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Everything posted by Lewya

  1. I don't think I am, it is just my opinion, it is just what it is. Impressed by what? Just because my favourites are different than Williams? Come on. I am well aware that nobody cares.
  2. Takemitsu or North is mine if I am forced to name one or two names - probably the most serious of film composers. In terms of imagination and chops, Takemitsu was the best, even beyond North. With that said, I do prefer North's body of film music over Takemitsu's and North was also arguably more influential in his film music. Here is a good read, where a notable music writer nominates Takemitsu as the greatest film composer of all time: Who's the greatest film composer of all time? By Jan Swafford We all know that trying to decide who's "the best" in matters of the arts, and especially who's best in the art of music, is a bad idea. But let's be bad. Let's do it: Here's my nomination for best film composer of all time. A little background. It's been said that to be a true film composer, you have to be a master of every style but your own. There's some truth in that, as rampant eclecticism is the rule. But in fact one style dominated movies for a long time: Max Steiner's faux-primitive ooga-booga music for the 1933 King Kong was the first full film score of the talkie era, and it set a number of precedents. Steiner was a Viennese who could emit late-19th-century music, redolent of Strauss and Mahler, by the kilo. Outside Skull Island, that plush orchestral sound would dominate film scores for the following decades: the Austro-German-Hollywood grand style epitomized by Steiner and another Austrian, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. (In recent years, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and others have returned, or regressed, to that approach, as channeled by John Williamsin Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and so on.) Second, Steiner's King Kong score established the idea of wall-to-wall music behind films—his Gone With the Wind score shuts up for only about 20 minutes of the movie. Third, he popularized the kind of obsessive musical mimesis called "Mickey Mousing." When a horse jumps over a fence in Gone With the Wind, Steiner's harp glissando follows her up and over. Steiner scored hundreds of movies, but not everybody adored him. When Bette Davis was filming the scene in Dark Victory (1939) where she climbs the stairs in the middle of going blind, she stopped halfway up and came down to demand of the director: "Is Steiner doing the music for this?" The director admitted Steiner was. "Then I'm not going up those stairs," Davis said. "If Max is doing the movie it'll be me and him both going up the stairs, and it'll wreck my scene." The director promised Davis no music. In the end, though, Steiner did score the scene and, inevitably, mucked it up. Then and now, producers and directors spoke a different language than musicians. What does a composer do with a direction like, "Write something hopeful, but with a sad undertone and a little sexy." You nod, do what you want, and hope for the best. When William Wyler heard one of Aaron Copland's cues for The Heiress, he said, "No, Aaron, it's all wrong. What I want for this scene is a nice lesbian tune." Nice lesbian tune, thought Copland. What he did was to go home and stick a few funny notes into the same tune, then bring it back to Wyler, who cried: "That's it exactly! A lesbian tune!" (Copland won an Oscar for The Heiress. I once asked him what he thought about writing for film. "It pays really well," was all he had to say.) A lot of people will declare, as I would have at one time, that the greatest film composer of all, hands-down, is Bernard Herrmann. His résumé starts spectacularly with Citizen Kane in 1939, and he died virtually in the saddle in 1976, hours after the last recording session for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. En route, Herrmann scored Hitchcock films including Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho. Herrmann's most famous moment is also, I submit, the quintessential movie-music cue: the shower scene in Psycho. It's one of those bits (the shark music in Jaws is another) that you only need to "sing," or rather, howl—as in Reeeek! Reeeek! Reeeek!—to conjure up the whole bloody affair. Psycho is as much state of mind as movie, and the shower scene embodies that. The music is utterly expressive of the action: The string glissandi make a nasty slicing sound that equally suggests female screams and the shrieks of predatory birds (recall Norman's little taxidermic hobby). Above all, the cue is perfect because it's nearly invisible, so imbedded in the moment that I suspect a lot of people don't realize there's "music" in the scene at all. Herrmann did a row of classic movies and pioneered modern film-scoring, but he's no longer my nominee for greatest of all. My new champion is a composer who's scored nearly 100 films, from thriller to arty, who had an encyclopedic command of style as well as a singular voice of his own, and who is numbered in the highest rank of modern concert-hall composers—something many film composers aspired to but only one achieved: Toru Takemitsu. Takemitsu was an amazing figure: a first-rate straight composer, detective novelist, and fanatic of film and pop music. ("My teachers," he said, "are Duke Ellington and nature.") Despite his success in the concert hall, he's not properly recognized in the United States for his movie work simply because many of his