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Muad'Dib

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  1. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to Falstaft in "Farewell" from Ep. 9 Appreciation   
    I've been putting off starting another of these TROS track appreciation threads, because honestly talking Star Wars feels so exhausting lately. But I happened to listen the cue "Farewell" this morning and was again reminded how superb this piece is, probably the emotional heart of the soundtrack as a whole and a grand musical payoff for so many things Williams was doing in the Sequel Scores.
     
     
    In a way, the power of this cue has a lot to do with the fact that Williams was forced to communicate through music what the screenplay was unable (IMHO) to accomplish: make for a convincing romantic catharsis for the underwritten Rey & Ben relationship, and convey suitable sense of galaxy-wide triumph against the ill-defined First Order. In that respect, I find it similar to some of the best stuff he did for the PT, like "The Dinner Scene," "It Can't Be," and "Lament," where the music massively picks up the slack where the writing & acting falls short.
     
    It's a really dense track, with too much to delve into in one post, but here are a few observations:
    The austere rendition of Rey's theme for her momentary death is exquisite, and by using the comparatively rare ending first (and only?) heard in TFA's 1M7, does a great job tying the beginning and ending of the trilogy together w/r/t her leitmotif.
      The music that accompanies Kylo Ren dragging himself out of the pit, with those overlapping statements of his motif over a D pedal, is almost Gabriel Yared-like in its dissonant but tonal longing. Delicious stuff.
      Rey's resurrection is accompanied by what I imagine many Reylos were long hoping for -- a sort of synthesis of her and Kylo Ren's themes. Notice the way melodic semitones, the markers of Ren/Ben's leitmotif, seem to push through all over the place. There's a particularly subtle way in which Ren's former 5-#4 gets turned into b6-5 and then later inverted to 5-b6 which probably deserves more study. The way this surge of musical emotion end prematurely on an unresolved chord calls to mind the other most notable time Williams did this in Star Wars, and prepares nicely the kiss music that follows on its heels. Here's the notation from the (terrific) piano album:


      Everything following Ben's death, from the tiny bit of string-section mourning Rey is allowed for Ben to the Bb-major choral hymn that concludes the track is such vintage Williams musical exultation that I dare say the whole ST was worth it if just for this sonic reward. And while simple in its emotional effect, the music is again anything if simplistic -- there's even more cool motivic transformations happening with that 5-b6 motif, which flowers into part of the Victory Theme proper. Plus what I suspect is a reconfiguration of the March of the Resistance at 4:14 that I haven't seen anyone else remark on (or maybe I'm just hearing things, wouldn't be the first time!).  
    I'd love to hear all your thoughts, and see what else is going on in this track that I'm surely missing.
     
  2. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to Jay in Mulan (2020) by Harry Gregson-Williams   
    Funny:
     
     
    I hadn't known they gave her super-powers in this movie, or that it featured villains that turn into animals... what's the point in taking a talking dragon out if you're just gonna do that?
  3. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to TownerFan in Williams's sketches? ?Angela Morley and Conrad Pope   
    FYI, Karam is 91 years old and retired.
     
    There is no inherent reason as to why JW stopped working with Conrad other than he likely didn't need his services anymore. As he said in the podcast interview we did, Conrad feels like JW is doing good without him nonetheless
     
     
    Conrad started in the early 1980s working as a copyist at JAKMS, so he was able to look at scores already very early on. He was recommended to John Neufeld by Arthur Morton (Goldsmith's main orchestrator), and started doing uncredited work for him. He was given his first credits with on some James Horner scores in the early 1990s (The Rocketeer, Patriot Games, Once Upon a Forest). It was around the same time that he started also contributing orchestration work for John Williams. His first work was indeed Jurassic Park in 1993. From that moment on, he became a regular in the team with Neufeld working with JW. He also started to get a lot of work and did orchestrations for Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer. His first official screen credit on a JW score was The Lost World. In some of the heavier, denser scores he orchestrated most of the cues, such as Sorcerer's Stone, Minority Report, Attack of the Clones, Prisoner of Azkaban. When Neufeld retired in 2004 (his last score with JW was The Terminal), Conrad basically became the "principal", splitting cues mostly with Eddie Karam on Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, Munich, Indiana Jones IV and Tintin, with the occasional help from JAKMS people.
  4. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to KK in MPAAS : No diversity, no OSCAR   
    Sure, but mainstream cinema has already been siloed off so much that education only gets things so far. It's already become almost impossible for talented filmmakers to make independent films fresh out of school, regardless of race or gender. And as an awards institution, this seems like a logical move for the Academy to make to actively incentivize the industry to start opening up spaces that have historically been blocked off.
     
