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Found 19 results

  1. A Great Theme Mix!!

    Hello friends, I just wanted to bring you a very good video! This is a compilation of the best songs of John Williams, really good! I did it as a tribute to his work. I hope you enjoy! Thanks a lot! PD: I'm Spanish and my English is very bad, sorry
  2. Hi! I'm a newcomer to this website / forums, but a life-long John Williams fan. I'm a writer from Monterrey, México. And just like everyone else in these forums, I grew up listening to Mr. Williams' work. Last month I received a government grant to produce a short film (I'll direct, I'll leave the producer credit to braver people). It's a big deal for my team and myself, since it's a federal-funded grant which we won through a rigorous process. We already have a talented composer on our team, but: To make a long story short: I'd like to contact Mr. Williams to see if he'd be interested in scoring (or composing a theme) for my short film. I know it's a long shot, I know how busy he must be, and all the time-frame and legal hoops that stand in the way. But just in case, just in case he'd be interested in scoring (or composing just a theme) for a professional, magical-realism short film to be produced in Mexico come January 2017... ...What would be the best way to contact him? To present my query to his manager or representative. That is, besides the physical address already listed on this site (which I'm already writing to). I'm open to all suggestions and help. Thank you, everyone!
  3. You are going to prison...

    ... and you are allowed one CD. Assuming you choose a JW soundtrack, which one, and why? (You cannot mix your own CD).
  4. Kylo Ren's fan theme

    Hello everyone, Being a fan of Star Wars since I was a kid, I couldn’t have been more excited at the idea of a new trilogy. I went to see Star Wars: Episode VII and was not disappointed. The only thing missing for me was this: The music for the big bad Kylo Ren was lacking. I went online to see if he had some sort of official theme and he did, but it wasn't really representative. Looking back at the original trilogy, I found this surprising because the theme music for Darth Vader, The Imperial March, is impossible to forget. Kylo Ren being so closely related to Vader, I decided to challenge myself to create a narrative anti-hero theme composition for Kylo Ren :
  5. The River Music Composed and Conducted by John Williams A review by Mikko Ojala This is a little gem from 1984 that shares the year with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom but musically is in a wholly different world. Rural Americana performed by small ensemble, given at times a subtle jaunty pop sensibility by a drumkit and peppy rhythms and graced with numerous gorgeous flute and guitar solos the River is a fascinating work in the middle of the run of JWs grand symphonic opuses. Williams's music perhaps with even too generously compliments director Mark Rydell's very everyday drama of a family (Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek in leading roles) struggling to make ends meet on their farm with the constant threat of the nearby river flooding and with a greedy banker/developer (played by Scott Glenn) waiting to foreclose on the land. Sounds less than riveting doesn't it. Well not so with the music! Despite the short running time of the album (the movie doesn't have much more music) the composer crafts not one, not two but three distinct thematic ideas, the jaunty down-on-the-farm main theme, the smoky bluesy often flute-led love theme for the family and the main couple and the dignified and noble "ancestral home" theme that stands for the sanctity of home and hearth and the worthy fight of standing up to the forces of nature (and pressures of modern society). Whoever says Williams is only the guy for strum-und-drang should listen to this humble work with down-to-earth melodicism, beautiful and emotional small scale soloist work, especially for flute and guitar, and the joie-de-vivre that bubbles throughout the music. It is a short album full of highlights. The track The River presents a 2-part end credits suite opening with the sprightly and excited rendition of the main title theme where drumkit gives it a slightly more contemporary (for 1980s) feel before the love theme takes over full of bluesy almost noirish yearning and ends in an extended solo flute coda. Absolute wonderful stuff and a great way to open the album. The Ancestral Home (the finale of the film, here presented in the middle of the album) is the grandest piece on the album but there is not much orchestral grand standing as Williams slowly builds and builds the long lined noble and gentle Americana theme in the strings, illustrating musically a gradual and steady struggle, which finally burgeons into a triumphant crescendo coinciding with shots of the family and neighbours coming together to build protective wall against the river, celebrating the small victory of the individuals and the community. Love Theme from The River is an extended performance of the bluesy melody, first introduced by flute and trumpet and then given a grander string accompanied reading, that is somewhere between truly romantic and longing. A truly outstanding piece of writing that feels so inherently American without pulling out the old Copland sound palette. The Pony Ride is another playfully energetic piece featuring the main theme and great deft guitar work. It is of course not all sunshine and fun and for variety we have the slow burning suspense of the Tractor Scene (a classic matter-of-fact JW title!) where slow threatening atmosphere is conjured up with minimal means. In the same style the slightly ominous Rain Clouds Gather (the actual main title) introduces the main theme in electric bass and the love theme in flute, both almost sullen and subdued by the foreboding as the eponymous river is seen swollen up by the rain. This is also the only piece of the score that in my opinion gives even a slight hint that it was written in the same year as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as the flute work here has the same mysterious, almost exotic dark quality that pervaded some of the early scenes in the Indian village in that Indy film. Young Friends Meet presents a tender guitar dueting with the flute which rounds off the album in wistful mood, leaving us almost with a musical question mark and certainly wanting for more. The River is an often overlooked little gem of a score, intimate yet full of colours and variety and shows how Williams thrives in very different musical genres and situations and is always acutely aware of the size of the film and what are its requirements. The score is a stylistic second cousin perhaps to the later grander evocations of rural Americana in Rosewood or even the flute solo moments in War Horse and just as good. Not to be missed! 4/5 -Mikko Ojala-
  6. I vote THE LOST WORLD. Wish we'd get a proper expansion. Williams really does a good job of writing music to match the jungle setting of the film. The main theme works great, too. Very militant, like the antagonists of the film.
  7. https://variety.com/2015/music/news/runaway-recordings-generate-discord-among-l-a-musicians-1201393025/ A Very well written piece about the business side of recording film scores that might interest you.
  8. Journey Music composed by Austin Wintory A Review of the soundtrack album by Mikko Ojala Journey is a 2012 video game from thatgamecompany that has also released such original titles as Flower, FlOw and Cloud, that offer highly unique and visually stunning concepts in gaming. The game is a highly audio-visual experience that blends typical adventure and platforming but places you into a world of where your character, a mysterious cloak wrapped and magical scarf wearing being travels through stunning landscapes, challenges and trials towards a mysterious mountaintop to realize his destiny. One of the oddities in this environment is the interaction with other players, who you encounter on the journey and can aid them but you cannot communicate with them in any way verbally, making for a strange new way of collaborating in a adventure gaming environment. The story is shrouded in mystery, the players allowed to piece together the myth and history of the world that surrounds them from the environment, murals, buildings and tapestries, all the while they perform their pilgrimage to reach the ever looming mountain and achieve their ultimate goal. Thatgamecompany brought in a talented young composer Austin Wintory to score his second collaboration with them after FlOw and he responded to the story and journey with a soundtrack that is both mesmerizingly melodic and ethereally evocative. Austin Wintory whose career has really started in the 2000's has scored a hefty number of films in these few years and also broken into game scoring, earning a whole slew of awards and nominations in his relatively short career thusfar. As he says in his bio on his website, he was introduced to film scores by Jerry Goldsmith's work in the 80's and ever since he has been pursuing a career in films scoring. From what I have heard from the composer I would gladly welcome him a big break in the near future, so convincing is his writing in Journey alone. Journey as a score blends worlds of ambient sound design and beautifully melodic and lyrical writing for orchestra and solo instruments into a fascinating whole, where the said incredients blend and ebb and flow in ethereal and powerfully evocative dance. Wintory's writing is mature, self assured and creative and, as it has become common in game scoring, takes its subject matter seriously much like a film, never downplaying to the medium. Game scoring has become a source of quality music and music making in the last decade and the possibilities of the cinematic qualities and style in games has allowed large dramatic scores to bloom in the genre, whether synthetic or orchestral or both. In Journey Wintory writes for electornics and a handful of soloists, among them Tina Guo (Cello), Rodney Wirtz (Viola) and Lisbeth Scott (vocals) and for a moderately sized symphonic (mainly string) ensemble, the score performed by the Macedonia Radio Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of Oleg Kontradenko, creating a varied and colorful tapestry of sound that envelopes and challenges and enthralls the listener with atmospheric and melodic soundscapes. Wintory treats the soloists as the focal point of the music, cello, flutes, viola and harp often presented with minimal accompaniment or over an ambient soundscape, lending a highly personal quality to the music,yet sometimes the soloists lead the orchestra in fascinating melodic explorations, perhaps the reflection of the idea of a lonely main character in a vast world. The feel of the music is ambivalent in that it does not, out of a conscious effort by the composer, seem to be from any specific culture or cultural area, but embraces a wide variety of music styles and ethnic musical traits. Some alto flute passages conjure with the solo cello images of Far East, yet the percussion and other melodic lines clearly point to another direction, Celtic or Middle-Eastern colorations appearing in the next track, no element becoming too dominating through the running time. This I take (as I have not played the game) mirrors the approach of the world which the main character inhabits and works well on the album as well, providing surprising mixes of colours and stylistics, keeping the listening experience fresh. Ambient textures Wintory uses become backdrops for the solo instruments and orchestral performance, keeping an element of mysticism, scope and ethereal wonder or peril firmly in the soundscape nearly throughout the album. Sometimes these slow, flowing, sparkling walls of sound somewhat dam the flow of the music or threaten to drown the organic elements but on the whole the synthetic material blends well to enhance the overall mood of the music, achieving a quasi spiritual and contemplative effect. Good examples of this are tracks like Temptations, Reclamation and several of the Confluence tracks (of which there are 6 in all). To balance the slower more ruminative moods there are several livelier lyrical tracks like the energetic the Road of Trials with its nearly Celtic pluckiness and sparklingly flowing blend of soloists and orchestra in the Threshold. The composer addresses the more serious threats and dangers on the journey by some impressively challenging modernistic ambience, percussion and string writings, like in the ominous Descent and especially in Nadir, where intensely furious layers of strings and percussion