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Cerebral Cortex

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  1. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to mrbellamy in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (2021)   
    I like most musicals, I like La La Land, I will probably like this. It's everlasting material of course and the music is A+ as we already know and Newman/Dudamel will hardly fuck it up. I'm sure Spielberg will find stunning things to do with the camera and choreography and so I'm excited to see that and I also think Tony Kushner is a great writer who will probably find some interesting perspective to this story. 
     
    But I also think this has always seemed like a lame idea from the outset and I feel like Spielberg's definitely gotten himself in that grandpa zone which many masters have found themselves in where he makes perfectly sophisticated and literate cinema that somehow just has like...no relevance lol. Even when he's responding very directly to current events like The Post, that movie tried so hard to say something and came and went like a wisp, it's weird. Scorsese has at least gone back and forth where he thinks he's making Hugo for kids lol (a movie I loved) but then he comes out with Wolf of Wall Street and it's like oh fuck, this guy still knows what's up. You kinda wanna see Spielberg make one of those, in his own way. I'm pleased he can still have a reasonably big hit like Lincoln and Ready Player One, the former I think is actually a great movie and the latter is pretty solid and entertaining garbage, but I'd love to see him make something that can really strike a vein. What's interesting is that probably Spielberg's most notable contribution to cinema in the 2010s was Daniel Day-Lewis's performance in Lincoln, one of his major performances and a pretty big reference point now, and Spielberg's really taking a backseat. Rylance, Hanks, Streep all did very beautiful understated work in the last ten years of Spielberg too, that's what defines it for me.
     
    But so I don't know, I feel like he's doing something with this one about cultural/racial disputes and it's just not gonna resonate, and I say this as someone who thinks he's still got the most brilliant eye and finds all of his movies human and worthwhile to some degree. Kushner's adaptation could be brilliant, who knows. Maybe Moreno will join the above actors as a great Spielberg performance. 
     
    And obviously I wish Spielberg were putting out literally anything else that would include a John Williams score and that's frustrating. So you know, whatever.
  2. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Potter Scoring Project in New Project: John Williams Potter Scoring   
    Hi all, here are some little emotional cues for our troubled teens at Hogwarts. We hope you enjoy Cue No. 22: Hermione and Harry and Cue No. 23: Malfoy and the Vanishing Cabinet!
  3. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Aenae in Here is what other composers are saying about John Williams   
    Steven Stucky, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning composer on John Williams (this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Stucky):
     
    "Loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But it absolutely stars John Williams! What a genius this guy is."
  4. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Jay in John Williams returns for Indiana Jones 5   
    It is expected JW will write and record The Fabelmans score starting sometime late this year or early next year, finishing up his duties to that film before his big Carnegie Hall night in April 2022, then write and record the Indiana Jones 5 score after Carnegie Hall, before that film opens in July 2022
  5. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to AC1 in New Spielberg movie: The Fabelmans (2022)   
  6. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to crumbs in Indiana Jones 5 (James Mangold, July 29 2022)   
    Come on guys... obvious clickbait is obvious. The "source" is the Daily Mail -- a dumpster fire of tabloid trash.
     
    Kathleen Kennedy + female characters are guaranteed triggers for basement dwellers worldwide.
     
    We went through this same confected media-driven outrage with Shia in Indy 4. These days it's even easier to manufacture outrage with female characters instead.
  7. Thanks
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Falstaft in Analysis of John Williams Violin Concerto No. 2   
    Hi everyone. I thought it might be useful to put together a listening guide of sorts for Williams's second violin concerto. This struck me as appropriate given how it's going to be heard in performance again fairly soon. Also, the piece, particularly its first movement, is fairly difficult to grasp on first listen!
     
    I've only put together a guide to the first movement (by far the most challenging), but if this is indeed helpful I'll consider doing the other three--or maybe someone else would like to. It's quite difficult to do this without a score, to put it mildly, so take everything here as provisional. I'm surely missing quite a lot of important details...
     
     
    Listening Guide for John Williams, Violin Concerto 2
     
    MOVEMENT 1: "PROLOGUE" 
    Overall, the most formally loose and spontaneous-seeming movement, fitting given Williams's striving for a "quasi-improvisatory" character. Not a truly non-repetitive piece, however: there are both aspects of inner-movement unity and some subtle prefiguring of material to come, particularly the concerto's principle "leitmotif" introduced in the 2nd Movement. The unpredictability of the music on a measure-to-measure level is compensated by an extremely clear division of 6 large-scale sections, summarized below.
     

