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War of the Worlds by John Williams

Now this is the score that is very simple to overlook. On the surface it's a meandering and dark underscore with no direction. But if you think about it, this is a perfect "end of the world" scenerio, where even Williams won't conjure tonal beauty or simple katharsis of any kind. There is only this recurring Khatchaturian-like string adagio which serves a lamentation for helpless human race. But, unlike the similar kind of material from Revenge of the Sith, it is as cold as outer space. Both this and the growling, low and brutal action writing kills the score in the eyes (ears?) of many listeners. But you have to admit it is nothing like the Williams-Spielberg collaboration that they're famous for. In, looking from this perspective, this might be this composer's most significant work in the first decade of 21st Century. The film is very well spotted too, never overbearing. The OST doesn't do the score justice, seems more fragmented than it already is and and editing some of the score into the lenghty Escape from the Basket track is a huge, huge mistake. Paraphrasing someone who once referred to Wagner: "it's not as bad as it sounds". ;)

Karol

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Well said. I agree.

I find also the parallel with CEO3K interesting as when you look at the films, they both present the aliens quite similarly at first but whereas CEO3K finally offers you worlds coming together musically WotW builds and builds on the anxiety and horror in music only to yield to a resigned and highly bitter sweet finale. E.g. Williams' use of human voice is highly similar in both scores, the avant garde modernisms like the high register keening, screams and moans commonly used in both. Only difference is that Williams himself said that he used the choral cries to depict humans in pain in the most frenetic sections of the music (like the Ferry Scene or The Intersection Scene) but most of the time the choral ideas and sounds clearly relate the aliens, the unknown depicted by the most human and basic of instruments, our voice.

The thematic threads running through the score are very subtle but they are there as if Williams in trying to avoid overt themes couldn't resist giving the score narrative musical core. The bleak elegy stated through the score is developed little by little (unfortunately not so clearly on the album), given lyrically weary but optimistic reading on piano in the finale and finally offered the prolonged and clear statement in the Epilogue which is a fantastic way to end the score, not in celestial harmony like CEO3K but rather dark and grim rumination on how fragile humanity in the end is and how close it came to its end in the story. The intentional or untintentional ties of the motif to Dies Irae and possible allusions to Khatchaturian's adagio further enhance this notion of human mortality.

The elegiac writing is as no surprise similar to that of Williams' 3 other scores that year when he once again had to deal with the same basic emotions in all those films in some way or another, tragedies depicted in all of them on some level. He gives subtly different tones to this music, WotW containing perhaps the most disheartened variations on his elegiac string and orchestral writing. I just get lost in the dramaticism of this music, the truly apocalyptic feel and lingering darkness in the weary sorrow and also the ghostly sense of yearning Williams evokes in this series of lamentations in WotW that have mostly only their style in common. Flip side of this is the few moments of comfort the composer's soothing strings offer for the most intimate moments of the family in the film.

The action set pieces range from the growing menace to the full force barrage from the orchestra that almost literally assaults the listener in many layers. The churning, grinding, hammering, blaring and snarling power of the music is in itself an excellent depiction of this relentless machine that goes against humanity and just wipes it out of its way. On the other hand it is also psychologically infused since half of this action music underscores the panic and terror of humans who in their desperation go at each other or try desperately to survive like in the tense Attack on the Car or Escape from the City. I find that Williams' action music is some of his most aggressive and kinetic in living memory, really driving the action in positive way in the film.

The suspence and atmospheric sections vary from motivic and driving to purely lending an uneasy soundscape to the scenes, some of the pieces better for listening experience than others.

I think it was Josh who wondered if some of us liked this score just because it is so different as we had mentioned this as one of the reasons we like it. I would say it is challenging music, fits the film very well and evokes the story so aptly I can't help but to admire it and just enjoy it immensely.

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War of the Worlds by John Williams

&

I feel like you project too much onto that score. As much as I try to appreciate it, I am still not convinced it's anything more than a mediocre soundtrack for an even more mediocre film. I give Williams credit for trying to achieve something musically different than usual, but the result is far from what he got us used to.