attack each other in a battle for supremacy, both frightening and powerful at the same time. And despite mentioning the word atmospheric quite often in the review I was impressed by the fact that the score exhibits a good ear for melody, the mystical, spiritual central theme of the game and soundtrack presented on soulful solo cello and husky alto flute directly on the first track Nascence, a vaguely exotic winding and yearning melody, well portraying the questing nature of the story, the searching mood captured in the wistful melodic line. After such a well rounded start Wintory anchors the music to a continuous yet often subtle development and variation of this main theme in various guises snippets and fragments through the album, the first few notes wafting through the dream-like soundscapes or string harmonies, the second track Call being a prime example of this, the union of ethereally ambient yet thematic approach. Even though Wintory wisely relies on a strong main theme and melody to carry the emotional weight, Wintory writes individual setpiece themes on several tracks, that seem to be woven from the same elegantly lyrical cloth as the main theme and provide exquisitely beautiful moments along the way, such as the Atonement, the already mentioned Threshold and The Road of Trials and he brings the score into a highly satisfying finale with the glowingly dramatic, poignant and almost bittersweet 7-minute meditation on the main theme in Apotheosis and ends the experience in a beatific solo voice and orchestral resolution in I Was Born for This with Lisbeth Scott lending her amazingly moving and rich voice for a prayer-like end credits song, the lyrics comprised of stanzas taken from many classic texts on legends of questing heroes sung in Latin, French, Old English and Japanese. Journey is a nuanced and highly colorful work, often arrestingly moody in one moment and hauntingly lyrical the next. While its thematic material is strong this music might not make an instant impression but rewards multiple listens if you allow for all the elements, moods and variations to sink in. The album forms a well balanced listening experience without forgetting to form a strong musical narrative along the way, the score charting a dramatic journey of its own through exotic and mystical musical landscapes. Some slight balancing issues between the organic and synthetic sound worlds aside Mr. Wintory has here created a truly impressive piece of work and I certainly look forward to hearing new music, in films or other media, from him in the future. A delightful surprise and for me one of the best scores of the year. 5/5 STARS Music composed, orchestrated and produced by Austin Wintory Featured soloists: Tina Guo: Cello Amy Tatum: Flute / Bass Flute Charissa Barger: Harp Rodney Wirtz: Viola Noah Gladstone: Serpent Sara Andon: Flute Vocal solos performed by Lisbeth Scott; text compiled by Jeremy Howard Beck Percussion and programming by Austin Wintory Orchestral performances by the Macedonia Radio Symphonic Orchestra Orchestra conducted by Oleg Kontradenko Orchestra contracted by Laurent Koppitz
  9. New Reviews From MovieMusicMania.com

    Greetings friends! Just wanted to post two new reviews from MovieMusicMania.com for everyone's perusal. The first is for Frank Ilfman's surprisingly good score for Big Bad Wolves, an Israeli thriller (and dark comedy) hailed by Quentin Tarantino as the best film of 2013... Read The Review The second, somewhat belatedly, is for Olivier Derivere's fantastic videogame score for Remember Me. A stunning blend of orchestra and electronics... Read The Review Thanks everyone and happy listening!
  10. Agatha Christie’s Poirot Music composed, orchestrated and conducted by Christopher Gunning Christopher Gunning is a British composer, who is relatively unknown to the larger film music fandom, but whose career spans several decades of film and television music, over 100 scores and a considerable repertoire of concert works. The composer has received recognition for his work and awarded with numerous British film music accolades including several BAFTAs (the last win was for La Vie en Rose/La Mome Piaf) but his career has firmly stayed in British Isles and working on British films and television productions instead of travelling to Hollywood, which might explain his relative obscurity to the larger public, which is a shame as he is a composer of indelible ability and passion and skill. One of Gunning’s most popular and enduring creations has been for television, the scores for the adaptations of Agatha Christie’s novels featuring her most famous character, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot with incomparable David Suchet in the title role. Gunning was hired for the series in 1989 and stayed as the show’s composer-in-residence until 2005, when a new production company took over and during this time composed some 40 odd scores for both the short 50-minute and feature length 90-minute episodes of the series. The varied subject matter of Christie’s detective stories featuring murders, thefts, espionage and a whole host of puzzling mysteries offered the composer a chance to explore it all through colorful musical expression and all of this was to be rooted in a central theme that would capture the capricious, slightly humorous but brilliantly intelligent central character of Poirot, “the greatest detective in the world". Gunning toiled quite a bit before he finally discovered his central theme, the iconic main title music featuring soprano saxophone and which has since become emblematic of Poirot himself and is so well remembered by fans of the show throughout the world. This main theme seems all at once to capture the setting of the stories, the Europe of 1930’s (the series was set around 1936 by the original creators) with its urbane and elegant melody and hint at the turbulent and darker undercurrent of the stories themselves, while also lending a debonair, witty and refined air to the main protagonist with just the right amount of mystery to it. This theme was used by Gunning in most of the episodes in fragments and endless variations that mirrored the mood and disposition of Poirot and the plot as he was solving the conundrums set before him. As mentioned above the mood and style of the scores vary widely because of the events, places and times these plots take place and Gunning takes up the opporturnity to form almost self contained musical worlds for each episode with new themes for the individual stories but everything is tied together by Poirot’s theme and the certain stylistic traits, the moody, tradegy and mystery tinged atmosphere reflected in the orchestrations. The work is mostly orchestral with subtle use of electronics applied here and there for unusual effect and employs numerous soloists besides the saxophone. Gunning's work for the series is intelligent and highly thematic and has a suitably old fashioned orchestral air about it with even lingering hints of film noir in its often mysterious and darkly romantic musical style. As usual for a television production the orchestra was of moderate size, numbering less than 30 players most of the time but the composer’s skill in orchestration and eliciting nuanced and powerful performances from his ensemble add a touch of class to the scores, setting them worlds apart from most TV-music. The music is big, dramatic and thematically driven but without enormous forces behind it. I feel that the chamber sized orchestra works to the benefit of the show in that it doesn't drown the often intimate and small scale of the stories while still retaining enough size and scope to support the biggest scenes in the episodes. Despite the popularity of the show the music from the series has not been widely available. A soundtrack album was issued in 1993 featuring a selection from the first 4 seasons of the Agatha Christie’s Poirot. This was a re-recording that contained suites and concertized themes from several episodes of the series but it soon sold out and became a collector’s item. In early 2013 the composer re-released some of his music from Poirot on a new album on Discovery Music & Vision label that contains selections from the previous re-recording album but adds several new tracks to the programme from the newer episodes, which are all taken from the actual film recordings. This release at last gives the film music audience a new chance to explore Mr. Gunning’s wonderful music for Poirot. The album opens with an extended performance of the main theme in The Belgian Detective featuring sultry and dexterous saxophone solo by Stan Sulzmann, who was the “voice” of Poirot through the entire run of Gunning’s association with the show. The piece presents a series of variations on the main idea and casts the saxophone in central role, not only in this piece but also in the soundscape of the whole series, the voice of the times, place and character. This theme is part of nearly all the episodes in some way and accompanies the main character much of the time while he is on-screen and thus it can also be heard making appearances on many of the tracks on the album. As majority of the stories take place in England, the composer explores many allusions to British musical tropes in his scores. The pastoral A Country Retreat (from The Mysterious Affair at Styles) with lovely clarinet and viola solos paints a sunny and carefree idyll of British countryside and the gentle folk song stylings of To the Lakes! (from the opening episode of the series The Adventure of the Clapham Cook), where lilting strings and solo clarinet conjure a lyrical portrait green rural England with hints of Poirot’s theme thrown in for humour as the thoroughly urbane character can’t actually stand the untidy and disordered countryside. Some welcome humour and lightness of touch is also heard in The Height of Fashion (from A Wasp’s Nest) which presents a breezy and jazzy 1930’s styled saxophone solo over urbane orchestral accompaniment that simply shouts snooty worldly elegance of the times. Gunning also created an independent secondary theme for Poirot’s mental powers of detection heard in a long concertized version Grey Cells, which is derived from the main theme, where the saxophone once again takes the lead role in a smoky and mysterious exploration of the idea, which is heard in the series whenever the Belgian sleuth is solving the crime, thinking and pondering alone. The constant repeating motion of the motif seem to evoke a more moody side of the character, the hint of dark elegance and melancholy inherent in his persona. This same melancholic atmosphere infuses The Double Clue, but here it is of Slavonic origin as Gunning creates a passionate piano and saxophone led love theme for Poirot and the Russian aristocrat (and jewel thief), countess Vera Rossakoff, the piece full of longing and bittersweet romance as the two characters are diametrically opposed but share a mutual admiration for each other. The series offered the composer fair share of chances for heightened drama, where the music carried the implications of the murders and led the action and enhanced foreboding and suspense and was allowed to be bold and larger than life. Good examples of this come from music of The Mysterious Affair at Styles when the composer introduces a brooding melody on track called War that originally underscores the curtain raising scene where captain Hastings, Poirot’s friend and associate, is recovering from war wounds in a military hospital during WWI but later we realize that this music actually represents not war but murder when Gunning transforms it into the agitated and frenzied death throes of an old rich woman in The Death of Mrs. Inglethorpe. Similarly the ABC Murders grows from the simple ominous basis of the notes A-B-C repeated in various orchestrations into a forceful musical hunt that keeps building as Poirot and Inspector Japp try to catch a devious serial killer. The Victory Ball features solo cello but the tension is built not on fast pace or thunderous orchestrations but rather on a languid yet threatening melody that winds ever on in smoky register punctuated by rhythmic jabs of piano and xylophone for suspense. Agatha Christie often chose English nursery rhymes or children’s poems as the titles of her novels and short stories. Christopher Gunning likewise chose to incorporate these rhymes into his music, and if there was a melody, to integrate it in the underscore as well. Two examples, One, Two Buckle My Shoe and How Does Your Garden Grow can be found on this album. One, Two Buckle My Shoe is a ghostly piano and whispering children’s chorus evocation of the English hopscotch rhyme, that underscores a brutal murder and forms a good