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Lincoln SCORE Discussion thread

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The major flaw of The Patriot is the extent to which its mainly derivative main theme dominates the score. It's a shame, because there is so much beautiful material elsewhere, such as the bits some of you have already mentioned, i.e. Ann and Gabriel, the action music. As historical Williams scores go, it's still behind War Horse, Lincoln, and Angela's Ashes.

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I've never heard the Patriot score or seen the film.

Avoid the film, but the score is worth listening to. The strings and winds writing in some passages are really beautiful.

As for Lincoln, I'm now on my second full listen and I'm beginning to agree with Hlao-roo. This might be Williams' best score in some time.

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I've never heard the Patriot score or seen the film.

There is much to be learned about the natural ruthlessness of the englishmen.

This might be Williams' best score in some time.

What now distinguishes LINCOLN over WAR HORSE remains elusive to me.

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I should probably wait for LINCOLN to settle in more before I make such a statement. I'm having trouble finding the words now, but it almost seems to inject a WAR HORSE kind of sensibility into Williams's existing Americana/history mode, which is toned down a bit from its less subtle expressions in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and THE PATRIOT. I'm sure this isn't the best way of putting it, but perhaps I'll find the words as I latch onto this score more.

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Enjoyed the music on my first listen yesterday. "Getting Out the Vote," Battle Cry of Freedom, and the Jim Taylor piece all helped liven things up. The rest of the material, like crocodile said, is nice to listen to, but I'm hoping it will stick with me more after a few more listens as I start to pick out the themes, favorite cues, and so on.

Both War Horse and Tintin really grew on me with each listen, so I'm looking forward to hearing Lincoln a few more times.

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This is a powerhouse score. JW's best album since Angela's Ashes (not the US release).

After building such strong credentials as the resident master of witty sarcasm I can't tell whether you are serious or using your finely honed skills for clever humour with that statement.

It's been awhile -- I have to go back to 1999 -- since I've listened to a new Williams-produced album that I enjoyed so thoroughly.

I don't find the score especially indebted to War Horse. There are the usual melodic and stylistic overlaps that attend consecutive works in a composer's career, but no more than that. As some have suggested, the score might be in some ways a closer cousin to The Patriot, as you can hear the rough structural contour of the Ann/Gabriel love theme in certain cues. But Lincoln is a much more ruminative and introverted work than either.

What now distinguishes LINCOLN over WAR HORSE remains elusive to me.

For one, it sounds a little less disjointed. And while it clearly retains Williams's trademark warmth, it's less ostentatious and sentimental. It helps when you're not charged with evoking the pastoral grandeur of the English countryside and trumpeting the wonders of human-animal friendships in one breath.

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Hi gang

The new issue of Moviescope magazine is now out; issue 31. It includes my interview with Gary Rydstrom about postproduction sound work on Lincoln and his work with Steven Spielberg over the past twenty years. If you pick it up I hope that you enjoy it.

Thanks so much.

James

Coming soon: The Films of Pixar Animation Studio, published by Kamera Books.

Out now: Movie Movements: Films That Changed the World of Cinema , published by Kamera Books

Out now: The Pocket Essentials: Steven Spielberg, published by Oldcastle Books

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What now distinguishes LINCOLN over WAR HORSE remains elusive to me.

For one, it sounds a little less disjointed. And while it clearly retains Williams's trademark warmth, it's less ostentatious and sentimental. It helps when you're not charged with evoking the pastoral grandeur of the English countryside and trumpeting the wonders of human-animal friendships in one breath.

Yeah, but this seems a slim reason for such a big sigh of relief. It's not like LINCOLN refrains from big, solemn americana swells. I find both albums very satisfying next to another, or at least selections from both. WAR HORSE has the advantage of being written in an idiom not as well-trodden as LINCOLN's whereas the last one is less pushy and a more like a musical study. That they both are for Spielberg films surely recalls the bittersweet fact that hardly anyone else lets the music take such a firm grip on a movie and roll with it through the credits.

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Having heard it in full now, I must say that Lincoln is quite brilliant.

What distinguishes it from War Horse is not much, but definitely enough to make the distinction. For one, Lincoln exchanges the rural English touch in War Horse for the American touch that Williams often used. Only here it is more low-key. Also, Lincoln trades the really extroverted themes from War Horse for largely more introverted music that is more subtle, but not any less sublime.

I would say, in short, Lincoln is simply the Americanised counterpart of War Horse.

You could probably make a 2 disc set of the two, mixing all tracks, and you wouldn't lose any flow.

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I imagine that a lot of the used recorded music is much like what he did on Memoirs of a Geisha, which is recording certain cues with different instrumentation, different combinations of instruments, and so forth. Apparently there was a lot of experimentation on Geisha, most of which may never see the light of day, but hopefully someone can put together an expanded release at some point.

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What now distinguishes LINCOLN over WAR HORSE remains elusive to me.

