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karelm last won the day on September 6

karelm had the most liked content!

About karelm

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  1. I haven't seen Carrie. Honestly the only thing that made me watch this movie was the score. I'm not a fan of that subgenre of teenage girls with mind powers so not sure if I'm interested enough to seek out Carrie.
  2. Bernstein's Chicago 7 is fantastic for sure. Also keep in mind they had a legendary brass lineup in those days and really rocked it for Bernstein. Brass players like myself grew up with the Chicago brass sound of the 1980's and it was very influential, like those brass players influenced our teachers in how brass should sound. Lenny's No. 7 is my favorite interpretation (or at least the one to which all others are compared to). One other detail of Shostakovich, like all great symphonists, his symphonies are semi-autobiographical so you might want to approach them in sequence to better understand them. Same with Mahler, Sibelius, Beethoven, generally go sequentially and think of them as one giant cycle but within those there are smaller cycles (eg: the war symphonies, the late symphonies, etc.) that have their own characteristics. There are exceptions like No. 9 is a war symphony but doesn't quite fit the style of No. 5 to 8 which are full of drama, dread, pathos, struggle, triumph, etc. No. 9 is one of his lighter symphonies rather than an ode to the victory of Russia. Volkov said this was Shostakovich slamming Stalin and not celebrating the Soviet victory but from Shostakovich's own letters, we know he planned a massive celebratory Symphony No. 9 which would have soloists, chorus and orchestra and started working on it before discarding it and creating something with an entirely lighter mood. It wasn't intended as a war piece at all as Shostakovich had established himself to do but more like pure music which was a characteristic of his chamber music at the time and his preludes and fugue which have a debt to Bach.
  3. I really don't think it was the Stockholm syndrome. Think of it more like how I am a patriotic American and am Anti-trump. Some could say it's impossible to be anti-trump if you are a patriotic American because trump is the president but I would respond, he doesn't represent me or the America I love. That is what Shostakovich was saying. Volkov would say I was anti-american. The reality is I love America and what it represents but Trump doesn't reflect it. Now replace me with Shostakovich and trump with Stalin. No. 4 was the pinnacle of his Enfant terrible phase that was in vogue in the Soviet Union at that time. It literally means a child who is terrifyingly candid by saying embarrassing things to parents or others in the presence of authority. In music, it means someone who is more ore less anti-establishment to the styles in vogue. An embarrassment to the soviet system of sorts. In movies, its sort of like the new wave directors who rejected tradition in the late 1960's and 70's which included our beloved directors Fran├žois Truffaut, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, etc. They rocked the tradition. In the 1930's Soviet Union, Shostakovich was part of that group and it was considered anarchist. People who were against the system and they were targets for espionage that should be silenced/killed. It was under those conditions that he created much of his work.
  4. Not exactly. Part of the complexity with Testimony is that people's opinions changed. Early on Maxim believed it and later felt it wasn't authentic so people can pull the same person and quote them in isolation to make their case. Virtually no one accepts Testimony as authentic today. His widow always said the way Volkov described it didn't happen, that Shostakovich was in very bad health at the time Volkov claims to have been his confidant with frequent talks, walks in private etc. What probably really happened was two or three lunch visits where Volkov was fanning all over Shostakovich who was in terrible shape, didn't really know him, probably shared a few brief stories. He also never produced the evidence he claimed to have which was daily reviews of the previous days memoir signed off by Shostakovich. Friends, family, and scholars are pretty united in condemning it as a book by a dissident who used Shostakovich's fame for his own personal benefits but it might have taken them some time to come to this conclusion because it was very influential in the late 1970's in how it influenced re-examination of his output. Shostakovich was a far more complex person than Volkov presents him to be. He was a Soviet, and a patriot, a critic of the State, and a victim of it too.
  5. I'm an expert on Shostakovich. Let me know if you need help traversing. I've heard Wigglesworth perform several of these live and attended a premiere of Shostakovich's Orango with his widow as well. I've performed bass trombone on No. 5 too, have studied his scores, and read multiple biographies even the apocryphal "Testimony" by the discredited anti-soviet Solomon Volkov. Mravinsky is a romantic soviet interpretation. Very solid and completely respectable. Kondrashin is a more intense and more raw interpretation (more mistakes). There is no single great interpreter but many are great in different ways. Bernard Haitink's Decca series is very fine mix of modern (circa 1980's) excellent performances, recording, and interpretation. There are also performance eras. Practically anything pre-late 1970's is influenced by Soviet sound (faster tempo, harsher sound emphasizing dissonance) and most after until around 2000 were Western influenced and emphasized pathos and slower tempo. There is a bit of re-evaluation post 2000 as "Testimony" was debunked by scholars and that anti-soviet interpretation faded from performance approach. Rudolf Barshai is a very respectable series of both Mahler and Shostakovich but not audiophile quality though very fine interpretations. Good recent series are Vasily Petrenko but again, it doesn't succeed in all symphonies but is quite strong in many. Like any great symphonist, Shostakovich is a connoisseur's composer. We relish in every detail and no one cycle fully satisfies.