part of the underscore of the episode in question. How Does Your Garden Grow is a long suite from the episode of the same name, where a Russian au pair is suspected of murdering her employer in hopes of inheritance. The music is a mix of highly dramatic and romantic Slavonic colourings interspersed with playfully orchestrated interpolations of the children’s rhyme melody and the violent orchestral convulsions of snarling brass and keening strings for the murder of the old rich woman and some exciting scoring for the capture of the real villains of the story, the whole suite bookended by dapper quotes of the Poirot Theme. The new additions to the album’s programme are three selections from 2004 episodes of the series. The Innocence of Caroline Crale (from the episode Five Little Pigs) carries childlike simplicity in its sad, halting piano melody full of nostalgia and sense of loss, a warm and affecting piece that still ends mid-phrase to imply a tragic conclusion to the tale. Amyas’s Last Painting (also from Five Little Pigs) is a mix of supremely lyrical clarinet and violin led melodies and drivingly intense rhythmic music for scenes where an obsessed artist feverishly paints a portait of a young woman unaware that she has in her jealousy poisoned him. It is a wonderfully inventive, beautifully flowing and balanced piece with two entirely contrasting moods mixing effortlessly. The final new piece, a suite from Death on the Nile, also contains the only example of the album of the more exotic music composed by Gunning for Poirot’s numerous adventures abroad. The suite opens with a delicious fatal sounding musical allusion to the Near East before settling in on a very tragic love theme for two of the main characters of the story. Soon follows some faux-Arabic travelling music for the river boat Karnak that goes into the various supenseful and intense cues for mysteries and murders on the luxury-boat (with a fun homage to Bernard Herrmann's Psycho) and the suite wraps up with dramatic, tragic and ominous musical evocations of the finale of the film, all done with supreme confidence, sense of melody and drama by the composer. The 2013 album is well put together with welcome additions of new music from the 2004 episodes. Gunning also had to excise two tracks from the old programme of the 1992 album, The Plymouth Express and Death in the Clouds, to make room for the music from his newer work. This of course is unfortunate but at least to me the inclusion of the new music more than makes up for the loss. The sound quality is top notch and the performances are nuanced with solo instruments, saxophone, piano, clarinet, cello and various others shining in the recording. Christopher Gunning himself provides informative liner notes where he not only tells how he became associated with the series, how his famous main theme came together and how he and the producer Brian Eastman slowly worked on the musical style of Poirot but also gives short track-by-track commentary on the music. The 2004 pieces were recorded with an audibly larger orchestra (the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra) but blend well with the overall aesthetic of the sound of Poirot’s world. Also a kudos have to given to how the composer has compiled these effortlessly flowing suites from the underscore of these two new scores presented for the first time on disc. In the final analysis the album is a winning mix of romantic orchestral sensibilities, mystery and suspense. Let’s hope that the composer is inclined in the near future to release more of his music from the series as this album barely scratches the surface of the musical bounties found in the 40 plus episodes Gunning scored for Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Highly recommended to all fans of great orchestral film music and especially to the fans of the show. 5/5 © Mikko Ojala 1. The Belgian Detective 2.30* 2. A Country Retreat 4.53§ 3. The ABC Murders 4.34 4. Grey Cells 4.21* 5. To the Lakes! 2.18 6. The Double Clue 5.09† 7. War 2.29 8. The Innocence of Caroline Crale 5.30± 9. Amyas’s Last Painting 4.22± 10. How Does Your Garden Grow? 9.05 11. The Death of Mrs Inglethorpe 2.27 12. The Height of Fashion 2.08* 13. One-two, buckle-my-shoe 1.58 14. The Victory Ball 4.55¤ 15. Death on the Nile 13:45 * featuring Stan Sulzmann, soprano or alto saxophone § featuring David Emmanuel, viola and Nick Rodwell, clarinet † featuring Leslie Pearson, piano and Stan Sulzmann, tenor saxophone ± featuring Viktor Simcisko, violin ¤featuring Anthony Pleeth, cello Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14: Executive producer, Maggie Rodford/Air Edel Associates Ltd. Recorded and Mixed at the Lansdowne Recording Studios, London 1992 Tracks 8, 9 and 15 Produced by Christopher Gunning Recorded by members of Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bratislava Mixed at Lansdowne Recording Studios, London August 2004 Link to the composer's site and soundclips from the album
  11. As the poll asks, which way do you want to enjoy the newly released music? I for one chose to have a "close to chronological" experience, with no editing, using only the iTunes release. I happen to like it's remastered sound, and actually do like that it is louder overall within tracks because I think the music on the 1993 OST became either too quiet or too loud for my taste. I am still in debate whether or not I want to add the three remaining unreleased cues, because of the obvious sound quality difference. I think I may end up just having them at the end as bonus tracks. I will omit "End Credits" for sure, but of course have "Welcome To Jurassic Park" where it belongs. I will have as a bonus both "Jurassic Park Theme" and "My Friend The Brachiosaurus" from "Williams On Williams". How about you guys?
  12. Just thought I would share the question I am asking on Facebook. I'm asking the question what is your favourite John Williams soundtrack? Its over at http://www.facebook.com/TheBeardedTrio I'm not asking you to like the page or anything like that but just doing this as a fan. By the way Star Wars is winning at the mo Rob
  13. None But the Brave Music Composed and Conducted by John Williams A Review of the Soundtrack Album by Mikko Ojala None But the Brave is a 1965 film and one of Williams' first real dramas and a war story no less, directed by Frank Sinatra, who himself played a supporting role in the picture. It tells the story of American and Japanese soldiers, stranded on a tiny Pacific island during World War II, who have to form a temporary truce and cooperate to survive various tribulations and is told through the eyes of the American and Japanese unit commanders, who must deal with an atmosphere of growing distrust and tension between their men. Film Score Monthly released the score in 2009 for the first time, the album featuring the complete score and even some bonus material and once again credit has to be given to the FSM for their continued interest in releasing and preserving the music from earliest eras of John Williams career. It is fascinating to chart the evolution of Williams' sound and style through his early scores as what you hear is a lot of talent ready to burst into full bloom as it later does but also a sort of learning curve of a composer slowly picking up certain skills of the craft and fine tuning them. However in the case on None But the Brave there is also a good dose of maturity found here. This score exhibits many of Williams' clear stylistic tendencies and gift for melody but perhaps in a slightly reduced or muted format than in many of his later scores. On album the score forms quite a strong listening experience though perhaps requires a bit more patience than your average JW soundtrack. John Williams has always been a writer of memorable melodies and his main theme for the score certainly is a good example of this, a heroic, resolute but pensive melody often heard on solo brass but he weaves it through many orchestrational variations and uses fragments here and there to tie the score together. The film is not out to glorify war and Williams' somber theme and its rather sparse usage reflect that in an admirable way, the theme being a form of musical solace between the tragic and suspenceful elements in the music. Main Title and Kuroki's Introduction presents the main idea in an almost formal heraldic fashion, but we hear also another important idea in passing here, namely Kuroki's Japanese styled motif, very faux oriental progression on flute almost archetypical you could say, which is later explored in a more thorough fashion, the idea revealing more emotional depth later on in cues like Kuroki's Reflection and The Dream of Hope Is Ashes / Hirano's Problem. These two form the opposing musical sides of the story but in the end the composer uses the main theme for both the Americans and the Japanese, their tragedy of war itself becoming one and the same. That said the score might not feel straightforwardly and winningly melodic at first as much of the opening half of the album is focused on suspence and action writing, both reminding of the concurrently written music for Lost In Space in their certain sparseness and terseness, even though small motific ideas spin throughout to tie the pieces together. Especially the wandering fluttering woodwind motifs remind me of the aforementioned TV-series as does some more suspenceful writing for forcefully rhythmic brass and lower strings. E.g. Busy Hands / Kuroki Prepares for War / Fishing Spear, Night Adventure, Brothers in Command / The Water Hole and Waiting for Battle all feature this tense militaristic suspence and action, snare drums and muted snarling brass and rumbling woodwinds. It is interesting to note how many of these techniques, e.g. furious kinetic string and woodwind runs and tense muted brass are carried to Williams' classic scores and appear still 20 or 30 years hence. The composer also has a few chances for light comedic scoring in places and he incorporates a few traditional Japanese tunes into the underscore, often to provide lightness and humor but this also brings some variety and colour to the tone of what is otherwise mostly suspenceful and tense music. But the composer's definite dramatic sense is strong here, the emotional writing for some dire situations in the film gradually rising to truly satisfying heights but only in the latter half of the score (from Uneasy Peace / Okuda and Craddock onward) the music warms up and we hear the themes more often and in a more emotionally resonant guise culminating in the powerful and tragic The Final Fight / The Spirit Lives / End Cast, which rounds up the score on a resounding if somewhat sombre note. This progression and build-up through the album is very effective and reflects the narrative of initial hostilities turning to friendship and back to war again and slowly but surely the music reaches this final confrontation and dramatic peak and the composer makes it seem very natural from musical story telling perspective, a show of his dramatic instincts and skill in crafting a strong architecture through the score. In this score you can hear that Williams is undeniably already developing his own vocabulary and musical voice and showing great promise and he also has here a rare chance to show his dramatic talent amidst all the comedies he ended up scoring in 1960's. I would say this is a surprisingly mature and well conceived score although it might lack the immediate appeal of the Maestro's classic accessibly melodic scores with catchy main themes. But after a few listens you start to hear the intricacy of Williams' music and the more subtle thematic progression he is building. In addition to the complete score the FSM album also contains extensive and highly informative liner notes and track-by-track analysis by Jeff Eldridge and a few bonus tracks, a terrific piano rendition of the main theme by the Maestro himself, which is a worthy addition and was planned to be released as a single but got cancelled, a luau styled Hawajian radio source cue and a couple of alternate orchestrations of Kuroki's Introduction and a robust trailer version of the main theme. At the end of the album to round out the listening experience FSM included as a curiosity the only music previously released from the film, an LP single titled None But the Brave sung by Jack Halloran Singers, a rather schmaltzy affair with an equally saccharine version of Sylvia, the B-side of the single, a song version of David Raksin's theme for a movie of the same name both from 1965. A solid early dramatic score from John Williams, certainly worth the spin to his devoted fans but casual listeners might not be entirely won over by it. 3½-4 stars.