movies never made it here. But there's enough that can be found in your video store to show what he could do, including Woman in the Dunes and, near the end of his life, Akira Kurosawa's Ran. In terms of imagination and musical technique, Takemitsu simply had chops beyond Herrmann or anybody else. And if you want to talk about style: Woman in the Dunes has unearthly music close to his concert-hall voice; Rikyu, about a tea-ceremony master, uses short, almost inaudible washes of sound alternating with Renaissance-style viola da gamba music that Takemitsu imitated dead-on. When I first heard the wonderfully cheesy, neo-Burt Bacharach title tune for Kurosawa's Dod'es-kaden, I thought, Takemitsu can't possibly have written this. But he did, and it shows in the scoring: Phrase by phrase, the saccharine little tune is rendered into something new and surprising, starting with marimba and ending with Bach trumpet and recorder. That title tune is the movie: A story about a retarded kid living in a junkyard, which could have been dark and maudlin but is made with a light touch. Takemitsu's sweet-sad tune tells us that from the start. For the epic battle sequence of Ran, Kurosawa's version of King Lear, the director told Takemitsu he wanted something like Mahler. What Takemitsu gave him is and isn't Mahler. It has a big orchestral sound spread over wide spaces and a Mahleresque sense of doom, but the music is modern, keening with tragedy and horror, utterly unclichéd, as indelibly wedded to the images as the shower scene in Psycho. Together, the music and visuals make the battle in Ran, I propose, one of the most eloquent sequences in all of film. As he lay dying, Takemitsu lamented that he'd been too sick to go to the movies. In his prime he went several times a week, and he had the means to turn that obsession into something marvelous in an art too little celebrated—and let's face it, much of the time not all that worth celebrating. The ultimate test of Takemitsu's talent is that, like some of Herrmann's, his film scores can work splendidly on their own. Listen to the waltz from The Face of Another. You've probably never heard of the movie, you'd certainly never guess who wrote it, but it sweeps you off your feet. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2006/10/high_score.html More recently, Goldsmith, Morricone and Newman. Yep, that's right, no Williams, I care for so relatively few of his scores and most of them are from many years ago. Unless Williams writes another score like A.I. or Close Encounters, I am not overly enthusiastic with most of his other stuff. In terms of favourite among living film composers, then that's Newman.
  3. Maps to the Stars - Howard Shore I am not a big fan of The Hobbit scores even if they are decent, but this on the other hand is Shore's most striking recent achievement. This is a good and an imaginative score.
  4. I can't even remember the movie, but 2 stars out of 5 stars about right based on what I remember. Not horrible, but not good either. Score.. hm, it is fair to pretty good. I am being a bit generous and voting on 3 stars even if I don't really listen to it or like it much.
  5. Going to give Mandy a listen later today. Arrival was his most recent score I cared for and I have a feeling that this one won't be for me, but maybe it has at least one worthwhile track or something.
  6. Yeah, and the takeaway is a culminative one in my mind rather than standout tracks I think. Much like Cleopatra which I also need to give another listen to soon.
  7. Dragonslayer - Alex North Fantasy music doesn't get better than this. What brilliant orchestration. It makes me want to see the film.
  8. Totally disagree. He is certainly not unmatched, not even among living film composers. I find Newman, Morricone and maybe Goldenthal superior, or at least on his level. They are more original, inventive and/or progressive than Williams. I consider Newman the most original and finest living film composer even if he hasn't written as many very good scores as Williams yet (as he shouldn't, he is after all over 20 years younger than him). I also connect with Newman's style and approach to scoring more - he doesn't put too strong music behind the images like Williams too often does. Takemitsu and North are the kings of film scoring - no one else had their imagination, chops or track record of excellence. I'd put Takemitsu above North as a composer, he had chops even beyond North, but in my mind North's track record of excellence across his film music career is unparalleled, even if Takemitsu came pretty close. Also Takemitsu didn't write any film score as groundbreaking as Streetcar, North was more influential and groundbreaking to the field. I don't think it is controversial to say that objectively speaking, Takemitsu was the greatest composer who ever became a "true" film composer - Takemitsu is the only composer who ranks among the highest rank of modern concert hall composers - something some film composers only aspired to but only Takemitsu achieved. Don't get me wrong though, Williams is one of the top 10 film composers of all time and a master, but far from the king of film scoring. My main issue is his comfort zone which he stays in far too often for my liking, the recycling and the lack of diversity which he did quite well in the 70s in particular. As I have said before, some other composers are more original, inventive and/or progressive - Newman, Morricone and Goldenthal among living film composers - Takemitsu, North, Herrmann and Goldsmith among dead film composers.