During his career he has written multitude of music that illustrated some of the most extreme situations - horrors of war, extermination of Jews, personal tragedies, falling into madness, horrid deaths and so on. Compared to them, apocalyptic scenes from WotW aren't much more shocking nor devastating. Usually he manages to nail the drama and the suspens of such scenes perfectly. Many listeners, including me, can swear it was the music that made them believe in the scene, feel the emotions, understand the subtext and so on.

In case of WotW, at least for me, it isn't so. Many are the times during this movie when I felt the score is working against the picture - not in contrapuntal way, but simply by not doing its job fine. The Ferry Scene is one example. The music irritates me enough to disturb the watching experience, unlike any other well-written and well-used avant-guarde, experimental or simply difficult cues from the scores like CEo3K, Images, Jaws, Fury, Alien (be it Goldsmith's or Goldenthal's) or The Shinging.

On the other hand, most of quiter moody cues leave me cold, as if the movie could have done without them. When it comes to the action material, it is preety good in terms of musical construction, but apart from its kinetic force, it lacks drama. That's a serious oversight, especially when you want the audience to experience shock and terror of end of the world. The only cues that shine in the movie are IMO Intersection Scene, Reunion and Epilogue. If the rest of the score was of that quality, I'd be the first to pronounce it the best thriller soundtrack of 21st century. Unfortunatelly, it isn't.

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Whispers in the Dark by Thomas Newman: My first impression is that this is an interesting score from early 90's combining two of Newman's strengths, very dream-like, lyrical melodic compositions and surprisingly violent, avant garde and experimental techniques that border on sound design. The result is part mesmerizing part challenging listening experience where these moods alternate as the album slowly builds from optimistic lyricism towards dissonant and suspenceful finale. In quite typical Newman fashion the final musical pay-off comes at the end in the Epilogue where the score finds its emotional release after a very dark and experimental near 10-minute piece called The Revelation.

It could be said to be a very prototypical Newman score since it contains most elements his fans will love about his scores but I thought the darker material was a tad tougher as a listening experience than in many of his other scores I have heard. The melodic material is very attractive and at times very emotional and displays the composer's skill in writing both direct and evocative themes but on the whole the often clanging, sound designy moments of suspence, horror and action might work in the film but sound a bit uncohesive in the listening experience, either meandering along one moment or rumbling and wailing the next. I fully admit that here Newman shows inventive skill at combining most bizarre sounds to create disturbing, mesmerizing and frightening soundscapes but again these didn't help my listening experience.

The album is built so that most substantial and longer cues form the soundtrack album proper, shorter cues, which are surprisingly few considering Newman's albums often contain many short cues, arranged at the end of the main score as bonus tracks, offering a few fleeting moments of harmonic thematic beauty and a couple of cues of suspence, all ranging from 21 second to 43 in length.

The composer's penchant for working with smaller ensembles is also very apparent in the score, the individual instruments clearly highlighted be they soloists or string section, the recording in typical Newman fashion crisp and clear.

All in all I would say 3½ through 4 out of 5 stars.

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Do you think the presentation would have benefited from having those short bonus track cues inserted chronologically where the belong, or was it really wise to group them together at the end as an optional bonus area?

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I would have preferred to have them in the main score programme since they offer a bit disjointed listen on their own after the soundtrack assembly, especially as they are so short. In the score assembly those short cues might even provide variety or quick change of mood that could be welcome at times.

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Eine Alpensinfonie by Strauss, the famous Karajan's 1980 recording with Berlin Phil. One of the greatest performances and recordings of this work. bowdown

I don't recall: Heard the Kempe recording yet? I like the Karajan (he's generally my first choice for Strauss), but in this case, Kempe wipes the floor with him. And the playing of Karajan's Berliners is rather sloppy in places.

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Michael Gore - Terms of Endearment.