  14. BLADE RUNNER: A 30th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION Music from the Motion Picture by VangelisNewly Recording Produced, Arranged and Performed by Edgar Rothermich Limited Edition of 1500 UNITS $15.95 STARTS SHIPPING 9/06/2012 CLICK HERE to hear an Audio Sample from BLADE RUNNER: Main Title CLICK HERE to hear an Audio Sample from BLADE RUNNER: On The Trail of Nexus 6 IS IT REAL OR A REPLICANT? BUYSOUNDTRAX Records is proud to present the release of BLADE RUNNER: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE – A 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, available for pre-order at www.buysoundtrax.com and digitally and via other soundtrack boutique retailers beginning September 19th, 2012. BLADE RUNNER: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE – A 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION is a new recording of the classic score composed by Vangelis (CHARIOTS OF FIRE, THE BOUNTY, 1492, ALEXANDER), produced and performed by composer Edgar Rothermich. Released in 1982, the dystopian BLADE RUNNER was directed by Ridley Scott (THE DUELLISTS, ALIEN) and featured Harrison Ford in his second starring role after RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2012, BLADE RUNNER has become a cult film favorite the world over. Loosely based on a 1968 Philip K. Dick novel, Ford starred as Rick Deckard, a former police officer reluctantly assigned to terminate four replicants who have come to Earth to find their maker. The cast also included Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Daryll Hannah, Brion James, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong, William Sanderson, Joe Turkel and M. Emmett Walsh. Over the years, multiple edits of the film have been created for the home video, DVD and Blu-Ray markets. Similarly Vangelis' score has been released in several different incarnations, but none of them are accurate representations of what was heard in the original 1982 film. "Largely because of a dispute between Vangelis and Scott over the director's use of his music in the film, a proper soundtrack of the music as it is heard in the film has never been commercially issued (despite the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records given in the film's end titles)," described Randall D. Larson in the liner notes of the new BUYSOUNDTRAX recording. | BUYSOUNDTRAX Records seeks to correct this oversight, with a new recording faithfully recreating the original music from the film, which proved to be a difficult task. Vangelis' score was composed entirely by performing on keyboards and recording it directly, so no written transcriptions exist. Composer Edgar Rothermich was charged with reverse engineering the score – listening to the original music and a 1982 album mock-up and transcribing it by ear. He also had to recreate the sound of 1982 synthesizers and decipher if noise heard was due to recording on tape or stylistic choices by the composer. "BLADE RUNNER is the most difficult kind of score to deconstruct," said BSX producer Ford A. Thaxton. "Symphonic music can usually be determined because the instrumental palette is known. But the 1970s-era electronic technology and the improvisational style in which Vangelis created the score made it especially difficult. But we feel Edgar's made a very close replication of what the score sounded like in the film. He's true to the sound the original but he's brought it into today's world." "The objective from the very beginning was to be as close as possible to the original score as heard in the film," Rothermich said. "It was never a case of my interpreting the soundtrack. It was essentially a re-recording of the soundtrack music." Born in Germany, Edgar Rothermich studied music at the University of Arts in Berlin and graduated in 1989 with a Master's Degree in piano and sound engineering. He worked as a composer and music producer in Berlin and moved to Los Angeles in 1991 where he continued his work on numerous projects in the music and film industry (THE CELESTINE PROPHECY, THE OUTER LIMITS, BABYLON 5, WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW, FUEL, BIG MONEY RUSTLAS). For the past 20 years, Edgar has had a successful musical partnership with electronic music pioneer and founding Tangerine Dream member Christopher Franke. Recently, in addition to his collaboration with Christopher, Edgar has been working with other artists as well as on his own projects. December 2010 marked the release of his first two solo albums, 'Why Not Electronica' and 'Why Not Electronica Again' followed by 'Why Not Solo Piano', released in 2011 . BLADE RUNNER: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE – A 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION has been mastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland and includes exclusive liner notes written by Randall Larson, detailing the process of creating this new recording. BLADE RUNNER: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE – A 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION is limited to 1500 units 1.. Ladd Company Logo (0:25) Composed by John Williams french horn: Stephanie O'Keefe 2. Main Titles (Film Version) /Prologue (4:00) 3. Los Angeles, November 2019 (1:49) 4. Deckard Meets Rachael (1:32) 5. Bicycle Riders (2:13) (Pompeii 76 A.D.) Composed by Gail Laughton 6. Memories of Green (5:40) 7. Blade Runner Blues (10:20) 8. Deckard's Dream (1:16) 9. On the Trail of Nexus 6 (5:35) (Tales Of The Future) Vocal By Fella Oudane 10. One More Kiss Dear (4:01) Composed by Vangelis and Peter Skellern Produced and arranged by Dominik Hauser Vocal by Tom Schmid 11. Love Theme (5:07) saxophone: Paul Frederick 12. The Prodigal Son Brings Death (3:37) 13. Dangerous Days (1:05) 14. Wounded Animals (11:00) 15. Tears in Rain (2:44) 16. End Titles (7:25) BONUS TRACK 17. Main Titles (Album Version) (4:02) Total Time: 72:29
  15. The Good German Music by Thomas Newman A review of the soundtrack album by Mikko Ojala The Good German by Thomas Newman is a strangely compelling listening experience and a younger composer's journey in the footsteps of his father and the other great masters of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Thomas Newman was to my mind an unlikely candidate to score this Steven Soderbergh's reverent homage to the film noir genre but he pulled it off with convincing panache and skill. Here he seems to channel the past masters in style but still retains his own unmistakable touch sound and orchestration wise, the mixing of these two proving to be an almost hypnotic experience steeped in musical shadows, femme fatales, intrigue and danger around every corner. Newman's own crystal clear and often gossamer thin orchestrations, again courtesy of Thomas Pasatieri his regular orchestrator, are at times bolstered by a heftier string and brass (horn) sound but he conjures up a very passing facsimile of the sound and style of the earlier era, full of gloomy and doom laden musical motifs, a sinuously sensuous love theme for solo violin and a thundering melodramatic main title theme for the horns and pounding timpani, smaller motifs for mystery and intrigue appearing throughout and a simple and an honestly warm Americana theme popping up a couple of times in the midst of all the musical skull duggery, a rare but welcome guest. Newman's favourite woodwinds, cor anglais and oboe make frequent appearances as well always lending subtly tragic and apprehensive air to the melodies they perform, the score having a sort of lingering and yearning feeling throughout under the veneer of mystery. It is noteworthy that while Newman at times lets loose some grand orchestral gestures, the general atmosphere of the score is restrained, the intrigue often scored by rising dark string harmonies and the glittering sharp sounds of a single harp. Personally I think it would be interesting to hear Mr. Newman using a full symphonic ensemble with the entire spectrum of instruments but he still seems to be most comfortable with the reduced forces. Unrecht Oder Recht (Main Title) is a definite highlight, presenting all the above mentioned themes in quick succession, an overture in short, and a good musical road map to the themes of the score. This main theme heard in the Main Title appears throughout in subtle variations, somewhat more frequently than in an average Newman score, as do all the themes, a welcome change from his usually isolated thematic appearances. Tracks like The Kraut Brain Trust and The Brandenburg Gate offer more energetic scoring and variety in the otherwise mystery shrouded musical world. Action pieces on the album are short but furious, horns and strings usually providing the momentum and tension for these brief scuffles, the composer again using his own sensibilities while evoking the film scoring style of the Golden Age. And finally the love theme, which is one of Newman's finer creations is treated to a set of beautiful variations ranging from flute setting to a duet of oboe and violin, the theme having a perfect bittersweet quality of film noir's great love themes for the femme fatales, seductive but with a hint of danger. This idea is also one of the main attractions of the album and tracks like A Good Dose, The Good German, Always Something Worse and the album finale of Jedem Das Seine are among the best on the OST. I feel that the score album is just long enough at 44 minutes as the composer definitely includes all the highlights and more. The soundtrack is also thematically quite subtle and gloomy in general so it can wear you down as many of the tracks have a lingering feel, the music languidly wafting forward, part atmosphere, part thematic storytelling. But for those who love the film noir genre and intelligent and succesful modern application of some of its classic stylistics, this is a lovely musical memento. 4/5 stars -Mikko Ojala-
  16. Yo For my dissertation I will be looking at scores used in film. Often films largely rely on a score to evoke emotion and there are many memorable examples which remain in the audience consciousness, becoming a cultural classic. Films such as Jaws, which features an iconic sound phrase in the opening scene, takes away the need for a visual scene. Martin Williams writes that even today, "at the crudest level, one might say that the music is there simply to keep the audience from becoming distracted" (Williams, 1974). Having set this scene, I’m going to prove Martin Williams wrong. I’ll do this by thoroughly investigating how people they react to a score and there attitude towards then by conducting questionnaires, surveys, talking to professionals and an experiment. Whether or not a score is integral to a film in my mind is yet to be proved but in my opinion it enhances, creates and evokes emotion. Or can in fact a film deliver the emotion without the use of a score. I will be looking at scores used in a range of films. A lot of work goes into making of a soundtrack for a film but your average audience doesn’t have any idea how much work or how complex a score is. I’m specifically going to look at the composer and whether or not a film can evoke emotion without the use of a score. Personally I don’t think it can in the same way, but several very famous films have done it, I’m going to investigate how they did it and if it works. I was just wondering what people thought and if anyone could possibly give me an interview for my piece? Thanks for reading.