  6. The simple answer is directors don't ask for it. I once scored a project and for the opening scene gave a theme. They said it had too many notes, reduce the notes. So I simplified and they wanted it simpler still. By the end, it was just a drone and they loved it! If directors want themes, they'll get themes. One of the biggest reasons why directors don't want themes so much is they do a lot more drop ins...like the composer gives them quite a few options and they'll drop it in where it feels right to them rather than having the composer score to the scene (*cough* Chris Nolan *cough*). In effect, they're getting a more generic score that lets them have more flexibility around placement and use which they'll then edit. Second, more films are concerned with momentum (tempo and rhythm) then melody to keep you from surfing the web or flipping channels so you get faster tempos and scoring throughout (*cough* Chris Nolan *cough*) and these are what modern directors expect a good score sounds like so that's what they ask for.
  7. I dig this thread. He loves Herrmann, Goldsmith, and worships JW in a Zimmer way. This is a quote from Zimmer and Chris would echo it: "He's the greatest film composer out there, without a doubt, and it happens to be one of his iconic pieces of music, so I spent three months just procrastinating and not even getting a start on the thing, because I was so intimidated: 'Oh my God, I'm following in John Williams' footsteps.'" (Zimmer was talking about Superman). Chris said the same which I'll paraphrase "My god, any composer's dream is to create that one theme people just can't get out of their head and he did it over and over".
  8. I watched Timeline yesterday. Horribly bland movie scored by the uncompromisingly dull Brian Tyler. But I was shocked to hear how good Goldsmith's rejected score to this lousy film was. Why was his far better score replaced by the far inferior and consistently mundane Tyler?
  9. I mentioned what I know. For someone like JW, orchestrators are there to assist the composer in their work flow process and/or save time. JW didn't really need the services of orchestrators around the time he stopped working with Conrad. He slowed down his output and sent the sketches straight to JAKMS for typesetting.
  10. I've seen the sketches and did some work on some of those as proof reader. The short score has all the details. I once transcribed a few cues from The Empire Strikes Back using only the sketch and you can see they're about 99% of what's in the final score that was already there in the sketch. The voicings, hairpins, instrumentation, doublings, percussion, harp gliss, ornaments, all were there. What might not have been there are all the dynamics but they're generally there. An orchestrator would probably flush those out a bit further to prevent a player from having to ask an unnecessary question. That's why Conrad Pope said he's basically a glorified editor when working with Williams. Sometimes you'll see "sul cello" on the bass line so the orchestrator would flush out the bass part as a copy of the cello part but that is an example of a short hand convention where an orchestrator would consider all the details were already clearly there. Orchestrators have to be good at reading short hand and being careful when to use their own judgement versus what the intention of the composer was. I believe the first score Conrad Pope orchestrated of JW's was Jurassic Park especially the more aggressive T-Rex, Raptor sequences. I believe the last thing he did with Williams was an Oscar arrangement around 2008. Basically, the sketches then would go to JoAnne Kane Music for typesetting as it was so close to orchestrated already plus JW's schedule slowed to around a film or major work a year plus more conducting around then. On multiple occasions, Conrad indicated tremendous admiration not only for JW's skill and talent but also professionalism. A story I liked was how he felt JW had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of musical styles and instrumentation of past eras. The example given was the A.I. radio sequence when Gigolo Joe plays a vintage 30's tune. This was arranged by JW and orchestrated by Conrad but Conrad might have used more modern scoring techniques and JW corrected it to reduce the instrumentation to be 2 violins per line. This is not considered ideal because its hard to tune two string instruments. One is easy and three or more are easy but not two. That was part of the style and particular sound though, that slightly off tune playing that made it sound authentic. Conrad also mentioned he'd never seen anyone attack a musical problem with as much focus than JW. Angela Morley did a few cues here and there from Star Wars through Schindler's List but the bulk of those orchestrations were Herb Spencer. Herb Spencer's last film I believe was Home Alone before he died but many consider him an important part of the sound of JW's Golden Age and Conrad himself said JW learned much from Spencer as they either had offices next to each other or would work on a daily schedule where the feedback worked its way into JW's output. I would say around 75% of Empire was Herb Spencer's orchestration, maybe 15% was Morley, and 10% were others. But when you're talking about a two hour score, that's still a lot of minutes by each of them.
  11. But to me, In Family Plot, Superman, ESB, Jedi, etc, it wasn't overly used. Here it was prominent...in a way I had never heard from him though know those other scores intimately.
  12. I'm not budget shaming. I'm saying spitfire and berlin both sound great but spitfire doesn't include articulations so you have to compare apples to apples. To get spitfire to have the same articulations, you are going to pay alot more than the $300 per version.
  13. Though Conrad Pope might be more famous as an orchestrator for A list composers, he's also a fantastic composer. For example, check out his fabulous score to Ghost Ship which is a must hear to any fan of JW or Horner.
  14. Yeah Berlin and Spitfire are pretty much the cream of the crop but don't pretend spitfire is the economic choice. They are guilty of exactly what you are accusing Berlin of. In short, you need either or both...and it doesn't come cheaply. You are asking for the best sound, most articulation, and cheap. Choose two.
  15. Actually, I think you're right! I'll update my review.
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