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Justin Hurwitz's FIRST MAN (2018)

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25 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

So looking forward to hearing Hurwitz’s score.  There’s only like three of us here who loved La La Land, but I’m one of them!  This will be the first traditional film score from someone who’s already won the Oscar, so I’m also just curious.

If you want to call theremin traditional :P I'm betting this is like Interstellar where Zimmer went out there with the organ, between that and the whole IMAX aspect of it Chazelle really owes a debt to Nolan with this film

 

if those comments are to go by the score is the one thing people at the test screenings didn't like as much because it was so out there. If true, it's kinda the perfect way for Chazelle/Hurwitz to incorporate jazz into this lol

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I just meant traditional in terms of not being a musical or incorporating some onscreen musical element like in Whiplash.  The comments make it sound very interesting!

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Finally a thread!

This is one of my most aniticipated score of 2018 ( well, after Solo and this, is there anything left, honestly?) (EDIT: welp, my bad, there still two JNHs on the horizon.)

 

His la la land tunes are splendid, and his Oscar win is one of the more deserving ones.

 

Really cant wait to hear this out-of-his-comfort-zone score.

 

Let us now revisit Planetarium now that this thread is opened:

 

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12 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

The "Someone in the Crowd" reprise is my favorite in the epilogue, that still sticks out to me as a perfect joyous moment in film music 

 

 

^^

True af!

 

I remembered when the tune was first played in the first trailer, againts those quotes, "musical masterpiece", goosebump. 

 

The someone in the crowd counter tune is also one of my most favourite tune of the score. It is  simple, yet glorious!

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Back Lot Music will be releasing the score - 

 

DjSI-v2W4AEE6eZ.jpg:orig

 

Also, 4-minute preview (extended clip from film + short sizzle) is screening in North American IMAXes with Mission Impossible. No score in that snippet.

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I disliked LALALAND (both film and score), but I thought WHIPLASH was excellent. So I don't really know what to expect for this; just that it's an interesting premise.

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Very much looking forward to this score. His three existing scores are all fantastic.

 

First Man will be the first score conducted by Justin Hurwitz himself!

 

He gave a talk (not available online) where he explained he had spent the past year or so studying conducting. On La La Land, the conductor also functioned as a music consultant to give any technical comments on Hurwitz’s orchestrations in case of mistakes. Interestingly, the studio heavily pushed Hurwitz to use one of their orchestrators on La La Land but thankfully did not succeed.

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31 minutes ago, SUH said:

He gave a talk (not available online) where he explained he had spent the past year or so studying conducting. On La La Land, the conductor also functioned as a music consultant to give any technical comments on Hurwitz’s orchestrations in case of mistakes. Interestingly, the studio heavily pushed Hurwitz to use one of their orchestrators on La La Land but thankfully did not succeed.

 

Well if First Man has anything like the orchestrations we got in La La Land then I think I'll pass.

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The real question is, why DOESN'T everyone hate LA LA LAND?

 

I asked myself this question about one thousand times while I was watching it, from the moment that lady in the car opened her mouth but especially from the moment I saw those "dancers" moving their limbs as if they just stepped off the spinning teacups, and even more so when Hurwitz decided to use a flat 7 in the most bizarre and counter-logical location you could probably come up with, along with so many glaring "mistakes" in the music which make you wonder how it ever got greenlighted. I am maybe more annoyed by this than usual because I don't get why the film received such high praise when all I see in it is something that's just "meh".

 

Anyway, I won't say more, don't want to derail this thread further...

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9 minutes ago, Loert said:

The real question is, why DOESN'T everyone hate LA LA LAND?

 

I asked myself this question about one thousand times while I was watching it, from the moment that lady in the car opened her mouth but especially from the moment I saw those "dancers" moving their limbs as if they just stepped off the spinning teacups, and even more so when Hurwitz decided to use a flat 7 in the most bizarre and counter-logical location you could probably come up with, along with so many glaring "mistakes" in the music which make you wonder how it ever got greenlighted. I am maybe more annoyed by this than usual because I don't get why the film received such high praise when all I see in it is something that's just "meh".

 

Anyway, I won't say more, don't want to derail this thread further...

 

4 minutes ago, TGP said:

Feel like pointing out some of those mistakes?

I'd like to know about that flat 7!

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2 hours ago, Loert said:

 

by the end of the measure you're thinking "Wait a minute, was what I just heard a Bb chord, a Bb7, or what?" Because the RH is completely indecisive. It's as if the pianist thought to himself: "I can't decide whether I want the bottom note to be Ab or Bb, so I'll do play an Ab then a Bb and see what happens". This isn't how composing works, people!

