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Williams confirms EPISODE IX !!

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Shore wrote three outstanding scores for the three original LOTR films. Williams' first two Star Wars scores are legendary, Jedi is serviceable, the scores for the two fan films are cute, and the less said about the movies from 1999 to 2005, the better. 

 

LOTR wins. 

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As a musician, I'm with Marcus on this. I also mentioned the orchestration in my previous post as well, but I didn't go into detail about it. All I can say is JW's orchestrations are at a level that is unmatched right now. There's always a sense of purpose for every instrument. In other words, there's never a dull moment for each section of the orchestra in his writing. I also mentioned this last time, but what stands out to me is JW's woodwinds writing. He utilizes them in a way that no one else does. They always have something to play, and you can clearly hear their parts. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think this is often the section of the orchestra that many composers these days struggle with.

 

Like I said in my previous post, ultimately it comes down to who's style you prefer and I prefer JW with utmost respect to Shore. LOTR does have higher highs than Star Wars though. 

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1 hour ago, armorb said:

 

Oh, I would never argue otherwise.

 

Sorry to hurt your fee fees opining 'bout Howard. I am certain he appreciates your heroic defense!;)

 

How many 'rapport points' are required to give an observation about one's own subjective musical tastes? Must've missed that in the forum rules.

 

You've misunderstood.  Rapport has nothing to do with expressing an opinion, but it does have something to do with showing up in a thread and criticizing another member for their posting habits, however repetitive.  It is a pet peeve of mine when people do this on here.  I think you should establish some familiarity with people before you decide you want to snark out on them.  And please spare me this "fee fees" business and defending Howard etc.  That's a bit too far in the direction of immature even for me.

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3 minutes ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

 

You've misunderstood.  Rapport has nothing to do with expressing an opinion, but it does have something to do with showing up in a thread and criticizing another member for their posting habits, however repetitive.  It is a pet peeve of mine when people do this on here.  I think you should establish some familiarity with people before you decide you want to snark out on them.  And please spare me this "fee fees" business and defending Howard etc.  That's a bit too far in the direction of immature even for me.

 

Thank you!

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1 hour ago, Marcus said:

 

 

As a professional composer, I have to say that Williams' strength is more than just his brass writing. 

 

Rather, he has a knack for making the entire orchestra really shine in music that is complex, but very rewarding to play. 

I can't think of that many composers who write more consistently to each choir's strengths, while at the same time keeping instrumentational choices interesting, and often unorthodox, even if the subtleties of his craft may elude the casual listener. 

 

I think it's easy to take Williams for granted, simply because there's such an elegance and panache to his style. Everything works, and sounds perfectly polished.

But there are so many layers of not only expertise, but genuine artfulness and inventiveness to his orchestrational choices, and his way of seeing the orchestra, his concept of what an orchestra is. 

 

One thing that ought to be studied more by any aspiring composer when it comes to Williams, is the economy of his writing, and just how much mileage he can get from even a solo instrument. There's often a chamber-like lucidity in passages even from his most heavily orchestrated scores. He knows exactly what colors can be achieved by peeling away, as well as by layering. 

 

I think this modus operandi, which really bears more resemblance to how a concert composer might approach an orchestra, is part of what makes Williams' scores stand out. He is simply an outstanding practitioner of his craft by any standard. 

 

Not to compare the two, but Howard Shore is an entirely different kind of composer. His dedication seems to be to the film he scores, and not to the craft of writing music per se. His Middle Earth scores do an outstanding job of imagining and creating a musical landscape for Peter Jackson's take on Tolkien's mythology. But concert performances of those scores, as popular as they might be, tend to fall a little flat, simply because Shore isn't a particularly skillful orchestrator. There are a lot of choices that end up sounding very forced because of how unidiomatically written they are. I think Conrad Pope's contributions rectified some of it, but there's still the problem of the music perhaps having been conceived more abstractly. 

You can tell (and this, I'm sure it could be argued, is for better or for worse) that Williams conceives his music with the orchestra, or a particular instrument, in mind, lending a sense of natural grace and fluency to his writing. 