  17. I posted this in the War Horse and Tintin subforum first but for the sake of clarity post it here separately as well. The Adventures of Tintin the Secret of the Unicorn – An analysis of the Original Soundtrack Album Here is a thematic analysis of the soundtrack album. Feel free to comment and those who have a better knowledge of the music please make correction suggestions. The following is a track-by-track review of the music which contains some spoilers concerning the plot. My first few listens of this score were a pure joy, just relishing in the colour and energy of a new Williams score but then I began to find the layers and complexities and Maestro’s great interplay with the themes and ideas he has crafted. It has all the spirit of adventure, the charm and wit, the comedy and the youthful energy one could hope from a JW score. First of all what was apparent from the first listen was that Williams has provided this adventure with a lot of themes. Colorful, goofy, eerie, noble, heroic and ominous, this score has it all. The unifying attribute in these melodic identifications is that they are relatively short each, offering the composer a chance to juggle several of them in one scene in quick succession and he does that extremely adeptly. Aside from the main ideas which number around 10 the underscore never descends to mundane fare but retains aural interest throughout with either incidental melodies or interesting orchestral moods. Sense of humor and fun is very much all encompassing in this score. Secondly the orchestration and instrumentation of the score is colorful and quite unique even though the stardard ensemble employed is a large symphony orchestra. Williams utilizes accordion, piano, clarinet and saxophone with unusual frequency to a great effect. Accordion e.g. provides local colour and humour but also surprisingly functions in supporting role creating subtle textures underneath many of the tracks. Piano provides Snowy’s character his fast gait and underscores the more humorous moments and adds cold eerie edge to the suspence music. Saxophone retains very little of it’s jazzy sound most people associate with it outside the track Adventures of Tintin but rather joins the rest of the woodwinds, lending its husky tones to mystery, intrigue and action but most importantly becomes the musical voice for Captain Haddock in many scenes. The Themes: 1. Tintin’s Theme: A straight forward adventurous leaping melody consisting in its basic form of 5 note opening phrase and a complementing 6 note phrase. Williams extends the melody further during Tintin’s journey, the character earning the lenghtiest fanfaric development during his chase of the falcon. In the grand tradition of leading hero’s themes it is optimistic, youthful and positive. 2. Tintin’s Secondary melody: A close relative to the main theme this melody is a bit more playful, curious and probing with a dose of humor to it, perhaps to do with Tintin’s investigations throughout the film. It also complements the main theme and provides a slightly more danger laced take on the young reporter's escapades. 3. The Unicorn Theme: The musical identification for the eponymous ship that is at the center of the film is almost like a darker musical mirror image of Tintin’s main melody although mostly of the 5 opening notes, linking indelibly the treasure and the hero. This is longest thematic idea Williams wrote for the score, mysterious, a bit ominous and ranges from subtle to operatically grandiose during the course of the adventure. There is a definite "McGuffin" feel to the theme as it evokes feelings of long ago mystery, legend and adventure in one stroke, the ocean vessel being a goal of Tintin's and Haddock's journey but also an artifact in itself. The composer creates a subtly nautical atmosphere to some of the variations in the flashback sequences, the theme backed up by a slowly swaying orchestral writing. It could be said that the Unicorn theme is the second central theme along with Tintin’s which is fitting since it is at the center of the mystery in the film and appears throughout the score up to the last moment in the Finale. 4. Snowy’s Theme and Chase Motif see track 2 for a further analysis. 5. Captain Archibald Haddock: Haddock, the drunkard sea captain, who is often down on his luck, inebriated and foul mouthed but a stalwart ally to Tintin receives a sea shanty styled melody in which saxophone and other woodwinds play a major role in most of its appearances. This theme ranges from the buffoony drunken renditions as we first meet the character who has given himself to drink and self pity to noble and warm as the character goes through the adventures with Tintin finding his thirst for adventure and leaving spirits alone for a while. 6. The Thompsons’ Theme: Waddling and bumbling melodic identification for Interpol’s most inept pair of detectives is pure comedy in its back and forth swaying style, a little march that succeeds in being a bit pompous and officious but this effect is diluted by the dandified ungainliness of melodic idea, enhanced by the instrumentation, often presented on woodwinds and accordion. 7. Red Rackham’s Theme: A rhythmic march-like idea that battles with Sir Francis’ Unicorn theme in the film. Dark, insistent and threatning, the ostinato finds ever expanding orchestration and drives the pirate battle forward with relentless drive. This becomes the theme for Sakharine by the end of the movie, denoting their joint lineage. 8. The Treasure Theme: An eerie exotic sounding motif that is keyed to the treasure of Red Rackham. It makes several appearances throughout the score on solo flute under a cold sparkling mark tree effect as if to illustrate the glinting of gold and treasure. 9.Bagghar Theme: The Middle Eastern locale where part of the adventure takes place receives an exotic theme of its own that appears a few times in the film. On the soundtrack it appears twice, the second reading a grand and opulent one performed by the whole orchestra in the best Williams travelogue fashion. There is a slight resemblance between the Treasure Theme and Bagghar theme that might be Williams' subtle way of linking the treasure and the location where Tintin goes to find the answers to the mystery of the Unicorn. 10. The Dueling Theme: Another pirate battle theme, which is perhaps not a fully fledged theme but rather music for the scene where Red Rackham and Sir Francis Haddock face each other in a duel. All the dexterity, agility and tension of a sword fight is captured by the aptly quick and kinetic motif that is busy and energetic. Williams elaborates this material further in the piece called The Adventure Continues which is the finale of the End Credits. It represents in a way the sea faring music of the old Hollywood, Williams own take on sophisticated balletic dueling music, a spiritual cousin to the works of Korngold, Steiner and Rózsa. 11. Scrolls/Secondary Mystery motif: A secondary sleuthing motif revolving around the investigations that Tintin undergoes to unravel the secret of the Unicorn linking perhaps to the mysterious Scrolls that hold the clue to the ship’s whereabouts. Very much a natural continuation of the Unicorn theme, which it usually accompanies this melody consists of a small figure that rises and falls in curious and exploring fashion, winding ever onwards towards a resolution it never seems to find. 12. Mystery Solving motif: Rhythmic and adroit little motif mainly on woodwinds and pizzicato strings follows Tintin's mystery solving in the film. It is whimsical and curious depicting our hero's quick thinking while he trails after the mystery of the Unicorn. 13. Sakharine/Karaboudjan danger motif: A threatning short motif for Sakharine and the crew of Karaboudjan that is after both Tintin and Haddock is featured a few times on the ship before our protagonists escape. On the album it is heard only on Escape from Karaboudjan. TRACK-BY-TRACK ANALYSIS 1. The Adventures of Tintin: Jazzy and light, full of rather masked appearances of Tintin's main theme although it is repeated a few times quite distinctively. The music accompanies a classic Saul Bass styled main title in which our eponymous hero goes after a villain, giving chase while the credits roll and introduce elements from various Tintin comic books, offering a small 3 minute Tintin adventure of its own and Williams responds in kind. The piece is energetic, rhythmic, mischievous and has a nervous edginess to. It is orchestrated for saxophones, drum kit played with brushes subtly providing a beat, and orchestra with harpsichord making regular comments, the music having a feel of intrigue and quick wit at the same time. The music opens with a curious small thematic idea (0:00-0:03), which seems to form the backbone of the whole piece. This is then developed further, the leaping motif scampering curiously forward like the eponymous reporter after a scoop, the sharp harpsichord mirroring here perhaps the sounds and typing of the type writer. At 0:34 Tintin’s Main theme is heard for the first time on quirky harpsichord here still without heroic connotations. A sudden stop with a tubular bell solo comes as a unusual surprise after 1 minute mark underscoring a Vertigo like shot of Tintin falling down into a spiral after being knocked unconscious, muted trumpets and accordion adding further unique colouring to the proceedings. At 1:38 accordion starts a quasi improvisation on the previously mentioned leaping motif from the beginning of the piece which is then actually repeated at 1:50-58 with clearer melodic contour as Tintin is seen aboard a train fighting villains, the drums providing subtle "train on tracks" styled rhythm. This flows through a jazzy interlude to the Tintin main theme again in 2:16 and in quick succession to the leaping thematic idea that is repeated twice (2:22-2:46) the hero following the bad guy on a plane. This quirky and nervous motif quite oddly, despite being quite distinctive in this piece, disppears from the rest of the score which perhaps illustrates the singular nature of the prologue music. And before the piece ends Tintin’s main theme makes a quick appearance on quirky muted trumpet (2:48) when the hero is victorious and harpsichord dances into a dexterous and good humored ending, the adventure concluded, the villain captured and the treasure reclaimed. Yet this musical adventure is just beginning. The piece presents Tintin's main musical idea in what sounds almost like a suite where you can really say the composer was Tinker-tin to his heart's content. Closest comparisons stylistically are the Knight Buss from POA and the similar opening credits of Catch Me If You Can with its deft and dexterous passages. A great way to open the album, leaving people intrigued for more. 2. Snowy's Theme: Williams captures the quick, agile and not to mention fast thinking Tintin's best canine friend Milou (or Snowy) with an excited up-and-down figure for strings and fast solo sections for piano that receives an extended concert performance here with Gloria Chang on piano. This piece recalls the flow, energy and enthusiasm of Williams’ most famous scherzos, Maestro spinning effortlessly a feather light orchestral dash full of heart and energy. The composer provides Snowy with two figures, the first is the excited up-and-down motif and the secondary idea consists of a string ostinato and a slightly nervous and tense sounding string motif that can be heard here at 1 minute mark which features prominently in a couple of chase sequences in the score that. In this concert version of Snowy's theme pizzicato strings, delightful piano passages and of course light woodwinds present a bouncy dance that is a fast dash that leaves a smile on your face after you have heard it. This is truly a theme that captures the spirit of adventure and the dog to a T. The piece is featured in the film as the first part of the End Credits. 