Anyone heard this? My Dad use to play it all the time so it has sentimental value to it. It's not much of a score, it has a nice main theme, though it's kind of pop-musicy. The OST has quotes from the movie sprinkled all throughout the presentation.

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Is there actually an orchestral soundtrack available for the Zelda games outside the 25th Anniversary album?

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War of the Worlds by John Williams

&

I feel like you project too much onto that score. As much as I try to appreciate it, I am still not convinced it's anything more than a mediocre soundtrack for an even more mediocre film. I give Williams credit for trying to achieve something musically different than usual, but the result is far from what he got us used to.

During his career he has written multitude of music that illustrated some of the most extreme situations - horrors of war, extermination of Jews, personal tragedies, falling into madness, horrid deaths and so on. Compared to them, apocalyptic scenes from WotW aren't much more shocking nor devastating. Usually he manages to nail the drama and the suspens of such scenes perfectly. Many listeners, including me, can swear it was the music that made them believe in the scene, feel the emotions, understand the subtext and so on.

In case of WotW, at least for me, it isn't so. Many are the times during this movie when I felt the score is working against the picture - not in contrapuntal way, but simply by not doing its job fine. The Ferry Scene is one example. The music irritates me enough to disturb the watching experience, unlike any other well-written and well-used avant-guarde, experimental or simply difficult cues from the scores like CEo3K, Images, Jaws, Fury, Alien (be it Goldsmith's or Goldenthal's) or The Shinging.

On the other hand, most of quiter moody cues leave me cold, as if the movie could have done without them. When it comes to the action material, it is preety good in terms of musical construction, but apart from its kinetic force, it lacks drama. That's a serious oversight, especially when you want the audience to experience shock and terror of end of the world. The only cues that shine in the movie are IMO Intersection Scene, Reunion and Epilogue. If the rest of the score was of that quality, I'd be the first to pronounce it the best thriller soundtrack of 21st century. Unfortunatelly, it isn't.

You're missing the entire point. Williams's signal achievement in War of the Worlds was the verve with which he able to make such blazingly brilliant score sound so deceptively mediocre. Few composers are capable of this feat. Generally, when a score sounds medicore, it is mediocre. But the genius of Williams is that, especially as he matures as a composer, the more mediocre his music sounds, the better it is.

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You're missing the entire point. Williams's signal achievement in War of the Worlds was the verve with which he able to make such blazingly brilliant score sound so deceptively mediocre. Few composers are capable of this feat. Generally, when a score sounds medicore, it is mediocre. But the genius of Williams is that, especially as he matures as a composer, the more mediocre his music sounds, the better it is.

Well put Sarcastic One, well put. Keep up the good work! Bringing sarcastically cleansed word of truth to uninformed is an important job, no one more qualified than you to do it.

:music: Gerudo Valley

This is definitely my least favourite passage on the entire 25th anniversary soundtrack of Zelda. It begins promisingly but then dives head long into this orchestral pop feel that just ruins it for me entirely. It feels like something out of the 70's or 80's pop world. Ugh!

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I've met one, an ex-coworker. Actually hung out with her the other night with some other friends. When asked what she was doing the next day, she said "I don't know, probably sit at home all day and game."

It's be love if she wasn't a bit on the socially awkward side. Alice seems like someone I could have a beer with.

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Alice seems like someone I could have a beer with.

first round's on you! ;)

really? hmm, I've never really liked twilight princess. I'd say wind waker is the last great one.

I thought I didn't like you... and I still don't, but my hatred has been diminished. That's a step in the right direction, lady!

aww, you're still mad about me posting the 6th hobbit production video without your permission? let it go, sweetie...

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The Hyrule Symphony version of Gerudo Valley is in my opinion the best version of all of those, even better than the overtly Spanish original. The guitar is pushing it a bit in the original since it gives a strange Spanish vibe to the piece that I just can't picture in the world of Zelda. The string orchestra keeps the melody from too heavily veering into that ethnic mode.