 

 

 

 

 

You're on about this fallacious "Shore isn't a particularly skillful orchestrator" thing again, and I think it's incredibly misguided.  What is your benchmark for something not particularly skillful?  Is it simply "unidiomatic?"  Not constant fun for every single player of the orchestra?  The latter is something to bear in mind but ultimately shouldn't be fretted about at the expense of the musical vision, and the former is very much the point of the way he orchestrates and to chalk it up to a question of skill is unfair, I think.  I hear an incredible deliberate creativity in how he orchestrates, setting him quite apart from many other composers who would follow more vanilla procedures.  What I will agree to is that few other conductors seem able to achieve the fine balances that this unconventional writing sometimes demands.

 

Conrad Pope, for all his great contributions with some composers, utterly botched his ventures into Middle Earth out of a lack of understanding for the material, and I hesitate to say it, but perhaps also a lack of respect for it and a resultant arrogance leading to those "rectifications" you mention.  His conducting and orchestrating are both very subpar in this case, and I think are contributing factors to the failure of those films.

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9 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

Thank you!

 

Now you see the wisdom in calling him boring.  I have demonstrated my point by placing him on the receiving end of criticism from a stranger!

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I believe @Marcus is referring to what qualifies as a good orchestration as a craft. Balance between instruments, distance between notes to create a well-balanced chord, using the instruments mostly in their "sweet-spot" range, not having too many layers so voices get muddied, and so on. Marcus should be able to explain it ten times better.

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7 minutes ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

The latter is something to bear in mind but ultimately shouldn't be fretted about at the expense of the musical vision, and the former is very much the point of the way he orchestrates and to chalk it up to a question of skill is unfair, I think.  I hear an incredible deliberate creativity in how he orchestrates, setting him quite apart from many other composers who would follow more vanilla procedures. 

 

I think the proof of Shore's orchestrations are in the pudding, as it were. That he managed to craft a unique sound for his work as a whole, and to each culture within that work, both by use of the orchestra, the choir and a loooong list of unusual instruments - is all one could hope for in terms of orchestration, and than some.

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5 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I believe @Marcus is referring to what qualifies as a good orchestration as a craft. Balance between instruments, distance between tones to create a well-balanced chord, using the instruments mostly in their "sweet-spot" range, not having too many layers so voices get muddied, and so on. Marcus should be able to explain it ten times better.

 

Anyone with the most basic understanding of the orchestra can do these things.  I hope this isn't what Marcus is using as a baseline for "skill," because that would be rather unimaginative.  Shore breaks some rules and does some unusual things.  The point is that there's a reason for it, and it works exactly as intended.  You cannot view these two composers through the same textural lens.

 

Let me put it this way.  John Williams' way of orchestrating is masterful, but it is not the only way.  It is not the only road, and it isn't the end of its own road.  It is somewhat frightening to see people like Pope and others talk this way about it, as though when John dies, that'll be the end of good music.  It's bizarre, wrong, and just unhealthy.

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I was only mentioning some basic orchestration principles, as an example. There are many more convoluted aspects things to think about but I'm not able to convey it properly.

 

21 minutes ago, Nick1066 said:

 

Now see, @Chen G. take note. THIS is a really bold opinion. And it is Jurassic Shark's right to state it.

 

It's completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong. Perhaps one of the wrongest opinions ever expressed on this board. But it is, nonetheless, bold. Wrong. But boldly stated! ;)

 

Our love of being right is best understood as our fear of being wrong.

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At any rate, this has all been discussed over and over throughout the years, and everyone still says the same exact things no matter what anyone else has to say to the contrary.  Doesn't matter, ultimately, none of it.  Dark is life, dark is death.

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The term "orchestration" is a little misleading, because it suggests that the "music" and the "orchestration" can be separated, when in fact they cannot. What you hear is what you get. Good music is also "well-orchestrated" music (even if it's for something like the piano). Though I just prefer to use the term "musical clarity". 

 

As for the rest, I largely agree with Marcus.

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When speaking of musical clarity, I would have to frankly say that Williams, by nature of his more dense style, is more guilty of violating that than Shore is.  There is sometimes a pile up of mid and low textural elements that come across as overwrought and redundant.  I do wonder at times if there is too much of that need to always give as many players as possible something to do in his mind.  Would that musicians were on average a little more patient and willing to see themselves as a part of a whole, so this appeasement strategy would never have developed.