3. The Secret of the Scrolls: The piece opens with the Unicorn theme most uniquely voiced by dusky saxophone with gentle piano accompaniment that has an air of pure mystery when Tintin first sees the model ship at the flea market, the music captivating us as much as the ship does him. This flows into the swaying Secondary Mystery theme at 0:24 which complements the Unicorn theme, first heard on solo flute and accompanied by accordion and then explored on double basses and tremoloing strings take over, climbing to a small peak as Sakharine appears (1:33). The music cuts to the scene where Tintin has taken the model ship home and Snowy's theme pops up on flute and accordion (1:33-1:58), orchestra dashing through a sprightly variation as he chases a cat that has entered through the window, knocking over things and causing havoc until the Unicorn model falls from the cupboard and breaks. As Tintin is intrigued by the Unicorn a subtle quote of the Tintin Main theme (2:16-2:26) appears as he heads for the library to do more investigations to the history of the vessel. The theme is quickly over taken by the Unicorn theme on saxophone and string section again (2:28) accordion and flutes with shimmering synthetic accompaniment in the background follow quickly with the Secondary Mystery theme (2:46) which ends the piece with the sense of unanswered question, the secrets still unlocked. 4. Introducing Thompsons and Snowy's Chase: Thumping low piano chords march with clarinet and accordion in a slightly jazzy, lazy mode presenting a rather befuddled Theme for the Thompsons which suits their characters extremely well, being a mix of self important pomposity and comedy. Clarinet interjects and the theme continues on tuba and low woodwinds a bit more pompous. Then a clarinet and accordion interlude appears, almost a brief dance to the beat of a drum kit, offering perhaps a moment of local colour to the escapades of the bumbling detectives. From this befuddled dance a new thematic idea appears at 1:11, a bouncy and playful variation of Secondary theme for Tintin himself that is repeated at 1:29 only to end soon in queasy strings that lead into a rather masked reading of the Unicorn theme. Then at 1:48 the previously mentioned Secondary Tintin melody returns, here joined by the Mystery Solving motif at 1:57-2:10 suddenly lead into dramatic deep brass chords that clearly announce trouble at 2:16 and start off a chase sequence featuring Snowy. His theme makes a spirited appearance, the music here making it clear that Tintin needs his help, the Snowy's secondary string idea of the theme transformed into an urged action motif that peppers the track with suspence as well as dexterity of the animal as the main idea plays on the dog's indomitable spirit to save his master and Snowy gives chase, the Secondary Tintin theme making a quick appearance at 2:59. Colorful orchestrations dot the whole pursuit, catching what must a lot of on-screen sync points. The closing of the track reprises the dramatic ponderous brass chords as we obviously reach some dark conclusion when they appear towering threatningly ahead and ending the music abruptly. 5. Marlinspike Hall: The Secondary Tintin theme heard in the previous track returns here in murky mysterious guise on double basses as if to announce that there is some sleuthing to be done (0:00-0:14). Horn figures wander smokily around in a dark atmosphere until a quick threatning passage suddenly pops up with staccato brass and screaming strings but Snowy's theme comes to the rescue once again at 0:55-1:11, dispelling the sense of dread with its sprightly character and light dazzling orchestrations. At 1:18 Williams repeats the Secondary Tintin theme on pizzicato double basses and clarinet which gives away to a sense of suspence and finally at 1:50 to the Unicorn theme on horns, woodwinds providing accompaniment, saxophone lending its voice to the arcana as suspence mounts, the Mystery Solving motif 2:14-2:24 accentuating the sleuthing until Tintin's Main theme appearing in quick fragment (at 2:31), the score going into more exploratory suspence music that is colorful and atmospheric. At 3:20 a fast and rhythmic brass and strings take on the Secondary Mystery motif makes an appearance followed by exclamatory horns as if something bad was happening to our protagonist. 6. Escape from Karaboudjan: Pizzicato basses rise into a quick accordion and orchestra reading of the Secondary Tintin theme (0:00-0:05 and 0:11-0:16) that leaps over to quick strings sawing away furiously and to the first heroic rendition of Tintin's Main theme (0:18) here tempered by the brevity of the appearance Tintin leaping to action, escaping first from the radio room of the ship and then trying to reach the life boat where Haddock is waiting him with Snowy. The string and brass material continues fast and furious with woodwind section making classic Williams runs, Snowy's theme flitting amidst the quick paced score (0:41). A heroic and busy rendition of Tintin Main theme sounds, the music full of urgency and triumph (0:49), reaching its fullest variation yet. Brass screams, cymbals crash, relentless strings continue mercilessly and a muted trumpet version of Tintin Main theme appearing in their midst, obviously underscoring rather dire straits (1:23). Flutes and xylophones strike up a quick alarm (1:43) and the ensemble grows into a fantastic dramatic full orchestra crescendo of turbulent trumpet and horn exchanges when Tintin, Snowy and Haddock are about to be run over by Karaboudjan. The string section continues to keep up the drive playing suspencefully, informing that Tintin and Haddock are not in the clear yet, the tension slowly giving away as Tintin's Main theme rears its head on relieved flutes (2:19). A rhythmic motif on stopped horns (2:26), what seems to be a temporary identification for Karaboudjan/Sakharine, briefly menaces our protagonists and a new exotic theme for Bagghar plays (2:46) informing us most likely of the destination of Karaboudjan but the horns soon interrupt continuing their pinched and menacing musical idea for Karaboudjan/Sakharine (2:55) until crescendoing with cymbal crash and calming the situation down, the music rumbling into a murky finish, leaving Tintin, Snowy and Haddock to an unknown fate. 7. Sir Francis and the Unicorn: Dark deep brass and low strings rumble but are surprisingly met by a cool sheen of synthetic chorus (0:09-0:24) like an appartion manifesting from the past. Oboe soloes over plodding low string figures until a sizzle of cymbal leads us to the mysterious slowly stirring strings and a solo horn sings out the Unicorn theme that is slowly taken up by the rest of the orchestra and the theme rises to operatic proportions with pounding timpani, cymbal crashes and brass fanfares, the slow swaying of the music certainly having a nautical feel to it. Here Williams has created a quintessential sea faring motif with mythic connotations very well capturing what I assume is a mirage type of reminiscence that Haddock experiences in the desert. A flute rendition of the Unicorn theme at 2:02 (revealing a close connection between the Unicorn theme and Tintin’s own musical identification since it is difficult to read whether the theme here is a light and bright reading of the Unicorn or a darker reading of Tintin’s theme) is interrupted by a purposeful, rhythmic strings and brass march of Red Rackham’s pirate theme at 2:14, starting what sounds like a sea battle in music form, Rackham’s theme and Unicorn theme alternating as if to tell us which side is winning at any given moment. The Rackham string material is insistent and kinetic, growing in intensity, the brass, woodwinds, timpani and strings having each their own moment in the fracas. You can easily picture a sword fight to this music, the brass making old fashionedly unabashed swashbuckling exclamations, timpani backing them up. The rhythmic Rackham motif flows into a wonderful variation of the Unicorn theme at 2:54 full of drama and pathos. But yet again Rackham’s theme comes back to the fore and continues at 3:06 with brass section backing the string motif with fanfares and wicked playing. The Unicorn theme answers again at 3:40 here embellished with percussion and unique rhythmic woodwinds. Something of a intermediate motif between Rackham’s angular and Unicorn’s flowing idea plays for a moment as the battle rages on until melodramatically deep chords and an eerie quote of the Unicorn theme (4:46), almost like a mirage disappearing, sweeps us to an ominous finish. 8. Captain Haddock Takes the Oars: Tremoloing high strings follow saxophone as it performs a befuddled and broken up version of Captain Haddock's theme. At 0:39 in a swaying sea shanty style the contra clarinet, accordion, strings, selected woodwinds and tuba repeat this rather inebriated sounding theme that has a certain swagger, comedy and determination to it, yet another deft musical portrait. The orchestra repeats Haddock’s theme and then Tintin's main theme makes a small helpful sounding appearance at 1:41 when the music starts to rise into a alarmed crescendo, presumably for Haddock's drunken antics in a life boat. 9. Red Rackham's Curse and the Treasure: The rhythmic motif I assume to be the Red Rackham's theme (from track 7) returns threatningly and is soon joined by a new menacing string motif. This gives away to an exotic, eerie flute rendition of the theme of Red Rackham's Treasure under the shimmer of mark tree at 0:46 but the moment quickly passes, dramatic brass chords rising, quoting subtly the Unicorn chords heard at the end of track 7, Captain Francis coming to challenge the pirate. A new theme takes hold of the score at 1:20, a classically flavoured string based motif, lithe, athletic, nervous, rhythmically intense, strings making quick licks full of suspence until with woodwind trills and horn section opening the material further Williams presents at 2:20 Dueling theme (not a theme in the strictest sense since it is confined to this scene in the film yet it is further developed by Williams for the End Credits. See track 18 The Adventure Continues) in the string section that follows the classic form of the yesteryear of Hollywood sea faring epics, being melodically captivating yet rhythmically oriented. Here the music seems to capture the sharpness and dexterity of the duel between these two seafarers. Every orchestral section contributes to this melody, strings providing the basis, woodwinds and brass giving each a rendition of the melody of the theme in turn, cymbals accenting the melée at regular intervals to comment on its twists and turns. Suddenly this light but kinetically charged piece is interrupted for a moment as if for a decision or quick contemplation until at 3:41 the Unicorn theme makes another ghostly appearance which builds into a string and brass lead crescendo full of tragedy, the Unicorn theme sounding on pained horns at 4:18. Cold and eerie piano notes grow into the Red Rackham's Treasure theme again at 4:39 on flute under the same mark tree haze as before but this time followed by timpani and cymbal crash as Unicorn theme is performed thunderously for what must be the demise of the great ocean vessel. The rhythmic and suspenceful Dueling Theme continues after this tugging insistently at the listener, carrying with it the Red Rackham's Treasure theme at 5:14, which repeats in the same cold orchestration of flute and mark tree but this time building into a grand crescendo of the Bagghar Theme full of exoticism and opulence, cymbals crashing, brass and string joining in a great celebratory rendition evoking foreing lands and Middle Eastern exoticism in the best spirit of Indiana Jones adventures. 