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Can we expect a 2nd Symphonic Film Music Renaissance?


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#1 filmmusic

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 10:44 AM

I was just thinking, taking into account the style of soundtracks the last few years and soundtracks like 127 hours, Social Network, brokeback montain being nominated and even winning an oscar.

In the 60s-70s I'd say we had a similar situation with the pop soundtrack taking over and the fall of the operatic symphonic film music of the old days (Korngold, Rozsa etc..).
But John Williams changed that with Star wars.

Should we expect or Can we expect a Second such Film music Renaissance any time soon, or do you think that those good old days of the purely symphonic soundtrack are over and we will never turn back??

Of course someone would say that the style of films changed too, which allowed the style of film music to change too.. But someone could say the same for the films of 60s-70s in comparison with 30s-40s..

(listening to Rozsa's "Ivanhoe" while writing this topic :) )
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#2 TownerFan

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:07 AM

I don't know, it's very difficult to make these kind of predictions.

I think that we shouldn't take symphonic film music as a genre in itself. The reality is that the style and the aesthetic of the musical composition is very much tied up with the film for which it's written for.

My own belief is that the orchestra will never be replaced totally in music for films. There will always be a spot for orchestral scores. But everything depends on how the style of Hollywood movies will change/evolve and if they will need the kind of lush symphonic scores that you're talking about.

I think today's era is quite different from the film music landscape of the late 1960s. Back then, there was the tendency to have "pop" scores, but they still were by and large acoustic, classically-styled pieces of work, maybe more in debt with light jazz than late-Romantic stylings (think about Henry Mancini, or early John Barry). But symphonic scores were still written, they just became more sporadic.

Again, it mainly depends on the movies for which the music is written for. The "renaissance" that happened with Star Wars has very much to do with the film itself and its own success. It was a film that purposefully looked back at the movies of the past, especially the swashbucklers of the 1930s/1940s, and the music was an integral part of that.

#3 Stefancos

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:11 AM

No salvation, no Second Coming. The music will turn as ash into our ears, and gravy into oureth noses.

There is no sunlight after this long, cold blackness!

Woe is us!

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#4 crocodile

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:15 AM

This is completely irrelevant. The world is ending in less than two years anyway. It's about time!

If we're fortunate enough it'll happen before the release date of the new Superman movie. ;)

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"Modern, serious music has become embroiled in an intellectual discussion that has no place in music. Certainly, the great composer of the past were geniuses and used their intellect, but only to serve their emotions and guide their craft. Not to dictate to them what they should or shouldn't write" - Michael Kamen, 1995

#5 dfenton85

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 12:35 PM

This is completely irrelevant. The world is ending in less than two years anyway. It's about time!

If we're fortunate enough it'll happen before the release date of the new Superman movie. ;)

Karol


And hopefully we'll get complete prequel releases before that also ;)

The "big three" of film music in the 90's were John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner. I imagine the next big three next decade will be Alexandre Desplat, John Powell and Michael Giachino. If that is the case, I wouldn't worry about the lack of symphonic film music. Although, I do agree that it is in a slump at the moment, partly due to the influence of the MV/RC sound :angry:

#6 Quintus

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 12:35 PM

[Don LaFontaine/]It WILL happen again. The question is, WHEN?[/Don LaFontaine]

#7 Datameister

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 04:58 PM

I'm holding onto the hope that it'll happen eventually.

#8 crocodile

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:07 PM

Seriously though:

To say that SW was a sign of Renaissance in the 70's is, I think, a great insult to works of people like Jerry Goldsmith and co. And to scores like Jaws, for that matter. SW was popular due to its film, but few, if any, scores achieved this kind of status later on.

But I guess you're referring to "big, broad adventurous melodic score". Whil, I'm not sure this is the best thing film music has to offer, I'm pretty sure it'll re-appear sometime in the future.

Karol
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"Modern, serious music has become embroiled in an intellectual discussion that has no place in music. Certainly, the great composer of the past were geniuses and used their intellect, but only to serve their emotions and guide their craft. Not to dictate to them what they should or shouldn't write" - Michael Kamen, 1995

#9 filmmusic

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:30 PM

Seriously though:

To say that SW was a sign of Renaissance in the 70's is, I think, a great insult to works of people like Jerry Goldsmith and co. And to scores like Jaws, for that matter. SW was popular due to its film, but few, if any, scores achieved this kind of status later on.