     
    More in-depth account:

    SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTION 
    0:00    Quiet, slow introduction showcasing harp, supported by bed of strings. Shape of opening harp melody (D3-E3, D3-E3-C3-A3-D3) vaguely anticipates some later motivic details. First harp-based subphrase tonally centered on B♭-lydian, with contrasting Gm6(♭13) in middle.  Second, string-based subphrase more dissonant, melodically disjunct. The third, once again harp-based subphrase coalesces on Dmaj6/min chord. 1:11    Introduction of soloist. Violin begins with repetition of note F4, giving bluesy quality to faint D-major tonality maintained by strings/harp. Melodic D tonic flanked by tritones A♭4 & G♯3 above and below. Progressively expands range upward, with what will become a quasi-motivic repeated note figure, here on B♭4 and E♭5. Thinner texture and new harmonies (F♯m and A-dim) and octatonic scale-fragment in violin at 1:50, followed by downwards chromatic cascades and melodic peak of E♭6. Unaccompanied violin sags glumly back downwards.  
    SECTION 2 – FAST AND TURBULENT 
    2:24    Pulsing, agitated pattern in orchestra midrange on dissonant harmony (A3+B♭3+C4+ D♭4), supported at unpredictable intervals by rising bass-figure starting on low D. Violin gathers energy with repetition of Eb4, proceeds to a flowing, unpredictable musical thought, up to the first of several big orchestral swells marked by dissonant chord and percussive punctuation that swallows up soloist. 2:46    Violin reasserts itself over motivic rising bass-figure. Pace of textural and melodic change speeds up considerably, and music becomes increasingly key-less, violin and orchestra exchanging frenzied, short-lived ideas. Particular prominence to harp, timpani, clarinet. Low-strings trace downwards arpeggio of important Gm9 chord, echoed by violin (3:09), and Em9♭5, F♯dim7. 3:16    Lighter but more dissonant texture. Spiky, progressively accelerating violin writing against unpredictable staccato wind and pizzicato bursts. 3:33    Arpeggiating eighth-note figures in low strings resume, now upwards (D2-B♭2-D3-G2-C3-E♭3, etc.), quickly losing tonal focus as another dissonant tutti swell overtakes violin, followed by brief timpani solo (3:44). 3:46    Purely orchestral climax. Dissonant pitch pyramid assembled over B pedal. Similarly vaulting bass figures under now unified upper strings in octaves on urgent melody, arching upwards in successive swells. Pulsing/sustained brass and string melody help refocus tonality onto D, and downwards chord progression (D--C--B), while dissonant, can be referred to D-center. Ends on a shrieking tutti cluster, similar to opening sonority of section but greatly intensified.   
    SECTION 3 – SLOW  AND TRANSPARENT 
    4:23    Dreamy extended-tertian sonorities, starting with and centered on Gm13 (chord anticipated at 3:11, arpeggiated texture anticipated at 3:33). Violin enters with comparatively lyrical theme with pronounced downwards-moving trajectory. Tonality shifts to Dm, moving stepwise to Fm. Melodic shape heard in passing at 5:00 (F5-E5-G♯5-C5) seems to anticipate the recurring “leitmotif” of movements 2  & 4 -- you know, the one that sounds a bit like "Moonlight" from Sabrina. 5:10    Clear sense of tonality dissolves, violin becomes more agitated, emphasis on dotted rhythms, brief mini-solo of dissonant stops (5:18-5:22). Followed by dense, highly dissonant wind-ensemble writing, drawn from immediately preceding violin solo and segueing back into it. 5:39    Deep, dark minor chords (C♯m--Caug) prepare a catchy but ominous melody for solo violin built on double-stops (parallel minor 6ths), again with contour (A♭4-A♭4-G4-B4-C4) that anticipates shape of recurring leitmotif from mvts 2 & 4.  5:50    Busily spinning passagework for violin and glittering accompaniment, foreshadowing movement 2, recedes to background to allow brief flute solo (B♭4-A4-E5-G5-F♯5-F♯4) in E-minor, suggestive but as far as I can tell not motivically derived from anything else. Violin follows-through with flute melody, seamlessly moving to a… 6:20    Pre-cadenza for violin and harp, again with elements of flute melody (G6-F♯6-A5…B♭5-D♭6-C6-C5)  
    SECTION 4 – CADENZA
    6:50    Succession of contrasting technical and expressive ideas, not a huge degree of thematic connectivity with preceding sections though fairly consistent within its own scope. (Substructure: Downwards Em/B♭ chords—leaping octave pairs—compound melody (E6-D♯6-B5-A♯5, D♭6-C6-A5-G♯5)—trills—resigned droop—gathering energy—ascending melody over pedal—arpeggios—trills—melody reminiscent of VC1—ascending passagework maxing out at A6—descending, harsh stops, ending with repeated D4.)
     
