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Posts posted by Score

  1. On 21/10/2021 at 6:18 PM, TownerFan said:

    I completely get your point and I even agree for the most part, but that's the inherent problem of presenting film music out of its original context. If you take out the visuals, most of film music loses its power and even its significance, so it's essential to rework it (sometimes even extensively) to present it as pure music in a concert hall. It's true that one of Williams' ultimate talents is his ability to create a coherent musical discourse while accompanying the film narrative, and that goes beyond the usual 3-4 minutes miniatures he prepares for concert performances (the live-to-picture performances are perhaps a good compromise in this regard). I guess it's his own modesty at play here too, as he would probably feel too pretentious to present a 25-minute suite from just one score, so I suppose he feels that those 3-4-5 minutes are enough to satisfy both himself and his audience. But again, it's also a matter of how staggering his output is. Even cutting out completely everything before 1975, it's still 45+ years of music. 


    Anyway, let's not miss one very important point: by doing these concert arrangements Williams is not necessarily simplifying his musical discourse, but more likely making an effort to reach a wider audience. My wife didn't know a jack about John Williams and film music in general (nor even classical or symphonic stuff) before we met, but now after attending several concerts she's starting to sincerely enjoy some of John's music. She learned to appreciate not just the tunes, but also how the pieces sound and how they tell a story. She never saw any of the Star Wars films, but she can enjoy the music. It's fascinating for me to see someone completely unfamiliar making a process of discovery even without all the context in which that music was born.


    If I think about some other examples (old and recent), the first who comes into my mind is Prokofiev. The cases of "Leutenant Kije suite" and "Alexander Nevsky cantata" are examples of a composer presenting his film works out of their original context. In those cases, indeed, he had to perform extensive revisions; the original film score of Kije is just a set of few-second pieces, totally unpresentable in their original form, while the original film score of Nevsky is orchestrated in a way that is both economic (in a certain sense) and suitable for the recording means of the time, whose requirements were very different from those of a concert performance. In order to present those scores as concert pieces, Prokofiev combined cues, re-orchestrated, and wrote transition passages. The Cantata from Alexander Nevsky is recognized as one of his masterpieces; the film score cues do not have the same power at all, if disjointed from the movie.


    In more recent times, probably the most notable re-arrangement of film music for the concert hall is Shore's Symphony from LOTR (although the name "Symphony" is inappropriate). There, he basically combined cues to form 6 large movements which work well as absolute music, and - as far as I know - he did not change the orchestration; he just assembled them together, with minor cuts here and there. In my opinion, JW's film music could be presented in concerts in the same way: there would probably be no need to do extensive revisions as Prokofiev had to do, because most of JW's film scores are able to stand on their own - at least, the best parts of them. JW could easily assemble a "Symphony" from the music of the Star Wars saga alone (the Battle of Yavin, or the Battle of Hoth, would already work as full movements in their own), or large suites from any of many of his best scores. This is what I'd like to see one day!     

  2. 1 hour ago, TownerFan said:

    As I tried to express in my own piece, if the Berlin concerts showed something is indeed the fact that Williams' film music can be enjoyed as music per se without necessarily having a bond or a connection with the films themselves--do we really have to remind ourselves of Far and Away, Solo, or Sabrina, with all due respect for fans of these films? 



    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.

  3. 1 hour ago, Josh500 said:


    I know that many people think like that, and that's their right by all means, but I don't agree at all. work of art should be judged for what it is, regardless of who created it. That's what I strongly believe in. 


    Otherwise... Let me give you an example. Let's take the score of Home Alone. This probably isn't in your Top 10 John Williams scores, so you don't consider it a masterpiece. But if a lesser composer, say, Patrick Williams had written Home Alone, the exact same score, you'd all of a sudden consider it a masterpiece? Because all of Patrick Williams's other scores are just forgettable trash? That doesn't make sense at all. Either a work of art is a masterpiece or not, regardless of the name of the composer. 


    Consequently, I submit that John Williams has written dozens and dozens (perhaps as many as 50!) masterpieces during his long, long career.... Not just what somebody considers his Top 10.



    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". 

  4. 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.

  5. 3 hours ago, Chen G. said:


    Would that not fall into the category of thematic reminiscence as opposed to leitmotiv?


    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.