  9. Two tracks from the score have been released exclusively: https://ew.com/movies/2018/10/04/first-man-score-first-listen-exclusive/
  10. Nah, one of his better I guess - a top 10 Zimmer score, but there are far too big parts of the score that bore and/or grate me. Still, it has some fine moments. Inception is his best probably - which was remarkably fresh at the time it came out and remains a interestingly obsessive maximum-minimal score. I also dig some of the ambience in it. Now playing: Avatar - James Horner Not really a fan of this, uninspired RCP-like ostinatos and annoying chanting - strikes me as bland "epicness", but I don't mind it too much. It at least has a few tracks that are pretty good. Like Titanic, I don't mind it much in context even if I am not a fan of it, it just feels like a big missed opportunity though. Addendum: East of Eden - Leonard Rosenman Much, much better - in fact, one of the best film scores of all time. As Corigliano said, not even Copland could have written a better Americana theme. 1900 - Ennio Morricone My favourite Morricone score of the 100-something I have heard, not only because of the fantastic main theme, but also because it contains one of the 10 best film music tracks of all time - Olmo E Alfredo. How the melody is laid against accompaniment and what you can do with 2 notes. The string writing starting at around one minute into the track is amazing. It is my most favourite Morricone.
  11. Gone Girl - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross Listening to this again. I really dig the none abrasive/industrial parts of the score in particular.
  12. Solaris - Cliff Martinez Fantastic, the best electronic film score of the last 20+ years. I love this score. Drive - Cliff Martinez I hope this one will grow on me on my upcoming listen. I remember liking it, but nowhere near my love for Solaris.
  13. Same! I am a pretty big fan of Sakamoto, and his async album was my favourite album last year. Anyway, this thing is way too expensive, and especially since I already owned most of the music before I discovered his list. I decided to just grab some of the tracks that he mentioned which I didn't have before and through someone I managed to access parts of the booklet that comes with the CD to read some of the comments on all the various tracks. I can't improve much on his list and think it is exceptional, I agree with the vast majority of it. I think only two of the tracks were previously unfamiliar for me, I hadn't heard the Lai track, but I agree that it is great, even if it doesn't make my personal top 25. Also the François de Roubaix track was news to me, another great track, maybe Roubaix at his best. Bespin - your Spotify list is not entirely correct, you have picked some of the wrong versions of the tracks he selected and not all of it is on Spotify. The specific Takemitsu track he selected for the CD is not the entire 5 minute suite thing, it is the 1 minute something track which I uploaded to YouTube above. I uploaded the track from Blue too, which I included among my top 5 tracks of all time. It is hard to think of more intimate film music, it is hard to think of ambient music done better than it in film, the only possible exception I can think of is Eno's For All Mankind, which inhabits a similiar kind of soundscape as this, but both are different. It is also hard to think of other film music were spoken word is used on this level. I accidentally deleted the booklet that comes with the CD that I partly got access to, but in it Sakamoto and a few critics/professors (I can't remember exactly) discuss all his picks. His picks are not discussed in great detail, but more like brief thoughts on his picks. It might be of interest to some of you reading this, here is one or two of the things I remember reading in it: Steiner in his film music was apparently superior to Korngold according to Sakamoto. He also said that Gone with the Wind was of high quality too, even if he prefered the moody track from King Kong - probably Steiner's best. He also said something about that Pierrot le Fou didn't impress him first, the music that is, but it is one of his favourite films and he seems to have grown to love the music too, despite his initial impression. The Tiomkin from The Alamo he included for selfish reasons, I think he said something that it was one of the first film scores he remembered and that he loved. At a later date, Sakamoto selected some of the best music movies - some of the movies that according to him have the best music, here is the list of the movies he selected for some events: A Streetcar Named Desire East of Eden Blue The Garden King Kong Jose Torres & Jose Torres part 2 Kwaidan Beauty and the Beast Solaris (the Tarkovsky film) Stalker Nostalghia The Sacrifice India Song Son nom de Venise dans Calcutta désert Elevator