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Marcus

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Everything posted by Marcus

  1. This is a miraculous album. Imagine being able to craft such imaginative, vital and energetic new takes on this music at 87! There's incredible flair and elegance on display here, but also deep thought -and a simply stunning (and daring) command of how to pit a violinist against an orchestra. What a marvelous, generous gift.
  2. The situation is roughly this: All the new music is Williams. All the old music repurposed from HP1 is Williams, but adapted (to fit the film) by William Ross.
  3. Only manuscript. 8 staves for smaller cues, up to 20 for the busiest ones:
  4. I'm currently scoring a fairly big feature film, requiring 110-120 minutes of orchestral music, some of it highly complex. I do all of my work in very detailed short-score with no additional orchestrators, sending each page off to only two people: An engraver providing orchestral parts, and an assistant providing mock-ups (and digital elements integral to the score, all of which I first notate and describe to the best of my ability). It's a small team, but a very effective one. For my concert work, it's all manuscript, but most of it gets engraved courtesy of my publisher.
  5. Categorically no. He simply isn't. (Doesn't mean you're not entitled to prefer his music over Williams', which is merely a matter of taste)
  6. I think The Adventures of Han is a delightfully fresh and fun piece that achieves quite a lot of different things at once, and in subtle ways. Connective tissue and seemingly throwaway moments actually hearken back (or is that forward?) to a lot of the action writing in the OT, but just in quick glimpses/foreshadowings. It's a sort of in medio res piece, and might seem less tightly constructed than it actually is, which is a rather apt way of having form serve as a kind of characterization. The piece is structurally who Han is as a character: Someone who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a (mis)adventure. On the surface, it's music of impulse, whim; it's designed to feel rhapsodic, even though, as has been pointed out, it's actually a kind of rondo. On the other hand, it's Williams also showcasing his less romantic, more modern style. The motivics are more concerned with rhythmic twists than long-lined lyricism. It's a less heroic, more haphazardous take on the elements that constitute Luke's theme. A sort of curveball Luke in minor mode. It's clever and catchy, and bridges the old and the new in a very elegant way.
  7. As soon as I'm asked! Haven't done much film scoring as of late, but scoring two now, one of which will have a major international release... It would take no small measure of luck, and the right connections, but I'd do it in a heartbeat.
  8. Oh, definitely. And I really hope we get to see and hear as many and as varied musical takes on them as possible. It's a fun challenge to pay homage to a legacy, while at the same time retaining a sort of playful disobedience towards it.
  9. Hmm... Just listened to Powell's score. I'm very glad he was encouraged to tread elsewhere, rather than just lightly, but I have to say there's something about his approach that to my ears also highlights certain shortcomings of a more "modern" approach (not to slight Powell's efforts in the least; my guess is he's written exactly the score he was asked to). The use of percussion gets very tiring very quickly, and instead of energizing the musical flow seems to detract from it. And the harmonic language feels for the most part sort of emotionally flat. It just ends up feeling very light and inconsequential, I guess. Then again, it might be a very light and inconsequential film... In the process of scoring a major film myself at the moment, I have of course encountered a temp track that is mostly informed by scores from the last few years (lots of Zimmer). And while I respect and like much of it, I can't help but lament a tendency to make things streamlined and unobtrusive. It's a style that co-exists very comfortably with just about anything you'd have it accompany, as so much of it is about latching on to steady rhythms and inoffensive 'pop' chord progressions. But it does tend to sacrifice having an integrity of its own, subsequently preventing the music from adding new, individual layers. I guess that's the aspect I "miss" the most...
  10. Dear Pierre, Thank you for your sincere and heartwarming post. I think there's a deep lesson in it for everyone. To overcome one's struggles, and to find joy and gratitude in life.. Well, that seems to me just about as meaningful as life can get. Also, for what it's worth: There's true lyrical beauty in the piece that you posted, and true talent. May it serve you well, no matter what you pursue. Warmly, Marcus
  11. If this is indeed a snippet of Han's theme, it does seem to share some DNA with the Han & Leia love theme (or whatever you may want to call the reverse Tristan-melody 😉)...
  12. Good for Joe! We were at Manhattan School of Music together, he was an undergrad while I was doing my Master's there. The nicest, sweetest person imaginable. I think he was set on becoming a film composer even back then. I remember him writing a thesis piece that was sort of an hómmage to Hollywood. Even though he's made a name for himself doing lots of crossover projects, I guess he's one of the relatively few Hollywood composers of his generation (at least to my knowledge) with a degree in composition.
  13. This is much more than mere allusions to existing themes. Rather, these are truncated versions of existing JW tracks, and sound almost like a scratched disc skipping ahead... Sounds like the very laziest way of avoiding copyright issues...
  14. The Harry Potter Children's Suite is essentially Williams' take on a kind of "young person's guide to the orchestra". It is as masterful as it is colorful, and is about as far removed from a "sketch" as you can get. On the contrary, it represents ways of developing the musical material even further, all the while exploring the orchestra in delightful detail.
