Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Two major epics loosely based on the same historical event, namely the disastrous reign of Emperor Commodus (180-192 AD). Both stories involve the previous Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, appointing another heir (Livius / Stephen Boyd in FOTRE, Maximus / Russell Crowe in GLADIATOR) to replace the heir presumed Commodus, a plan which obviously gets thwarted in both films by the death of Aurelius. Eventually, Livius/Maximus defeats Commodus in arranged personal combat at the end. In a sense, GLADIATOR could be considered a quasi-remake of the earlier film, which makes them worthy of comparison. Both scores are quite good and effective, but I will have to go with FOTRE here. I'll admit it's partly my bias towards the golden age sound in general, but it's also more interesting and complicated in terms of it's musical architecture, not to mention that GLADIATOR has some instances of temptrackitis, namely the Holst-inspired bits in battle scenes. The films are a more complicated matter. I find Maximus to be a superior protagonist to Livius. While Stephen Boyd is a fine actor, he's a tiny bit of a charisma void when trying to carry a lead role whilst surrounded by the talents of Alec Guinness, James Mason, and Christopher Plummer. From a certain perspective, one might argue this gives Livius a diminutiveness that fits in well with the story arc of him being a hero who procrastinates on seeing the need to do what needs to be done. But that arc may precisely be a part of the problem, as both stories hinge on Aurelius viewing Livius/Maximus as a worthy candidate to lead Rome towards a better age. GLADIATOR easily convinces me that Maximus might be such a person, whereas FOTRE is less successful at this (Livius just sort of gives up when his succession can't be proven, and gives up again at the end when offered to lead the empire). +1 for GLADIATOR The political subplot is more meaty and developed in FOTRE, which overall feels like the smarter, more literate film of the two. GLADIATOR also has that anachronistic and stupid bit about Aurelius wanting Maximus to restore democracy (WTF!?), whereas FOTRE more wisely just has him consider Livius better as a potential leader than Commodus. FOTRE has its own anachronistic bits (some allusions to the contemporary civil rights movements), but they somehow bother me less. +1 for FOTRE While both are in their own ways effective in the role of Commodus, Christopher Plummer is probably better than Joaquin Phoenix. The more esoteric reasons to dislike Plummer's Commodus (his bad governing etc) just appeal to me more than the cliche of a villain killing the hero's family and now it's personal. His version also feels more strongly like the historical character in certain ways. +1 for FOTRE Richard Harris as Aurelius is very good, but Alec Guinness simply inhabits the role. +1 for FOTRE As a small miscellaneous issue, there's one really terrible scene in FOTRE that makes me cringe, namely the chariot chase between Livius and Commodus early on. Seems like the filmmakers threw it in to compete with similar scenes in QUO VADIS and BEN-HUR, and it seems clumsily overdramatic as a way of externalizing the temporary animosity Commodus feels towards Livius at that moment. -1 for FOTRE So probably FOTRE here too, but I do enjoy both films.
  2. Two excellent examples of Film Noir, easily compared with each other due to various similar plot elements. Which score or film do you prefer?
  3. Some examples I can think of: Joseph Haydn - String Quartet No. 62: The middle movement is a set of variations on Haydn's own Austro-Hungarian imperial hymn Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser, later repurposed as the German anthem (with new lyrics). Carl Czerny - Variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" - Self-explanatory Henryk Wieniawsky - Variations on the Austrian National Anthem - Ditto Bedrich Smetana - Triumphal Symphony: Fleeting appearances of Haydn's imperial hymn throughout the work, and finally concluded by a grand statement of it. Ludwig Van Beethoven - Wellington's Victory - Quotes God Save The King/Queen. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Quotes God Save The Czar very prominently in Marche Slave, 1812 Overture (along with La Marseillaise), Festival Coronation March, and Festival Overture on the Danish National Anthem (along with the Danish royal anthem). Charles Gounod - Fantaisie sur l'hymne national Russe - Variations on God Save The Czar for pedal piano and orchestra Sergei Bortkiewicz - Symphony No. 1 - A rousing quotation of God Save The Czar precedes the final closing flourish, though allegedly the instructions on the written score allow for the quotation to be skipped (?) Jean Sibelius - Karelia Music - The complete work (not the more famous suite) closes with an arrangement of the Finnish national anthem Maamme. Reinhold Gliere - Quotes The Internationale (the Soviet anthem between 1918-44) in The Red Poppy (ballet), Fantasy for the Komintern Festival, and Heroic March for the Buryiat-Mongolian ASSR. The last of these also has a brief quote of God Save The Czar. Giuseppe Verdi - Hymn of Nations - Quotations of La Marseillaise, God Save The King/Queen, and Il Canto degli Italiani throughout the work. Toscanini later expanded the work with an extra coda containing The Internationale and The Star-Spangled Banner. Multiple composers - The Yellow River Piano Concerto - Subtle hints of March of the Volunteers (the Chinese anthem), concludes with a statement of The Internationale.
