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JWFan Unchained: We're Here Because You're Looking For The Best Of The Best Of The Best, Sir! (Or: What Is The Last Great Score You Listened To?)

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I'm so glad to be seeing Lincoln and The Last Samurai scores getting some love. I'm incapable of praising them as perfectly and poetically as you did, but I will say that I consider both scores to be in my top 10 of the last 15 years, and both seem to clearly illustrate two varying great musical minds beautifully illustrating why they are such. Modern masterpieces by all accounts. 

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Since I plopped down 30 bucks for it, I have to include The Rocketeer and it was great fun to listen to from start to finish.  I haven't listened to The Wrath of KKKAAAHHHHNNNN in a while but Rocketeer might actually supersede for me.

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Happy to see McCarthy's Generations score on your list!

 

I've been saying for months that they should recycle this for the main theme of the 2017 Star Trek series just like they recycled Goldsmith's TMP theme for TNG:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooIUtXEuTYQ

 

 

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Sleepers has remained largely unknown to me for a while, but what you've posted here is very intriguing, Romão.

 

 

1 minute ago, Disco Stu said:

Happy to see McCarthy's Generations score on your list!

 

I've been saying for months that they should recycle this for the main theme of the 2017 Star Trek series just like they recycled Goldsmith's TMP theme for TNG:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooIUtXEuTYQ

 

 

 

Yes, he's the obvious choice for composer here.  I'm sure they'll make a dumb choice instead!

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1 minute ago, TheWhiteRider said:

Yes, he's the obvious choice for composer here.  I'm sure they'll make a dumb choice instead!

 

If I see a merest hint of the word 'Djawadi' in a Star Trek press release I'm resigning from the Internet.

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27 minutes ago, TheWhiteRider said:

Sleepers has remained largely unknown to me for a while, but what you've posted here is very intriguing, Romão.

 

 

Ditto for your post on Apollo and The Last Samurai, I'm checking those scores out (the Last Samurai I only know vaguely).

 

The LOTR trilogy is still something I respect and admire but still can't enjoy for the most part. I must try assemble a 75 minute album for each of the scores from the CR's

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1 minute ago, TheWhiteRider said:

The original album releases I think are perfectly valid listening choices still for people not intimately familiar with the music.

 

I agree, but I'm quite familiar with the CR's at this point. There are still some great cues I'd rather have on the OST's (in place, for instance, of all the Arwen's related music, which I always skip).

 

I really love the simplicity of cues like War is Upon us from TTT

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1 hour ago, TheWhiteRider said:

 

Mission to Mars really should have been featured, there's no excuse.

It's why I'm bummed Morricone likely did not write anything for Voyage Of Time. Imagine a 40-minute uninterrupted symphony for that!

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15 hours ago, Romão said:

The LOTR trilogy is still something I respect and admire but still can't enjoy for the most part. I must try assemble a 75 minute album for each of the scores from the CR's

 

The process of making your own OST program for really long scores is a fun one to me!  Sometimes the composers and I are really not on the same page about what the highlights of a score are.  I've been wanting to make my own AI one for a while, and would maybe do ones for FOTR, TPM, ST09, Jurassic World (if the sessions ever leak), and HPCOS

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15 hours ago, Jay said:

 

Sometimes the composers and I are really not on the same page about what the highlights of a score are.

 

I don't generally have this problem, but Shore's long tribute to his insufferably boring Treebeard clattering in his LotR Symphony is a baffling inclusion. 

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Space, the final frontier. Where the hand of man has never set foot.

40b66cfd24fc91e6a35325cf3f5784c6.jpg

 

Sorry, I just saw the Start Trek poster and I tilted.

 

The more I get old... and the more I love this score. All of it.

 

The dryness of the desert scenes, the Binary Sunset, the Cantina Band, the love theme between Luke and Leia, the music inside the Death Star, the action cues, the Throne Room.

 

For me it's a hell of a score... Every scene seems to have it's own colour, it's own theme. Probably because Lucas wanted a classical score and knew exactly what he wanted for each scene.

 

Anyway, That's my best of the best. Both now and always, and unto the ages of ages.

 

Amen.

 

Original-STAR-WARS-1977-Vinyl-Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, TheWhiteRider said:

 

Your posting of this a few years ago was what finally led me to this wonderful score.  

 

I don't know if I'd call it my favorite Goldsmith score, but it's almost certainly the one with which I have the strongest emotional connection.

 

Although after their clash over the Alien score and then this debacle of the American release of Legend, it's no wonder Scott and Goldsmith never worked together again.

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On 8 July 2016 at 4:44 AM, Disco Stu said:

In my opinion one of the most essential film score recordings ever is Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky full score performed by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic from the mid-90s.  It's the only recording of the full score (as opposed to Prokofiev's cantata arrangement) that I've ever heard and it's glorious.  I was lucky to see the movie in a college class many years ago and it remains one of my favorite Russian movies I've seen.

 

 

FYI Disco Stu, the Alexander Nevsky cantata will be performed at the opening night of the BBC Proms season next Friday.  The concert will also be on TV so might show up on YouTube at some point with a bit of luck.

 

One of my all-time favourite film scores is of a similar vintage and was, I believe, the first film score recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra: Things To Come (1936) by Sir Arthur Bliss, undoubtedly the first great British film score.  Legend has it that H. G. Wells asked if Bliss could score the film after attending a lecture the composer gave at the Royal Institute.  Bliss delivered some magnificent music that immediately developed a life of its own outside the film - indeed, a suite of music from the film was conducted by Henry Wood at the Proms before the film was even released, to great popular acclaim; audiences just had not heard anything like it written for a film before.  The score later became a favourite of Bernard Herrmann, who liked it so much that he recorded several selections for one of his albums after he moved to England.