  15. Certainly! There's quite a bit available on Spotify etc. You can also check out my website, www.marcuspaus.com Here's some stuff off YouTube:
  16. If I were to be perfectly candid, it's precisely the lack of imagination when it comes to handling the orchestra, that I find disappointing in a lot of contemporary film scoring, including Shore's LotR scores. It's the lack of curiosity about how an orchestra may be utilized, and I think it stems from many composers not really knowing all that much about neither repertoire, nor what the instruments are really capable of. To claim that Conrad Pope, and what must by now be an almost endless list of conductors, butcher Shore's scores live or in studio due to their not understanding his intentions, is obviously preposterous. You would think that by now, at least someone would get it right? For all their merits, these scores sound less thrilling live because Howard Shore's orchestral imagination has led him to make decisions that simply don't project as well as they could have. There's nothing groundbreakingly new or fancy about they way they're conveyed on the page that would stand in the way of these scores sounding stunning. It's very traditional writing, largely far safer, less virtuosic than anything in Star Wars (not that I wish to compare the two sagas nor their music any further), penned in a way that puts an orchestra at a disadvantage live. The only rules "broken" have to do with ending up with a less satisfying result where some adjustments would have made all the difference. It's taxing and unrewarding due to how frequently it gets tiresome for the strings to only play pads, and the horns to pretend they're trumpets. It's a bit like Bruckner with orchestral dyslexia. I think Shore's Middle Earth scores would really come alive if played by a group that had more of a band structure at its core. Some synths, various ethnic winds and percussion, and a couple of solo performers on featured orchestral instruments. Something like what one could imagine Enya would tour with, or Secret Garden. And that's closer to the musicality these scores really stem from, I think. There's a pop sensibility to them, and a certain folkloristic flair. A live orchestral context does them no favors. There's no need to pretend it's because they're not properly understood by orchestras or conductors, who routinely handle not only daunting works of the past, but also much more complex, cutting edge, state-of-the-art (or not...) contemporary classical music.
  17. As a professional composer, I have to say that Williams' strength is more than just his brass writing. Rather, he has a knack for making the entire orchestra really shine in music that is complex, but very rewarding to play. I can't think of that many composers who write more consistently to each choir's strengths, while at the same time keeping instrumentational choices interesting, and often unorthodox, even if the subtleties of his craft may elude the casual listener. I think it's easy to take Williams for granted, simply because there's such an elegance and panache to his style. Everything works, and sounds perfectly polished. But there are so many layers of not only expertise, but genuine artfulness and inventiveness to his orchestrational choices, and his way of seeing the orchestra, his concept of what an orchestra is. One thing that ought to be studied more by any aspiring composer when it comes to Williams, is the economy of his writing, and just how much mileage he can get from even a solo instrument. There's often a chamber-like lucidity in passages even from his most heavily orchestrated scores. He knows exactly what colors can be achieved by peeling away, as well as by layering. I think this modus operandi, which really bears more resemblance to how a concert composer might approach an orchestra, is part of what makes Williams' scores stand out. He is simply an outstanding practitioner of his craft by any standard. Not to compare the two, but Howard Shore is an entirely different kind of composer. His dedication seems to be to the film he scores, and not to the craft of writing music per se. His Middle Earth scores do an outstanding job of imagining and creating a musical landscape for Peter Jackson's take on Tolkien's mythology. But concert performances of those scores, as popular as they might be, tend to fall a little flat, simply because Shore isn't a particularly skillful orchestrator. There are a lot of choices that end up sounding very forced because of how unidiomatically written they are. I think Conrad Pope's contributions rectified some of it, but there's still the problem of the music perhaps having been conceived more abstractly. You can tell (and this, I'm sure it could be argued, is for better or for worse) that Williams conceives his music with the orchestra, or a particular instrument, in mind, lending a sense of natural grace and fluency to his writing.
  18. I just thought I'd chime in briefly: Williams' leitmotivic technique is often more symphonic than dramatic, which is to say that narrative/extra-musical connotation will at times be subservient to purely abstract musical qualities. An aspect of this, is that Williams will tend to deconstruct and develop his material on purely musical terms, working in this respect (unlike Howard Shore, since he is inevitably mentioned) more like a composer of concert music.
  19. To claim that Williams' score to TLJ is "lazy" is just absurd. I'm only beginning to discover all its layers, but you can pretty much take any track you like off the OST, and what you'll hear, is a level of nuance and artfulness simply not found in traditional orchestral film scoring anymore. There's so much beauty and detail and craft in every bar of this music. I'm stunned to see people actually feeling let down by it... It may be just another film score. But it happens to be a phenomenally well-written one.
  20. I see your point, especially in terms of texture: There's a lushness to TLJ that contrasts the sobering leanness of TFA's aesthetics. Still, a great deal of TFA's score is given a kind of '2.0' update throughout TLJ. Parts of the new material are also very much contingent on the established new (TFA) themes, to a degree I find really impressive, compositionally. The theme that is varyingly attributed to Luke, Holdo or the Island, is actually a development of Rey's fanfare (the one often played by celeste, harp and vibes), and "The Rebellion is Reborn", save for Rose's theme, is essentially a deconstruction/reconstruction of the other themes and motifs pertaining to the Resistance. I'm sure there's lots more to discover!
  21. It's a marvelous score, and exactly the score the film needed. The writing feels energized and fresh, and there are some truly original orchestrations both in the action oriented cues, and in some of the more subtle underscore. To me, it really is an extension of TFA, but with more room to let that material breathe, sing and soar. The new material offers charming additions to the glossary, while the older material is given some really terrific new spins. I think it's probably the most consistently well-spotted Star Wars film scores since the OT. If the sequel trilogy is symphonically conceived, this score serves as its development section.
  22. Just saw the film (which I thought was very good), and can only say that it was perfectly scored. I'm sure I'm echoing many in stating that the film really is an extension of TFA's narrative (more so than any previous SW film in relation to its direct predecessor), something which certainly does inform the score. It really doesn't call for any big new themes, and in providing one for Rose, Williams is already more than generous (even though I'm glad he supplied it). What I will say, is that the score as heard in the film feels fresh, despite the many callbacks (many of which also have a bittersweet tinge to them). Looking forward to hearing the OST!
  23. So it would seem the skeptics among us were right, if recent reports are to be believed...
  24. Well, in his TFA, BFG and Dear Basketball scores, and in his recent concert works, the sophistication of his writing remains undiminished...
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