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The Five Tones

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  1. The series was undoubtedly of declining quality as it wore on (and into a TV spinoff) but it the idea of a series arc, time-travel prequels, near future dystopias, Twilight Zone-twists, retroactive continuity, class/race allegory, etc. all in one package was groundbreaking. All of those things seem commonplace now in the glut of science fiction actioners we have, but Apes was unique at the time. Even Dr. Who wasn't that sophisticated in its storytelling at the time. As great as some of the rebooted films are (let's not talk about Tim Burton), they are still in the shadow of the originals... dated and increasingly low budget as they may seem. I'm also curious to know how many other feature films have a score featuring a 12-tone theme (the first film). Whether or not it's your cup of tea, that was also radical. (There are earlier and later examples, including David Shire's dystopic funk for the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three.
  2. Co-sign and orderrred! (even though the Tuesday announcement email hit my inbox about 8 hours late just now, it took me 60 seconds to confirmation and I haven't even checked the samples yet) I'm not surprised some JW fans will be turned off by this - whatever combinations of Goldsmith / Rosenman / modernism / atonality / weird 70s. There's very little to no sentimentality here, but it is gorgeous music. Definitely a holy grail.
  3. I'm not surprised there is a bit of defensiveness in your response to my response but I appreciate you wanting to dialogue.
  4. I think there are a ton of assumptions that go into making that kind of score with any sense of entitlement to the tradition, no matter which non-Japanese hard-working-as-hell composer makes it and who likes it. And we rarely examine those assumptions as a dominant culture. This raises questions for me about the compositional and aesthetic aspects of the work. I liked the Indy films as a young person, mostly the first as it arrived when I was barely a teenager. The rest came when I was older and somewhat moved on, minus enjoying my dad's reaction to the third. I enjoy the music, to the extent - and this could bear examination - it lessens the immediacy of the politics of the films it scored. In this case. Where it is meant to conjure "the East," it is hokey but familiar and comforting in the familiarity (a la the Golden Age composers) of that blunt referencing. Sometimes powerful, as in the wonderful Ark theme climaxes. There is plenty of Americana of course and lots of interesting modern technique and action grooves. The Grail theme is pure European liturgical style and it's like JW taking a three-pointer with one hand. Not that you don't have to work hard to make three-pointers, quite the contrary. Because something is problematic, doesn't mean a critique of this aspect precludes participating in other aspects that might be enjoyable. We are capable of multiple modes of meaning here?
  5. Not sure how that's relevant to the point I'm making, if that's your concern with them. At some point a parent allows their children to watch violence, I'm sure you know.
  6. Mine is a cultural academic response perhaps, not exactly what you label politics. I don't judge anyone who likes the score, it's well done with some interesting rhythmic stuff, just not my thing in JW. Seven Years in Tibet more my thing in that dramatic category. No need to dismiss my opinion as silly.
  7. KotCS was a big disappointment, at least what I can remember from 2008. Score wise, not a big fan, but I enjoy Temple Ruins and the Secret Revealed. I *love* the reference to the Map Room - not a straight copy and paste but a brilliant, weird transformation of its elements - and the WotW-like abstract music that follows. That cue had some raw power at least. Steven "get off my lawn you Netflix kids" Spielberg has pretty much trolled himself out of a making another relevant film, though I'd watch Indy 5 if Harrison Ford gets another good screen death, and JW a chance to write a proper elegy for a character he clearly loved. I haven't wanted to watch the IJ films or show them to my kids because they are so racist, sexist and culturally problematic (the first two at least) and not something I need to go back to as a descendant of the global South. I loved watching them with my adopted dad in the 80s because he grew up going to the theatre to see serials and loved the throwback aspect and that helped me understand what made him tick as a white man. They told great stories, and that is captured perfectly in the music. Yes, some of the musical Orientalisms I can do without, and then again like the films, they have their context in classical music/film scoring/JW history (On that note, I can't really spend too much time with Memoirs of a Geisha even as a score because there is so much cultural appropriation. Something like Rosewood I can appreciate because of the internal dynamics in American history and musical discourse, and JW's respect for Black American music.) Now, an MM IJ boxset would be its own reward. We know that the sourcing, restoration, editing and sequencing would be A1 and result in the definitive edition for generations to come. Most importantly, it would present the music *exactly* as JW wants it to be heard, which can't be overlooked. MM's full-scale projects always give me a totally new way to appreciate the score(s) and put them in a better context. We can only *hope* Disney doesn't mess it up by getting in MM's way.