 

This is mostly something I notice in more recent scores like WOTW, Minority Report, and even the sublime AI.  Doesn't detract from my enjoyment of them one bit.

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55 minutes ago, TGP said:

 

Anyone with the most basic understanding of the orchestra can do these things.  I hope this isn't what Marcus is using as a baseline for "skill," because that would be rather unimaginative.  Shore breaks some rules and does some unusual things.  The point is that there's a reason for it, and it works exactly as intended.  You cannot view these two composers through the same textural lens.

 

Let me put it this way.  John Williams' way of orchestrating is masterful, but it is not the only way.  It is not the only road, and it isn't the end of its own road.  It is somewhat frightening to see people like Pope and others talk this way about it, as though when John dies, that'll be the end of good music.  It's bizarre, wrong, and just unhealthy.

 

If I were to be perfectly candid, it's precisely the lack of imagination when it comes to handling the orchestra, that I find disappointing in a lot of contemporary film scoring, including Shore's LotR scores.

 

It's the lack of curiosity about how an orchestra may be utilized, and I think it stems from many composers not really knowing all that much about neither repertoire, nor what the instruments are really capable of. 

 

To claim that Conrad Pope, and what must by now be an almost endless list of conductors, butcher Shore's scores live or in studio due to their not understanding his intentions, is obviously preposterous. You would think that by now, at least someone would get it right? 

 

For all their merits, these scores sound less thrilling live because Howard Shore's orchestral imagination has led him to make decisions that simply don't project as well as they could have. 

 

There's nothing groundbreakingly new or fancy about they way they're conveyed on the page that would stand in the way of these scores sounding stunning. It's very traditional writing, largely far safer, less virtuosic than anything in Star Wars (not that I wish to compare the two sagas nor their music any further), penned in a way that puts an orchestra at a disadvantage live. The only rules "broken" have to do with ending up with a less satisfying result where some adjustments would have made all the difference. 

It's taxing and unrewarding due to how frequently it gets tiresome for the strings to only play pads, and the horns to pretend they're trumpets. It's a bit like Bruckner with orchestral dyslexia. 

 

I think Shore's Middle Earth scores would really come alive if played by a group that had more of a band structure at its core. Some synths, various ethnic winds and percussion, and a couple of solo performers on featured orchestral instruments. Something like what one could imagine Enya would tour with, or Secret Garden. 

 

And that's closer to the musicality these scores really stem from, I think. There's a pop sensibility to them, and a certain folkloristic flair. A live orchestral context does them no favors.

 

There's no need to pretend it's because they're not properly understood by orchestras or conductors, who routinely handle not only daunting works of the past, but also much more complex, cutting edge, state-of-the-art (or not...) contemporary classical music. 

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Lack of curiosity?  No, it is precisely a greater curiosity that results in treating the orchestra as a rock solid unit with different shades of coloration in different ranges, which is more imaginative than what a more vanilla orchestrator would default to.  Your likening of it to Bruckner is very astute I think, since his treatment of the orchestra as an organ to be registered is very similar.  Bruckner was written off for that reason by some.  I expect time will yield better judgement about it all from some parties.  

 

And I wouldn't at all say that it is an endless list of conductors who butcher the music.  Primarily it is Pope who has provided the most visible example, and some others.  Wicki, and any who approach the music looking for true understanding, render it just fine, but some just aren't inclined to see beyond their own way of viewing things.  Then, performances, and opinions, suffer.  Whatever repertoire they handle means nothing.  If there is a stubbornness, a prejudice, it will prevail over professional urges to tackle, or assess, something with integrity.

 

How often is it that conductors and musicians are faced with a work they don't like, don't respect, for whatever reason, and consequently give something less than everything to it?  I've witnessed it quite a bit, especially, interestingly enough, with older music that is more orchestrally akin to Shore's.