 

 

I did indeed ask, and while your analytical take is beyond reproach, I mainly asked to see if you'd say something like this.  If you've no need for a lecture from an aging and somewhat jaded musician based on his experiences with and around other musicians, particularly orchestrators, who themselves have visibly devolved from professional music lovers into dreary husks focused on nitpickerry and 'behind the back' composer gossip, by all means ignore this.  Actually it won't be a lecture, I think I can be succinct - don't let your brain kill your fun.

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25 minutes ago, TGP said:

 

I did indeed ask, and while your analytical take is beyond reproach, I mainly asked to see if you'd say something like this.  If you've no need for a lecture from an aging and somewhat jaded musician based on his experiences with and around other musicians, particularly orchestrators, who themselves have visibly devolved from professional music lovers into dreary husks focused on nitpickerry and 'behind the back' composer gossip, by all means ignore this.  Actually it won't be a lecture, I think I can be succinct - don't let your brain kill your fun.

 

Well, how else am I supposed to analyze what I dislike about a piece without being analytical??? Am I supposed to settle with "I dunno, just doesn't sound right" or "Those notes sound a bit funny to me" or "Just feels a bit unpolished"? If I paid and asked a composition teacher what he thought of my work, and he just told me that it "Sounds a bit wrong" without explaining further, I would obviously want my money back.

 

Look, I am not an analytical listener at all. Music for me is all about just lying back and going on a journey. The last thing I want to think about is whether the piece is Mixolydian or Hexolydian, whether it's in triple or quintuple time...especially during the listening session. When I listen to a piece of music these are never questions that pop into my head - partly why I don't bother is that I feel like to grasp the essence of music by focusing on such questions is a monumentous, impossible task. Better to just let it flow through you.

 

However, as somebody who is also highly interested in composition, I take it almost as a duty to identify what I like in music and don't like in music, so that I know what to steal and what to avoid. Again, I'm not overly analytical about this either - however, if I'm communicating a musical concept to somebody, how can I not resort to the language of music theory? There's a reason why it exists, so that people can discuss what might 'work' in music and what might not 'work', and why composers might have chosen to do this rather than this. (I'm sure you know this already.)

 

So, when I first watched the opening scene of LLL, I did not actually think stuff like "Wait a minute, was what I just heard a Bb chord , a Bb 7, or what?" I just got a general feeling that something was a bit iffy, that the music could be better. When I listened to it again, I picked up on a few other things. And only now when I was writing the post did I really think analytically about what I took to be one of the flaws in the piece.

 

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I feel you man, but even that general feeling that something was a bit iffy is what I'm talking about.  I do it too sometimes but at a certain point if what is being heard isn't complete shit my brain turns that off and says, look, I know this isn't total amateur hour so let's just hear what this person has to say and not think about how to tweak every little thing.  So I'm not only not analyzing what might be amiss on the spot, I'm tuning it out in the first place and just hearing what's given - this is what they wrote and it's not my job to tinker.  I get why you want to get to the root of what doesn't work for you and that's commendable.  Not gonna tell you you're reacting wrong, but man it is a slippery slope and I see people go down it a lot.

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I cannot be accused of being a musical savant but too found LLL's approach lackluster in every sense imaginable - though i counter Loert's analysis in that my displeasure started idiomatically, furthered melodically, and finally - in that order - in some clumsy decisions in the technical department. I really wanted to like it, but alas. 

 

As for the 'First Man', i would be all for an expansive romantic treatment see below instead of that Messiaen.

 

 

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On 7/29/2018 at 2:11 PM, SUH said:

Very much looking forward to this score. His three existing scores are all fantastic.

 

First Man will be the first score conducted by Justin Hurwitz himself!

 

He gave a talk (not available online) where he explained he had spent the past year or so studying conducting. On La La Land, the conductor also functioned as a music consultant to give any technical comments on Hurwitz’s orchestrations in case of mistakes. Interestingly, the studio heavily pushed Hurwitz to use one of their orchestrators on La La Land but thankfully did not succeed.

 

 

HOLY SHIT YOU'RE BACK!?!?!  WHY'D YOU LEAVE!?!??!

 

On 7/29/2018 at 2:24 PM, TGP said:

Why'd you delete all your old posts?

 

Yea, that too!

You have a lot to answer to, mister! :stick:

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48 minutes ago, antovolk said:

Hurwitz is recording the score this week. Seems all the theremin stuff from test screenings was temps

 

 

 

He was conducting the score in May also!

 

Hurwitz cancelled an event in London due to 'work commitments', and confirmed he had been recording the First Man score that week.