  8. That's an interesting perspective there in the second paragraph. Do you have any particular examples that feel inappropriate to you? Gosh, it could potentially be a long list, and if/when I had the time I would probably start a thread to explore the idea. Let me define inappropriate as something reflecting my personal perceptual and aesthetic response to the music, but also in respect of classical tonality. Leaving aside many examples in OSTs/concert suites, it would generally be in shorter cues where the harmony is meaningfully removed from an overt tonic-dominant trajectory, where a tonic major final chord feels contrived, or at least a repetitive use of a Romantic era convention. It feels less jarring when the ending is less audible as a tonic major as opposed to just a tonic root/octaves, whether due to voicings or a piano/pianissimo dynamic. Or when, there is an added dissonance (here we go again) such as a flat supertonic degree (or triad built on same). I am definitely not speaking of the big endings, either, whether of the entire score or a key moment like Battle of Yavin. In those cases, the need for a sense of resolution is clearer. Let me put it another way than "inappropriate" - I often wish there were a more inventive or ambiguous chord/sonority JW could end such a cue on while still providing a sense of finality to the cue, rather than a formal resolution. As though he didn't have to cut his vivid harmonic imagination off at that moment. I'll definitely give some thought as to what are some of the best examples for me, though. On the other hand, here's a great example of where a tonic minor chord or unison might've been the obvious conclusion, but JW leaves off on a suspended fourth.
  9. JW: 1. CE3K 2. ESB 3. ANH 4. E.T. 5. Superman Non-JW: 1. The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bernard Herrmann) 2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Jerry Goldsmith) 3. Koyaanisqatsi (Philip Glass) 4. Trouble Man (Marvin Gaye) 5. Black Panther (Ludwig Göransson) The combined would simply look the same. The top 3 have never changed. The non-JW depends on which week and which comfort zone.
  10. Really interesting thread. Dissonance is rarely defined very well - in a precise, technical way - by any commentator. I don't personally find basic intervals like diatonic seconds dissonant, or even the kinds of bitonal polychords JW often writes, though they are often heard/spoken of that way. There are probably dozens of definitions to consider, including ones that take pitch/frequency perception into account. Also, accidental dissonance as a result of voicings, mixing, etc. or horizontal dissonance as opposite to just vertical. A historical view on dissonance, i.e. very few examples and almost no bodies of work before 1910 (except say Charles Ives) are dissonant in terms of harmonic language, as opposed to textbook dissonance a la species counterpoint. Certainly JW could be said to hit the mark on many different potential definitions of dissonance, as a passing effect of generally short duration. Also, JW is an incredible harmonist; however, I often wish his harmonic language as expressed in his film cues was not so full of tonic major endings/climaxes as they are often inappropriate to the mood or direction of the harmony or at least restrict the potential effect of all the complexity that precedes them. I don't know; I've been listening to him since the mid-70s and maybe I haven't taken the time to think about this point another way. But he seems to treat these cadences as generally off limits for dissonance.
  11. This is surely one of his most beautiful scores in terms of its uniquely bittersweet quality - getting to hear the film presentation in all its sonic radiance, I appreciate it in a new way. I've never seen the film and enjoy the musical narrative with only a brief outline, yet like all great Williams it succeeds as absolute music with its own internal logic and thematic profundity. The Gloria is certainly him at his most grandiose! Those rich, dissonant, spacey sonorities fighting against the "pure light" of C major are impressive. (Wonderful "cheat" getting to sneak in yet another big C major finale in a diegetic context.) There are moments of great poignance, like I've rarely heard elsewhere (although the religioso material seems familiar enough in effect). The theme is clever, melodically inventive given its resemblance to Godfather and harmonically quite dark. Harpsichord is familiar from Family Plot, the disaster scores and elsewhere... but enough already with it (the theme), it doesn't appear to see much if any variation, just a first response on my part though. Reunion in Italy is perfection - he just banged this whole thing out in a few weeks one summer?! Near total stylistic switchover from E.T. but a suitable warmup for RotJ. Is that a prominent cor anglais near the end of Santoni's Compassion?
  12. Quite true. He's really fired up, especially regarding educating audiences who are judgmental about film music, but careful to disarm his f-bombs! Thanks for another great episode.
  13. Never owned or was interested before (certainly not as a 14 year old sci-fi nerd in 1982), but based on what I've listened to from it recently and given it's golden decade JW restored by MM, I'll go for it. Ordered.
  14. The opening chord and fanfare does indeed stick around in your head.
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