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  1. 1941, easy. I think it's the best in terms of structure, and the counterpoint in the final strain that combines the main tune and the B theme puts it over the top for me.
  2. I was finally able to play this through today. I had either forgotten--or never realized--how unforgiving this score is. I can't think of much more music in Williams' output that is so relentlessly oppressive and unnerving. Even the lighter material has a shadow over it. It's very much a companion to AI and Minority Report in that loose sci-fi trilogy Spielberg made in the early 2000s. I really appreciate the action music for its unrelenting rhythmic drive and reliance on mid- and low-range colors--the antiphonal timpani (!) and massed horns and trombones with low strings that mark The Intersection Scene and The Ferry Scene, but I had forgotten about the textural elements--I really love repeated figures for high muted trumpets--in the basement scenes and the lurching, unstable chords in the horns near the climax of The Red Planet. I wish there were more examples outside of this score of the emotionally aloof, icy string writing that Williams used so well here, where two contrapuntal lines sort of move around each other. In terms of atmosphere, cues like Refugee Status remind me a little of how Williams scored the family separation/Shanghai street scenes in Empire of the Sun and I have no complaints. It's definitely a score I'll have to be in the mood to listen to, but I'm glad to have a treatment that emphasizes the musical narrative.
  3. +1. I wish someone would pay for Williams to re-record the OT scores with those session players and the same engineering setup, because those quotes are just beautifully played and recorded. I think the biggest difference in the orchestra size is the string counts (50 or 52 in the OT, I think, vs, 60-64 in the prequels?), and to my ears Williams' OT string writing sounds fine. For some reason I don't like the crash cymbal sounds in scores like CE3K or The Fury, but that's not a big enough gripe to want a new recording. I wouldn't mind a new Last Crusade though. I don't know if it's the orchestra or recording, but it's kind of a slog to listen to that one because Dan Wallin made it sound devoid of life. The Concord box sounds a little better than the original album, but it's such a flat recording that it really doesn't help. I'd also like to hear Minority Report or A.I. recorded by someone other than Shawn Murphy, although I really do like what Mike Matessino was able to do with the expansions. I was also listening to War Horse and Tintin again last week, and the trumpets--as a section--sound off in both of those scores. It doesn't sound like Williams' writing is that much different than usual, but they so thin and sort of tinny, not all the more robust sound he was getting prior to 2011, and I'm curious as to why.
  4. I wish the Star Wars sequel trilogy also had brief trumpet solos like the first 6 scores did. I also really missed the airy synth textures that he used to such great effect in the prequel trilogy. The main Schindler's List theme doesn't sit well with me. It draws too much attention to itself and verges on melodrama. I think the material developed in Remembrances would have been a better defining identity for the score. I get what you're saying, but I was really impressed with how closely he was able to follow the cuts and shifting action in the film. The Last Jedi was definitely a grower for me and I think it might be my favorite score of the sequel trilogy (though I'm not sure how much of that is the merits of the music and how much is the fact that it's actually audible in the mix and reasonably intact.)
  5. I'm sure this is an unrealistic wish, but I would love it if the booklet gives some sort of details on the makeup of the orchestra in some of the action cues. I've always been curious about that after noticing the number of brass players in the roster contained in the OST liner notes. I seriously doubt any cues called for 12 horns or 6 trombones, but the brass writing in this score has more weight than just about anything else he's done. Anyway, very excited to listen to the score in order as it's not one of my favorite Williams album presentations.
  6. This. Temple of Doom is just too much; I admire the technique behind it all but I really don't want to listen to most of it. The Lost World is unique and I like that it sort of stands out in his work. It's another example of why 1996-2005 is second only to 1977-1983 (and it's close) in how I rate the periods of Williams' career.
  7. I think my favorite bit of the cue is the exposed woodwind and horn writing where Williams intertwines the themes for Rey and the Resistance. It's a terrifically effective use of two themes I don't think he had let play together before. When I saw the film, though, my ears perked up the most at the ostinato pointed out by @Marian Schedenig, and I was struck by how fluidly Williams built out from that figure to drive the cue to a resolution. The trumpet figures near the end remind me a little of how he accompanied the very first statements of Kylo Ren's theme way back in Attack on the Jakku Village. It's all these little things that make me want to hear everything he wrote for this installment (and the rest of the sequel trilogy).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Forgive me for asking a simple question. There's no need to curse.
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