  4. The opening 40 seconds have noticable strains of the Imperial March embedded within, and these reappear several times later on in the concerto (which incidentally doesn't deserve to be as forgotten as it is)
  5. The absolute greatest among the not so well known piano concertos. It's available on the excellent Azerbaijani Piano Concertos disc on Naxos, which I cannot recommend enough. That opening is particularly wonderful (for whatever reason I'm unable make it play from 0:00, so please drag the timer back). Another great Amirov piece: Speaking of piano concertos, does anyone have any recommendations regarding the "Romantic Piano Concertos" series on Hyperion? Been really thinking about getting the Arensky/Bortkiewicz and Moszkowski/Paderewski discs (are these good?), and obviously other recommendations would be welcome as well.
  6. What it says in the title. Both of them are Golden Age film composers who also wrote a sizable number of non-film work, yet are primarily known for their contributions to film. Given that both of them made a single cello/piano/violin concerto each, I included specific polls on those as well. For the first question, you should nonetheless consider their other works as well, such as Korngold's symphony and such. Rozsa's piano/violin/cello concertos, in order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO8ccRJ6vG0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRxCQ-Ktfn4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baJmos-LhrY Korngold's piano/violin/cello concertos, in order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VETsnuXn5gE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcGEGl5bdbk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bnZTsYUabM
  7. Which of the SW OST programs are the best/worst in your opinion? Please try to not allow your ranking of the scores themselves to influence your decisions. Rather consider how well these OST programs represent those scores, how many of the highlights are present or missing, how well the program flows as a musical experience, and so on. My choices: Best OST: TFA (SW and TLJ come close) Worst OST: ROTJ Best OT OST: SW Worst OT OST: ROTJ Best PT OST: AOTC Worst PT OST: TPM (really tough to choose between this and ROTS) Best ST OST: TFA Worst ST OST: TROS
  8. Best to worst: TESB - Utter perfection ROTJ - Great colorfulness and the great number of highlights offset any structural messiness SW - The original, though the above two add more to its thematic repertoire. Weirdly "alien" sound in a good way TPM - See ROTJ. Also great new themes. TFA - Great new themes and strong musical architecture. Lack of big highlights to an extent though. ROTS - The best highlights of either prequel/sequel trilogies, great underscore, is very emotional, also has rather messy musical architecture TROS - Have to let it sink in more to decide, but this position looks pretty right AOTC - Great love theme, but mostly auto-pilot Williams TLJ - Auto-pilot Williams. In a pinch more enjoyable than AOTC, but the new themes are less interesting.
  9. I think the Luke+Leia appearance is a case of expanding the purpose of a theme beyond its original conception, kinda like the Force Theme began as Obi-Wan’s theme. Remember that the scene is implying that Jannah is Lando’s daughter. So it has now become a ”emotionally satisfying kinship revelation theme”, rather than representing that merely for L&L.
  10. I have a hard time deciding which is worse. I think TPM has better visuals (more practical effects) and action, while AOTC makes (relatively) more sense, and the dual protagonists are an improvement on the messy ensemble of TPM. Can't decide whether Jar Jar or the AOTC romance is more cringeworthy. These two and TLJ are pretty much tied for me as the worst SW film, though purely as a film, TLJ is somewhat better due to its superior technical merits, such as acting and directing.
