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David Coscina

OT- Howard SHore- The most original composer working today?

Is Howard Shore the most original composer working today  

50 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Yes
      10
    • No
      16
    • Williams is more original
      12
    • No, all film composers rip off someone or another
      12


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If Spielberg directed ROTK with Williams scoring, the charge of the Rohirrim would've been some sort of bombastic and heroic orchestration of DOOM. Brass, percussion, strings. Orchestra literally firing on all cylinders etc*

Jackson and Shore took a different approach. They treated a potentially major action scene moment with unheard of scoring restraint, within the blockbuster realm. And it ultimately blew audiences away, some of them in tears.

Yes, Shore is the most original composer working in film today.

*The thing is, Williams would still have most likely made the scene work, in its own way.

You have no idea how Williams would have scored the scene. Like many others, you seem to think that Williams always goes the most obvious route of scoring a scene. Have you watched War of the Worlds and studied the score's relationship to the film? It's one of Williams' best scores and is anything but obvious. His approach to emotion can vary from film to film, so I think it is unfair to say that he'd score it with the "typical" Williams sound, a sound he has matured beyond in his selection of films and choices in scoring them, save for the recent Star Wars and first two Harry Potter films. The next time you watch films such as A.I., War of the Worlds, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, even Minority Report, listen to the scores and ask if Williams took a simple, obvious approach. I know you say that he'd make it work, but you nonetheless say that he would do the expected and play it safe. I totally disagree.

Ted

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Great post, Ted, agree 100%.

I also think some of themes in FOTR were pretty interesting, specially the theme (not sure what it is called), when Frodo and Sam are leaving the Shire and Sam says this is the farthest from home he has ever been, or something. Also the Nature theme (the one with the Moth and Gandadf and the end of TTT). I'm not too fond of the rest, but those themes I do think they are particularly inspired.

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Thank you Ted, for stating something that is too frequently missed or misunderstood: Williams' capacity for subtlety and his understanding of drama. Frankly, I find Williams to be one of the subtlest musical dramatists known to me, but he is too often typecast as someone who will opt for the obvious simply because he happens to have written some of the most iconic music in history.

Fiery Angel,

Yes, I realize Shore may have a particular liking for low robust timbres, much like composers of the Polish avantgarde that have surely influenced him, as they have most of us. But what I dislike in his orchestrations has to do with awkwardness in writing rather than timbral "idiosyncracy". Also, I think a lot of his musical ideas are, well, less than refined, harmonically and melodically.

And I also realize that Williams' style is informed by many of the great masters of 20th century music, spanning from Elgar to Takemitsu, but I think that what is truly extraordinary is how uniquely "Williams" it still sounds, and I think he, more than any composer known to me, has shown us a completely modern, completely valid form of musical romanticism. It doesn't seem contrived, nor synthetic, nor stagnant, nor dumbed down, watered out, or anything but simply truthful, thoroughly well-crafted and thoughtful.

And Richuk,

I don't see how I was really being immodest? I simply refuse to take criticism of my opinions on music and craft seriously unless it comes from a fellow musician (which Steef, as I've come to understand, is not). And I refuse to take criticism of my aethetics seriously unless it is informed by an actual opinion of my work, not my words.

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POA is probably the most blatant example of Ted's reasoning.

Even with ROTS, in which the groundwork was pretty much set, Williams took some wonderful new directions, which I don't think were predictable at all.

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Oh, and Fiery Angel, I agree, "The Score" is a great book, and the Shore interview is quite insightful.

As far as my own work is concerned, if you're interested, I've written quite a lot, and I'm performed quite a bit, but I would rather discuss that matter more privately.

Best,

Marcus

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Certainly true, but if one ventures into a discussion of the mechanics of a certain field, one really should go on more than an instinct or a gut feeling.

I mean, I couldn't possibly imagine trying to debate face reconstruction with a plastic surgeon, even if I know what I think a pretty face is.

Craft isn't a matter of opinion only.

(And to offer a general criticism of a person's aesthetics and values without knowing the work you are criticizing, is literally ignorant. This is what annoyed me with Steef's earlier post. And I get arrogant when annoyed.)

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Just because you have knowledge, it doesn't make you correct or your opinion any more valid than the rest of us.

Actually, that's exactly what makes it more valid :wave:

Anyway ...

Frankly, I love the fact that Shore is no mickey mousing composer. And I especially love that he doesn't shove his scores full of coutnerpoints, which I find really somewhat overbearing today.

And you don't need that to create an effective and great score. I find that even without a great deal of counterpoint Shore has an amazing sense for pace and rhythm in music.

Like the scene with Gandalf and Saruman in Fellowship.

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Dear Mark,

Again, your point is certainly well taken. "Craft" is simply the sum of one's experience, after all... Still, studying music, learning the history of its technique, and spending your life writing it or performing it, will give another kind of insight...

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Just because you have knowledge, it doesn't make you correct or your opinion any more valid than the rest of us.

Actually, that's exactly what makes it more valid :wave:

Outside of this board it has been my personal experience that those who are supposed to know what they are doing ie: teachers, coaches, doctors.. to name a few, don't.