 

For many years the original score as Bliss intended it was believed lost.  After Bliss recorded the score with the LSO, the film was recut and edited so much that the score had to be re-recorded under the baton of Muir Mathieson, with much of the great music that Bliss had written ending up truncated or cut from the final version of the film.  Fortunately a number of shellac discs containing versions that Bliss had recorded were discovered in the late 1990s, enabling almost the complete original score to be reconstructed and heard for the first time.

 

The march from the soundtrack is fairly well known, but I never see the rest of the music discussed anywhere.  I am sure that film music fans who like the big orchestral scores of the modern sci-fi blockbusters would find much to enjoy in tracking down the modern recording with the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba.  In the clip below can be heard the cues Excavation, Building the New World, Machines and the wonderful Epilogue, the latter one of my favourite pieces of film music ever.  The complete version clocks in at nearly eight minutes and is a glorious example of English music at its best.

 

 

Not included in the suite is a fine medley of Christmas Carols arranged by Sir Arthur Bliss and immediately following the prologue.  It's quite frightening to watch now, knowing what would happen in Europe just a few short years later.

 

 

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One score that I just re-listened to that needs a shout out is Williams's Far & Away.  I think along with the Cowboys, this is the only time we hear him in quasi western mode but he doesn't play it as a western, rather as an Irish/Americana adventure.  If you listen to it straight through, the emotional build up to the land rush and final villainous confrontation is a very moving theatrical experience and full of wonderful themes.  In some ways, it reminds me of E.T. as a listening experience.  Almost all of F&A is understated but the final 15 minutes or so are pure cinematic goldmine with a very rich range of emotions and almost no dialog.

 

This is the scene I am referring to...

 

That build up to the E flat major at 2:20 always gives me goose bumps.

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20_000_Leagues_600.jpg

 

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea - Paul J. Smith

 

There's no shortage of richly orchestrated scores for films of this era, least of all for Disney.  But this one manages to stand out nonetheless.  It's one of the first scores I ever heard.  The spirits of Stravinsky and Ravel mingle with each other along with the classic "Hollywood" sound of the 50s.  A few themes and motives are woven together with a clarity that makes standalone listening quite easy, but the real treat here is the swath of orchestral color and atmosphere that Smith paints.  The discovery of the Nautilus and the underwater excursion are two defining extended balletic sequences.  The former moves through various ominous shadings and culminates in exceptionally stirring music for a submarine funeral procession.  The latter is a kaleidoscopic musical journey in the best tradition of impressionistic writing, with ravishing snatches of melodies that morph in and out of each other and an almost psychedelic degree of shifting colors.  This film perhaps seems an unlikely candidate for weed-fueled dorm room viewing parties, and yet....

 

 

 

Mission_to_Mars.jpg

 

Mission To Mars - Ennio Morricone

 

On a typical day, this is my favorite music from Morricone.  The film is much maligned (I disagree), and weirdly, the music is as well.  Some seem to have forgotten all of the well-liked Ennio scores that featured weird popcorn synths and tin-can pipe organs before this one did.  I think it's a real trip.  The album is awfully presented, but once you've put everything in order (and possibly reworked some of the cornier track titles), you've got a solid program featuring what I'd readily claim as some of Morricone's most poignant and elegant themes.  His haunting and spiritual lyricism is well-suited to the story, and one (surprisingly) doesn't mourn the lack of a more spacey, ethereal approach thanks to what is delivered instead.  That lyricism is complimented by classic Morricone avant-garde-isms that some may find tedious, but others like me may find intensely evocative.  There are many moments of "rightness" to be found in this score, whether it be in the contour of a melody, a barely heard harp accompaniment, or a single clarinet note... and the climactic track (I believe originally titled Where?) has one of the best examples of musical tension and release that I've encountered.

 

How disappointing if he is not, in fact, contributing to Voyage of Time.  This, along with Secret of the Sahara, make my mouth water at the possibilities of such a project.

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13 hours ago, TheWhiteRider said:

20_000_Leagues_600.jpg

 

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea - Paul J. Smith

 

There's no shortage of richly orchestrated scores for films of this era, least of all for Disney.  But this one manages to stand out nonetheless.  It's one of the first scores I ever heard.  The spirits of Stravinsky and Ravel mingle with each other along with the classic "Hollywood" sound of the 50s.  A few themes and motives are woven together with a clarity that makes standalone listening quite easy, but the real treat here is the swath of orchestral color and atmosphere that Smith paints.  The discovery of the Nautilus and the underwater excursion are two defining extended balletic sequences.  The former moves through various ominous shadings and culminates in exceptionally stirring music for a submarine funeral procession.  The latter is a kaleidoscopic musical journey in the best tradition of impressionistic writing, with ravishing snatches of melodies that morph in and out of each other and an almost psychedelic degree of shifting colors.  This film perhaps seems an unlikely candidate for weed-fueled dorm room viewing parties, and yet....

 

 

 

That passage at the 6:13 mark of track 6 "Deserted Sub/Burial/Captured" is one of my all time favorite passages. Pretty much captures de spirit of the entire book in that minute alone

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8 hours ago, TheWhiteRider said:

Listening to some highlights from Shore's The Fellowship of the Ring, and appreciating more than usual what a great conductor he is.

 

Interesting. Care to elaborate?

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The performance of both the LPO and NZSO is so incredibly tight, so coordinated.  There's a sense of unity that I don't often hear elsewhere. The way that say the violins move as one instead of 16 players playing the same thing.  The pervasive "breathing" quality.  Constantly compelling sense of dramatic arc and motion.  The orchestral balances that shouldn't quite work but do.  All the results of a guy on the podium who truly knows how to get an orchestra to shine.  

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