But I guess you're referring to "big, broad adventurous melodic score". Whil, I'm not sure this is the best thing film music has to offer, I'm pretty sure it'll re-appear sometime in the future.

Karol


yes, i was referring most to the Wagnerian-leitmotific way of scoring with a big symphonic orhestra like in the old scores of Korngold, Rozsa etc..
Every film music book or scholarly article that refers to Star Wars marks it as the return of the big-symphonic score. I don't think it was the intention of the authors to insult other composers/scores. as it wasn't mine either.. ;)
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#10 Richard

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:45 PM

Unless film scoring can, somehow, pull itself back from the precipiece, then I think that we can "look forward" to more scores like "TSN" winning the Oscar.
If there is to be an new era in true symphonic film music, then it is going to take a new generation which is more respectful to the "golden age", and the "silver age" of film scoring, understands the demands of true symphonic scoring, understands, both inside and out, the film which they are about to score, and has both the talent, and the training to be able to do this. If not, then I fear that more and more Zimmer "boot-camps" will spring up adding to an already homogenised sound of modern-day scoring.
IMO, the art (and for me, it is an art!) of individuality is disapearing, rather more than the ability to put notes on to paper. I can instantly tell my Williams, from my Barry, from my Goldsmith, from my Horner, from my Elfman, etc, just by hearing it. I am unable to tell my Giachino, from my Zimmer, from my Desplat, without looking at the CD first.
Film music needs to rediscover its "voice", and not to be content to follow popular trends. Like any art, it needs to be adventurous and forward-looking. If this means going "backwards" to a new age in symhonic scoring, then so be it.

#11 Alexcremers

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:56 PM

Can we expect a 2nd Symphonic Film Music Renaissance?



Will we go back to making Charlie Chaplin films?



Alex
"The film that really struck me was Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner.' That was a film I watched many, many times and found endlessly fascinating in its density. But I think the density of that film is primarily visual density and atmospheric and sound density, more so than narrative density. But, yeah, I think for a lot of filmmakers particularly, there will be a film like that in their past that they've really become a little obsessed with and seen too many times, or more times than seems healthy." - Christopher Nolan

#12 Quintus

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 06:08 PM

Crap analogy.

#13 Chaac

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 06:30 PM

I am unable to tell my Giachino, from my Zimmer, from my Desplat, without looking at the CD first.


Mmmmm are you being serious about these three?

#14 Alexcremers

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 06:30 PM

Crap analogy.



Shouldn't you be talking porno in some other thread?


Just like the Charlie Chaplin films, the symphonic type of score might be exhausted or no longer in touch with modern audiences.



Alex
"The film that really struck me was Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner.' That was a film I watched many, many times and found endlessly fascinating in its density. But I think the density of that film is primarily visual density and atmospheric and sound density, more so than narrative density. But, yeah, I think for a lot of filmmakers particularly, there will be a film like that in their past that they've really become a little obsessed with and seen too many times, or more times than seems healthy." - Christopher Nolan

#15 filmmusic

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 06:38 PM


Crap analogy.



Shouldn't you be talking porno in some other thread?


Just like the Charlie Chaplin films, the symphonic type of score might be exhausted or no longer in touch with new audiences.


Well, I don't know about Charlie Chaplin films, but I know that when I watched Avatar and Tranformers I was bored to death and nearly slept at the cinema while I consider the Indiana Jones films purely masterpieces and works of art!
(just picked randomly these films)
May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#16 Quintus

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 06:44 PM


Crap analogy.



Shouldn't you be talking porno in some other thread?

Why bother to do it in another thread when I see a little pussy in this one?

Your analogy is as worthless and stupid as someone suggesting the only valid, desirable art in the modern world is Banksy's graffiti.

#17 Richard

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:07 PM


I am unable to tell my Giachino, from my Zimmer, from my Desplat, without looking at the CD first.