    SECTION 5 – BROAD AND CLIMACTIC
    8:38    Rather spooky melody for violin (F♯4-D5-B♭6-F♯5) over brief suggestion of B-minor.  Quickly yields to new material for orchestra, with massed brass, strings in octaves, and thick, repeating wind quasi-fanfares, all grounded over low C-pedal (C-A♭-D♭-G chord?). Classic JW concert music stuff (c.f. For Seiji, Soundings, Heartwood, etc.). Much of this seems to respond vaguely to material introduced in the Cadenza. 9:00    Almost aleatoric sounding passage for harp, solo high winds, pizz strings. 9:09    Emphasis on low winds and strings. Recollection of ascending bass figure from 3:33 (now E2-B2-D3, F♯2-B2-E3) 9:14    Climax building really starts in earnest. Wind chords seem to outline violin’s spooky melody from start of section, against aggressive massed-string section counterpoint, ending on bright, dissonant wind chord.   9:25    Violin solo reasserts self, now more actively interacting with rest of orchestra. Strong sense of rhythmic and harmonic acceleration, climax building pauses after timpani interjection (9:40). 9:48    Final, rapidly attained climax, fastest solo violin writing; impression of huge sweeping motions from whole orchestra, culminating on a huge tutti chord of characteristically JW-dissonant flavor (A-C-E- F-A♭-C♭)  
    SECTION 6 – AFTERMATH AND CODA
    10:11    Instantly quiet, clear duet for harp and violin. Clear reminiscence of beginning of Section 3, via repeated harp arpeggio of extended triadic sonority, this time F♯m11(b♭13) instead of Gm11(nat13). Meditative violin solo above, not clearly connected to previous themes. 10:40    Quiet upwards scurrying from violin, reaching high B6, followed by abrupt, staccato motif (second phrase accompanied by four dissonant pizzicato chords from rest of string section). 11:03    Violin settles on sustained low A♭3, against resonant F2-A1 bass support on harp. Full fade-out by 11:16.
  8. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to igger6 in THE ADVENTURES OF HAN - 2018 John Williams theme for Solo: A Star Wars Story   
    The Film Symphony Orchestra just debuted their performance of AoH, and it rocks! Give it a look and fall in love with this piece all over again! These guys should do a Blu-Ray…
     
     
     
  9. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Trumpeteer in John Williams Returns to the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 4 & 5, 2021   
    I was at the Sunday concert and it was a lot of fun. Of course, since I have finished my podcast, I knew there would be no new film music for me to hear, but that was fine. The Overture to the Oscars was new, I think? I have to look it up, but it sounded like the music that opened the 2002 Oscars when he was co-musical director. 
     
    I enjoyed seeing JW looking so lively at 89 years old. I spoke with a woman after the show, and after I told her John Williams was five months away from turning 90, she said, "He looked like he was in his 70s!"
     
    But the highlight of the show was meeting Eduardo Victoria, who was a cohost on my podcast for the "War of the Worlds" episode. It was the first time meeting one of my cohosts in person, and we had a wonderful pre-show conversation.
     
     

  10. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to SteveMc in John Williams Returns to the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 4 & 5, 2021   
    A wonderful experience of a lifetime it was for me.  Still processing it, can't quite believe it.  I saw John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl!
    I love how in tune the orchestra was with JW on selections like Olympic Fanfare and The BFG.
    It's like, David Newman is a very competent conductor, and the orchestra sounded great under his baton (especially Sabrina, which is a lovely score to hear live), but when John got warmed up, it was just electric.  There were moments where you felt he was getting exactly what he wanted, just the right balance during the high points of the Olympic Fanfare, clarity in the rapid intricate wind passages in The BFG (it was astonishing to see how vigorous he got at that point), and the rousing and precise end to Adventures of Han.
    I love how he seemed to want the audience to really like BFG, he appears proud of the work.
     
