Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Seth

  • Rank
    Regular Poster

Recent Profile Visitors

2845 profile views
  1. I assume you mean the end of episode 6, referring to the Philip Glass tracking? I was wondering about that because it seemed so far removed from what Stein and Dixon had done so far. But it worked exceptionally well, better than anything they would have come up, I think. I still don't think the first two seasons could have supported a more traditional orchestral score, but I think this season has crossed into territory that maybe outstrips Stein and Dixon's abilities. I have a half-formed suspicion that they don't score to picture, and I wonder if that's part of why it's seemed underwhelming this time around, given that the stakes feel higher this time and things seem to have more dramatic weight. I didn't mind the synth score the first couple of times, but if the show continues--much less builds on what they've done this year--I wouldn't mind seeing a change in musical approach.
  2. The finale is the movement I have always thought worked the best, and you're right that the climax really is beautiful. Maybe it's just me, but I have also thought that the end of the piece has almost an air of dread about it. The closing bars have always sounded very dark and foreboding to me.
  3. It's interesting you single some of these scores out. Nixon, Seven Years in Tibet, and Sleepers are things I've been getting to know lately, and there's some stunning music in those scores. His mid to late 90s scores don't seem to get so much attention, but they are substantial and rewarding if you take the time. His thematic material in those scores has a "breathing" quality that, to me, is a bit unique. By that I mean that the phrases have a very natural ebb and flow, and his conducting of the scores is very fluid and attentive. Now I'm just babbling. But still--give those scores some attention and I think you'll find a lot to like. It even inspired me to buy another copy of Rosewood, since I gave it up a couple of moves ago and now wish I hadn't. As far as my own answer to the question here, I can't think of anything. Like @Nick Parker, I've gotten some degree of enjoyment out of most of his scores and concert works (the Cello and Flute Concerti notwithstanding--I don't think I will ever come around to the Cello Concerto, even though it's got a lot of fans here). I suppose the nearest experience I've had is with the Pieces for Solo Cello or Heartwood. The solo pieces are more interesting that I initially thought, but still not necessarily immediately accessible, and Heartwood is just beautiful, with some of his most interesting combinations of harmonic language and orchestral approaches.
  4. William Walton's Symphony No.1. I stumbled across a really exciting live performance by Andre Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra from the 1970 Proms. It's an interesting piece; I found the orchestrations particularly arresting. The only way I can describe the colors is sharp, I think. The wind and brass scoring sounds like something more from the concert band world than an orchestral work, but that's not a bad thing. The main idea of the finale reminded more than a little of Elmer Bernstein's National Geographic fanfare.
  5. I've been listening to John Adams' Harmonium and Harmonielehre a lot lately, the former in a stunning performance from the 2017 Proms, conducted by Edward Gardner. It's music I liked well enough in college and was curious to see if it still held any allure for me. And it definitely still does. Harmonium in particular is a better work than I remembered, but both works have a strong sense of pacing and arrival. Both pieces have such a strong conceptual structure, and they're often ravishingly beautiful. The setting of "Wild Nights" is just stunning.
  6. If the Academy has any sense, Visual Effects is First Man's award to lose. I would also award it the prize for cinematography, and "The Landing" is almost worth a score Oscar on its own in my mind. The way Hurwitz paced that cue is just astonishing, and paired with the visuals its probably my favorite film sequence from 2018.
  7. In any case, it seems like there was just a bit of fuzz on the playing surface. So the disc appears to be fine. Some random observations--This score really is a bit unique in his work; I think it's wrong to call it a horror score, though there are elements that could fairly be called that. I think this might be the best performance he got from the London Symphony in those years; it's near the top, at any rate. The brass and low strings are the standouts for me. The orchestra just sounds huge on the remaster. I wouldn't imagine it was exceptionally large in actuality, but it sounds absolutely massive here and I love it. I'm continually amazed, listening to Williams' scores from 77-83 (or 84, depending on how much mileage you get out of Temple of Doom--I'm not that fond of it), at the amount of clarity and attention to detail in his orchestrations. The monothematic approach is obviously unique when compared to something like the Star Wars trilogy or Superman, but he does so many things with the theme that it doesn't ever get tiresome or boring. I don't know if this makes sense or not, but I think Dracula helps shed some light on how he got from Star Wars to Empire, compositionally speaking. Anyway, those are just some thoughts after playing it through a couple of times. I have no doubt that it will reward repeated hearings. Everyone involved should be pleased with their work here, as it's a pretty spectacular release.
  8. Forgive me for asking a simple question. There's no need to curse.
  9. Has anyone else gotten a disc with any glitches? "Meeting Van Helsing" on disc 1 of my copy has a skip and I wanted to see if it was an issue for anyone else. Great score, though, and a superb release. Unless La La Land has something truly spectacular in the Black Friday offerings this is the Williams release of the year.