Mmmmm are you being serious about these three?


Do you mean "are you being serious about not being able to tell these 3 composers apart?" Unfortunately, I am. It's not that I object to their music, it's just that it all seems a little too "samey" for my taste.
If I can tell anyone, then it's probably Zimmer, but only through his current "style", which seems to be two-note themes repeated ad infinitum.
Hands up how many people heard Zimmer in "TRON:Legacy"? I don't mean to critise these people's efforts out-of-hand, but I state my case again: there is less individuality in film scoring at this present time, than there probably ever has been.
As to film music going through a renaissance with the appearence of "SW": I'm not so sure. Good film scores had always been there, whether it was from Barry, or Goldsmith, or Morricone. True, Williams struck movie gold with the (almost) double whammy of "Jaws", and "SW", but good scores were around, despite the likes of Simon And Garfulkel, et. al. trying to destroyng it (thanks, Mike!). I will happily concede, however, that they were thin on the ground.
Thanks to Williams, symphonic scoring again became not only de rigeur, but also lucrative. Nothing says "hello, how are ya?" to Hollywood's ears like ker-ching!!
What the future holds, I really don't know. I do know, however, that when Williams, and Morricone both die, there will be (almost) no-one left from that "second wave", and that both saddens, and concerns me. Let's hope that it's not for a little while yet, eh?

#18 Chaac

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:11 PM

I said it because, to my ears, they sound very different from each other, so I found that suprising.

#19 Quintus

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:15 PM

Indeed.

#20 Alexcremers

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:29 PM

Well, I don't know about Charlie Chaplin films, but I know that when I watched Avatar and Tranformers I was bored to death and nearly slept at the cinema while I consider the Indiana Jones films purely masterpieces and works of art!
(just picked randomly these films)


It seems that these type of scores are only temporarily 'revived' when Spielberg (one of the key persons of the 2nd renaissance) makes a new Indiana Jones film. And making a new Indiana Jones film feels like an attempt to satisfy the people who were brought up on the films of Spielberg and Lucas. Personally, I feel there's something dishonest about this kind of 'reviving'. Spielberg is a different person, a different artist today. When he made Raiders Of The Lost Ark, it was because he had to do it. He believed in it. Art shouldn't be standing still. Spielberg and Williams should move on and search for new forms to express themselves and share that with the audience.

And of course Avatar & co are crap.


Alex
"The film that really struck me was Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner.' That was a film I watched many, many times and found endlessly fascinating in its density. But I think the density of that film is primarily visual density and atmospheric and sound density, more so than narrative density. But, yeah, I think for a lot of filmmakers particularly, there will be a film like that in their past that they've really become a little obsessed with and seen too many times, or more times than seems healthy." - Christopher Nolan

#21 Richard

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:33 PM

I said it because, to my ears, they sound very different from each other, so I found that suprising.


It's just that I'm not that familiar with enough of each of the composer's works to make the automatic connection...yet. I'm sure that it will come, but, to be honest, faced with the choice of buying either "The King's Speech", or the re-issue of "Family Plot", then I most definitely choose the latter, and poor ole Mr. Desplat has to wait. Sorry, Alex; that's just the way it is. ;)
If my coffers were big enough, I would buy all the music (film scores or no) that I want to, which would mean that I would probably spend about 100 per week. At the moment, I can't do this, so, unfortunately, some scores have to fall by the wayside. :(

#22 Hedji

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 08:32 PM

I'm feeling much the same way as Richard. I do not buy much modern film music. The reason for that is two-fold: First, as Richard mentioned, I don't have enough money to get it all, and with the great Silver Age stuff being released, that's where my dollar goes. Second, I have yet to be hooked in by any of the modern guys. I mean, really, I just don't leave the theater feeling my heart swelling with the music anymore. It's both the quality of the films, the structure of the music, and the way they both work together to affect me. In other words, they just don't grab me. I can probably differentiate between Zimmer, Gia, and Desplat. I wouldn't suggest that their styles are identical. But there is a sameness in their inability to thrill me.