    Of course the encores were incredible.  The music itself was very familiar, but the way he drew on the crowd's excitement and love and infused that energy into the orchestra was just thrilling to be part of.  
  11. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Brando in John Williams Returns to the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 4 & 5, 2021   
    It was a marvelous performance!! 10/10 would definitely do again. After he finished his set he walked away 3 times before returning each time to an encore. Just seeing him on stage was magical. At one point he roasted BFG. He was talking about how he was going to perform a piece from it and he goes “it was a movie not a lot of people went to see” and everyone laughed. At one point my wife, upon seeing him walk around as he does, goes “he’s a cute old man” haha. At the end Newman brought him a lightsaber and he practiced his golf swing with it. The entire night was a blast and I’d love to do it again!
  12. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to lairdo in John Williams Returns to the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 4 & 5, 2021   
    My sister, cousin and 6-year old niece went to the performance last night. My niece has been to the bowl before, but not to see John Williams. Her review is succinct:
     
    ”I had no idea idea this would be so magical. I wish this night would never end.”
     
     
  13. Like
  14. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to PokeDocMatt in John Williams Returns to the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 4 & 5, 2021   
    JW looked spry and anticipating the orchestra and music rather than following. (I last saw him in Chicago and Boston about 3 years ago and he looked fatigued/distracted.) Typical recent concert fare. Three encores. The highlight of the evening was the ‘84 (?) Olympic theme set to recent highlights of winter and summer games. This was truly phenomenal video editing and synchronization. The audience loved it. I would love to see it released. 
  15. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to crumbs in John Williams Returns to the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 4 & 5, 2021   
    Nice to see Adventures of Han getting another run!
  16. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Taikomochi in GALAXY'S EDGE - New John Williams composition (2018)   
    I literally walked through the entrance an hour ago. The Williams version plays plenty elsewhere in the park. The ambient version works well as a transition. 
  17. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Potter Scoring Project in New Project: John Williams Potter Scoring   
    This week we have "Slughorn's Shelf," a more Tom Riddle-centric cue (more of these to come...) followed by "Quidditch, Year Six"! We had fun even though they're short, and we hope you enjoy Cues No. 20 and No. 21.
  18. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Potter Scoring Project in New Project: John Williams Potter Scoring   
    @David Müller Haha that's so funny cause when I first played the score for Molly she said something similar. It's a tricky theme cause it has to be sneaky and in the background for almost the entire score. Yes POA is always welcome in Hogsmeade! Glad you liked that. Even though the first four notes of Slughorn's theme match the first four notes of Luna's (though it's technically the opening of her accompanimental material rather than her actual theme), it's missing the hooked rhythm, and because of the different functions of each, I never actually noticed that similarity. I guess I just played it and thought "that's very Williams-y" and called it a day haha. Thank you for the kind words about Malfoy. I feel he needs to have his moment, and I'm glad it's connecting! 
     
    BP
  19. Haha
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Potter Scoring Project in New Project: John Williams Potter Scoring   
    @superultramegaa You are WELCOME. The amount of literal time I've waited to write a quidditch match you don't even know. 
     
    BP
  20. Thanks
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to BrotherSound in JWFan EXCLUSIVE: The Rise of Skywalker Partial Cue List Revealed   
    I’ve attempted to piece together what’s actually heard in the final cut, which is—believe it or not—even more convoluted than the November 11th version, with considerably more tracking and micro-editing of cues. The GEMA database reveals the order each cue initially appears in the film, but there’s so much tracking even that information isn’t as helpful as it might seem.
     
     
  21. Haha
    Cerebral Cortex got a reaction from Hedji in J.K. Rowling didn't like JW because the music didn't sound English enough? Fact or fiction?   
    As far as I know, it's first and only mention is by this user.
     

  22. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Tom in What is your dream program for the Berlin concert?   
    As a friendly, unsolicited reminder, do not let your expectations for a program (ideal or otherwise) lead to disappointment with the actual one--life is too short for such things.  
  23. Haha
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Tom in J.K. Rowling didn't like JW because the music didn't sound English enough? Fact or fiction?   
    Funny that the director hired to oversee that whole thing was not English but an American named after an Italian.  I think she had bigger problems than with a guy named "Williams."  
  24. Haha
    Cerebral Cortex got a reaction from Ludwig in J.K. Rowling didn't like JW because the music didn't sound English enough? Fact or fiction?   
    As far as I know, it's first and only mention is by this user.
     

  25. Like
    Cerebral Cortex reacted to Not Mr. Big in J.K. Rowling didn't like JW because the music didn't sound English enough? Fact or fiction?   
    I don't really subscribe to the "Harry Potter shouldn't sound Russian" belief.  Having a variety of cultural influences makes the world feel more fleshed out and intriguing (as opposed to it just feeling like a British boarding school movie)
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