  6. 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:





    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







  7. 13 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

    Herrmann was much more of a visionary and innovator than Shore is.


    Honestly, in terms of innovation, nobody beats Hermann and North. Not even Williams and Goldsmith.




    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).  

  8. 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). 

  9. 12 hours ago, bruce marshall said:

    I've always regretted that Herrmann didn't include the exquisite " first snows of winter" music with " The Road and Finale" as part of his 451 suite.

    Fortunately the Tribute recording has it.


    That cue was not intended to be in the movie, in the initial stage. Herrmann's manuscript score does not include it: after "The Road", there is "Finale", and there is a clear indication on how to connect the two pieces into a single one (probably this was added later as an instruction to assemble the suite). "First Snows of Winter" is tracked from the second part of the cue "The Monorail", also included in the Tribute recording, so it was probably a request by Truffaut which took place after Herrmann had finished the composition of the score, and not planned to be there initially. Moreover, the cue "The Monorail" was originally orchestrated in a slightly different way: the glockenspiel line (which gives the piece its "snowy" feeling when attached to the final scene) was supposed to be played by violins and violas - I'm not aware of any recording of this version. So, the existence of that piece must have been a happy consequence of post-production changes. From a strictly musical point of view, I like "The Road" to continue into "Finale", although I am also happy to have the piece in the Tribute recording. 

  10. In principle, it is possible. If the same question had been asked in a poll in 1971, about the 1970s, I doubt many people would have answered affirmatively, and even less would have anticipated who, among the working composers of the time, would have been able to deliver a score worthy of that title (*). Surprises are always around the corner! 



    (*) I'm thinking of "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing" (1973), of course.

  11. This poll made me reflect on the fact that I went to see several of these movies only because I knew in advance that they had been scored by JW, and probably I would have overlooked them otherwise. In some cases (Empire of the Sun, Angela's Ashes) the movies turned out to be really good, in some others (The Terminal) not at all! 

  12. 10 hours ago, crumbs said:


    Walt Disney Pictures, Disney+™ and Lucasfilm Ltd.™ are excited to announce that visionary director JJ Abrams is returning to the galaxy far, far away. Abrams has been commissioned to remaster and reconstruct the original Star Wars™ trilogy (Star Wars™: Star Wars™, Star Wars™: The Empire Strikes Back™, Star Wars™: Return of the Jedi™) in brand-new editions exclusive to Disney+™, finally integrating the Original Trilogy™ with the beloved Star Wars™ Sequel Trilogy™.

    Reuniting with screenwriter Chris Terrio (Zack Snyder's Justice League), the pair wrote new dialogue to bridge the old with the new. "I said to Chris, 'man, this trilogy does a terrible job establishing context for Rise of Skywalker,'" recalls Abrams. "No mention of Palpatine's children, no hints about grandchildren... so many missed opportunities. Why shouldn't Rey's Song appear when the Emperor confronts Luke? We need to fix this!"

    Abrams credits inspiration for the project to veteran Star Wars composer John Williams. "I remember John saying to me, 'JJ Baby, after what you've put me through, I wouldn't be surprised if you asked me to write new music for Empire next.' That was the light-bulb moment."

    The acclaimed sound team from The Rise of Skywalker™ also return to remaster the iconic soundtracks, assembling immersive new Dolby Atmos mixes. "It never made sense that all the musical themes didn't exist in all of the films," muses Abrams. "Finally we can fix those mistakes." Disney+ subscribers can also enjoy isolated scores, further highlighting Abrams' new vision. "This will introduce a whole new generation to John's music. I'm even talking with Disney Records about releasing the new isolated scores on CD. Everyone's excited!"

    While Williams could not be contacted for comment, he would undoubtedly approve. Abrams shares Williams' theoretical excitement. "At last, fans will appreciate my vision for the Skywalker Saga."

    EXCLUSIVE: First clip from Abrams' newly remastered edition of Star Wars™: Return of the Jedi™:



    The clip is just perfect! :lol::lol::lol:

  13. 3 hours ago, Remco said:

    If ‘Buckbeak’s Flight’ for you is just ‘I and VI moving back and forth with a lot of percussion’ I suggest you take a closer listen.


    To be fair, every chord is the I or the VI degree of some key, and since he did not specify... :lol:

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