Now, I'm getting up there in years, but I wouldn't call myself an old fart yet. Perhaps there's an ideal age where our brains are more fertile for composers' styles to germinate. And of course the generation you belong to determines the music that is "compatible with your DNA". A kid born in the 90's may, because of environment and media bombardment, may find more to enjoy in Desplat than a guy like me who was born in the 70s. And because I've spent so much of my life enjoying Williams and Goldsmith, I tend to measure the other guys' styles against those.

Why haven't I taken the time to take the plunge and explore Desplat? 'Cause he hasn't given me reason to yet. There has to be a spark before the bloom, and it just isn't there yet with any of these youngsters.

#23 filmmusic

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 08:45 PM


Well, I don't know about Charlie Chaplin films, but I know that when I watched Avatar and Tranformers I was bored to death and nearly slept at the cinema while I consider the Indiana Jones films purely masterpieces and works of art!
(just picked randomly these films)


It seems that these type of scores are only temporarily 'revived' when Spielberg (one of the key persons of the 2nd renaissance) makes a new Indiana Jones film. And making a new Indiana Jones film feels like an attempt to satisfy the people who were brought up on the films of Spielberg and Lucas. Personally, I feel there's something dishonest about this kind of 'reviving'. Spielberg is a different person, a different artist today. When he made Raiders Of The Lost Ark, it was because he had to do it. He believed in it. Art shouldn't be standing still. Spielberg and Williams should move on and search for new forms to express themselves and share that with the audience.

And of course Avatar & co are crap.


Alex


Well, it's not only these action films that would justify a use of symphonic score.
Look at some simple drama films too eg let's say "Stanley and Iris". A brilliant little thematic film score. What Williams has done with a film like this.
Now, if we have a similar movie in these years, the scores will be just sustained chords all over with maybe a little piano here and there. And then we call it minimalistic..

And unfortunately it's not the fault entirely of the composers.
From discussions with film directors too, it is them also who want such scores, minimalistic and electronic.
be it that they're afraid of music, be it that they are not so musically educated.
E.g. I've read many times about film directors or producers in the past, that they asked of music of their films to be Prokofiev like, or Strauss like, or Wagner like.. This means that they HAD a musical education and knew how to appreciate these composers.
Directors of today don't.
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#24 Drax

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:24 AM

be it that they're afraid of music, be it that they are not so musically educated.


I think they are afraid of music detracting from their pretty pictures.

#25 guest

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:56 PM

Crap analogy.


I dunno, I miss comedies that actually make me laugh instead of using shock / gross out tactics to make me chuckle.

I am unable to tell my Giachino, from my Zimmer, from my Desplat, without looking at the CD first.


I can recognize Giacchino easily because he has his own voice. And he actually composes good music.

#26 Stefancos

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:59 PM

Zimmer has a far more original voice the Gia does.

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#27 guest

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:02 PM

Zimmer has a far more original voice the Gia does.




I expect better from you.

#28 Quintus

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:27 PM


Crap analogy.


I dunno, I miss comedies that actually make me laugh instead of using shock / gross out tactics to make me chuckle.

Definitely. I've gotta agree with your flipside of that crap analogy. I was fortunate enough to get the Laurel and Hardy Complete Collection boxset for Christmas from the inlaws. Absolutely brilliant, hilarious stuff, even now. Amazing how relevant much of it still is, too. Remembered mostly for their slapstick routines; it's easy to forget how skilled they were at wordplay - The Two Ronnies were clearly influenced by them in their own, legendary BBC sketches, decades later.

#29 guest

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:37 PM



Crap analogy.


I dunno, I miss comedies that actually make me laugh instead of using shock / gross out tactics to make me chuckle.

Definitely. I've gotta agree with your flipside of that crap analogy.





Yeah that was directed more at Alex, I though I had included his original quote.

#30 Thor

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:44 PM

Since symphonic film music of various kinds is alive and well, there can't really be a renaissance.

It's a common misconception that Williams somehow re-introduced symphonic film music with STAR WARS in 1977. That is of course not true. Symphonic film music was still being composed by the numbers at the time. It's just that the POPULAR scores and soundtracks were mostly pop-driven, and the classical, neo-romantic writing was out of fashion. Then enter Williams who combined the classical tradition with his own very contemporary sensibilities (there are even elements of jazz in STAR WARS), combine it with the success of the film in general and boom! you've got a hit.

