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Everything posted by Adam

  1. But he's always referred to memorable themes as a happy accident. In other words he doesn't set out to write a memorable theme. He tries to give the idea or character in the film the right musical identification and if it happens to be memorable, so be it. That's why with something like WotW he doesn't even try. Summer blockbuster, Tom Cruise, the potential end of civilization - its his chance to write something famous but, instead, his music just absorbs the very serious atmosphere of it all and gives us nothing to hum. I think that kind of allegiance to the film is very admirable. - Adam
  2. He's been NBC's jingle writer for some time now. Even his Olympic themes mostly have appeared as short jingles before and after commercials. I remember a writer complaining about hearing his music at the opening ceremonies because for him this was an NBC theme and for it to appear in the ceremonies was a sign of the commercialization of the Olympics and so forth. The writer had a point, unfortunately. Goldsmith gave us Rudy, a wonderful score. But he had more than 45 seconds so its not a fair competition. - Adam
  3. Well it does seem to have a lot to do with the scene and editing though I agree what you're talking about is less pleasing on the ears. Battle of the Heroes is an action piece that was in the film and certainly has melodic through-lines. And it does seem the scene asked for it in away that some of the other action didn't - where there are lots of quick cuts and there's absolutely no focus on character, just a lot of busy action. WotW is not melodic in its action but its very cohesive for the most part (and not busily edited). That seeeed like the correct approach. That's not to say he hasn't written the jittery, fragmented stuff as well recently. In fact, RotJ has some of that and that was in 1983. But the point is, these don't seem like random choices he's making, especially if measured against the kind of scenes in question. I don't want to say its the only factor but it seems like the major one. - Adam
  4. Also, the too-busy theory doesn't seem to fit for the NFL piece. What else has he been doing this year? He's about as unbusy as he's been in a long time from what we know. Its also worth noting that there was continuity in sound in his earlier periods as well. Whether its Star Wars to The Fury or even Monsignor and ET have points of similarity. People are often anxious to declare JW's downfall but meanwhile he keeps writing music that lots of people appreciate and enjoy and that many musicians admire. And he seems to be making the people that hire him happy. He's not going to please everybody but, then, he never did so that's nothing new either. -Adam
  5. Well its only 45 seconds. Its not like people were saying that this was ET. I think Saxman is the one over-reacting here. I've been enjoying it and I think it will probably work well for what it was written for. This is kind of Star Warsy but that's because I think he was going for the whole battle metaphor like I was saying. If he wrote battle music for Memoirs of a Geisha, Saxman might have a good point. - Adam
  6. I'll be curious to see if this was written for a set montage that will be the same every week or whether different images will be edited in every week. It kind of sounds like he throws in a lot of extra boom-tzzs to be timed with violent tackles and that kind of thing. - Adam
  7. My first reaction was that it did sound very footballish. Partly it maybe connects a little bit with music I've heard in NFL Films Highlights. But more I think its because the NFL has always played up the war analogy. The whole idea of warriors battling in the trenches and that kind of thing. So I think the music is very evokative of that. Very brutish music. Great to hear some new JW music. Feels like its been forever. - Adam
  8. With regard to the strings, JW also mentioned that he doubled up the strings. So it its twice as abundant as a regular orchestra but I personally like it better for this piece. The Pops re-recordings, for example, lack the rich, weightier sound from the original. I think JW rightly recognized what was needed for the material and the movie. - Adam
  9. Then Williams didnt intended music for it, or Stone asked him not to write anything... I suppose the bootleg is complete since one 3rd of it are alternates Many of the so-called alternates are other recordings off of different albums. EDIT : After going through the album which says that tracks 18-30 are alternate or unused this is more or less what seems to be the case : 18 How the score actually begins in the movie. The prologue on the album is the unused cue. 19. Re-recording off the Pops album 20. The first part is from the movie but the last part seems like 22 21. Re-recording off the Pops album 22. - 29 Most of these are labeled as alternates which would leave only 3 unused cues in the sense of scenes that were going to have music but had none. However I don’t trust the labels, especially since the alternates often have very different times and since so little effort was made for accuracy in the track titles. 30. Bad re-recording by an orchestra I don’t remember So it seems there are more unused cues than I originally thought and it may be complete but its difficult to tell for sure given how poorly it is assembled and labeled. - Adam
  10. I recall an interview with JW after the movie where he mentioned the downside of scoring movies is watching a lot of music taken out and he mentioned that this happened with Born on the Fourth of July. It might have been one of the interviews where he says that scoring movies can be soul-crushing. But there are quite a few moments in the movie that seemed to call out for music where there was none, so I assume these are the scenes where music got taken out. For example, Kovic praying, the montage at the beginning of the movie of him working out, etc. All this could have been very good music and its not on the bootleg. - Adam
  11. One of my favorites. Lush, rich string writing with some very nice trumpet solos, particularly Homecoming, with its quasi-militaristic, bittersweet anthem. I like that he’s able to create music that is very American sounding but appropriately different from the typical patriotic sound. The score very accurately evokes both the turbulance of that era and in the more romantic moments, idealism and nostalgia. I don't know that there's another score he's written that it reminds me so it has the added virtue of being both very good and very unique. - Adam
