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Omen II

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  1. I was lucky enough to receive this from Father Christmas yesterday and played it through for the first time this afternoon. It is such a thrill to finally have the film score recording, but a few words on the remastered 1974 soundtrack album recording to start with; while I never had any problem with the sound on the Varese Sarabande CD (which was actually the first John Williams score CD I bought back in the day!), the remastered sound on this new CD is phenomenal. I particularly noticed how much clearer the horns were on Love Theme, for example, but in every track I hear details I had not noticed before. The separation of the album versions of Miles' Pool Hall and Sam's Rescue into individual tracks - as per Williams's original intention - is also great. These two tracks could rightfully be asterisked with [* includes previously unreleased music], as both include significant amounts of music not heard in the Medley track, simply because it was faded in or faded out to create that Frankenstein's monster of an album track, much as I have always loved it. When I heard the clean opening of Miles' Pool Hall I thought they had switched reels on me there for a few seconds! The film score recording is fantastic to have. I have wanted to hear this music in good quality ever since I first watched the film years ago and realised that the music in the film was a different recording than what was on the soundtrack CD. I expected that if ever the music saw the light of day, it would at best be like one of those archival recordings Cloud 9 Records used to release with more pops and crackles than Edison singing Mary Had A Little Lamb, but not a bit of it - the sound on this is remarkably good. Although I was familiar with most of the unreleased music, there is so much of it that can finally be heard properly outside the film. Much of the cue Washed Away is pretty much inaudible in the film due to the sound effects, but now it can be heard in all its glory. There are also cues that are partially or even mostly dialled out in the film but can now be heard in full (I'm looking at you, Something For Rosa). I also love having the two versions of Aftermath, for a long time one of my most wanted unreleased Williams confections. The fascinating unused cue does not sound quite sad enough somehow, almost as if the music is reflecting the awesomeness of the natural forces at work rather than the devastation wrought by the quake. This is a great release and finally presents the music the way it deserves and in a way much more representative of the score as heard in the film. I think it's beautiful!
  2. Yes, the programme screened lasted an hour and a half (without ad breaks) so the YouTube video must be heavily edited. I would recommend watching the whole thing on BBC iPlayer if you have the means and wherewithal to do so. I should add that there was another excellent documentary screened straight after the Star Wars one, again featuring John Williams and his music very heavily. Score: Cinema's Greatest Soundtracks included interviews with a who's who of film composers including David Newman, Marco Beltrami, Quincy Jones, Howard Shore, Mark Mothersbaugh, Hans Zimmer, Brian Tyler, Tom Holkenborg, Christopher Young and many more, as well as several archive interview clips with John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Again, throughly recommended if you can watch it: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0002pf6/score-cinemas-greatest-soundtracks All of the composers - including Hans Zimmer - spoke gushingly of John Williams and his influence on their own music and careers.
  3. Did anyone else watch the new documentary The Galaxy Britain Built: The British Force Behind Star Wars about the making of Star Wars on BBC Four this evening? It was wonderful, not least because it included extensive discussion of the music by John Williams. As well as showing several sections of the famous 1980 BBC documentary of John Williams working on the score to The Empire Strikes Back, it also included recent interviews with bassoonist Robert Bourton and trombonist Denis Wick who played in the LSO on the original soundtrack. Both spoke very highly of John Williams and gave their recollections of recording the score in Denham, Lionel Newman getting the orchestra in line and much more. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000cdzt/the-galaxy-britain-built-the-british-force-behind-star-wars If you have the chance to watch it on the BBC iPlayer, I highly recommend it. A must for any Williams fans!
  4. This is one instance where it would be quite appropriate if the boxset arrived badly damaged in transit. I would like the top of my boxset to be sodden with seawater, the middle third to have scorch marks and smoke damage while the bottom third should be cracked and torn. In fact LaLa Land will have dropped the ball on this one if the box arrives in pristine condition. Good news is that my order has now shipped, although hopefully not on the SS Poseidon. Rescuer: "How many of you down there?" Red Buttons: "Six." R: "Is that all?" RB: "Did you save anybody else? Anyone from the bow?" R: "No. Just one insufficiently packaged specialist soundtrack boxset addressed to London with a hilariously inaccurate value declaration on the customs label."
  5. Thank you, James. Do the liner notes give any background information about the album track Finale, End Title from Earthquake [track 12]? The music is not heard in the film (for which the end titles are essentially the film version of The City Sleeps) so I have always wondered if it was a track that John Williams wrote specially for the album, or perhaps an earlier version of the end title music.
  6. I received my copy of The Italian Job yesterday, less than three days after ordering. Quartet Records certainly gotta bloomin' move on, didn't they?
  7. I believe the same ensemble will be performing The Terminator live in concert at the same venue next year and I too am curious to hear how well they match the sound of Brad Fiedel's original, in this case. The composer himself will be attending, so I would assume he has some faith in their abilities to replicate the sound of the original.