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I still think Twilight Princess is one of the best Zelda scores, sure the "twilight" music is a bit annoying and hard to listen to, but the way Kondo uses the old themes (and adds new ones) especially in the cutscenes, gives it a somewhat filmic quality.

Of course this comes from my experience listening to an edited "album" (actually two, one is 4 hours, the other is a boiled down 1 hour version) that removes loops and unneeded cues.

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Damn! I forgot about that! Ignore what I just said. My hatred has not been diminished.

And don't call me sweetie, saltie!

so much darkness...

well, you can't really survive without salt, can you? HAH, joke's on you!

It's a good thing he didn't call you sour then huh? Like in sweetie and sour. BUAHAHAHAHAAAA

Man sometimes I just kill myself with this stuff.

But it has to be said it is nice that the Zelda composers have been pretty loyal to the big themes of the saga, re-introducing them quite often in the sequels.

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Who or what is Zelda? I know only one Zelda, and she is from "Terrahawks", but I suspect that this not the Zelda that you are talikng about. Please help.

It's the titular character from the classic and long lived Legend of Zelda game series by Nintendo. Funnily enough this princess Zelda is not the main character you play but rather the damsel in distress in most of the games. The main character in all of these games is called Link.

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But it has to be said it is nice that the Zelda composers have been pretty loyal to the big themes of the saga, re-introducing them quite often in the sequels.

Most of the time it is the same original composer (Koji Kondo), but with other composer's helping him, though its getting to be more and more the works of these other composers.

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It should be noted that Link is not the same as the link in the title "A Link To The Past", which is one of the games from the Legend Of Zelda series (Zelda, the princess). The "link" in the title is just a regular link, not a person, althought it is believed that it is a wordplay based on the hero's name (Link, that is). But Zelda is the same as the one in the title, but not always the same in every game from the series (same for Link). Get it?

Zelda time line is one of the most convoluted things ever. Like totally. Even more so than Lost.

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Damn! I forgot about that! Ignore what I just said. My hatred has not been diminished.

And don't call me sweetie, saltie!

so much darkness...

well, you can't really survive without salt, can you? HAH, joke's on you!

4ee16a24-f162-4997-a417-9ad3da54de56.jpg

I think the Twilight Princess and The Skyward Sword both feature a great score.

Wait, I'm confused. You listen to video game scores? Since when? Why did you hide this from me?? Why betray me, Old Ink? And why say bullshit like that? Skyward Sword main theme is awesome, yes (and so are the end credits), but that is all. The rest is pretty bland (with a few exceptions).

It's a good thing he didn't call you sour then huh? Like in sweetie and sour. BUAHAHAHAHAAAA

Man sometimes I just kill myself with this stuff.

ROTFLMAO I laugh at you and your laughable jokes!

Who or what is Zelda? I know only one Zelda, and she is from "Terrahawks", but I suspect that this not the Zelda that you are talikng about. Please help.

Who or what are you? I know only one Richard, Richard Armitage, and he is from "The Hobbit", but I suspect you are not this Richard. Please help.

Who or what is Zelda? I know only one Zelda, and she is from "Terrahawks", but I suspect that this not the Zelda that you are talikng about. Please help.

It's the titular character from the classic and long lived Legend of Zelda game series by Nintendo. Funnily enough this princess Zelda is not the main character you play but rather the damsel in distress in most of the games. The main character in all of these games is called Link.

It should be noted that Link is not the same as the link in the title "A Link To The Past", which is one of the games from the Legend Of Zelda series (Zelda, the princess). The "link" in the title is just a regular link, not a person, althought it is believed that it is a wordplay based on the hero's name (Link, that is). But Zelda is the same as the one in the title, but not always the same in every game from the series (same for Link). Get it?

For you, Blood, I could be Richard Armitage. :lick:

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Yes a bit. I guess listening to Newman's score Whispers in the Dark last night got me going. This seemed like a natural progression.

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Ben-Hur and Ben-Hur

Karol

You must have been really feeling like wearing a sword and sandals today if you had a double dose of that. ;)

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