 

That highlights the main point I want to make.  Musicians of all stripes can be immensely catty about things.  It's unbecoming, unprofessional, embarrassing.  If I go on about this subject gratuitously, and with a certain impatience, it is a result of the childish demeanor that I've witnessed from so many "professionals" over the years.  Perhaps I'm conditioned to see that everywhere, even on a forum discussion about Star Wars and Tolkien.  Whenever someone decries the "shortcomings" of something like Shore's work, it sets all the usual alarm bells off in my mind of someone who, intentionally or not, maliciously or not, consciously or not, has some prejudice or pretension guiding them against the thing in question, rather than some honest musical estimation.  Because in my honest musical estimation, the complaints just never hold water and amount only to "I don't really like this music."

 

But, I see that the JWFan mob is more interested in the complaints, and not the questions about how much sense they truly make.  

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Right on, @Marcus. Writing for orchestra is a great craft that goes back for so many centuries now, and the scores for Star Wars (and many other JW scores) are really an extension of that tradition, whereas most other film music isn't. To *that* extent, Williams' body of work on the franchise is really without peer, but that's not to discredit LOTR or any other style of film music. 

 

Sometimes I wished some of the younger composers knew more about "the shoulders we stand on", as Williams puts it often. 

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I've mentored a number of younger composers who know very much about the old ways.  Don't let anyone tell you it is a dying art, or dying knowledge.  And don't let the bland demands placed on modern film music convince you of that, either.

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I may add that, for all the praises sung here, JW in his post-2000 forays into SW and Potter became often much too fuzzy with his orchestrations for dense action scenes and would muddy the waters, leaving scratched heads what in the scene at hand demanded such overt maestro-isms. Which of course is negligible for the likewise fuzzy, purely musical analysts but it still felt out of place in quite a few scenes, as the werewolf scene in Potter III or the senate chaos in ROTS. Thankfully he scaled back starting with Tintin.

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2 minutes ago, TGP said:

Don't let anyone tell you it is a dying art, or dying knowledge. 


That I know very well, but it's more Hollywood's top composers that concern me.  

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It isn't really a problem of knowledge in all but a few cases.  Sadly, how much, say, Michael Giacchino knows about Xenakis or Murail will serve him little in current Hollywood.  Zimmer, who has a laudably deep and eclectic musical knowledge, can also expect to be gently dismissed if deviating too far outside the lines. 

 

But this is different from Shore deliberately crafting a particular archaic soundworld which, complaints about "proper" orchestration be damned, is staggeringly right in its execution.

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I let the end results speak for themselves. Giacchino has his abilities but also, like a lot of his younger colleagues, as soon as he is forced to write in a more expansive orchestral idiom he is sadly lacking - this can't be all attributed to the almighty rules of blockbuster cinema but a genuine lack of understanding (why he is hired so frequently for such jobs is beyond me). Zimmer is in a league of his own and mostly stays out of this realm (and i frankly prefer him in Spider-Man 2 & MOS mode to the supposedly 'serious' epics he and his gang sometimes tackle). But then, it's a small wonder that Williams is allowed to write his often decidely un-blockbusterish music for SW - and that he needs to revise his cues 20 times shows how unrewarding elaborate orchestral scores have become in the modern filmmaking. 

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Just now, TGP said:

It isn't really a problem of knowledge in all but a few cases.  Sadly, how much, say, Michael Giacchino knows about Xenakis or Murail will serve him little in Hollywood.  


I'm a pianist myself and I also learn stuff at times that is not so relevant to what I do in the end. But as an artist one should always know there is merit in a broad musical education, regardless in what field you're operating.

 

Giacchino writes for orchestra and blockbusters, but sometimes I wonder if he'd pass basic harmony and counterpoint tests at a conservatory. 

Well yes, of course I'm exaggerating here, and these are not the things that matter most when your job is scoring movies adequately, which he does well.

But hearing John Williams' music really is something else.

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Yeah, didn't say there isn't merit to knowing everything you can - my point was that you should, but that Hollywood composers can't really be assessed on what they know through what they write.

 

I'm no lover of Giacchino's music, but I suspect he would manage the tests you propose.  With most of these guys, the shortcomings are at a much higher level.  And usually, inconsistent.  And not of much consequence anyway if you still enjoy what they do.

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1 hour ago, TGP said:

When speaking of musical clarity, I would have to frankly say that Williams, by nature of his more dense style, is more guilty of violating that than Shore is.  There is sometimes a pile up of mid and low textural elements that come across as overwrought and redundant.  I do wonder at times if there is too much of that need to always give as many players as possible something to do in his mind.  Would that musicians were on average a little more patient and willing to see themselves as a part of a whole, so this appeasement strategy would never have developed.