  12. The Amazing Stories CD has been a case in point for me. I was glad to have all of the other composers’ work on there with JW because it was an excuse to hear other music and composers that I might not have otherwise heard. I wanted to like the other writing (and I need to give it more listens actually) but I keep listening to JW’s Ghost Train. Its not even that great of a listening experience as JW goes but there’s something more satisfying about it, nonetheless. I remember Davis of JP3 using the word “integrity” to describe JW’s writing and I think that’s very true. There’s an extra level of complexity, but seamlessly woven together, that gives the music more depth. Still, people cultivate different interests and tastes. There’s plenty of other film composers, historically and today, writing quality music, even if they don’t combine the particular attributes that I find so impressive in JW. They’ll bring something different to the table that maybe JW doesn’t. I try to keep that in mind as well as the fact that technical talent, in it of itself, is not what people listen for in music generally. Its valuable in so far as it increases the quality of what we hear but music is ultimately something more visceral that we connect to. Chariots of Fire isn’t a particularly impressive musical piece in technical terms but I can still enjoy it and it clearly connected with a lot of people. That’s just one example that comes to mind for some reason. - Adam
  13. Of course it has to do with talent. Iverson is super-quick and can jump out of the gym. This is a natural talent and, yes, he's also worked like crazy. That's why its often a combination. The idea that anybody could make it to the NBA is ridiculous. How much this applies to music is debatable but it seems common-sensical that a person born with a tin-ear will have a harder time than someone with natural musical talent. If they both practice like crazy and equally, the person with natural talent will have an advantage. - Adam
  14. I'm ignorant when it comes to the videogame scores but even with Lost and Family Stone there's some good moments that contradict what I said. I'm just speaking to a general tendency I'm noticing with his film/TV scores. But the finale to one of the earlier Season 2 Lost episodes has a very well-devleoped melody that I'm anxious to have. - Adam
  15. I think he tried to combine a somewhat traditional Americana sound with some more contemporary aspects like the drums because it was supposed to be a present-day story. For example, the best unreleased cue is a very 80ish drum-driven piece incorporating the main theme. I love that cue in the movie. It has the more traditional bluesy, country elements but then drums to help connect the montage and place the movie in the appropriate time. And he uses that main theme to convey the feeling of the family banding together. A year later, Goldsmith used a similar type of theme (melody built around resolving a suspended third) for the basketball team pulling together. Its a very effective musical technique in both cases IMO. As far as the album goes, its worth the money to me but everyone's different. - Adam
  16. Its more about the music for me now, though I'm only interested in the best of what's out there so I'm not even really a film music lover in the sense that I can do without 95% of it probably at least. When I was young, film music was about the movie. The music was just a way to have a piece of the movie and it didn’t even occur to me to wonder who wrote the music. But when I eventually noticed that JW had written the music to all 3 soundtracks I owned, that sparked an interest that’s grown steadily over the years. Now I’m far more interested in JW than I am in films. Films tend to disappoint me. I like good movies but its often not worth the commitment of time and money to try to find the good stuff in the jungle of mediocrity. - Adam
  17. I liked Giacchino’s MI3 score overall. I thought the Vatican sequence was the best in terms of showcasing what he can bring to a movie. The editing and the music worked very well together. However, I’m begining to think his quieter, more emotional music is clumsy as compared to his action writing. His action music has a vitality and confidence about it but then there’s something in his technique with the quieter music where it seems like he’s trying just as hard to be invisible as he is to make his mark. Its true with some of the music to Lost and Family Stone as well. The sparce piano chords, for example, are something he’s used in Lost, Family Stone, MI3 and it often seems remarkably safe as an approach in the film, not to mention being a bit of a struggle as a listening experience. Beyond that, his more orchestral approach often feels a little unnatural, like he’s sacrificing something in the flow of the music because he’s thinking more in terms of the coloring and not the forward motion (the way MI3 ends for example). Its partly a subjective reaction no doubt and with Lost there are parts I really like but, still, there does seem to be a big difference. - Adam
  18. It could be interesting, especially if you could apply it to scores that are very different from eachother like the one's I mentioned. You sort of make my point about JW's formulation being better because you use the word "style" in two different contexts, admitting that he uses different styles but then also using the word to explain what I tend to think of as something very abstract in his creative approach that speaks to some fundamental musical voice that every composer will have. Calling this a style is misleading IMO but I at least see where you're coming from now. - Adam
  19. Stanley and Iris has a little bit of good unreleased music, including a very nice trumpet portion that was added on to Letters. I think I'd most want the unreleased music to Amistad. Not a whole lot but there's some standout cues and a motif for Cinque's recollections of Africa that isn't on the soundtrack at all. Rosewood has a few good moments but the main title struck me as kind of weird for the movie where it goes into the drum crash. It was apparently a re-write over his original music that's on the soundtrack and not heard in entirety in the movie. He must have been given a very specific instruction of what was wanted. - Adam