  8. I did actually have a ticket to this Jason (one of the cheapest ones in the circle), but I could not go in the end as it was on the same evening as the European premiere of Eric Whitacre's The Sacred Veil at St. John's Smith Square, which I wanted to go to slightly more. Sorry that's not much help.
  9. I very much enjoyed listening to your podcast, @TownerFan and @mahler3 and Mike. I might be one of the few JW fans more excited about this box set than about the Harry Potter box set from last year. Sue me, Potterheads! I feel vindicated to hear official confirmation from Mike that the Earthquake album was indeed a rerecording, something I have insisted to be the case since I first saw the film but have been told was not a rerecording when this subject has been discussed before on this forum. The Eiger Sanction is another similar example and I wouldn't mind betting that is another one that Mike is working on.
  10. They should have included this as a bonus source music track on the Earthquake album! Funny line from George Kennedy, as Marjoe Gortner became famous as a child Pentecostal preacher before his acting career.
  11. Yes, not only used in but written for. Quincy Jones had to take a crash course in cockney rhyming slang from Don Black when it came to the lyrics. A fun fact is that Quincy Jones and Michael Caine were born on exactly the same day - 14th March 1933.
  12. Wonderful news about the expanded The Italian Job! It's one of my favourite films (as an England football supporter, how could it not be?) and I love Quincy Jones's score. I had always thought that the original film tracks were lost, so this is a great surprise. It will be great to have the film version of On Days Like These too, as the album version is slightly different. You may not know that the England band regularly plays Self-Preservation Society at England football matches. The only other piece of film music that they play sometimes is Elmer Bernstein's The Great Escape.
  13. An early example of the sustained trumpet note accompanying a character falling to his death can be heard in the album version of Up The Drainpipe from The Eiger Sanction. The music accompanies the scene in which Hemlock (Clint Eastwood) travels to Zurich and scales a drainpipe to kill enemy agent Kruger. In the film version, Williams uses a strident synthesiser note to depict Kruger's death plunge from the window of the apartment. However, in the album rerecording Williams replaces the synthesiser note with an equally strident two-note trumpet stinger, heard at about [2:46] in the album track (or at [12:48] in this video).
  14. Although this video is not of the best quality, you can hear a couple of the source music cues I mentioned earlier in this thread. First up is the film version of Miles' Pool Hall (markedly different from the album version, as you can hear) then, from about 1:50, my favourite bit of source music from the movie. Gotta love that Hammond organ!
  15. I am interested in the source music cues from Earthquake and wondered if either @Jay or @TownerFan or anyone else might know the answers to a couple of questions I have. There are quite a few source music cues in the film, for example in the supermarket where Jody (Marjoe Gortner) works and especially in the bar scene where Lew Slade hangs out with Rosa, Miles and others (I hear four distinct pieces in those scenes). There are also a couple of guitar cues later in the film, heard when the survivors are sheltering in Wilson Plaza and are entertained by Walter Matthau's drunkard. Most if not all of them sound to me very much like they were penned by John Williams, but it does not look like they are included on the new CD as far as I can tell from the track list. If they are by John Williams (and I believe they are) and are not included, was this because Williams did not want them on the album (as was the case with the source music from Superman, IIRC) or because the elements did not survive or because of space limitations or some other reason? Apologies if this is explained in the liner notes, but I assume there is a reason why most of the source music from The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno is included in their respective albums whereas most of the source music for Earthquake is not included (apart from - and I am guessing again here - Lunch With Remy and Something For Rosa). The film version of Miles' Pool Hall sounds quite different from the album version too but only the album version is represented as far as I can tell. P.S. I am only interested in the Williams source music; I already have the CD of Dee Barton's music for High Plains Drifter and if I need the Hare Krishna mantra, I can just go up Oxford Street and whip my phone out.
  16. Might you be thinking of the Disaster Movie Suite conducted by Henry Mancini and featuring a suite from Earthquake, The Towering Inferno and Jaws? It was an English orchestra (the LSO) but Hank was an American conductor, of course. There is a thread about the album here.