I'm not trying to slight Marcus but again you can pump knowledge into someone and teach them and they can take their knowledge and skills and apply them, but it doesn't always turn out correct.

And there plenty of composers out there who are a prime example of this.

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I'm glad to hear you're not trying to slight me, Mark! :wave:

And I'm sorry to hear about your personal experience with people who don't know what they're doing (especially doctors, that sounds potentially very dangerous!). Still, I think most educated professionals are just that;- educated and professional, and I think it is unfair to assume otherwise.

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I also think FOTR is by far the most acomplished LOTR score.

I thought that for a long time as well, but ROTK has been growing on me the last year or so. I'll make a final judgement once all the complete scores are released (give or take 5 or 6 seconds :wave: ).

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If anyone wants me to fight marcus with big music words for them, let me know.

I don't think that's necessary. We're (mostly) all adults on this forum and Marcus stated some very concrete facts as to why he doesn't like Shore. And they are fair assessments from his perspective. However, Shore could still technically be more original than Williams even if he's not following the proper compositional practices that Williams does.

Incidentally, I don't I ever said Williams was bereft of subtlety and I hope this thread didn't imply he was. I think scores like Accidental Tourist and Empire of The Sun have great subtle moments. And I love Geisha- after listening to my Micro-Essay for Orchestra, I realised that I inadventatently quoted Williams' from that scores, even if it was the style of orchestration and not the intervals in the passage.

I think Marcus' comments have inspired me to create a new thread and one that I have wanted to garner opinions on from other composers on this board....

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I don't see how I was really being immodest? I simply refuse to take criticism of my opinions on music and craft seriously unless it comes from a fellow musician (which Steef, as I've come to understand, is not). And I refuse to take criticism of my aethetics seriously unless it is informed by an actual opinion of my work, not my words.

Rubbish, this is a messageboard, you are judged here, by the words you post here.

As for comparing your film music to that of Howard Shore, I have not seen any of the films you scored or bought the CD's you have released.

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I don't see how I was really being immodest? I simply refuse to take criticism of my opinions on music and craft seriously unless it comes from a fellow musician (which Steef, as I've come to understand, is not). And I refuse to take criticism of my aethetics seriously unless it is informed by an actual opinion of my work, not my words.

Rubbish, this is a messageboard, you are judged here, by the words you post here.

As for comparing your film music to that of Howard Shore, I have not seen any of the films you scored or bought the CD's you have released.

:wave:

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Steef,

I have no CD's in my name released, but a few featuring my works among those of other composers (there is one called "Graffitti" that has a piece for brass ensemble and percussion that is very reflective of my passion for the music of Williams. I think it was released in 2001 or 2002). There should be a promo CD available of an early film score of mine, "Without a Trace" (the Norwegian title is "Sporløs", I think, check IMDb), or you could check out some older things on my MySpace page. I have a couple of CD's coming out next year under my name, but none of them with any of my music for film or theatre, unfortunately.

I didn't mean for you to compare me to Howard Shore, or any other composer, for that matter, but simply to suggest that you hear my music before you judge it, and before you make any assumptions as to where I stand aesthetically.

And pi,

Why the grudge?

Fiery Angel,

Thank you for a mature, thoughtful and musical response!

I'm looking forward to what the new thread will bring! :wave:

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I don't know you Marcus, but comments like this:

I simply refuse to take criticism of my opinions on music and craft seriously unless it comes from a fellow musician

...can only go against you.

For someone who attempts to come across as 'versed', you in fact seem quite blinkered. Or arrogant.

But then, aren't we all.

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Certainly true, but if one ventures into a discussion of the mechanics of a certain field, one really should go on more than an instinct or a gut feeling.  

I mean, I couldn't possibly imagine trying to debate face reconstruction with a plastic surgeon, even if I know what I think a pretty face is.

Craft isn't a matter of opinion only.

(And to offer a general criticism of a person's aesthetics and values without knowing the work you are criticizing, is literally ignorant. This is what annoyed me with Steef's earlier post. And I get arrogant when annoyed.)

Dude, we are just here for a good time and to join the 10,000+ post club so lighten up. If you want to talk shop call one of your professors. 1 thing I have learned from this board is that your amount of knowledge of a subject's inner workings can have nothing to do with how much you enjoy it.

you are always so stuck up when you post in that manner.

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A person who will only take critisism from a fellow musician/composer seems to forget that you should not...should not need to study for years and get a degree in music before being able to get it.

Music is emotion, not a mathematical equation.

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Ah, true, true...

But as most composers, I am lonely, and even lonelier in my love for Williams' music, a love too few colleagues share. So I feel most fortunate to be here and share that enthusiasm with other spirits similarily enthused.

Musicians and composers are always those with the most valid, deep and thought-provoking opinions on music. History has proven this, and continues to prove it.

Now, smile and be happy, Steef!

Marcus, responding not to Steef's most recent post, but the one prior to that...

And in response to your present post, Steef:

There's a difference between "getting" music on an emotional level, and understanding it on a musical level. Both are important, but the latter only for musicians. Ah, but the joy that is ours for it...

