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aviazn last won the day on April 30 2016

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  1. I think it sounds adapted for a TV series-sized orchestra, that's all. But, as is frequently the case these days, I prefer the faster tempo to JW's live performance.
  2. It reminds me most of the Desperation theme from TLJ, which also uses those 1-3-2-5 opening notes. I like the rhyme there — between when the Resistance was nearly wiped out and needed a disillusioned Luke to step up, and when the Jedi are nearly wiped out and need a disillusioned Obi-Wan. Yeah, exactly. It reminds me of that quote from some interview (can't find which one, but I'm sure it's linked here) where, when asked about what makes Star Wars music sound like Star Wars music, he basically responded by saying something like, "Without getting too technical about it, it's a set of intervals and their order and relationship to one another." If that's how he thinks about it, it's no wonder that when he gets asked to write more Star Wars music, he keeps coming back to these intervals. At this point, Star Wars music is almost like a raga.
  3. I always think of those duples as cribbing from Romeo and Juliet. Though those examples are a bit faster! The first one you posted, with Leia's theme, features in the concert arrangement, where the similarity is more pronounced.
  4. Wow, what a great wealth of information in this thread. I haven't seen or listened to the new WSS yet, but those liner notes from JW are fascinating. Very interesting to see him acknowledge the critiques of WSS' creators not knowing anything about Puerto Rican music and to label Bernstein's allusions to jazz "academic and stiff." I would love to read some extended thoughts from JW on his relationship with jazz and Black music. Also, what a fun shoutout to Alex Ross of the New Yorker — it seems there's a healthy mutual admiration there, after Ross' glowing reviews of TFA and TLJ and his sit-down interview/profile.
  5. I adore this little rendition of The Mission he did for Brian Williams. (Can't find it in YouTube, so can't embed it.) And this performance of As Time Goes By where he played with Audra McDonald at Tanglewood in 2013. For JW, it may only be an accompaniment, but the two of them together is magical. I'm glad I was there that night. Clearly, a recording exists of the whole thing, and I'd love to know where. There's this fan cam version but the sound quality is pretty bad:
  6. One of the things that never fails to amaze me about Williams is his ability to hear a temp track and, where most composers would write a pale imitation of that track, JW will instead write an improved version of that temp track. With all due respect to Gordy, AOH is both more of an earworm and richer in possibilities — the different modulations it can take, the rhythmic material underneath it, etc. Same goes for, say, the final movement of Howard Hanson's second symphony. Every new motif in Adventures on Earth is clearly indebted to analogous material in the Hanson, but to my ear, Williams' rewrites are more interesting, more intricate, more full of energy and panache in the big moments — and a closer emotional match to the tone of the film in the quiet, Interlochen-esque moments. That ability to hear a piece of music and then improve upon it is maybe an underrated skill. It's easier to borrow material — a fragment of a melody, a texture — and then reuse it in a totally different context. Or, of course, to write a slightly different melody over the same chords, like everyone else in Hollywood. But to actually make a better, more refined, more harmonically and rhythmically complex version of something you've already heard is so hard to do. I think it speaks to his process — the part he's often described as sculpting, constantly iterating and making tiny tweaks until he finds something that feels inevitable. Hearing something like that Battlefront cue is almost like hearing one of his early drafts of a theme before he sculpts it into its final form.
  7. Same, Greenaway (and that LSO brass) win it going away, for me. Is it confirmed that To Tatooine is Powell and not Williams? I remember there was some discussion about whether that was one of the cues JW contributed. (If it was Powell, he had me fooled.)
  8. 1:47 "His music often gives the films the emotional impact Lucas shortchanges." That may be the most succinct description ever of the Lucas–Williams relationship (and Lucas' general style).
  9. Uh-oh, I've been called out. I guess if the A has worked so far, why change now? Yeah, you could argue that see the influence of Williams' harmonic leanings more now in concert composers than in film composers.
  10. Agreed, but it's also because he actually was a jazz musician, and a lot of people would argue Williams is a significant transitional figure for that reason. The imprint of jazz (and Black music in general) is of course over all modern music, but most film composers today came by those influences secondhand (including via Williams himself). And practically none of them match his level of craft in that regard.
  11. The flying theme is one of those themes where people point to a classical work as a precedent in the melody, but it's actually a great example of the jazz influence in harmony and voicing that @WilliamsStarShip2282 and @Datameister mention, and which makes Williams unique and distinct. This post on Medium is a nice deconstruction of it—when you listen to the chord progression in isolation at the end of the post, the jazz roots are completely clear, and even though the melody seems simple, straightforward, and "classical", its those chord moves that really make the theme feel fresh and, well, Williamsy.
  12. Honestly, it seems there may simply have been too many flubs to catch them all. There's enough blame to go around — at the Vienna players, for their unfamiliarity with a lot of the music (if you've ever seen E.T., how does an entire section of violins accidentally launch into the climactic flying theme statement in cut time??), and at JW himself. It takes nothing away from his legacy to note that his powers as a conductor have diminished with age, and his steadiness in tempos has…relaxed. We got what we got — a document of one of the world's great living composers at 88 years old parachuting in to conduct an orchestra he'd never worked with before on limited rehearsal and pickup time. The critiques don't take anything away from the historic nature of the occasion or the amazing live experience that people had there. And the same time, if we're to take Williams seriously as a composer, holding his recordings to the same standards as "serious" composers is fair game. I just wish that orchestras like Vienna and Berlin had taken an interest in trying to establish a performing relationship with him earlier in his career. Given how pivotal his relationships with ensembles and individual performers have been to his choices in concert writing, it's tempting to think about what he might have written for one of those orchestras if he had become a regular guest artist starting even a decade ago.
  13. I'm no audio engineer, but I would think the problem is in the Fourier transform. Audio processing depends on being able to go back and forth between time domain and frequency domain (e.g. taking a waveform, converting it to frequency space so you can isolate certain frequencies and remove artifacts, then reconverting to a waveform). If you represent a waveform as a superposition of frequencies, and then throw away some of those frequencies—even if they're inaudible ones—you're throwing away information you need to reconstruct the waveform and losing some fine detail that you'll never get back.
  14. I took it more to be Alex Ross' opinion. He's a critic, he's allowed to have them, and he's written a lot about Hermann in the past. Just want to add my congrats to Frank and Emilio!
  15. To me, those trumpet lines in the hyperspace cue always sounded too…busy, for lack of a better word, to be Williams. Seemed more like Powell to me—especially the second one, and the way it modulates. But the more pared down version from the Flying with Chewie cue that @crocodile posted sounds more like Williams to me—maybe the hyperspace version was Powell's variation on it.
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