to the Gallows Pierrot le Fou Hiroshima Mon Amour The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Histoire(s) du cinéma Ugetsu Citizen Kane Ivan the Terrible The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari I wish more top film composers selected their favourite film music like this, even if I probably would disagree a whole lot with say what Zimmer, Giacchino etc might have selected. Sakamoto strikes me as the person with the best taste in music, not just going by his film music list, but also the fairly recent restaurant playlist which he made, this one: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2YY3rAwm9tldNhlBmuMqgY I will say that I don't love everything he included here, but at least it is an interesting list which is to me pretty rare. Most of it was new to me too - I made a few wonderful discoveries thanks to his restaurant playlist. I love this track for instance: Gotta love that minimalist influence - new-age at its best. So first North is the most underrated film composer of all time, followed by Rosenman and third would probably be Simon Fisher Turner as the third most underrated film composer of all time. I am not very familar with Fisher Turner, even if I have always loved Blue since I saw it years ago. I sampled The Garden on Spotify after I saw Sakamoto including it among his best music movies, but unlike Blue, I don't think I will love this one, but I will give it a try at a later date I suppose.
  14. I decided to just post just once instead of posting two lists since I agreed with him so much. Sorry, it was 23 tracks that he picked actually, I forgot that he picked two Morricone tracks. Sure, here are all of the top 23 tracks he picked for his CD (my list is very similiar except that I excluded the first three tracks, the fact that I added three more tracks to make it a top 25 and also limit myself to one track per composer): Ferdinand from Pierrot le Fou composed by Antoine Duhamel Today It's You from A Man and a Woman composed by Francis Lai Tema di Aziza from Arabian Nights composed by Ennio Morricone I Fill This Room With the Echo of Many Voices from Blue composed by Simon Fisher Turner Belle Reve from A Streetcar Named Desire composed by Alex North - This is his favourite track of all time, and I agree with him Jose Torres from Jose Torres composed by Toru Takemitsu - And this was his second favourite track of all time, and I also agreed with him on that Prelude from 49th Parallel composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams Les Ombres from Napoleon composed by Arthur Honegger Beauty and Avenant from Beauty and the Beast composed by Georges Auric East of Eden Main Title from East of Eden composed by Leonard Rosenman Olmo E Alfredo from 1900 composed by Ennio Morricone Train from Stalker composed by Eduard Artemyev American Beauty from American Beauty composed by Thomas Newman Maybe You're My Puppet from Solaris composed by Cliff Martinez Rochester from Jane Eyre composed by Bernard Herrmann Gelsomina from La Strada composed by Nino Rota Camille from Contempt composed by Georges Delerue Journal De Bord from Les Aventuriers composed by François de Roubaix Grey Waltz from Life Dances On composed by Maurice Jaubert Overture from The Alamo composed by Dimitri Tiomkin A Boat in the Fog from King Kong composed by Max Steiner Kings Row Main Title from Kings Row composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold The Best Years of Our Lives Main Title from The Best Years of Our Lives composed by Hugo Friedhofer 20 out of his 23 picks are on my own top 25 since I agreed with him so much. I excluded the first three tracks that he selected for his CD, and added the Eno, Williams, Goldsmith, Shostakovich and Prokofiev to make it a top 25.
  15. Gone Girl - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross I now think that this is the duo's finest score so far, but I still only care for less than 20 minutes of it. There is some fine ambience to be found here. I am not a big fan of the more industrial, edgy and gritty stuff though. Favourite tracks include Empty Places, Procedural etc.
  16. Oh, maybe that wasn't clear, I don't put Goldenthal higher than him as a composer - Goldenthal has contributed more to film music though (unlike Corgliano who has contributed more to the concert world than Goldenthal has), but I don't count Corgliano as a film composer like I do with Goldenthal so that is why I mentioned him like that. For me it is only Goldenthal and Newman that are film composers I find to be really interesting. Ok, Shore etc can also be interesting I guess. Corgliano is at least as interesting as Goldenthal, even if I probably would agree with him that he couldn't do what Goldenthal does in film music better. I wish both of these men did more film work - it would be refreshing from the usual mediocrity.