    Again, no one is saying don't hire for talent. Or to replace talented directors/actors/etc to fill quotas. It's a matter of making production teams be more proactive about finding talent (especially around crew members) where they might not be looking.
     
    It's no perfect solution. But it actually works toward change without relying on empty rhetoric or stupid gestures like quotas in award nominations.
     
     
    Yup. And yet it's still enough to rile JWFan up... 
     
    Good intentions or not, it is one of the less empty gestures Hollywood has made in recent years.
     
     
    One step at a time. Liberal Hollywood has always been slow to action.
  5. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to KK in MPAAS : No diversity, no OSCAR   
    I don't understand the problem. It's actually a pretty decent way at implementing long-term systemic change.
  6. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to TownerFan in Alternate "The Adventures of Tintin" (Opening Credits)?   
    These are fantastic peeks into the creative process, other than being lovely pieces of music. I think Spielberg and JW did the right choice in the end--the final jazzy version is probably the best of the three. It gives the opening a fantastic 1920s feeling.
  7. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to Jay in Alternate "The Adventures of Tintin" (Opening Credits)?   
    Converted your attachments to embeds hosted elsewhere
  8. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to Edmilson in Villeneuve's DUNE   
    Here's the teaser:
     
     
    I wonder if this music is indeed Zimmer's score. It reminded me a bit of King Arthur and Batman's theme from BvS.
  9. Like
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from Molly Weasley in What happened to Danny Elfman?   
    The thing people seem to forget about Silvestri is that he has never really changed his style -in terms of his orchestral writing. I think people tend to look back at his older works more fondly because he was allowed to have more fun... But it's true that he has never evolved or challenged himself more.
     
    I think people also forget guys like Silvestri don't take film music as seriously as some may think. Sure, he takes it seriously and he likes doing it, but at the end of the day it's a job. And credit where credit is due, Silvestri writes to picture and more often than not his music fits like a glove. He's a very meticulous and precise composer in terms of fitting the music to the screen. He doesn't really seem to care about the listening experience on its own. His job begins and ends with the movie. I really wonder what he would do in a concert work.
     
    However, don't you forget the biggest lost promise of them all: Don Davis.
  10. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to karelm in Williams's sketches? ?Angela Morley and Conrad Pope   
    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. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to AC1 in Paul Thomas Anderson   
    I don't easily connect to Altman except for ...
     

     
    This movie was a hypnotizing trip for me.
  12. Like
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from mrbellamy in What happened to Danny Elfman?   
    The thing people seem to forget about Silvestri is that he has never really changed his style -in terms of his orchestral writing. I think people tend to look back at his older works more fondly because he was allowed to have more fun... But it's true that he has never evolved or challenged himself more.
     
    I think people also forget guys like Silvestri don't take film music as seriously as some may think. Sure, he takes it seriously and he likes doing it, but at the end of the day it's a job. And credit where credit is due, Silvestri writes to picture and more often than not his music fits like a glove. He's a very meticulous and precise composer in terms of fitting the music to the screen. He doesn't really seem to care about the listening experience on its own. His job begins and ends with the movie. I really wonder what he would do in a concert work.
     
    However, don't you forget the biggest lost promise of them all: Don Davis.
  13. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to Edmilson in Villeneuve's DUNE   
    Looks cool:
     

     

     

  14. Confused
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from bruce marshall in Upcoming Television Shows   
    He's in five episodes...
  15. Confused
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from bruce marshall in Upcoming Television Shows   
    Two minor characters that serve a white saviour leader, c'mon....
  16. Confused
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from bruce marshall in Upcoming Television Shows   
    GoT is many things.... Diverse is not really one of them.*
     
    Breaking Bad? Sure sure, most of the latinos are drug dealers and, adding insult to the injury, you got a North American actor playing a Chilean drug overlord... I can live with this, but what really bothers me -as an Argentinian- is that Giancarlo can't even speak a line in decent Spanish. Every time he talked in Spanish it completely took me out of the show. Why even bother making the character Chilean at all?
     
    *The Witcher, for that matter, made the diverse angle an integral part of the show and at least for me, feels perfectly organic.
  17. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to Koray Savas in Upcoming Television Shows   
  18. Like
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from Bellosh in 'Your own' Ideal John Williams Concert Programe !   
    Something like this, perhaps...
     