As I've said many times, I think we're living in a FANTASTIC time in terms of film music. The scope has never been wider - you have everything you can ever dream of in terms of styles, approaches and general aesthetics. Thank GOD we're not only having a singular type of film score, which many of you seem to be desiring (the old-fashioned, convential, busy "adventure" symphonics). I just wish I was in a different position, financially, and that my passion was still as strong as it was back in the 90's and early 2000's. I would have had a ball.

#31 Quintus

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:52 PM

I don't think anyone here at least has ever been under the impression that Williams was responsible for anything other than the symphonic revival of popular film music, and not the revival of the symphonic score as a genre in itself.

#32 steb74

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:55 PM

Well, in all fairness ....it's never been a misconception by Williams fans or fans of symphonic film music.
What do you think are the most interesting jazz elements that Williams employed in SW, excluding the Cantina cues, which are essentially jazz pieces anyway?

Edit - Quint basically said it ;)
 

 

 

 


#33 Thor

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:56 PM

I don't think anyone here at least has ever been under the impression that Williams was responsible for anything other than the symphonic revival of popular film music, and not the revival of the symphonic score as a genre in itself.


I was more referring to "casual film music historians", even some official film historians without expertise in the music area. I'm pretty confident that we as hardcore Williams nuts know better.

#34 Quintus

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:08 PM

Do casual film historians even exist?! ;)

#35 Thor

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:45 AM

Do casual film historians even exist?! ;)


Oh, yes. They're all around us. Like aliens infiltrated into our society. :)

#36 Alexcremers

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:25 PM

Well, it's not only these action films that would justify a use of symphonic score.
Look at some simple drama films too eg let's say "Stanley and Iris".


I don't really regard that a symphonic score.
"The film that really struck me was Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner.' That was a film I watched many, many times and found endlessly fascinating in its density. But I think the density of that film is primarily visual density and atmospheric and sound density, more so than narrative density. But, yeah, I think for a lot of filmmakers particularly, there will be a film like that in their past that they've really become a little obsessed with and seen too many times, or more times than seems healthy." - Christopher Nolan

#37 Quintus

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:31 PM

By "symphonic" you mean romantic. I'm the same.

#38 filmmusic

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:10 PM


Well, it's not only these action films that would justify a use of symphonic score.
Look at some simple drama films too eg let's say "Stanley and Iris".


I don't really regard that a symphonic score.


By symphonic I mean score for a classical orchestra in comparison with samples, electronic stuff, small modern ensembles etc..
May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#39 Sandor

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:30 PM

I think what is meant is a big orchestral score that is so succesful that it becomes customary again for big blockbuster films to be accompanied by the same kind of big, symphonic orchestral scores, and that the composers who write them become household names.

This is - in a way - what Star Wars did. It turned people like John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith into popular figures and films like Star Trek TMP or Conan The Barbarian were (mostly) scored for a large orchestra instead of something synthetic.

Of course symphonic scores are still being written today. However, a film like Pirates Of The Carribean would - 20 years ago - be scored by someone like Jerry Goldsmith or Alan Silvestri. It would have been mandatory for such a film to have that sweeping orchestral sound. But in this age, it is acceptable - even preferred it seems - that such a movie is supported by that typical MV sound.
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#40 Thor

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:45 PM

Of course symphonic scores are still being written today. However, a film like Pirates Of The Carribean would - 20 years ago - be scored by someone like Jerry Goldsmith or Alan Silvestri. It would have been mandatory for such a film to have that sweeping orchestral sound. But in this age, it is acceptable - even preferred it seems - that such a movie is supported by that typical MV sound.


And I don't see what's wrong with that. It would be awfully boring if all pirate movies were scored a la Korngold to the end of time.

Besides, the POTC films are less traditional pirate films as they are pirate films channeled through the Bruckheimer/Bay aesthetic (visuals, editing, colourization, narrative and so on). So the scores they have are very appropriate.




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