  10. Of course, the film structure certainly drives the score. I wonder if your theory on Goldsmith could be redirected to explore why Williams' concert works that seem to have some extramusical association are more formally successful than those that don't. Even though Williams isn't obviously drawing on structure and image for his concert work, it seems to me that drawing inspiration from nature or myth, for instance (such as the bassoon and horn concertos and Heartwood) or personal tragedy in the case of the violin concerto, leads him to create pieces that more solid structurally-speaking than those that don't rely on those external sources of inspiration. But maybe I'm just rambling.
  11. I'm genuinely curious as to whether anyone is truly excited about this movie. I can't think of many books I've hated more than this one and I honestly can't believe Spielberg is directing the adaptation. I wish he had dug up the aborted Robopocalypse adaptation if he felt the need to make an effects-heavy adventure movie. I would have killed to have heard Williams score that one. I think it would have been a hybrid of A.I. and Minority Report with some strains of War of the Worlds, and in my mind it's nothing short of awesome.
  12. I keep hoping Indy 5 turns out to be something that never happens. I only love Raiders out of the lot (and that goes for scores too), and I don't see any of the three sequels to date as essential, though I love the Grail and father/son material from Last Crusade. As far as West Side Story goes, I think it would be interesting if Williams were to do new adaptations of the songs and maybe write some new underscore, but I honestly like the arrangements from the 60s just fine. I don't think it would be West Side Story with new songs. The Bernstein/Sondheim songs are so established and ingrained that trying to replace them would be a fool's errand.
  13. What a bummer that would be. I loved Kraemer's score to Rogue Nation. Really effective interpolation of the Schifrin material with his own writing, orchestrations that were effective in how each section was used and played off of each other (so much clarity, compared to a lot of orchestral scores for big-budget action movies!) and pretty solidly engineered recording too. I think Kraemer would be a solid choice for a Star Wars spin-off if anyone thinks to ask.
  14. I don't know if this question was meant for the peanut gallery, but I'm willing to take a stab at it. In my mind, form has a lot of impact on how interesting and involving a musical work is and can affect how I receive a piece emotionally or intellectually. It can reveal a lot about a composer's ability to manipulate his/her material and get mileage out of it, so to speak, and it can show a great deal about pacing and architecture, and how everything fits together. Form affects everything, from how the piece's building blocks (whether it's melodic material, textural, harmonic, or rhythmic devices, etc.) are established, and then how those building blocks get rearranged, elaborated on, varied, combined, and so on. I actually agree with @TGP that it's hard sometimes to argue with that criticism when it's applied to Williams. A good example to me is the first movement of the cello concerto or the corresponding movement of the viola concerto, where Williams lays out his material fairly quickly, gives the soloist a little room to ruminate on it, but Williams places what other composers might use for a climax comes so quickly that there isn't really anywhere else to go. That's not to disparage the orchestral scoring or the melodic material in either case, and Williams gets into and out of the climactic passage material skillfully, but it feels out of place and as far as I'm concerned the rest of the movement is wheel-spinning punctuated by occasional moments of interest. By contrast, the first movement of The Five Sacred Trees is a formal structure that works much better. It's a really artfully constructed build, from the solo bassoon opening through to the various passages for orchestra without soloist and that feature the soloist weaving in and out of the orchestral textures, and the climax of the movement comes naturally and comes at just the right place--it's related to the material that got worked over throughout the movement, and it still allows for the soloist to have a denoument, in literary terms, before the movement comes to a close. This kind of criticism doesn't necessarily apply to his film work, where there are discrete cues that allow material to come and go as necessary and get developed in a different way over a longer time with shorter sections. If that makes any sense. If any of this makes any sense. I admittedly don't have the vocabulary to discuss music in the way I would like, even though I love it and have opinions about it that I can't always put into words well. As an aside, if his longevity is being discussed, I think the bassoon, horn, and harp concertos stand a chance of lasting. I'm not fond of the cello concerto, and although I like the violin concerto I don't know that will take a huge place in the repertoire when violinists have so much else to choose from. I think it would be the same situation if he chose wrote a piano concerto.
  15. I've actually got to say my vote is split on this one. I am enjoying TLJ a lot more than The Post. But I think The Post should have been nominated for the Oscar (though I say this having only heard the album; not seen the film). It covers a lot of ground in a short time, and I think the more rhythmic, textural material is really interesting. I love those jagged brass figures in "The Presses Roll" a lot, and also that lovely, melancholy tune in the same track that gets carried by the woodwinds. The electronic stuff is really tastefully applied. As much as I like those elements, I kind of wish the whole score had been in the vein of "The Oak Room" and "Two Martini Lunch," in a more reflective, jazz-tinged mode. Plus it's really beautiful piano/combo writing that seems to just scratch the surface of something richer. I think Williams has a kind of dark, forlorn side that he doesn't indulge often, but when he does it's usually very striking. But from my understanding that's not the kind of film Spielberg made. I'm honestly surprised TLJ got him the nomination; I thought it would be a double nomination or just The Post.
  • Create New...