For one, it sounds a little less disjointed. And while it clearly retains Williams's trademark warmth, it's less ostentatious and sentimental. It helps when you're not charged with evoking the pastoral grandeur of the English countryside and trumpeting the wonders of human-animal friendships in one breath.

Yeah, but this seems a slim reason for such a big sigh of relief. It's not like LINCOLN refrains from big, solemn americana swells. I find both albums very satisfying next to another, or at least selections from both. WAR HORSE has the advantage of being written in an idiom not as well-trodden as LINCOLN's whereas the last one is less pushy and a more like a musical study. That they both are for Spielberg films surely recalls the bittersweet fact that hardly anyone else lets the music take such a firm grip on a movie and roll with it through the credits.

True, Lincoln is still fairly insistent, as is Williams's wont, and few cues break new ground as must-include selections in a best-of career compilation. It may be that I find the score to be greater than, or at least different from, the sum of its parts. That the score coheres so much more fluidly than War Horse very likely says something about the film for which it was written. War Horse flits restlessly between genres of film, such that in a crucial passage Williams ends up on a completely different page from the movie -- in, well, no man's land. It would appear that this new outing finds Spielberg on surer ground, and I think this quality is reflected in the music.

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531028_3836904689750_1459909513_n.jpg

Randall D. Larson

John Williams on LINCOLN: transcribed from comments made by John Williams at LINCOLN's world premiere (Nov 8), included in Dreamwork’s EPK released today: "It's different only in the sense that every film that one does, and with Steven in this case, is a separate individual and discrete process. The subjects vary wildly, the texture and timbre of what needs to be done is individual in every case,

so it is certainly a very different approach than INDIANA JONES or ET or SCHINDLER'S LIST. It is its own work. We hope that, in this case, that it's remotely worthy of the subject... Certainly the atmospherics of the 19th Century and of the American musical grammar needed to be articulated in a musicologically accurate way, which I hope we did, and in addition to that, all the emotional connections that need to be threaded… People who will be watching this conversation may not have seen it, but it's a film some very beautiful words, beginning with Doris Kearns Goodwin’s wonderful book and Tony Kushner’s script, and President Lincoln's own writings… so a musical accompaniment of that would need to be something that, as I said earlier, I hope would be remotely worthy of what it purports to do. I hope that it is. I think that it's very important for people to see this movie, it has an educational component which shouldn’t scare us away, actually, it's not a tough film to take, but it's a very rewarding film."

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Williams was very taken by this film it seems. I think his work was a tough one as he himself acknowledges, not to be in the way of the proceedings but still try to give the narrative some support with the score.

I'll be picking up my copy of the album today after work. The only copy in stores in Finland apparently. :P

What!?!

A joke. But I think the soundtrack will not land in Finnish stores until early next year when the film comes out here. My original order at CDON was delayed and so I had to cancel it but Levykauppa äx had one copy of the CD on their shelf in Turku last week and I ordered it and now am going to pick it up at the store today here in Helsinki. Alas they had only ordered one copy initially and that was all that was on stock so the delivery will be 2 to 7 days if you order from them now.

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I have no idea whether they will release the CD earlier than the film here in Finland and it could well be that some of the major stores might actually have it, but I have not been looking around as I am skeptical about it these days when they usually order only the latest mainstream pop albums. Levykauppa äx is a happy exception but seem to order only a few copies upon the initial release but they e.g. had Tintin right on the release date last year. :)

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It is relatively cheaper to order from abroad but what you save in money you lose in time. Tough if you are impatient like me, who hates to wait for the CDs to arrive. :P

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On another note here are Spielberg's liner notes from the CD sleeve (spoiler tagged just in case someone does not want to read them here):

Lincoln is a milestone for John and me. This is our 40th anniversary making movies and music and we are celebrating by way of a subject that has fascinated both of us separately for most of our lives. Trying to acquit a story of our greatest President at the bloody crossroads of abolishing slavery and reunification of a nation torn in two by four years of Civil War caused both of us to proceed with the utmost restraint.

My lens and John's orchestrations linger in quiet support of a man, who articulated more powerfully than any other American President and as beautifully as any of our greatest writers what America is, what it means, why it had to go through the crucible of the war. He guided our country through its worst crisis and, more than any other single person, helped the United States survive. In doing so, he helped the idea of democracy as a viable political system survive. He combined vision and practicality more succesfully than any other political leader we know of and kept these in a kind of near-perfect balance. He had faith in the people and in the democratic process and he helped prove that faith well founded.

John and I were here to guide and support this story, but not to make our own voices heard above his. I am so honored not only to have been able to tell a story of Abraham Lincoln but to have had this story coincide with a landmark anniversary of the best creative collaboration of my whole career.

-Steven Spielberg

Also track 10 (The Race to the House) contains excerpts from: "They Swung John Brown To A Sour Apple Tree", "Three Forks of Hell", Last of Sizemore" and Republican Spirit", All traditional, arranged and performed by Jim Taylor.

