Shawshank is one of my top 25 scores of all time, Schindler's List wouldn't even make my top 100. The Shawshank Redemption is simply a stunning score, Williams himself singled it out as one of the most impressive scores he had heard from the younger generation. The Schindler's List score may be good (I easily prefer Jurassic Park from the same year though), but it was never one of my favourite Williams scores and I feel it is probably even overrated. I find the score too maudlin and sentimental - the obnoxious choral moments are easily the worst. Newman's understated, moving and elegant effort is clearly the superior score for me. I still listen quite regularly to a handful of tracks from Shawshank - and it is a joy, but pretty much never feel the need to revisit the Schindler's List score. Which film and score do you prefer, The Shawshank Redemption or Schindler's List?
  20. Lambs for film. For score, it is more even, I made a mistake and voted for Seven, it should have been Lambs.
  21. Tricky question. I am not a big fan at all of JW's concert works, but if pressed for a favourite, then Five Sacred Trees and Trunks, Branches and Leaves from Treesong is maybe my favourite movement, but since that doesn't count, then I am not sure what my favourite movement is, so I voted for the same work there too. My least favourites ones that I have heard are probably the flute concerto and trumpet concerto, the latter being warmed over Arutiunian which is crappy to begin with. I don't feel any urge to revisit any of JW's concert works though, I never listen to any of them. Most of them are why did you bother kind of dull. There is just so much other music I'd rather listen to. These days I am mostly just into Close Encounters and A.I. when it comes to JW.
  22. I also found this about Andrew Norman and his connection to Williams - Star Wars in particular - perhaps the leading American composer of his generation. LOS ANGELES — When Andrew Norman was growing up, “Star Wars” was the only film his family owned on video. “We watched it every weekend for, seriously, years on end,” he said in October, during a short hike up a steep hill near his home. Fascinated by John Williams’s classic score, Mr. Norman decided when he was young that he wanted to be a composer. Little on the surface of “Split” resembles Mr. Williams’s scores, but Mr. Norman’s symphonic works are suffused with cinematic scope. “It’s all swirling around in my head,” Mr. Norman said of his childhood fascination with “Star Wars” and video games. “But I think it has more to do with storytelling, now, than the actual musical gestures.” https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/29/arts/music/andrew-norman-on-loving-star-wars-and-pushing-musical-boundaries.html ["Norman was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but grew up in Modesto, California. His father was an evangelical pastor; in childhood, Norman played keyboards in church bands. It was repeated viewings of Star Wars, with John Williams’s thrilling score, that first attracted him to the idea of composing. Lush neo-Romanticism infused much of his early work, which received performances at the Modesto Symphony. As his education proceeded, first at USC and then at the Yale School of Music, he underwent a crisis: His encounters with masterpieces of modernism caused him to reject what he had done up to that point and to doubt his forward path. In an interview with William Robin, for the New York Times, Norman recalled telling a professor: “I would rather quit composing, period, than be viewed as a neo-Romantic, or a reactionary, or a naïve composer.” The problem is a common one among young composers: how to find a voice that absorbs contemporary currents while retaining the expressive urgency that drew you to composing in the first place. In a series of works in the first decade of the 21st century—the orchestral piece Sacred Geometry; Gran Turismo, for eight violins; and an extended trio titled A Companion Guide to Rome—Norman not only solved this problem but found a voice singularly his own. He is the rare living composer whom you can recognize from just a few bars of an unknown piece. At the heart of a typical Norman passage, you find straightforward harmonic or melodic materials. For example, the final movement of Play is based around a bright little squiggle in the key of A major. But such half-familiar fragments are thrown into a kaleidoscopic swirl, fragmenting and reconstituting themselves before one’s ears. An almost childlike simplicity is folded into musical processes of dizzying energy and complexity..." https://www.musicalamerica.com/features/?fid=321&fyear=2017] Should be *it I think.
  23. Just found this, some old comments on Williams by Nico Muhly: "Movies with scores by John Williams are always satisfying; it’s always just interesting enough that you don’t want to kill yourself and always splashy enough that you feel like you are In the Movies. So, that’s fun. I think he’s the only person who can even come close to doing an okay job of ytt.]" "I do like those John Williams scores because he knows his way around the orchestra, and he knows his way around character development through music." I can't find the exact comment right now, but I also think he said something among the lines that the Star Wars scores work fine in the films, but on their own, he is not really eager to listen to them.
  24. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/feb/23/ennio-morricone-composer-film-makers-directors-cliches-music I think it's interesting that Morricone implies John Williams *is* talented but has happily turned out commercial dross for years.
  25. Lewya

    Favorite Golden Age Composer? (Poll)

    Out of all the composers listed above: Herrmann and North are in a class of their own, no one else comes close. Herrmann was the most original of all Hollywood composers, but North the most progressive. When it comes to most of the other names, it is a fairly even battle, all of them except maybe Young have written some of the best film music of all time (I am not very familiar with Young though so he could have very well have written something impressive, but so far, I find him to perhaps be the kitschiest and least impressive Golden Age composer). My ranking of the 9 Golden Age composers mentioned in the poll, going after whose film music I like the most: 1. Herrmann & North - it depends on the day who I prefer, but on most days, it is probably North. 2. The rest, with Young ranked last. Had Takemitsu and/or Rosenman been included then they would be in the top together/after North and Herrmann, but they are probably more of silver age composers. Herrmann = North = Takemitsu > Rosenman > the 7 other names
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