  17. The Eiger Sanction next, pretty please! 🇨🇭⛰🤫
  18. As well as being a different recording from the 1974 soundtrack album, the film score recording features music not represented at all on the original album. This is not therefore a case of having slightly different versions of the same music in most cases. I am especially looking forward to hearing Aftermath with its chimes tolling on a wide shot of the devastated city, Refugees And Looters which I assume is the memorable cue featuring the motif for the demented Jody that starts as a National Guard convoy drives through the city after the quake and The Tunnel, which I am guessing is the music heard as Chuck Heston tunnels his way beneath Wilson Plaza to reach the survivors trapped in the underground car park. It is also great that the full film version of Something For Rosa is included. At three minutes long this is much longer than the five seconds heard in the theatrical version of the movie, emanating from a radio in the supermarket when Jody hears the announcement mobilising the National Guard. Interestingly, a longer cut of the film version of the cue can be heard very faintly in one of the additional scenes shot for the extended TV version a few years later, this time heard as background music on an aeroplane. Listen here from about 35 seconds in:
  19. This is great news! These are three of my favourite Williams scores and I am particularly excited about the prospect of having the film recordings of the score for Earthquake as well as the soundtrack album. It is good to see that they appear to have extracted the Miles' Pool Hall track from the medley and presented it on its own as a separate track, yet still retained the entertaining Medley album track as a bonus. There appears to be no sign of the two effects-only tracks (Earthquake: Special Effects and Aftershock), but worse things happen at sea, as Red Buttons, Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine would attest. I can't believe that I wrote my analysis of the Earthquake score nearly seventeen years ago! I gave speculative cue titles to all of the unreleased tracks in the absence of any documentary evidence whatsoever, so I am chuffed to bits that I got at least one of them right (The Aftermath, a fantastic little cue by the way)! I am assuming that Williams again nixed the inclusion of most of the source music cues in the presentation of the score proper? There are several fun source tracks from the film that I would love to hear in full one day. Perhaps Williams can be persuaded to approve a separate CD release of all his groovy 70s source cues one day. I am sure that the availability of the original film recording of the score will increase the appreciation of Williams's work on this movie.
  20. No, as I did not want to Badger him while he was having his tea! Besides, my soup was not going to eat itself. When I told my brother afterwards he said I should have spoken to him, as it is probably very rare that anyone recognises him. Oh well.
  21. This was brilliant. I had never seen the film all the way through before so it was a great opportunity to rectify that as well as to hear William Walton's magnificent score. The original soundtrack was performed in 1944 by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Muir Mathieson, while this evening's performance was courtesy of the equally talented Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Frank Strobel. The Crouch End Festival Chorus sang the various choral parts with great aplomb. The Agincourt battle scenes owe a lot to Alexander Nevsky, both visually and musically, which I thought was rather nice. The programme notes here are well worth a read if you are interested in the film and / or the score. Also I was sitting at the same table as film composer Nigel Hess in the Riverside Terrace Cafe before the concert started. I was eating soup while he was eating crisps. Truth.
  22. He meant that he did not know about Gandalf having a staff in the Lord of the Rings films, so as far as he was concerned his idea to have the Bulgarian boys bang staffs on the ground in the fourth Harry Potter film was an original one. Mind you, we have had Alien v Predator so why not the franchise mash-up spin-off Gandalf v Dumbledore? I am thinking Brian Tyler for the music (natch) and can see the tagline now: "One packs a staff, the other packs a wand. Together they deliver."
  23. He was his usual genial self in a conversation with Justin Freer. He related a few nice anecdotes about writing the score, saying that he had written most of it at his holiday home in France. He talked about how he had struggled to come up with something suitable for the Hogwarts brass band music, Mike Newell rejecting his early attempts because they were not quite 'quirky' enough. By chance he was with his family at a restaurant in France when a local brass band came in to entertain the diners - he suddenly realised what he needed to do and asked the waiter for a napkin so that he could scribble down his ideas! He explained that the brass band music therefore has a bit of a French flavour to it. Interestingly, he said that he felt more comfortable writing music for film than for the concert hall, feeling that film music was his métier. It was also his idea that the Bulgarian Durmstrang boys should enter the hall banging staffs on the floor rather than carrying wands and noted that the music he conceived (with the drums punctuating each strike of the floor) ended up in the film exactly as he had written and recorded it. He joked that he did not know anything about Gandalf at the time and knew he had made the right decision because one of his sons told him, "Dad, that's really cool!" He also talked about having some difficulty coming up with one of the waltzes (it might have been the one for Neville, I cannot quite remember) and ended up writing it in a taxi on the way to a meeting with Mike Newell, before singing it to the director to great approval. He also talked about how he approved of all the musical decisions that Mike Newell had made, which is not always the case when he watches back the films he has scored. For example, he had written some music for the scene early in the film when Harry sees the skull in the sky after the Quidditch World Cup. He agreed with the director's decision to drop the cue in question, appreciating that the scene worked better without music.
  24. I made a very late decision to go along to the evening performance of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday and was glad that I did. I had a ticket to the talk with Patrick Doyle before the final concert and thought it might have been a bit rude to bugger off home straight afterwards, so I bought a cheap ticket for the gallery. I think I had seen the film once when it was on TV a few years ago but remembered almost nothing about it, so it was nice to see it again and on the big screen this time. Justin Freer announced just before the film started that Patrick Doyle was in the audience (in fact his wife and at least a couple of his grown up children were with him, including Abigail who sings on the track Underwater Secrets on the soundtrack album). Not only did this mean that he got a particularly enthusiastic and well-deserved cheer when his name appeared during the end credits, but it also meant that he was able to come out on stage at the end to thank the orchestra and take a bow. One nice little quirk I noticed was that most of the orchestra were swaying from side to side as they played the various waltzes in the end credits! Here are a couple of my customary blurry photos:
  25. Here is a rehearsal video of the ninth movement One Last Breath:
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