  11. The problem with Rey is not that she's female, but that she's so perfect at everything she does. Both Anakin and Luke had to be trained in the use of the force, but she pretty much can immediately use the Force (and mind tricks and whatever) after that single vision scene in TFA. She effortlessly beats Kylo in both of their encounters (way to make you antagonist seem a threat), knows how to use mind tricks without being taught how, even lifts dozens of heavy rocks after the trilogy started like a couple of days ago in story time. Her only real flaw is the whole seeking-for-replacement-parents thing (terribly handled as it is in its finer details, but I digress...). Basically, she should ideally be a well written character who just happens to be a woman, rather than "A Strong Female Character". The likes of Leia, Ripley, or Sarah Connor are examples of the former, and I don't recall anyone complaining about them. Rather, she's part of the trend where a minority/female character needs to be decipted as an overly perfect Mary Sue in order to be some kind of "empowering icon". This will date these films horribly down the road. Granted, there are characters - such as Roger Moore's James Bond - who are beloved wish-fulfillment characters of overt perfection, and in principle there's nothing wrong with having a female equivalent. But here's what's important: Neither of the previous Star Wars protagonists were decipted that way, but were characters who had flaws and challenges to overcome. She's also part of the trend where modern Hollywood hacks cast minorities or women into roles as a shield for criticism. If people complain about these poorly constructed characters, the filmmakers can immediately smear these critics as being part of a toxic fanbase of manbabies or whatever, which will then mobilize the social justice people to defend your film, regardless of its actual quality, or the quality of the characters in question. If people complained about a Steven Seagal character being a Mary Sue (which his characters most certainly are!), the filmmakers couldn't defend themselves from this accusation. But turn him a woman or a minority character (in itself absolutely no problem), suddenly these critics can be dismissed as "hating women" or "hating blacks" or whatever else. I don't care who you cast, just make them good characters, period. There's also the pandering to Chinese censorship in these films (why so selective in your wokeness, Disney?). The Chinese censorship of ghosts is why the force ghosts are no longer so transparent, and can now interact with the world (if force ghost Yoda can summon lightning or hit Luke with his stick, why didn't he just go to the Emperor after dying in ROTJ and kill him with the lightning?). I also suspect this is the reason for the whole disturbing "obey authority without question" message(?) in the Poe mutiny subplot, as well as an alternate explanation for why Rey can learn the Force so effortlessly (it makes it seem more like a superpower she had since birth, rather than some some of that "dangerous spiritual stuff")
  12. To my mind, the 2018 edition of ANH is largely superior in sound compared to the SE, which sounds far more "artificial" (hard to explain what I precisely mean), and has some loudness war issues in louder passages. Listening to the SE is rather fatiguing to the ears for these reasons.
  13. However, in this revised broader meaning, it nonetheless still describes a sense of adventure that was embodied originally by Luke in the first film, both as an audience avatar and in terms of character motivations. Much of his initial motivation is based on wanting to escape his boring farm life for something more exciting, implicit desire for revenge over his aunt and uncle, living up to the false image he's fed about his "heroic" father, as well as a general wish to be a heroic figure, as is reflected in his "looking for a great warrior" statement to Yoda, who in turn is reluctant to train the "reckless" Luke. He misunderstands the Jedi path as being a process of becoming a "better hero/warrior", more or less. However, when Luke grows closer to truly embodying the Jedi teachings, the theme gets for the most part replaced by the Force Theme. When he throws his light saber away at the end of ROTJ, the choice of playing the Force Theme instead of Luke's original theme is very much deliberate. A case of "musical ego-sublimation", if you will. In retrospect, it's more like a theme for that adventure-seeking early phase in Luke's character arc, rather than precisely "his theme". Or to be more exact, it's a "Spirit of Adventure Theme" that happens to be initially attached to Luke, since he indeed embodies that spirit in his initial "state" or modus operandi. When he no longer does, it stops being attached to him. Indeed, in the sequel trilogy, he's primarily represented by the Force Theme and his other (new) theme, while the original title crawl music is still heard in adventurous contexts, but almost solely in scenes involving other characters. This communicates that the "spirit of adventure" is still an extant thing in the SW universe, with Luke being past that state of existence. The only time it's heard with Luke is in the reunion scene with R2, but there the context is indeed about rememberance of their previous "fun adventures".
  14. In regards to Herrmann, I must admit I rarely enjoy his music in C&C or other long presentations, with some exceptions. Not really sure why, as I generally prefer most other film composers' works in complete form. His music is however terrific in the films themselves, needless to say.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.