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Score last won the day on March 15 2020

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  1. I totally agree with this, but the problem (for me) is that he does not frequently present his film music in concert, but rather concert arrangements whose aim seems to be that of giving a feeling of "remembrance" of some key moments of the respective films, a bit like opera ouvertures. What I love of his film music is the impressive ability with which he can create stories with purely musical means, which live independently of the film. But to grasp those stories, one needs, as I tried to say, to go through the musical journey (or at least, part of it) that the cues, all together, constitute. This kind of journey is what I miss when listening to most of his concert arrangements: the journey cannot be done in 3-5 minutes. That's why I prefer to listen to his film scores in their original form, or to the more elaborated concert suites, like that of Cowboys, as @publicist was suggesting. And I would prefer him to present well-developed suites... maybe a set of 5-6 consecutive cues played "as written" for the film; I can think of many such sets, from different movies, which would provide great musical experiences. I mean, I don't care about the critics' opinions (I didn't even read the one mentioned above, since I don't speak German), but if they are criticizing the structure of the concert arrangements, I think they have a point. It is not equivalent to criticize JW's music as a whole, but only the way in which some of it is presented in concert.
  2. That's precisely the point, and it is something that has always bothered me as well. I am a classically trained musician, so my music world is dominated by people like Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and so on. Williams fits very well into that category for the outstanding quality of his film music, which is sometimes even more advanced than the works of many composers in the standard classical repertoire. However, I totally understand the criticisms about the "lack of structure", when they are directed towards his concert arrangements. A piece that lasts 3 or 5 minutes, and ends with a huge applause-calling crash as if it was the ending of a long journey represented by a symphony (or a film score), feels like an excess that aims more at getting an applause than at delivering musical content. When many such pieces are played in succession, I can understand why a reviewer with a classical musical background might get impatient. An example of this tendency (for me, at least) is the concert arrangement of the Jurassic Park theme. The film score is gorgeous; the dinosaurs' theme plays beautifully in the scene where we see the beasts for the first time, the "journey to the island" theme is also perfect for its scene, and the thunderous finale is a satisfactory conclusion for the scene where the T-Rex establishes its supremacy at the end of the movie. But condensing all these elements into a few-minute piece somehow cheapens their effect, and it can only work because people remember the movie scenes (that's probably why the reviewer was not comfortable in judging them as pure music). The individual moments are beautiful, but the journey between them is even more important, at least for a classical music listener. That's why I wish JW played extended chunks of his film scores in concerts, rather than those concert arrangements (although several of them work very well anyways, for example the slow pieces from Star Wars - Princess Leia, Luke and Leia, the original version of Han Solo and the Princess...).
  3. You mean that, if they were not limited, you would consider them "less special"? So, for you the value of a work of art does not reside in the product itself, but in its rarity? This is a consideration that, although realistic, has nothing to do with what we "prefer". I cannot see how it can raise their value, unless you mean their economic value once they are sold out. I would never think that the HP scores are more special, nor would I enjoy them more, just because I am one of the 5000 (or whatever) people in the world who could buy the box. They are great because the music is great.
  4. He exists. He wears turtlenecks and goes by the name of John. And he wrote Yub Nub.
  5. Well, it's a matter of definitions. The word "masterpieces" is sometimes used to denote an author's best works within his oeuvre, or in other cases to denote the best works in a certain medium, independently of the author. In this second case, I would maybe say that his most recent masterpieces are "War Horse" and "The BFG".
  6. I share the opinion that most of JW's scores are masterful. To answer the thread question, I choose to define his "masterpieces" as those scores which belong to my top 10 of his works, then I select those which were composed last. According to this criterion, my answers are HP3 (2004), and whatever was composed last between A.I. and HP1 (both released in 2001). If I had chosen to look at his top 20, my answers would have been different, as the scores written after 2004 definitely include some top 20 material.
  7. Well, the OP is asking about thematic/leitmotiv handling, so I don't think he is looking just for examples of the academic definition of leitmotiv. In Alien, there are definitely some recurring themes which can be associated either with the Alien itself, or with the desolation of the alien planet, or with the loneliness and mistery of space travel (that woodwind figuration appearing mostly in the initial cues that was also reprised by Horner in his score for Aliens), so I think the score fits the request.
  8. Well, excluding a large part of JW's output and LOTR, and some Powell scores that were already mentioned, Korngold (e.g., Adventures of Robin Hood) and Goldsmith (e.g., The Mummy and, to a certain extent, Alien) come to my mind.
  9. In no particular order, I would go with the following. Places 1-10: A.I. Artificial Intelligence Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back The Phantom Menace Return of the Jedi Schindler's List Close Encounters of the Third Kind E. T. Places 11-20: Dracula Jaws Hook Angela's Ashes Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Jurassic Park The Lost World Saving Private Ryan Seven Years in Tibet
  10. From the Williams-Goldsmith generation, I'd say that Morricone is comparable or even superior to Herrmann in terms of innovative ideas. They both were keen on using unusual orchestrations to give each movie its own "color", and I think it can be said that Morricone experimented with a broader variety of compositional techniques. In Morricone's output, you find anything from the lush Romantic melody (e.g. Deborah's theme and other analogue pieces) to minimalism, to 12-tone, to avant-garde. Herrmann was more repetitive with respect to this aspect (to be fair, he also died much younger).
  11. "Man with a harmonica" from "Once Upon a Time in the West", by Morricone: Man with a harmonica It features a distorted electric guitar starting around 1:05 .
  12. I'm a big Beatles fan and Sgt. Pepper is my favourite album. Literally every song in it is great, in large part due to the imaginative and immediately recognizable arrangements (mostly done by George Martin, who was as relevant as any of the Fab Four to their success).
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