Jump to content
TownerFan

The Legacy of John Williams - New Blog on JW

Recommended Posts

40 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

If one tirade from someone who's own career as a composers isnt particularly noteworthy or successful is enough to change you forever you probably should not be working in Hollywood. 

 

Who said anything as dramatic as being changed forever?  It's not about that, it's just about attitude and climate, and I think the art of scoring has enough working against it now to need further drama from the inside.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Different, yes.  Better, that depends on what you like.  The real problem is with filmmakers who don't trust music.  And the insane overflow of projects in every visual medium, so much of it crap.  Change those things and now you'll have a greater concentration of quality scores - in all manner of idioms, not just 2010s hybrid or 1980s blockbuster.  As for talent or vanishing musicianship, I just don't think it's true.  There are more film composers from non classical backgrounds than before, but the classically trained demographic hasn't gone anywhere and I would be surprised if it hasn't in fact grown.  Williams' consummate musicianship is a rarity, not a norm, to begin with.  You won't see it everywhere, and not necessarily in every generation.  Maybe among established film composers now, it's unique.  But how many of the younger generation are right where Williams was at their age, and on a similar trajectory?  The ground is very fertile.  I simply think reverence for the past as a lament for the present and future is a dangerous and useless way of thinking no matter who you are or what you do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Knox Harrington said:

I simply think reverence for the past as a lament for the present and future is a dangerous and useless way of thinking no matter who you are or what you do.

 

Isnt that overstating things a bit, and perhaps overstating Conrad Pope, who is, by his own admission, a hack?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Knox Harrington said:

But how many of the younger generation are right where Williams was at their age, and on a similar trajectory? 

 

One point I'd like to make is how much the music industry in general relied on talented musicians back in that time period.  Williams came up in a culture of playing dance clubs and pop/film music sessions and arranging for pop albums, etc.  Now pop music is mostly just one or two people fartin' around in Pro Tools.  There's just not that landscape of musicians playing together like there used to be, even up through the 80s/90s.  Film scoring seems to be all that's left of that culture/community of session musicians.  Am I wrong on that?

 

You know I'm the last person to bemoan how music used to be better, but I do think that musical talent is not fostered and grown quite like it used to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Session playing for pop genres is definitely down yes, at least people playing together at the same time.  It's sad.  I remember hearing someone talking about a session at Avatar in Manhattan a few years ago that had a full big band group in the room and how novel that now was. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Disco Stu said:

ou know I'm the last person to bemoan how music used to be better, but I do think that musical talent is not fostered and grown quite like it used to be.

 

That much may be true, yes. As with any industry, technological advances and the speed/ease with how we access and pump out information has made it easier to get lazy. But there are a good deal of talented young musicians who are trying to foster creative impulses in novel ways with all these new tools at their disposal. The kind of Williams' breed will indeed never truly be seen again, it's simply impossible. Williams and his process are a product of his time.

 

It's not just a challenge film music faces, but all art. Music has historically evolved in a very reactionary way (Modernism = response to post-war romanticism, serialism = post-WW2 response, minimalism = 60s response to stifling serialism, etc etc). But with information now available all at once, all the time, there is almost too much or even nothing to "react" to. That's the problem with post-post-modernism (or wherever the hell we're at). Anything goes. There are no longer templates to follow or rules to be broken, and the old systems simply don't work. Academia in music has become a far more nebulous and less practically useful space than it used to be. And this leaves many existentialist questions that today's young artists must confront that Williams' generation never really had to deal with. 

 

Pope's rhetoric, however friendly he is as a person, can at times be callously harmful to this generation of aspiring artists who simply will never have access to the kind of climate, resources and experiences that Williams' generation had. As an influencer in his own industry, Pope could instead be more valuable in helping youth navigate the challenging terrains of today. The traditional career ladders that were there in Williams' years no longer exist, at least in the same form. And there are very few ladders, if any, to climb at all. It's far more challenging to find meaningful direction for a young composer now than it used to be. This is where someone with Pope's experience and expertise could lend their support, instead of actively lamenting the "golden days" with every public platform he gets. 

 

It also goes without saying that technique and training are obviously essential things. As with any art, understanding the system is crucial before trying to manipulate it. And it is lamentable that people can rise to positions of power in the industry without having that necessary foundation...but I don't think that's necessarily a new problem. There are loads of talented individuals, with plenty of that who are struggling to find their place in the world. And having a senior musician like Pope, continuing to reinforce the idea that "You will never be or have what Williams had" just doesn't seem like a very healthy or conducive attitude to keep in the industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, KK said:

Pope's rhetoric, however friendly he is as a person, can at time be callously harmful to this generation of aspiring artists who simply will never have access to the kind of climate, resources and experiences that Williams' generation had. As an influencer in his own industry, Pope could instead be more valuable in helping youth navigate the challenging terrains of today. The traditional career ladders that were there in Williams' years no longer exist, at least in the same form. And there are very few ladders, if any, to climb at all. It's far more challenging to find meaningful direction for a young composer now than it used to be. This is where someone with Pope's experience and expertise could lend their support, instead of actively lamenting the "golden days" with every public platform he gets. 

 

I agree with much of what you're saying, but I don't think this is an accurate representation of Pope.  He's known as a very available educator and mentor as far as I know.  To students and aspiring composers/orchestrators in all walks of life.  That's one reason he's appeared on so many random podcasts, he puts himself out there for young people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely! And I know Pope does a lot of work with young musicians all the time. And he appears to be very kind and generous as an individual! There are just some things he says on public platforms that make me raise my eyebrows a bit, but my post was being more critical of that general "music isn't what it once was" attitude, than it was of Pope himself.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, KK said:

But with information now available all at once, all the time, there is almost too much or even nothing to "react" to. That's the problem with post-post-modernism (or wherever the hell we're at). Anything goes. There are no longer templates to follow or rules to be broken, and the old systems simply don't work.

 

Very well said. I always wonder how much of the evolution of music before the mass media / recording era was possible thanks to the fact that composers simply had much less music from their peers to listen to, than we have nowadays. In a sense, it's easier for a creative mind to find his/her own way if there are just a limited number of good models, rather than the whole production of every major composer of the past within a click's reach. Avoiding the feeling that "somebody has already done this in the best way that I can imagine" is essential even to start a creative effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/25/2019 at 5:24 AM, ymenard said:

I had never heard the relation between Powerhouse and Temple of Doom, thanks for this!  It's the non-Horner section that was made hommage, surprisingly (the lesser-known part)

 

Thank you! Horner basically quoted the second half verbatim to the point that Raymond Scott heirs asked the studio to pay copyright fees--but that's another story.

 

As for the connection with the mine car chase cue, I think it's quite evident. Williams enhanced a lot the cartoon-ish elements of the film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the plug and I'm glad your reaching out to David bore fruit! I look forward to listening to this, and for anyone who wants a direct link to my predecessor Goldsmith Odyssey interview, here it is:

http://goldsmithodyssey.buzzsprout.com/159614/1000935-odyssey-interviews-david-newman

 

Yavar

 

P.S. Randy Newman is David's *cousin* -- NOT uncle! (Lionel and Emil Newman were his uncles...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/31/2019 at 1:14 PM, TownerFan said:

It's more a masterclass than an interview

Quite true. He's really fired up, especially regarding educating audiences who are judgmental about film music, but careful to disarm his f-bombs! Thanks for another great episode.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...