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About Loert

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  1. 5:09 - 5:12 (Play it in reverse and you get this: )
  2. Loert

    What's The Last Book You Read?

    "Notes from Underground" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This is about a man who thinks he's smarter than everybody else around him, who stays in his corner in his underground and overthinks everything. He feels immeasurable resentment towards the world and his innability to fit into society, yet does nothing to help himself. He antagonizes everyone around him, then begs for forgiveness the day afterwards, then goes back to antagonizing the day after. The catch, however, is that he doesn't believe that anything really matters. It doesn't matter whether people like him or dislike him, whether he likes or dislikes them in return. It doesn't matter how he feels. Fundamentally, nothing matters, and people who believe in notions such as justice and revenge, and strive towards them, are simply stupid, naive, and not as enlightened as the narrator, who sees through everything for what they really are - mere nothings. Despite it being a novella, I found it to be an exhausting and frustrating read, primarily because of how paradoxical the Underground Man's actions and thoughts are, and how, for all his exultations of higher intelligence and understanding, he is simply incapable of getting along with others and not letting his ego get in the way. But it is also uncomforting when you read something which you relate to, or have believed in yourself; in that sense, "Notes from Underground" performs as a mirror to your own "Underground".
  3. Loert

    Justin Hurwitz's FIRST MAN (2018)

    I just made one comparison, I could say the same thing about The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, On the Town, Fiddler on the Roof, The Lion King, Les Miserables... To be fair I don't think my suggestion for variation 1 cuts it. The original is OK enough. It's variation 2 (with the flute and timps) which is simply egregious, and hints at an unusual lack of care for musical contour.
  4. Loert

    Justin Hurwitz's FIRST MAN (2018)

    . It does depend on what you mean by "good", and in my post I was trying to put forward my vision of what it was that I found in the music that I considered "not good". I don't believe there is a Theory of Everything for musical aesthetics, but I don't see any harm in being blunt and specific about my feelings (apart from riling up certain fans of La La Land for no reason, which may be a good enough reason not to have brought this all up in the first place). We may never get to the roots of what it is that makes music "good", without resorting to It sounds good because I like it. But I think it is at least worth a try (and here I think I fundamentally disagree with TGP). I'm glad that LA LA LAND gained critical and commercial success, but it does leave me perplexed, and slightly saddened, as I believe that the music in the film could have been so much better. Comparing WEST SIDE STORY and LA LA LAND side by side, for instance, I can't help but notice a huge gap in quality between them (in terms of music, only).
  5. One thing I would add to Ludwig's excellent analysis is this: what makes that excerpt particularly special is the two trumpets, particularly the way they are articulated and the way that they play in sixths (i.e. an interval of a sixth apart). The sixth interval, in combination with the descending fifths progression, gives it a kind of "cuteness" and comic effect, which is further emphasised by the relatively quiet dynamics of the trumpets and their low range.
  6. Okaay...I grant that much, but I would also argue that Barenboim is one of the best modern recordings. Solti's Ring is for sure a masterpiece, particularly Das Rheingold, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung. 😛
  7. If you say so! I LOVE Solti's Elektra. Easily one of my favorite classical recordings of all time.
  8. My first encounter with FROSCH was with the live Bohm 1977 recording which, despite terrific orchestral playing, suffers from the cuts that you mention. Many people swear by the Bohm 1955, mainly for the excellent cast, though I've only listened to parts of it. I am very happy with the Sawallisch recording I linked above - it is complete, cast is excellent to my ears, and the mixing of the orchestra is impressive, with almost every line Strauss wrote being audible, more so than Bohm 1977 for instance. I don't really know about Solti's studio recording...I have heard that the playing is boring. Overall, I would go with the Sawallisch as a start, but I would also give the Bohm recordings a go as they both seem to have their particular qualities.
  9. Strauss' "Die Frau Ohne Schatten" (Woman without a Shadow) may not be for everyone, with its hyper-dense orchestration and thick counterpoint...but the Emperor's aria from Act Two, Scene Two (1:15:12 - 1:28:28), has no business being as good as it is. It's Strauss at his finest. (Btw, anyone else hear the similarity between this and the Droid Invasion from TPM? I'm mainly thinking about the D->C# appogiatura, and the incessant upward arpeggios in both (in the above video you can hear the arpeggio at 1:15:46, a recurring motif throughout the opera) .)
  10. Aside from the Venusberg music, the arrival of the Guests at the Wartburg Hall is my favourite musical interlude from Tannhauser. I love how each little musical phrase has its own distinct personality, as if describing each of the various characters coming to watch the festival.
  11. OK so I've listened to the song you linked through once. I have never listened to it before nor do I really listen to this style of music so you can expect a fairly "objective" opinion from me. My first impressions are that I like this song a lot. I love how the drumkit comes in late, and even then is only built upon "step by step", as it were, which gives the listener the feeling that something is being pursued. The two opposing "harmonic spaces" (i.e. 0:00 vs 1:51) play off each other very well. It sounds to me almost like the opposites of introspection (first harmonic space) and extrospection (second harmonic space). You asked about the transition between 2:36 - 2:50. I will say that, if I were to be nitpicky about the purely technical aspects of the music, Steele's held G note just before the transition clashes with the next harmony, which is C#min7, since that chord has a G# (and F#) in it. So the G wants to resolve to a G#, though we don't really get to hear it. However, in the grand scheme of things it is not a problem (it might even be a quality) because the song makes it quite clear that the second harmonic space is "off limits" to the vocal line. So the fact that Steele's voice breaks off just before the transition (note, not even on the transition), and the fact that the note she sings doesn't fit into the next chord, may be argued to add to the coherence of the overall piece, even if it's not technically streamlined.
  12. Oh duh. Of course. Well, the Williams-themed bits in the section you mentioned do sound like they might have originated from Williams' hand rather than Powell's, a variation in the way Taikomichi says. Though, it's not as clear cut as the ending of Dice and Roll for instance, which, although it's a variation of TAOH, is different enough to be certainly Williams, whereas in this case it sounds close enough to the original that it may be largely a copy/paste job by Powell. The bit at 4:04 sounds almost certainly Powell though.
  13. It definitely sounds close to Williams, like even in the way the double bass is handled: Still, I don't think it's "creepy" enough harmonically to be Williams...and I'm not sure Williams would use a women's choir like that in the background. This is just speculation of course.
  14. Loert