In addition to the extensive credits for the whole Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Chorus there is a mention of Additional Musicians: Charles Bisharat fiddle, George Doering mandolin, Alan Estes, Don Williams percussion, Randy Kerber piano, Tommy Morgan harp, Michael Valerio arco bass.

My guess is that this band, consisting of Hollywood studio musicians, performed the track 3, Getting Out the Vote.

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I bought it on iTunes and listened last night in full. Once all the way through, once with highlights.

It's a solid score. The main (or at least most appearing theme) is borderline depressing, but never pushes over and remains very elegant. And I thoroughly enjoyed the more folky music.

However the score as a whole feels like the left overs of War Horse (which I love) strung together to make a new score. And that I think cheapens this score.

The quality of the craftsmanship is somewhere between "I'm motivated by this moment in the film" to "This will do." There's nothing groundbreaking here. No musical technique you haven't heard John employ before. Which is disappointing, considering you expect more serious scores to make the man stretch his artistic wings a bit. Alas, nope.

3.5/5 stars.

One thing this score does prove is Jerry Goldsmith was the superior man for pastoral and Americana.

How is 2012 their 40th anniversary if The Sugarland Express came out in 1974? :blink:

Hi Jason,

You realize that movies have to be made before coming out, right bud?

Love,

Blume

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However the score as a whole feels like the left overs of War Horse (which I love) strung together to make a new score. And that I think cheapens this score.

Not at all. War Horse is the appetizer; Lincoln is the main course.

War Horse is "I tried!"

Lincoln is "I did it."

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However the score as a whole feels like the left overs of War Horse (which I love) strung together to make a new score. And that I think cheapens this score.

Not at all. War Horse is the appetizer; Lincoln is the main course.

War Horse is "I tried!"

Lincoln is "I did it."

(Y) (Y) (Y)

Hey Blume, how about the performance, did you like the orchestra?

I personally think this is the best performance of an orchestra ever in the world of film music.

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It's obvious to me that reviewers at Variety, Hollywood Reporter and other snotty publications hate melodic or any type of emotional film scores. It must be the "in thing" among movie critics nowadays

And also that guy at FilmFreakCentral or whatever

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Robopocalypse will be the divorce, then.

If Spielberg's comments regarding of what he wants to achieve with the movie, that being that he wants to have pure fun, then I imagine the score will be fun too. Probably more in the vein of JP and TLW than WOTW... Maybe even with the new action style Williams did on War Horse and the pirate stuff in Tintin.

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It's obvious to me that reviewers at Variety, Hollywood Reporter and other snotty publications hate melodic or any type of emotional film scores. It must be the "in thing" among movie critics nowadays

And also that guy at FilmFreakCentral or whatever

We've got to face facts. John Williams has lost it. He's no longer the reigning composer in Hollywood. He now has a niche fanbase.

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War Horse connects with me on a pure and sheer emotional level.

Lincoln feels more reflective.

War Horse is like you've got a new girl and you're in love, and the wonderful emotions hit you all at once, while Lincoln feels like 3 years later when you're married. The emotions are still all there, but there is a calmness and understanding about them. That's how I would put it.

Nailed it.

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However the score as a whole feels like the left overs of War Horse (which I love) strung together to make a new score. And that I think cheapens this score.

Not at all. War Horse is the appetizer; Lincoln is the main course.

War Horse is "I tried!"

Lincoln is "I did it."

(Y) (Y) (Y)

Hey Blume, how about the performance, did you like the orchestra?

I personally think this is the best performance of an orchestra ever in the world of film music.

Interesting you mention that. I don't know if I'd say THE best, I'd have to think on it, but it certainly is one of. There are some wonderful performances in there, the timings are perfect, the emotion is spot on.

I think Father and Son illustrates this...it's a track that is simple, almost mundane. It's power, tenderness, and dramatic weight comes almost entirely through the quality performance from the orchestra.

To be honest, I expected nothing less. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is bar none my favorite orchestra out there. The only thing that I could possibly imagine improving them here is putting James Levine at the helm.

The CSO brass is incredible.

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Quick thoughts having seen the movie before I go to sleep:

The movie is VERY sparsely scored, wouldn't be surprised if there was only half an hour of original underscore in it before the end credits

When original score does play in the film, all the cues are very short. Most of them probably around a minute each.

There is definitely no "must have"/"should have been on the ost" cue on the film at all. All the cues in the film are the same or similar to what we have on CD.

Almost every cue in the film is expanded for the OST. Like Williams scored the scene as needed then kept going to flesh the cue out.

None of the "themes" in the score seem to represent anything in particular. Many of the themes that repeat throughout the album only appear once or twice in the film.

The theory put forth by King Mark that The People's House theme is the main theme of the film that plays throughout but is cruelly misrepresented on the ost.... not true. In fact I believe it plays once in the film then kicks off the end credits and thats it.

All I can think of for now, off to bed

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