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composers are composers.

musicians are lower on the food chain and just play the stuff composers think of.

and yes, i agree with marcus, that composers know much more about the insides of music then non composers or even performers. But i still value highly the opinions of those who are "untrained", our target audience. I have learned alot comparing my opinions to all of yours. It has helped me write better.

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There's a difference between "getting" music on an emotional level, and understanding it on a musical level. Both are important, but the latter only for musicians. Ah, but the joy that is ours for it...

Like understanding how David Copperfield really made the Great Wall Of China dissapear.

A marvelous technical excersice that one can admire, but were is the magic?

Unlike you Marcus, I know that music is best appriciated by understanding as little as possible about how it is done, what tricks the composer used.

I pity you...

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Bottom line is, we are all in this together. Our mutual cause is music. We should respect each other. And we should respect that certain topics are best debated if we are fully equipped to do so. Otherwise, they are more wisely left alone.

Steef, I'm just very glad to see you've got such great taste in music. Your love for Goldsmith's work is something I find wonderful, and very uplifting! But I can assure you, if you had dedicated your life to studying, performing and writing music, like many of us here, you would find still other things to marvel at in it...

And Sunshine,

Save your pity! :wave:

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But there is no doubt a composer, who has spent his life studying the craft, knows an exponential amount more about music then those are not. Just to clear that point.

Its funny how PQ the above responses are. No apologies, no step downs, just the same thing reworded much more gently.

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But there is no doubt a composer' date=' who has spent his life studying the craft, knows an exponential amount more about music then those are not. Just to clear that point.

You make it sound like studying music all your life is truly a worthwhile goal?

It's not like becoming a doctor, or a firemen. It's not gonna save anyone's life!

You study music so you can make money from it, that's very logical, but hardly something the rest of us should admire.

Its funny how PQ the above responses are. No apologies, no step downs, just the same thing reworded much more gently.

It is because people fear me.

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Pi, I am absolutely stunned and thrilled to see that we are in the same page, for once! I always knew it would eventually happen! beerchug

And Steef:

Lighten up, Sunshine! You are nothing to fear! Behind your grumpy comments beats the heart of a true idealist and romantic! Your recent comments prove as much! :wave:

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You make it sound like studying music all your life is truly a worthwhile goal?

It's not like becoming a doctor, or a firemen. It's not gonna save anyone's life!

man you can't have it both ways. john williams didn't wake up one day and write like he does, he learned his shit and spent his life studying the stuff.

if its not worthwhile why do you post here? he obviously has effected you.

marcus,

don't get to used to it!

music is cool

its almost as cool as really cut, hot chicks named jessica.

but not really

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( Steef, I'm always a post or two too late) In respeonse to liking Pi as a topless woman: Of course! Especially when he is a topless woman who makes a lot of sense, and defends/shares my opinions! Now, that's my kind of topless woman!

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You make it sound like studying music all your life is truly a worthwhile goal?...You study music so you can make money from it, that's very logical, but hardly something the rest of us should admire.

Okay now I disagree. For those who strive to study and quite possibly master music, it is indeed a worthwhile goal and in turn should be admired, especially by those who can only listen.

It is because people fear me.

The ego is rearing its ugly head again. Though I suspect it was already in full swing anyway.

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if its not worthwhile why do you post here? he obviously has effected you.

John Williams has, so have Goldsmith, Howard Shore and a few other.

But they don't spend there days on forums talking about music like they know everything like wannabees and posers who think their opinions is valid because they have a music diploma from The University Of Detroit, or something like that.

They write music, and get paid handsomly to do it.

More then you ever will be.

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Now, Sunshine...temper, temper...

Some handsomely paid composers will willingly share their opinions, others won't. And you shouldn't make such bleak predictions for people's futures. I make a fine living writing music, as do many others. But much more importantly: We are happy in our pursuit of excellence in our craft, and our thirst for knowledge...

Are you happy, Steef?

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"y'all don't know me! no yyou did en"

dude, how you can tell me that when you have posted 20 posts for every one of mine? i dont spend all day here. I happen to have a day off from production today. And i came to defend you guys from macus' wrath. no hard feelings, i just like arguing with everyone.

-Pi

who wants to point out that TV composers make MORE then movie COMPOSERS usually!

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I don't have much of a wrath for anyone or anything, Pi!

I'm a mild-tempered, usually mild-mannered man, and I don't think anyone is in urgent need of defense from any words or opinions of mine...

Seriously, you do seem eager to strike me. Why is that? Out of curiosity:what show are you scoring?

Steef,

I'm very sorry! I realise this isn't the forum for more private conversations, so I will refrain from prying, but I will say that I hope you feel better.

Best wishes,

Marcus

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no hard feelings, i just like arguing with everyone.  

marcus the above applies to you to.

I just know that everyone here really enjoys music so lets not let fancy words get in the way of it.

-pi

(in a howard shore mood)

who hides in his anonymity (spelling)

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I'm very sorry! I realise this isn't the forum for more private conversations,

Why not?

Only Marc thinks that and if he doesn't like something, he'll just close it, so that's OK.

If people can vent their private lives on Oprah, then there is no reason we cannot do it here.

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