 

This is mostly something I notice in more recent scores like WOTW, Minority Report, and even the sublime AI.  Doesn't detract from my enjoyment of them one bit.

 

...WOW

 

I guess that goes to show how differently we think. I couldn't disagree more.

 

But I wouldn't totally deny the comment about Williams being overwrought, as if he feels the need to fit as many notes as possible on the page in order for the music to sound good. I occasionally wish he'd dial back a little bit. Lately his scores have tended to have more breathing space (well, NOT The Last Jedi, but I'm thinking more like TFA or War Horse). His turn-of-the-centry scores, however, bordered on the ridiculous in places.

 

(Love your new profile pic btw.)

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17 minutes ago, Remco said:

But hearing John Williams' music really is something else.

 

As is Waxman's or Rózsa's, to drag out the old war horses. Of course it's silly to expect the scholar-like approach of bygone eras in today's fastfood commercial filmmaking - you get some of that in non-Hollywood movies - but that's the basic problem: the system has spawned artists that befit its rules and expectations and these are either favourable to offbeat guys like Tom Newman or just not very high. Even Broughton didn't have a 'real' job since 'Lost in Space' (1998) and he's is probably Williams' junior by 15 years and he could run circles round a score like Star Trek Into Darkness. 

 

But while the Marvel movies refuse to die a graceful death i sense a greater interest in music in the last 2 or 3 years and think we gravitate towards more special-kind artists that offer the real musical nuggets (Max Richter, Jonny Greenwood, for instance) instead of all-rounders like Goldsmith or Williams (or Horner) who were/are probably the last of their kind. 

 

PS: JNH did a precious illustration of the power music still has over images when showing a clip ('Macy's') from King Kong once without, then with music at his recent concert. A lot of people were duly impressed how flat the scene felt without the rather quiet 1:30 cue and the addition prompted a thunderous applause.

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11 minutes ago, TGP said:

but that Hollywood composers can't really be assessed on what they know through what they write.


Not so sure about that. I'd say that JW's entire film career is a reflection of his immense knowledge (and obvious talent).

And yeah, those tests I referred to were hyperbolic, but what do you mean with shortcomings on a higher level? Just out of curiosity, as I'm also not a fan.

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I would answer in a nutshell that you give a guy like Goldsmith the job of scoring Star Trek V - a movie no one could accuse of aspiring to greatness - and you give the same job to many recent composers (Giacchino is an obvious example) and of course he will get by with a passably crafted work but comparing it to the heights Goldsmith scaled in a little more than 5 weeks the shortcomings will be very obvious.

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Exactly what I meant - it is much less to do with basic craft than it is some more ephemeral thing I dread to refer to so lazily as talent.

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I understand and I hear it too, but I wonder if that's merely a question of talent or lack of knowledge/education?

Edit: TGP beat me to it, I see. 

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Probably not education only, but practice. Remember that the old composer guard (well, most of them) was rigorously trained at conservatories and the gen Silver Age taking over worked their asses off on live television before getting handed their first jobs - all under the supervision of demanding musical giants. Nowadays there is no Newman Fox music department making fun of your wretched counterpoint, to put it polemically, so the competition to get better and better at writing MUSIC is, at least, very different. 

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47 minutes ago, TGP said:

Lack of curiosity?  No, it is precisely a greater curiosity that results in treating the orchestra as a rock solid unit with different shades of coloration in different ranges, which is more imaginative than what a more vanilla orchestrator would default to.  Your likening of it to Bruckner is very astute I think, since his treatment of the orchestra as an organ to be registered is very similar.  Bruckner was written off for that reason by some.  I expect time will yield better judgement about it all from some parties.  

 

And I wouldn't at all say that it is an endless list of conductors who butcher the music.  Primarily it is Pope who has provided the most visible example, and some others.  Wicki, and any who approach the music looking for true understanding, render it just fine, but some just aren't inclined to see beyond their own way of viewing things.  Then, performances, and opinions, suffer.  Whatever repertoire they handle means nothing.  If there is a stubbornness, a prejudice, it will prevail over professional urges to tackle, or assess, something with integrity.