    Justin Hurwitz's FIRST MAN (2018)

    Well, how else am I supposed to analyze what I dislike about a piece without being analytical??? Am I supposed to settle with "I dunno, just doesn't sound right" or "Those notes sound a bit funny to me" or "Just feels a bit unpolished"? If I paid and asked a composition teacher what he thought of my work, and he just told me that it "Sounds a bit wrong" without explaining further, I would obviously want my money back. Look, I am not an analytical listener at all. Music for me is all about just lying back and going on a journey. The last thing I want to think about is whether the piece is Mixolydian or Hexolydian, whether it's in triple or quintuple time...especially during the listening session. When I listen to a piece of music these are never questions that pop into my head - partly why I don't bother is that I feel like to grasp the essence of music by focusing on such questions is a monumentous, impossible task. Better to just let it flow through you. However, as somebody who is also highly interested in composition, I take it almost as a duty to identify what I like in music and don't like in music, so that I know what to steal and what to avoid. Again, I'm not overly analytical about this either - however, if I'm communicating a musical concept to somebody, how can I not resort to the language of music theory? There's a reason why it exists, so that people can discuss what might 'work' in music and what might not 'work', and why composers might have chosen to do this rather than this. (I'm sure you know this already.) So, when I first watched the opening scene of LLL, I did not actually think stuff like "Wait a minute, was what I just heard a Bb chord , a Bb 7, or what?" I just got a general feeling that something was a bit iffy, that the music could be better. When I listened to it again, I picked up on a few other things. And only now when I was writing the post did I really think analytically about what I took to be one of the flaws in the piece.
  15. Loert

    Justin Hurwitz's FIRST MAN (2018)

    Since you asked for it. I could write an entire dissertation on the problems I have with the music in "Another Day of Sun", let alone the soundtrack as a whole (though to be fair, "Another Day of Sun" is one of the more problematic tracks). But I'll just stick to what I mean by the flat 7... The very first riff you hear is this (0:54 in this video): You then hear a variation of this later on at 3:04, with a different bass: Now, my entire gripe with this idea lies in the second bar, and especially in the second (i.e. bottom) variation we hear. I'll start with the second variation, because I think it'll be easiest. Look at the bottom (i.e. "thumb") note of the right hand in measure one and measure two. In measure one, it's the Ab, which is the same as the bass note. Now what about measure two? It starts with Ab in the right hand...and then moves to Bb, to match what the bass is playing TO BEGIN WITH, but what's more, the Bb falls on an extremely weak beat. So, what is happening, is that you are SUPPOSED to hear the bass clearly shift from Ab to Bb between the bars, and you are supposed to CLEARLY hear the harmony shift from Ab major to Bb major. But what we get is actually: Ab -> Bb with a flat 7, but then seemingly at random, the bottom note of the right hand shifts to a Bb, the TONIC, so that by the end of the measure you're thinking "Wait a minute, was what I just heard a Bb chord, a Bb7, or what?" Because the RH is completely indecisive. It's as if the pianist thought to himself: "I can't decide whether I want the bottom note to be Ab or Bb, so I'll do play an Ab then a Bb and see what happens". This isn't how composing works, people! What SHOULD have taken place in that excerpt is that the first note of measure two in the RH should have been a Bb, in order to achieve more symmetry. "But, Loert," I hear you say, "that would just be boring". Well, I agree it is more conventional than what ended up there, but if it is too boring then the idea should be scrapped! Now, the first variation is better, because in the second variation, a glaring mistake was that the bottom note of the RH lagged behind the bass by changing to a Bb from an Ab in the middle of the bar. In the first variation, the harmony is actually different (F in the bass in measure one implies Fm7 instead of Ab), and we really shouldn't have the first note of measure 2 in the RH to be a Bb, because that would not work contrapuntally (parallel octaves). But, as with the second excerpt, the RH in measure two is indecisive, not being able to decide whether to play an Ab or a Bb as a bottom note. Actually, it wouldn't be so much of a problem if the Bb weren't syncopated, and I think this is key to understanding the problem here. If the Bb were on a strong beat, then you would be more able to get away with a change from Ab to Bb in the same measure in the RH. But since the Bb is syncopated (a 16th before a strong beat), we subconsciously don't attach great significance to it. However, it IS an important note, because it is the first instance of the tonic in the RH!!! So we have a flat 7 which comes in on the strongest beat of the bar (first beat), and we have a tonic which comes in...on the 7th 16th note. Because of this I can't help but feel this is exceptionally messy. In summary, what I would do is change the first Ab in the RH of measure two, to a Bb, in both cases. For variation #2, there is no excuse IMO. For variation #1, the excuse is that you end up with parallel octaves. But I think, all things considered, it would sound better, because then you don't have the tonic coming in on the...7th 16th note of the bar. Besides, this is jazz/pop so who cares about parallel octaves. Of course, another thing one could do is to alter the LH (bass) to support the given RH better. But I do not have the time to go into that, nor have I thought deeply enough to write about it. Enough is enough!