  20. Again, people are evidently defining style much more broadly than me (and JW apparently). If somebody can explain the style that unites the scores I mentioned, I could be convinced that JW is delusional with regard to not hearing his own style. But I've never heard it. JW has said that every composer has a musical voice - he said its as inescapable as a person's handwriting. So maybe that's what people are trying to say and he's using a different word. If so, I think his formulation is more accurate as opposed to trying to say that Not With My Wife You Don't and his flute concerto are somehow stylistically related. - Adam
  21. I don’t mind saying that I don’t regard JW as having a style. Sure he has a musical voice- there’s something we recognize in his music - but I still have trouble calling that a style. I mean does Penolope, his violin concerto, Missouri Breaks and Star Wars all fall within a John Williams style? That seems like the wrong word - these pieces are very different stylistically. It seems like people are either referring to something abstract in his musical voice that we recognize even when the style of music is very different or people are thinking about the bulk of scores that fall within his more traditional, orchestral approach. And though most people seem to disagree, its worth noting that John Williams, when asked recently about his style, answered that he didn’t have one. So I at least have him to back me up on this point. - Adam
  22. I said it in my original review, and I'll say it again- they were wrong to end the film with the Chairman's Waltz. A fine tune, which fits the initial cast's credits, but it was the wrong music for people to leave the theater with. The sublime End Credits piece from the CD used after the Waltz is the best possible way I could imagine to leave the theater, concluding the filmic and the musical experience beautifuly. That really dissapointed me. It's kind of ironic- With Munich, I heard the end credits track was not exactly the end credits of the film, and I was bummed out. With Geisha, I heard nothing about the end credits, and was looking forward to hearing the end credits track in the theater as soon as the film was over. In the end, Munich's end credits track began before the film ended, and made for one of the most sublime musical moments ever in a Speilberg film, while Geisha's started a couple of minutes after the film was over, ruining what should have been one of hte most sublime and beautiful end credits segways ever. I see your point. I liked that JW scored the cast portion like it was part of the movie. Not everybody stays around for it but its not like the typical end credits in that the actors are introduced with clips from the film and then the rest of the screen shows water ripples. So I think JW probably approached it like he would a scene of the movie. The water ripples, in particular, suggests something more delicate musically and the celeste part which provides counterpoint, in particular, seems designed to convey a crystaline echo effect. And then the end credit music comes in exactly when the screen goes black and the credits roll. But its true that lot of people leaving the theater won't hear that part but I sitll liked his approach there. The Chariman's Waltz in the body of the film seemed a little more questionable though it basically worked. I just had to wonder what his original approach would have been. There was some definite tracking going on but it did give the theme a much closer association with The Chairman. Munich was a little disappointing. I liked the way it finishes the film, as you said. But then it just fades away with an awkward ending and goes right into the cello version of the other theme when the credits start. And then back into A Prayer for Peace. I think I would have preferred the whole End Credits version as it is on the disc. - Adam
  23. I'd have to see it again but I know that there is some tracking in of The Chariman's Waltz. So it ends up having 3 appearances though not to completion until the end credits. Parts of Track 13 get tracked in. Track 1 makes two appearances at the beginning I think or at least the cello part of it comes in again. Basically, I'm not answering the question except to say that it would not be a "clean" listing. It was good that the film actually erred in the direction of more music. Maybe somebody realized one of the things the film had most going for it. - Adam
  24. Yeah a score probably ought to be looked at as more of a collaberation, a composer's effort to satisfy the vision of the director. Unfortunately we don't usually know what role the director, temp track, etc. plays so we tend to dump everything on the composer. But in the case of ROTS, there's a much more clear picture as compared to usual so its doesn't require much reading into things to see the obstacles that JW faced on this one. - Adam
  25. At a mimimum, RotS suffers from two things, IMO. 1. The film is still getting made when JW is writing his score and 2. GL has certain, particular ideas about what he wants to appear and this is sometimes related to problem 1. One concrete example was the funeral music from TPM that plays in RotS, that Stefancos mentioned. When JW was asked about that scene recently he mentioned that the scene came to him late and he very diplomatically suggested he could have done something better if he would have wrote something original. This confirms my original complaint that this was not JW’s first choice. Combination of receiving that portion late into the process and the fact that Lucas suggested the old theme, JW just re-orchestrated a little bit. And being the diplomatic sort, he didn’t disown it but, again, he also suggested he could have done better with something original and such a crucial scene called for something original, IMO, though of course the music didn’t fail - we’re talking a matter of degree here. I don’t know why TESB was there but it couldn’t have been the best choice for the scene, the changes are jarring as mentioned and its just not something JW normally does. Dule of the Fates is fine but, again, probably not his first choice. And if we talk about the score as exists in the film, there’s the music taken out where music would have been helpful, bad edits, tracked music, etc. All of these things add up to a less than ideal score though I’m less bothered by the thematic choices JW made given the context and the material he was working with. - Adam
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