10. Capturing Mr. Silk: Woodwinds, clarinet the foremost, accordion and muted trumpet offer a rather comic air to the opening of the piece, Captain Haddock in a new predicament. And soon enough Haddock’s theme appears at 0:47 on saxophone and flutes, quite unsteady on its footing, piano, bassoon and clarinet underlining the precarious situation as drunken Haddock has lit a "wee fire" in the life boat to keep Tintin warm. At 1:17 muted brass, piano and accordion all perform with a wry smile the Thompson and Thomson theme again, officious but awkwardly befuddled accented by off-beat drum hits. Williams develops the material, clarinet going on a longer comedic solo with accordion and bassoon before the piano, and the already much utilized clarinet and accordion return to finish the track to the good natured waddling of Thompsons’ theme. With this comedic dash it most certainly remains a mystery if they ever capture the elusive wallet thief Mr. Silk. 11. The Flight to Bagghar: Saxophone begins a jumpy humorous rhythm, presenting a climbing little motif which appears throughout the track, joined soon by fast string and woodwind runs and the rest of the orchestra. Williams builds up a rapidly forward lunging comedic ballet of sorts with Haddock's theme on the saxophone alternating with the orchestral forces as the score propels what must be a bumpy ride through the air, made apparent by the queasy brass and strings that give the flight its unsteady feel. At 0:50-1:03 a new swaying sea shanty styled motif appears briefly on humorous accordion as if to illustrate Haddock's goofy antics and possibly drunkedness that soon gives way to Tintin's Main theme at 1:13 where it makes a fleeting optimistic appearance as our main character offers us a show of his flight prowess, his knowledge of flying limited to having interviewed a pilot once after all. But soon the music again dances forward with Haddock's theme appearing regularly, heroic brass fanfares punctuating the adventure as jittery string writing receives slightly more dire cast. Despite these arduous circumstances Haddock's thematic idea prevails and trumpets and saxophone climb and dip into a deft orchestral hit that closes the piece with a musical wink of an eye. Williams never forgets the comedy of the moment and has composed here one of those humorous pieces that only he can, projecting this humor through the orchestra and getting away with it due to his unique skill and writing providing us a wonderful orchestral romp in the process. 12. The Milanese Nightingale: Harp and expectant tremoloing strings present a delightful and elegant violin solo that conjures up romance and a touch of high society, being almost like an homage to the style of the film music masters of the Golden Age so sweet and unabashed it is. Strumming of guitar and accordion with muted trumpets enhance the air of elegance further, offering opulent and urban stroll music with Parisian flavour. Another string solo dances forwards, waltzing in the string section warm and glamorous but stopped short by a sudden intrusion of an ominous reading of the Unicorn theme at 1:16. Tintin is still has a mission to accomplish. 13. Presenting Bianca Castafiore: A stately opening presents our opera diva with an orchestral prelude from the cavatina of Gioachino Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville. Soprano soloist of the highest caliber Renée Fleming then standing in for the famous opera soloist of the Tintin's world, Bianca Castafiore, sings Je veux vivre from Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette to a rather drastic effect, the finale of the piece inducing shattering glass and chandelier sound effects as she brings the house down so to speak. It is a somewhat appropriate inclusion in the film because of her appearance but the effect a bit less funny on the album for the casual listener even if it brings smile to your face as a sonic gag if you know the personality of this particular song bird. 14. The Pursuit of the Falcon: And then we are off to chase after a bird of another kind. Williams extends, tongue firmly in cheek, the operatic comedy as he weaves quickly the Je veux Vivre melody into the orchestrations of the opening of this thrilling action set piece. But soon solo flute flits back and forth between orchestral sections, assuming the role of the fleeing Falcon in this rapid chase through the streets of Bagghar, Williams presenting the fast animal an instrumental idenfitication instead of a clear melodic one. Strings take foreground enhanced subtly by marimba, providing momentum and nervous energy, brass offering needed bursts of power and adding dramatic punctuation as the heroes follow the villains on motorbike. At 1:15 a new leaping fanfare sounds in the brass heralding the heroics of our protagonists, the timpani and deep rhythmic brass and strings presenting a dire hammering motif that sets after them, the leaping fanfare idea reprised at 1:36. Snowy's theme gives a steady rhythm and thematic continuity to the piece as the motoric up and down figure of the theme is woven into the momentum of the music, beginning at 1:53. The heroic fanfare for our main characters sounds comes back yet again at 2:02, the string writing intensifying all the more after this. At 2:22 a bright rapid fire fanfare sounds and Tintin's Secondary theme follows on deeper orchestral forces as if to announce that he is firmly after the bird and the bad guys. The rapid fanfare and Tintin's Secondary theme continue to punctuate the hunt for the elusive avian when the score plunges into skillfull fast string playing of Snowy’s chase motif. Soon Williams brings us back to the flute idea for the Falcon at 3:16 where the virtuoso flautist does amazing job with the material. Orchestra takes the idea up briefly from the flute but as Tintin catches up his theme makes an attempt to catch the Falcon at 3:36. He is stopped short by a mounting brassy and percussive orchestral crescendo. Then brass and timpani push the music into a new gear at 3:54 where the orchestra rolls relentlessly forward, the pace quickening, flute solo of the Falcon appearing in the middle of the tumult as our protagonist is hot on the trail of the bird. When Tintin is finally victorious the orchestra rewards him and us the listeners with the most extended and developed heroic fanfare treatment of Tintin's main theme at 4:16 the music blossoming joyously into a grand rendition of the theme. This celebration of victory is suddenly cut short as momentum ceases and fades into deep strings in 4:36 and timpani blasts pound, woodwinds making a subtle quote of the opening of the Secondary Tintin motif at 4:46, repeating it with snarling horns and timpani backing but the tension shifts into a sudden dramatic and brassy exclamation of Tintin's main theme at 5:13 complemented by cymbal crashes that ends the piece with a sense of finality in its last soft notes on flutes and tubular bells which seems to signal that the adventure is not over yet. 15. Captain’s Counsel: Tentative woodwinds and deep pizzicato try to form Haddock's theme, flute snatching the opening of it, here somber and emotional, Williams changing its characteristic comic stance into a one of friendship, thoughtfulness and rueful sadness. As the strings offer support, the flute succeeds on the second try to voice Haddock’s theme, warm, comforting and hopeful, horns leading into a delicate reading of Tintin's main theme on muted trumpet and clarinet. Mystery Solving motif appears with renewed spirit at 1:36-1:49 on its customary woodwinds and pizzicato strings, and muted brass, suddenly accordion marching in with the Thompsons’ theme at 1:49 and hopeful brass swell and low strings leave us with a feel of anticipation. All is not lost. 16. Clash of the Cranes: Woodwind run and likewise furiously racing strings start things off energetically, presenting an action motif, snarling and growling brass and heavily hitting timpani and cymbals hammering away in what must be the most creative duel in ages. Williams offers a heavy, almost mechanically plodding angular motif for the crane fight, each side of the orchestra presenting hammering blows, Tintin's theme sounding intense and determined amidst the battle (0:34). Williams underscores both the duel and the fist fight where Haddock fends off Mr. Alan, his treacherous first mate while trying to capture Sakharine. Snowy comes to the aid once more and his theme dazzlingly scampers forward, embellished by heroic bright brass (0:44) as he topples a few thugs with a well places box. The mechanic swinging string motif of the cranes returns but is soon joined by another musical idea, the equally rhythmic Red Rackham's theme from tracks 7 and 9 (0:58) which grows in intensity as it rises to a brass and percussion laden crescendo that does not bode well to any of the participants in this melée as a mounting deep orchestral crash silences the battle for a moment, Haddock flying out of the toppled crane. Low register woodwinds and strings seem to proclaim tragedy but Snowy's theme or a slightly altered variant appears again from the orchestra (1:52), now more like in Snowy's first chase on track 4, a hint of danger in its orchestration, harpsichord a unique sharp color here as Haddock and Sakharine face each other off in a real duel, the music illustrating the sharp edge of the confrontation. The similar humorous rising, leaping chords that charted Haddock's and Tintin's flight on track 11 return at 2:20 and sure enough Haddock's theme is not far behind (2:32-2:43) backed up by chirping flutes, the captain gaining upper hand in the fight, throwing bottles of alcohol on his nemesis. A sudden eerie musical moment follows, a ghostly reading of Haddock's theme making a quick appearance as Sakharine taunts his enemy while trying to burn the scrolls but with triangle’s clear glint and harp the intrepid and optimistic Tintin's theme returns on accordion and clarinet and the protagonist snatches the precious papers from Sakharine's hands. So as the bad guy is finally defeated Tintin's theme is soon repeated on muted trumpet and harp, accompanied as ever by Snowy's bouncy thematic idea, Thompsons' theme making a closing statement for the escapade with resounding orchestral hits. 17. The Return to Marlinspike Hall and Finale: The Unicorn theme on saxophone over tremoloing strings brings us back to the mystery of the ship here as Tintin finally unravels the secret of the scrolls, finding coordinates in their cyphered layers. Our heroes head for the location of these coordinates underscored by an optimistic appearance of first Tintin's and then Snowy's themes full of energy, flitting from saxophone to flute to clarinet, Williams spinning it through the orchestra with deft skill as the trio speeds through the countryside in their car and arrive to Marlinspike Hall. After cold expectant string lines we transition to a noble horn statement of Haddocks' theme (1:24) that is coupled with a short quote of Tintin's main theme on flute and clarinet. As the trio goes on exploring the house of Haddock's ancestors dark rumbles from piano and the orchestra follow (1:50-), high strings complementing the music of extreme ranges, woodwinds in full musical exploration mode here, slowly but surely closing in on some secret as they rhythmically plod forward, strings accompanying tentatively. When a doorway to the secret cellar is found at 2:35 a solo oboe sings out a unique lyrical melodic line full of mystery and beauty with strings and shimmeringly cascading harp backing it subtly, lower strings repeating the idea when all of a sudden the Unicorn theme appears yet again in the very same enigmatic spirit in 3:08-3:20, flute taking its customary role as the soloist for this particular theme, slightly