 

How often is it that conductors and musicians are faced with a work they don't like, don't respect, for whatever reason, and consequently give something less than everything to it?  I've witnessed it quite a bit, especially, interestingly enough, with older music that is more orchestrally akin to Shore's.

 

That highlights the main point I want to make.  Musicians of all stripes can be immensely catty about things.  It's unbecoming, unprofessional, embarrassing.  If I go on about this subject gratuitously, and with a certain impatience, it is a result of the childish demeanor that I've witnessed from so many "professionals" over the years.  Perhaps I'm conditioned to see that everywhere, even on a forum discussion about Star Wars and Tolkien.  Whenever someone decries the "shortcomings" of something like Shore's work, it sets all the usual alarm bells off in my mind of someone who, intentionally or not, maliciously or not, consciously or not, has some prejudice or pretension guiding them against the thing in question, rather than some honest musical estimation.  Because in my honest musical estimation, the complaints just never hold water and amount only to "I don't really like this music."

 

But, I see that the JWFan mob is more interested in the complaints, and not the questions about how much sense they truly make.  

 

Excuse me TGP, but, as much as I enjoy discussing this stuff also with you, every time you reply to someone who doesn't agree with you on issues of musical aesthetics, you make it sound as if all the others are not able to understand things (including Conrad Pope in this case... come on! :D ). Why would anyone have a prejudice agains a certain kind of music? We listen to the music like you, and we have a reaction. Since many of us (like you) have a professional knowledge of music, we generally know what we are talking about and what we mean if we say that we don't like something about orchestration, or harmony, or whatever else. It doesn't mean that we disrespect the composer or we are superficial, or we don't understand his decision to break some so-called "rules". Please consider that, maybe, most of us just understand the LOTR scores as much as you, understand what Shore did and why, like and respect him, but do not appreciate some of his choices as much as you. If the aspects that some people don't like about LOTR coincide with the aspects that you value most, it's not due to a lack of honesty from anyone. I have seen the movies multiple times, listened to the full recordings and to the symphony, I have read Doug Adams' book, and I have even had the possibility to see the full scores of some pieces: I think my opinion is honest as much as yours and based on something more than a generic complaint!

 

 

(I also love Mahler, by the way! One of my really top favourites.)

 

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23 minutes ago, Score said:

 

Excuse me TGP, but, as much as I enjoy discussing this stuff also with you, every time you reply to someone who doesn't agree with you on issues of musical aesthetics, you make it sound as if all the others are not able to understand things (including Conrad Pope in this case... come on! :D ). Why would anyone have a prejudice agains a certain kind of music? We listen to the music like you, and we have a reaction. Since many of us (like you) have a professional knowledge of music, we generally know what we are talking about and what we mean if we say that we don't like something about orchestration, or harmony, or whatever else. It doesn't mean that we disrespect the composer or we are superficial, or we don't understand his decision to break some so-called "rules". Please consider that, maybe, most of us just understand the LOTR scores as much as you, understand what Shore did and why, like and respect him, but do not appreciate some of his choices as much as you. If the aspects that some people don't like about LOTR coincide with the aspects that you value most, it's not due to a lack of honesty from anyone. I have seen the movies multiple times, listened to the full recordings and to the symphony, I have read Doug Adams' book, and I have even had the possibility to see the full scores of some pieces: I think my opinion is honest as much as yours and based on something more than a generic complaint!

 

 

(I also love Mahler, by the way! One of my really top favourites.)

 

 

Perhaps not in your case, but when this is the tone adopted, and it sometimes is, I just reply in kind.  If an argument doesn't convince me or seems contrived, well, what would you have me do?  And I don't believe Conrad Pope gets a pass for anything.  It is my conviction that he made some misjudgments on the Hobbit scores, or at least was directed to.  Prejudices against musical styles, certain composers, these are all alive and well whether or not you've seen them.  It can hit close to home too - I recall some truly heinous reactions to one of Marcus' pieces a few years back.

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4 hours ago, TGP said:

 

You've misunderstood.  Rapport has nothing to do with expressing an opinion, but it does have something to do with showing up in a thread and criticizing another member for their posting habits, however repetitive.  It is a pet peeve of mine when people do this on here.  I think you should establish some familiarity with people before you decide you want to snark out on them.  And please spare me this "fee fees" business and defending Howard etc.  That's a bit too far in the direction of immature even for me.

