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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. Haven't seen Wheel of Time yet... Been definitely hearing mixed things, and for sure there are things about the Lord of the Rings show recently that had led me to raise an eyebrow...or two. But there's also some stuff I like. The shots we've seen of the sets look quite nice.
  2. I'm more into live-action, so the Amazon show is more intriguing to me than is this odd spinoff. Speaking of which, the show just dropped some of its characters:
  3. Because it just sounded right? Seems pretty straightforward to me. Williams had never shied away from using his themes purely for affect. I mean - and not that this is a justification for this practice, per se - but what is the Tarnhelm theme doing there when Waltraute tells Brunhilde that Wotan's Spear is in pieces? It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Tarnhelm. And we keep on hearing Tarnhelm-y music throughout this passage, like here where the Tarnhelm chords "poison" the Valhalla theme for no particular reason, and later when Alberich recalls the same scenario to Hagen. That's kinda the same situation, except that the thought process there seems to me as "Well, I have all of these themes; naturally I want them all to play a part in the climax of the piece..." Its a symphonic mode of thinking, in a way.
  4. Oh that's right, he did say it was in Hamburg! Going to see the Ring without a grasp of German, though... Ooofff... one can see how Williams became frustrated with it.
  5. Williams did watch a Ring although we don't know if this was before he penned the Force theme; and he seems to have known of Wagner even prior to this event. Interesting that he doesn't seem to have listened to Tristan.
  6. That's not what I mean. What I mean is that very often what artists say they'll do is not what they end-up actually doing; and that's absolutely the case here. That's not a criticism of Villenueve either personally or artistically: Like I said, I think making us wait for Arrakis worked tremendously.
  7. And yet, it takes thirty minutes to get there (which actually works incredibly well dramatically). Yet another case where you don't look at what the artist says. You look at what they do.
  8. And the appendices are available to those who purchase the set via streaming. And its not like there's a benefit to physical media over streaming when it comes to SD-shot extras...
  9. It has all the rewatch value of a great human story. The twist is of course mighty clever, but its main value is that only through it do Malcolm and Cole achieve catharsis. Nevertheless, its easy to miss the forest for the trees and remember the film for its twist and not for its stirring drama. For me, the moment that sticks in my mind is not the twist, it is directly afterwards: Just typing it down I almost swoon.
  10. Curiously enough, in an interview Williams talks about it as a theme, but I think he means more in the compositional/symphonic sense than in the sense of a recurring theme, which it clearly isn't. The same is true of the Landspeeder material, the Throne Room, the Funeral, some material for Padme in Episode I and even some of the material of the Battle of Hoth.
  11. Furtwangler is pretty good, I suppose. But I guess the whole point of music-drama is that you watch it, rather than listen to it as audio: at its best, it has the power of a stageplay combined with great music. As such, I quite like the Glyndebourne production but also the collaborations of Barenboim and Waltraud Meier.
  12. I definitely could have seen that movie split into parts further. But its not doing that brilliantly in the box-office that Villenueve would have been confident to pitch a 3 or 4-part film series! Be that as it may, I loved the film the way it is. Sure, it isn't perfect, but I actually disagree with arguments levelled against its characters: I definitely felt the plight of the characters, especially Jessica.
  13. <Super pedantic mode> Well, back then, it wasn't "The Force theme" anyway: it was Old Ben's theme!
  14. As I recall it, she has a lot of very sad woodwind writing, but nothing that really comes back within the film: it takes until Attack of the Clones for a figure that we associate with her to reappear, and its reprised at least once more within that film and is arguably echoed in Revenge of the Sith.