 

I will be interested to see how different this score sounds to his previous works - particularly the more ambient/thriller writing from the Whiplash underscore.

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47 minutes ago, SUH said:

 

He was conducting the score in May also!

 

Hurwitz cancelled an event in London due to 'work commitments', and confirmed he had been recording the First Man score that week.

 

I will be interested to see how different this score sounds to his previous works - particularly the more ambient/thriller writing from the Whiplash underscore.

 

Huh, so I guess the question is whether he was just splitting time and just recording additional cues, or re-did the score following the test screenings (apparently most people at that first screening didn't like it)....

 

And yeah, he was due to conduct the La La Land Live to Projection performances here that week, I remember.

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On 7/29/2018 at 11:46 AM, TGP said:

Prepare for disappointment.  I've heard there's a killer dance number when they land.  Gosling really cuts a rug.

 

Doesn't he kick some serious Soviet ass on the moon too?

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Saw a ‘first look’ of this before Mission: Impossible - Fallout. Showed a clip of the launch. It’s incredibly claustrophobic. They did a great job with the camerawork and sound design to put you in that rocket ship. 

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22 hours ago, SUH said:

Fundamentally, if it sounds good then thats all that matters. And I think the critical and commercial success of the score speaks for itself. Though of course ‘sounding good’ is always going to be subjective. It is an interesting notion that there exists music that is problematic, or inherently against how composing works, but I don’t think these exist in any objective sense.

 

 

I find these claims absurd. You are claiming what is supposed to happen based on your own understanding of harmony and musical taste. These may be the choices you would have made while composing, but they are not rules that SHOULD or CLEARLY have been followed by any means.

.

It does depend on what you mean by "good", and in my post I was trying to put forward my vision of what it was that I found in the music that I considered "not good". I don't believe there is a Theory of Everything for musical aesthetics, but I don't see any harm in being blunt and specific about my feelings (apart from riling up certain fans of La La Land for no reason, which may be a good enough reason not to have brought this all up in the first place). We may never get to the roots of what it is that makes music "good", without resorting to It sounds good because I like it. But I think it is at least worth a try (and here I think I fundamentally disagree with TGP).

 

I'm glad that LA LA LAND gained critical and commercial success, but it does leave me perplexed, and slightly saddened, as I believe that the music in the film could have been so much better. Comparing WEST SIDE STORY and LA LA LAND side by side, for instance, I can't help but notice a huge gap in quality between them (in terms of music, only).

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The note Loert suggests does seem to better fit the contour of the rhythm.  

It is like Hurwitz was trying to be jazzy for the sake of being jazzy, without having the proper harmonic foundation for it.

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26 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

You expect every successful musical to be as good as probably the highest peak of the entire form?  Geez.

 

I just made one comparison, I could say the same thing about The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, On the Town, Fiddler on the Roof, The Lion King, Les Miserables...

 

18 minutes ago, Steve McQueen said:

The note Loert suggests does seem to better fit the contour of the rhythm.  

 

To be fair I don't think my suggestion for variation 1 cuts it. The original is OK enough. It's variation 2 (with the flute and timps) which is simply egregious, and hints at an unusual lack of care for musical contour.

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5 hours ago, Loert said:

and here I think I fundamentally disagree with TGP).

 

I don't think so, else I'd not have taken part in so many such discussions here over the years.  I just saw in your wording something that rang a bell, though to be fair I'm sure you're far from suffering the kind of musical atrophy I had in mind.  Some people who pore over scores for hours and hours at a time either as copyists or orchestrators or what have you and simply burn out, that's where I've seen it.  They reach a point where they are all too quick to throw out the baby with the bathwater because it's been reduced to rote science for them rather than art.  Just a cautionary tale. 

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The matter seems closed and settled in this thread, but plunking through @Loert's "problem" bars, I really don't see the issue, with all due respect. In no possible realm of my mind am I freaking out, "What!? Is this a Bb7, or a Bb? What did I just hear!?", and I don't even consider it a matter of, "Well, it's fine for what's he going for, I guess". One danger I think that can befall musicians--I say this more as a generality--is they can discuss music under the guise of relativity while still managing a certain level of condescension or superiority. 

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2 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

In no possible realm of my mind am I freaking out, "What!? Is this a Bb7, or a Bb? What did I just hear!?"...

 

That's not really the angle I'm coming from. But anyway, I don't want to go over this again.

No condescension was intended with my posts. I just communicated what my instincts told me. Though perhaps I could have used less colourful language.

 

I sincerely hope that FIRST MAN is a success. :)

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