  17. There are hardly any distinguished film scores written today - usually only a few a year these days. I find myself hardly listening to any new scores, I'd much rather go back in time to listen to distinguished scores written by North, Takemitsu etc or even check out an obscure Morricone score I haven't heard before. Desplat, Giacchino, Silvestri are pretty mediocre talents, especially Giacchino. Even Williams doesn't write that many distinguished scores - especially not after '05 - and he usually doesn't go that far beyond a imaginative re-treading of romanticism. A.I. and Close Encounters remain his two best scores. Outside of Williams and Morricone, Thomas Newman and Elliot Goldenthal are pretty much the only film composers I can think of that make the grade. After them... maybe Howard Shore. I just miss a guy like North, Herrmann or Goldsmith for example on the scene. In addition to that, I also miss a great classical concert composer writing film music, even if it only happens occasionally. Dmitri Shostakovich's, Ralph Vaughan Williams's best film music for instance certainly ranks among the best film music ever written. Corigliano, Dun, Glass etc are all interesting, but I don't find the vast majority of the results of their film work to measure up to what other classical composers have written in the past at their best. I also don't find any of them to be great composers, very good yes, but not great. I don't think there is a thing as a great living composer, for me Brian Eno might come the closest - he might be my personal favourite living composer with Newman. Takemitsu would certainly qualify as a great composer, had he been alive. Reich, Glass etc I more respect than enjoy, I only find myself returning to a few select pieces by them. Seeing that Goldenthal is semi-retired from film music - my biggest hope going forward is on Newman. But I don't consider Newman as exciting as Goldenthal can be even if he is a pretty original and inventive talent, this despite the fact that I prefer Newman's music in general. Newman has also yet to live up to his '90s glory.
  18. Yes, basically - and the ones you consider great that you may not consider top favourites. Only the three I listed first are favourites - the rest I acknowledge as great film scores, but I don't love (at least not as a whole).
  19. I only love two Williams scores - A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Ok, maybe three - the Star Wars saga, counted as one body of work. That's it for me - three scores. Jurassic Park, Seven Years in Tibet, Nixon, Images etc are all great, but I can't say I love them as a whole to the degree as I do with the top 3 I mentioned above. I would easily put all three of the Williams's scores that I love in the top 25 film scores of all time and at least one of them in my top 10 of all time. I certainly do not consider Williams the best film composer of all time (he is not even the greatest living film composer - that honor goes to Thomas Newman), but I do believe that he has written as many great scores as anyone else in film history. I think he has written around 15-25 great scores (closer to 15 if we count some franchises as one entry), the rest of the best may be very good or good, but not great. I can not think of any other film composer who has written more than 15-25 great film scores. Here are all of the 25 film scores that he has written that I would consider great film scores or fairly close to that: A.I. Artificial Intelligence Close Encounters of the Third Kind Nixon Images Jurassic Park All three of the original Indy scores All of the eight Star Wars scores - especially the original trilogy, The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith Seven Years in Tibet Born on the Fourth of July The Witches of Eastwick The Long Goodbye Catch Me If You Can Memoirs of a Geisha Jaws Schindler's List E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial The last five scores or so on the list are somewhat reluctantly included, they are on the edge for me of being "just" very good. They are not any favourites of mine even if they all contain some brilliant writing. I think Williams, Goldsmith and Takemitsu may be the ones who have the most great film scores to their name. Possibly North, Morricone and Herrmann too. The difference is that while I don't think any other film composer have written more great film scores than Williams, some of them were clearly better composers in almost all areas than him. His greatest strength may be his gift as a melodist and perhaps his versatility. What do you say?
  20. Schindler's List and it isn't even close. Neither of them are top 20 Williams though. The Book Thief is pretty good, but it is a surprsingly bland Williams's score.
  21. You mean what kind of concert pieces? Well, I'd say Goldenthal's Symphony In G# Minor is very good. Not great, but very good. In terms of Williams's own concert works, i'd say that the violin concerto qualifies as "very good" - that one is one of the few that he has written that qualifies as that. Not great though, just very good. Like most of Williams concert works, I found this to be dull and not very compelling/involving. The best part of it was probably the finale.
  22. Meh, another disappointing work. It wasn't bad, but not very good either. Goldenthal's best concert music is more compelling as far as living film composers in the concert hall goes.
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