  15. Its an action ostinato, mostly to do with Spaceship dogfights. Besides, leitmotives do sometimes change their associations across a long cycle such as this: I mean, the Rebel Fanfare started life as a theme for the blockade runner, morphed in the scoring process into a theme for the Rebels and, come the sequel trilogy, became the theme of the Falcon. I mean, why do we hear the theme of the magic gold when Siegfried confronts the Wanderer? Because after an 11-year hiatus from the Ring, Wagner came back to his themes and decided that this theme, which was associated with the Rhinedaughters' joyous call to the gold, worked better as a more general "joy" theme. Its the same kind of dramatic association, only more generalized as opposed to specific. The same is true here. As a paralle to the same moment in The Empire Strikes Back. Again, why does the "Renounciation [of love]" theme appears when Siegmund pulls the sword from the tree in the name of love? The theme conveys the opposite message to the intent of the scene. Its there as a parallel of Alberich cursing love in the same spot in the previous evening. That's really just for affect. Williams had been doing this ever since Leia's theme for Ben's death; and again, its not unheard of as a practice. I mean, why do we hear the Tarnhelm when Waltraute says that Wotan came back with the spear in pieces? That has nothing to do with the Tarnhelm, and very little even to do with magic in general, and its not making some kind of palpable parallel: its really just there for affect. Its a device that I only like when used in extreme moderation, which is not the case with some Williams scores, but nevertheless is something composers do.
  16. But "pushing the nostalgia button" is literally how leitmotives work. Like, if its really a case of the same leitmotif being repeated ad nauseam in close proximity and in a very specific, unchanged form - as is the case of Binary Sunset - I get it. But something like this? Its literally the whole point of leitmotives!
  17. Well, Williams does occasionally go back and revisit moments that weren't initially concieved of as thematic: The Throne Room music, the "Holstian chords" from the opening of Star Wars, and in the prequel trilogy the funeral music, some of the writing for Shmi and one of the fanfares we associate with Curoscant.
  18. The use in Return of the Jedi is kinda lazy in that Williams had been asked to reuse material directly from the original film (in one of Return of the Jedi's many overdone attempts to model itself on the original film) and then use the same music again at the end of the film. But again, since leitmotives are based on repetition, I think it ultimately works. And yes, The Last Jedi is definitely the least "original" Star Wars score: so many themes returning too often in too familiar a guise, often lifted directly from existing cues and concert arrangements. When it happens once or twice a-la "Here They Come!" its fine; or when it happens tongue-in-cheek like the quote of the Emperor theme (always reminds me of "von Tristan und Isolde kenn' ich ein traurig Stück") its great. But when its really just "ah, a vaguely-impactful moment! I know what to do, Binary Sunset!", a piece that was already become formulaic in its use as the finale of both Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, it gets to be a little much. But then, there are moments of tremendous pathos like the Luke and Leia material. Very hard to describe that moment: we haven't heard it since Return of the Jedi, and even in that we barely got to hear it much. So to hear it all this time later was truly a coup.
  19. I see. Some of Williams' themes gain greater resonance precisely because we go a long time without hearing them again. For me, that happened not with this ostinato but with the reprise of the Luke and Leia theme in The Last Jedi. I can see how going back to such material soon afterwards could feel a bit cheap: that's certainly what I think about the reprise of the Luke and Leia theme for the victory celebrations in The Rise of Skywalker.
  20. I don't dismiss it at all. For instance, that's the big issue with the overuse of Binary Sunset: that a theme that had otherwise been presented in multiple guises (at least orchestrationally) had suddenly reverted to a very specific iteration that seems to have been pasted time and again, without variation, over any vaguely-impactful moment. That's not the case, for me, of the "Here they Come!" ostinato. Yes, it doesn't change. But then, even in pieces where the motives are constantly changing, some of the motives remain the same: off the top of my head, the Curse motive in the Ring cycle doesn't change: whenever something really bad happens or is waiting to happen, we hear a quotation of it. Doesn't make it any less effective. Really, its not used that much at all: from memory, its quoted twice in Return of the Jedi, once in The Last Jedi and in Solo. Across some twenty hours of music, its completely negligible.
  21. I dunno. These are leitmotivic scores after all, and the whole point of leitmotives is repitition (and variation, which is not the case here but nevermind). So its hard for me to begrudge such scores for repeating material, since that's literally the whole point of how they function.
  22. Its been used as a recurring theme since Return of the Jedi, which is fine by me: its a great piece that really suits these kinds of spaceship dogfights. If you really want to talk the "Nostalgia card" there's Binary Sunset...
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