eerie but alluring. Horn line (3:21) clearly related to Haddock's theme yet having a sense of antiquity is followed by a somber reading of that particular theme on flute but the music quickly encounters the Unicorn theme (3:42), the secrets finally unravelling perhaps. Glinting cold piano and strings weave into the texture of the score, welcoming Red Rackham's Treasure theme that eerily raises its head with solo flute in the shimmer of the mark tree at 4:08 it's most common guise. It's companion one might say, the Unicorn theme follows with wistful longing on horns, the theme's melody actually transforming into the lyrical one heard beginning at 2:35 on oboe. At 4:38 rhythmic high string figure supports a determined Haddock's theme on saxophone as the music builds, something decisive happening, the Unicorn theme dancing again to the fore, repeating as the swaying string figure now augmented by brass blossoms into a fateful sounding full ensemble crescendo, announcing clearly that the adventures might not be over yet, Williams presenting a sort of To be continued in musical form. 18. The Adventure Continues: Williams has written an extended concert arrangement of the fast and agile Dueling theme heard on track 9 which according to reports serves as the final part of the End Credits (The other material in the credits being the reprised track Sir Francis and the Unicorn (track 7) and Snowy's Theme. While not one of the major themes of the score it imparts a sense of drive and adventure, evoking the swashbuckling spirit of our heroes' escapades. It could be said it prepares the listener for another adventure to come. The original Dueling theme is embellished and developed through the orchestra, the piece containing several false endings, almost like pauses in a duel. Here Williams adds certain contours of the Tintin’s main thematic idea subtly into the mix, most prominently the rising leaping figures associated with our heroes in the middle section of the suite. This piece ends the album with a satisfying note yet leaves you wanting for more of these adventures if not for any other reason than to hear a new Williams score of this spirit and magnitude. © -Mikko Ojala-
  18. Memoirs of a Geisha Review of the Soundtrack Album by Mikko Ojala Memoirs of a Geisha is based on the popular bestseller of Arthur Golden which was in 2005 adapted into a motion picture directed by Rob Marshall of the Chicago fame. The movie features a singular, more introspective score by John Williams which differs from most of his blockbuster fare in its restrained style yet plays a significant role in the film itself, where the music is often spotlighted perhaps due to Rob Marshall's background in musicals. The composer mentioned in several interviews that for this assignment he studied more the Japanese instruments than he did the Japanese music, especially how would these instruments enhance and blend with the Western orchestra and would give a certain ethnic colouring to it without dominating the soundtrack and make it too alien to the Western ears. There is a lot of atmosphere and ethnical touches on the soundtrack to emphasize the locale, time and place but to make it accessible to the audiences it is presented in Western orchestral idiom with the cello taking center stage. Williams was impressed with the book and immediately thought of cello to portray the character of Sayuri, of course not knowing that he would be scoring the film at any point. He knew that Spielberg had acquired the rights to the novel so there was an inkling of it being made into a film. Williams also thought of Yo-Yo Ma from the beginning, actually sending the book to him and talking to him about the possibility of scoring the film and the idea of cello. And later when the film was announced Williams did what by his own words he has done never before: He actively sought to score the film, asked for the assignment. This certainly shows how inspired and impressed Williams was by the story. The movie is very colourful and theatrical portrayal of Japanese culture, more an illusion than real. In other words it is pure Hollywood. The music has a large role in it, almost another character in the storytelling, an integral part of the drama. The film has several of what could be called musical numbers, Becoming a Geisha being the most prominent, so the music is allowed to shine throughout the film. But Williams' music even though it has a large part in the film, is not bombastic or overly lush. I think more than anything it is introspective and subtle, lyrical and delicate with a lot of underlying subtext both psychological and poetic. Most of all it is a portrayal of a society and culture. Hence it is restrained and subtle. I can't say to be an expert on Japanese culture and customs but I know that they are a reserved people and put a lot of emphasis on public appearance and honor. Public outbursts of big emotions is not part of their culture. I think the music follows this idea throughout. There is emotion in it but it is mostly not in Hollywood proportions. You have to read it more carefully. Often the emotion is tied to the instrumental solos, carrying all the unsaid and unexpressed in their timbre and voice. Only at the end of the movie the music blooms into larger than life emotion on the track Confluence where both of Sayuri's themes are performed in a grand manner offering an emotional closure as Sayuri and the Chairman are finally reunited, finally expressing their true feelings openly. Williams had as a starting point the cello as the voice of Sayuri's character. Cello that has a soulful and warm sound is indeed ideal to portray this young woman's journey through life and Yo-Yo Ma's expertise and artistry brings her alive in music in a way I do not think would have been possible with any other artist. The counterpoint to Sayuri's cello is the violin played to perfection by Itzhak Perlman that portrays the character of the Chairman. Both artists elevate the music with their playing immensely. These are really the two main components of the score. Oboe could be added to this instrumental group as it has a prominent role in the music as well being a lyrical and ruminating, showing perhaps Williams' attempt to capture some of those qualities he sees in Japanese culture. Thematically as instrumentally the music is built on Sayuri's theme and Chairman's theme. Sayuri has 2 different themes associated with her: Chiyo's theme, the musical identification of the young girl before she becomes a geisha, that could be called the real Sayuri's theme, depiction of the real person under the guise of the geisha (Journey to the Hanamachi 2;41-3;13, Confluence and finally A Dream Discarded which is a sort of deconstruction of the theme on cello. End Credits contains subtle interpolation of this theme in flute and chimes 1;36-1;53). And then there is the more prominent Sayuri's theme, the actual musical depiction of the geisha that can be heard throughout the soundtrack. Both themes are lyrical, Chiyo's music showing more fragile image of a young girl than Sayuri's theme that is elegant and mature but no less soulful. Cello is omnipresent in scenes involving Sayuri and many tracks containing cello solos involve her and inform us of her state of mind with beautiful and lyrical solo lines. The Chairman's Waltz is heavily European, even Slavonic in its style and contains a clear melodic line with very little decorative violin work that it might have gotten if not for the character's nature. The Chairman is reserved and nearly paternal at first in his encounters with Chiyo so the music is reserved, elegant, cultured, hinting of Western civilization as if to show how the Japanese of that day and age might have admired the European culture. It could be seen to depict Chiyo's idolized view of the Chairman as a citizen of the world, sophisticated and cultured. And as the music is strongly melancholic, described by Williams as valse triste, it could also hint at Chiyo's sadness for noticing how the Chairman does not return her affection (even if that is not the truth but this man does not show it publicly). Williams transforms this theme into an introspective elegy for solo oboe, harp and two celli in As the Water... where the waltz time is kept by the pizzicato celli and after the oboe solo the duo plays a deconstructed version of the waltz. This music marks both the passage of time in the film as well as Sayuri's sorrow of being separated from the Chairman. These two character portrayals are accompanied by several musical devices and shorter motifs that are associated with fate and destiny referenced clearly in the film. Williams has cleverly constructed highly symbolical and powerful yet simple and direct and they seem take their inspiration from water, also a prominent symbol in the film, a river, flow of destiny and the current of fate. There is a constant forward momentum in the music depicting the irrevocable flow of both time and fate of Sayuri/Chiyo or they are used in important moments in the story to note the changes of fate.This idea of water or flow of water/destiny can be heard in the music throughout from the constant motoric string figures accompanying Sayuri's theme to the End Credits. Most prominent of these destiny/water motifs is heard on the track Chiyo's Prayer 0;32-> in the accompanying strings, 3;03-> on solo cello, Finding Satsu 2;31-2;52 and Fire Scene and the Coming of War 4;31-> accompanying the Chairman's theme. There is the constant arpeggio-like up-and-down motion to it, usually voiced by strings, like a current that is carrying the main character forward on her path. Another motif associated with fate appears in Finding Satsu 0;05-0;40, and again in A New Name...A New Life 0;10-0;34 in a fuller guise and again at the end of the track 2;31-2;54. Even the Rooftops of Hanamachi contains a subtle quote of this motif as Sayuri tries to escape over the rooftops and her destiny and fate are uncertain (small portion of the motif is quoted 3;03-3;15). More of a self contained continuation of this water/destiny idea is the Destiny's Path track with the constant motion in the music without major thematic material. Williams also composed a good amount of singular set piece material for different scenes that enhances more the mood and ethnic flavour than adds to the thematic palette. Going to School, Brush On Silk, Dr. Crab's Prize, Rooftops of Hanamachi all add more authentic Japanese instruments to the orchestral palette and enhance the mood of the scenes. They add colour and variety to the music and give it a more Japanese flavour and reportedly Williams worked extensively with the soloists to integrate their sounds and range and timbres to the Western orchestral palette. He usually utilizes these instrumental colours with a ghosting effect from the regular orchestral instruments, e.g. with koto he has the concert harp ghosting the plucked sounds, creating an enhanced effect, which rings full and is subtly both familiar and exotic. E.g. Becoming a Geisha contains between the developments of Sayuri's theme a percussive interlude that not only adds ethnic flavour but in Williams' own words denotes almost a some sort of sacrifice taking place, the young girl being transformed into a geisha, losing her former life and identity in the process. This is a score you have to pay close attention to. You have to find the emotional core of this score from the soloist performances which are at center of this music rather than from bold and big performances of the themes, which are well integrated and stated throughout but certainly more restrained than in many Williams scores. There is an introspective atmosphere to this score but it is also an extremely beautiful and layered and nuanced, worth the time you invest in it. -Mikko Ojala-