 

Thank you for at least acknowledging the validity of my criticism.

 

And again, I can only apologize most profusely for hurting your feelings by anonymously expressing any distaste for your favored composer. With such thin skin, it must truly be a struggle for you to make it through your daily routine, let alone to wade into the fever swamps of the internet commentary. Excelsior!:lovethis:

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Are you still on this?  I think it was sorted out cleanly and reasonably, but if you want to keep sniping and doing the "I hurt your feelings didn't I?" thing, that is your prerogative.

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Let me start by saying that people can choose to prefer anything they prefer. As Maggie Smith once said in A Prime For Miss Jean Brodie "For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like"....

 

Now to what I am going to say....

 

I personally can't listen to 85% of the music that Shore wrote for LOTR. I think it works fine in the movies, but as a listening experience for me, it's as bland as chalk and completely pedestrian. His music to the hobbit area is like composing 101 and his action writing is very limited. Also, he had a whole world to write for and the music sounds the same throughout. If you guys have ever heard Ravel's score to Daphnis and Chloe. The 2nd suite. The way the woodwinds bubble under the strings brings to mind hearing the animals and feeling nature all around you. That's what I wanted to hear in the Elven realms. They could hear the trees and animals and communicate with nature of sorts. But the music was the same as it was everywhere else and I was left feeling a bit let down by it. And the loud stuff was just LOUD with no form or function. Like someone said, Oh by the way, this is an Epic so he just had the whole orchestra blasting away without any break. No breathing room. No ebb and flow. The brass were just all the brass all the time. Where's the orchestration? Where's the finesse? Those are just a few of my problems.

 

HOWEVER, I do understand why it works for so many other people out there and that's fantastic! I understand why it hits people more emotionally than Williams's writing. The simplicity of harmony and the pop cadence to his writing is what people nowadays are used to, it's like symphonic Enya. World music that is just emotion but with no heart or substance really. He doesn't go harmonically anywhere interesting or complex because he simply cannot go there, not because he does not want to. But, I think, because of that, it grabbed most of the world and it was a complete winner, because most people love simplicity and emotion. It stole people's hearts and took them to a place they wanted to go at that time. The music was tragic through and through. Congrats to him in the end of the day and to his awards!

 

But please, for crying out loud, comparing either Williams or Shore to Wagner is laughable. Wagner is on a completely different level altogether, and at the time Wagner was writing his Operas, he was on his OWN level with no one to match him..... Harmonically and otherwise! He was the father of what became the late Romantic period and modern writing. His complex textures and shifting harmonies, in the 19th century were like no other. We are talking 1800s.... Remember, he was born 200 years ago. That music is so far ahead of it's time. Without him I do not believe there would be the great Richard Strauss or Gustav Mahler amongst. At least not in how they sound because of his innovation. Tristan and Isolde remains one of my favorite works and so complex. I do not think anything in LOTR even comes close to a few bars of that Opera. Williams on the other hand actually does sound as complex, harmonically and otherwise, HOWEVER, when Wagner did it, it was new, never done before, not so with either of these film music giants! That is the huge difference! Wagner was a leader, not a follower. Remember that!

 

But again, love who you love, listen to who you want to listen to, but lets be real about it, lol

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27 minutes ago, ocelot said:

World music that is just emotion but with no heart or substance really. He doesn't go harmonically anywhere interesting or complex because he simply cannot go there, not because he does not want to. But, I think, because of that, it grabbed most of the world and it was a complete winner, because most people love simplicity and emotion. 

 

This is where you get into trouble.  You want to present a "like what you like, it's all ok!" attitude, but this reads more like "most people like unsophisticated music."  And the notion that it's because he can't is just baseless, really - contrary to his own words about limiting the harmonic scope of the scores, and not held up by some of his other music which can be harmonically quite outlandish and adventurous - Spider, The Brood, Naked Lunch, Scanners...this would just be a small taster.

 

It is these slight hints of derision, ever so slight, that I think gets people rightfully argumentative, and it's why this subject always comes up.

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