    Jazzy Times
    Prelude and Fugue
    Theme from "The Eiger Sanction"
    "Jazz Autographs" from "The Terminal"
     
    Call of the Wild
    Theme from "Jurassic Park"
    "The Hunt" from "The Lost World"
    Suite from "Close Encounters"

    High Adventure
    "Presenting the Hook" from "Hook"
    "Fighting for Dough" from "Far and Away"
    "The Sea Battle" & "The Duel" from " The Adventures of Tintin"
     
    Age of Magic
    Rey's Theme
    Suite from "Harry Potter" * 
    Soundings
     
    Encores
    "Main Theme" & "Out to Sea" from "Jaws"
    "Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra" from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"
    Superman Theme
    Cantina Band
     
    *The same suite that was played when the Potter theme park opened, I believe it includes a fair selection.
  19. Love
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from Amer in 'Your own' Ideal John Williams Concert Programe !   
    Something like this, perhaps...
     
    Jazzy Times
    Prelude and Fugue
    Theme from "The Eiger Sanction"
    "Jazz Autographs" from "The Terminal"
     
    Call of the Wild
    Theme from "Jurassic Park"
    "The Hunt" from "The Lost World"
    Suite from "Close Encounters"

    High Adventure
    "Presenting the Hook" from "Hook"
    "Fighting for Dough" from "Far and Away"
    "The Sea Battle" & "The Duel" from " The Adventures of Tintin"
     
    Age of Magic
    Rey's Theme
    Suite from "Harry Potter" * 
    Soundings
     
    Encores
    "Main Theme" & "Out to Sea" from "Jaws"
    "Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra" from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"
    Superman Theme
    Cantina Band
     
    *The same suite that was played when the Potter theme park opened, I believe it includes a fair selection.
  20. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to stravinsky in Who's met John Williams?   
    I met the Maestro whilst singing with London Voices. He was very down to earth & noble at one and the same time. 

  21. Sad
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from Albus Percival Wulfric in Big Name conductors and Williams' music   
    I always wondered about Bernstein. Some of Williams' works seem right up his alley. 
     
    Maybe it's JW who didn't want to? I imagine him being very embarassed at the prospect of Lenny conducting his music.
  22. Thanks
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from Ricardo Mortimer in Quess the temp-track from whole JW's career   
    Ha, nice catch! I hear the I-V II-VI similitarity between the two themes, but I highly doubt it was temp-tracked
  23. Like
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from Bayesian in Eiger Sanction: Due for a Remaster?   
    Listen to this beauty! Jazzy baroque
     
     
  24. Like
    Muad'Dib got a reaction from Naïve Old Fart in Eiger Sanction: Due for a Remaster?   
    Listen to this beauty! Jazzy baroque
     
     
  25. Like
    Muad'Dib reacted to Falstaft in "Psalm of the Sith" (aka "Anthem of Evil") from Ep. 9 Appreciation   
    Another week, another underappreciated aspect of the Rise of Skywalker score to explore. This time, let's talk about the big new villain theme, "Psalm of the Sith." (Better known as "Anthem of Evil" but I just cannot stomach that name!)
     
    My first two impressions of the theme were
    I love the wordless acapella statement on track 7 of the OST; closest we get in this score to the "Legend of Darth Plageuis" unreleased snippet from ROTS we all love... This is kind of just an ersatz Imperial March, more technically fluent but maybe not much more original than Giacchino's Imperial Suite themes...  
    Since getting to know the score much better over the past few months, I've grown to appreciate the leitmotif quite a bit more, especially after revelations like what @Ludwig pointed out last week concerning its development in "Advice." It's treated quite flexibly over the course of the TROS soundtrack, seeping into many moments where the theme isn't necessarily at the forefront. There are also some new touches, harmonically, like the emphasis on the minor-triad immediately below the tonic (e.g. Cm <=> Bm) which is fairly rare in Star Wars and a nice alternative to the over-familiar Cm<=>Abm evil progression.
     
    My favorite part has got to be the explosive and well-rounded statement of the theme in its full glory during the End Credits. I especially enjoy the build-up starting at 2:06 (shades of the Force Theme's dotted rhythm) and, even more, the delightfully gothic middle section. This 10 measure span has got to be one of the best but least-remarked-upon aspect of this entire score.
     
     
    Here's a transcription. Could have come straight out of Dracula or The Chamber of Secrets. If anyone can discern even a passing hint of this B-section in the score proper, say so, I am just itching to add it to my thematic catalogue.
     

     
     
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