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TownerFan

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Everything posted by TownerFan

  1. 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.
  2. The use of the harpsichord might recall Francis Poulenc's Concert Champetre from 1928. There is an overall air that harks back to French composers of that era like Poulenc, Honegger, Milhaud. All of them were strongly influenced by the early jazz music coming from the US (Gershwin, Antheil et al). It makes sense considering the source material and also the setting of the film.
  3. 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.
  4. As much as it would be amusing to see Spielberg managing projects exclusively around JW's availability, it's just wishful thinking. There are a lot of things that go into consideration when prepping and producing a film. More often than not things are being put in turnaround for a variety of reasons. While Spielberg certainly has enough clout to set up a production schedule according to his own wishes, a lot of those decisions are also made in cooperation and agreement with the studio financing the project. It's true that Spielberg has quite a large track record of projects that went as far as into advanced pre-production and then suddenly halted or pushed back, but again the reasons behind those are many and different. West Side Story is a long coveted project on his part. It's been in preparation for almost 10 years. I'm sure he and JW talked about it and if this would have happened earlier perhaps JW would have collaborated in some way, but it feels like he's not that much into adaptation work in this phase of his life, so he could have passed on anyway.
  5. Thanks, Marian! Duly noted and corrected. I'm aware that the Philharmoniker aren't the oldest European musical institution, but they're perhaps the one which kept attached stronger than others to the (especially Viennese) musical tradition. I hope I was clear enough in making that point.
  6. I'm not as hip or famous as Mr. Lebrecht, but here's my own take: https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/09/07/john-williams-in-vienna/
  7. Conrad worked with JW for many years, but he wasn't the only one assisting him for orchestration work. Eddie Karam also assisted in several scores. As other said above, it's a matter of workflow and trust, but also scale of the projects. He talked about some of those details in the interview I did with him last year: https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2019/04/26/conrad-pope-interview/ Morley did some orchestration work on some of the bigger scores of the late 70s and early 80s, namely Star Wars, Superman, The Empire Strikes Back, E.T., she did a few cues on all of those. Back in those years she was working mostly in television doing show such as Dallas, Dynasty, The Colbys and the Carringtons, Falcon Crest, etc. She came around working for JW through her friendship with Herb Spencer. In the following years, she also did arranging work on source music cues in Home Alone 1 and 2 and Schindler's List. Williams also asked her to contribute arrangements for some of his Boston Pops concerts over the years. Morley also contributed gorgeous arrangements for violin and orchestra for Itzhak Perlman on both Cinema Serenade albums.
  8. Bridge of Spies was originally set to be scored by JW. Disney and Amblin even worked out schedules and planned a hiatus from Star Wars duties for JW to allow him to spot, write and record the score for BoS and then letting him finish TFA afterwards. However, JW did a medical treatment and had to rest for almost 2 months (exactly the window allowed for JW to do Bridge of Spies), so there was no chance he could work on BoS, as he had to be back at work on Star Wars. I doubt the studio, i.e. 20th Century Fox would have allowed a new release date on such a short notice. Allegedly, Spielberg thought to go on without an original score, but then he and JW decided to ask Tom Newman to do it. Ready Player One release date was originally December 2017, but then Warner Bros. decided to move it on March 2018 after The Last Jedi release date was moved 6 months ahead from May to December 2017. I think JW's schedule originally was fine nevertheless (he scored TLJ between December and June 2017) and he was still officially attached to RP1 until June 2017, but then Spielberg fast-tracked The Post and basically shot, edited and did post production it in a 6-months turnaround for a release in December 2017. It was virtually impossible for JW to write two scores simultaneously, as he never did that over his career and he doesn't use additional composers to help him out with deadlines. My hunch is that Spielberg offered to score both films and let JW choose whichever he preferred (I guess he chose The Post because it likely felt like more relevant to him).
  9. The pandemic and all its consequent restrictions are likely to stay here with us for at least another 18-24 months at the least, so it's better not to hold the breath for any film project materializing soon, sadly. The best we can hope is live concert activities resuming in some form next year so that the new violin concerto can premiere. Both Spielberg and Williams have longevity genes in their families, so it's definitely heartwarming to hope that they could both be very active for at least another several years from now. Next year Spielberg will turn 75. At the same age, JW was about to write Indy 4 and was very active doing concerts all around US.
  10. Conrad wrote a delightful score for chamber orchestra for the documentary Tim's Vermeer a few years ago. The main theme is Desplat-esque (it was likely temped with Girl with a Pearl Earring), but there is a lot to enjoy:
  11. Indy 5 won't be directed by Spielberg anymore. James Mangold is attached now to direct. If the right project will come at the right time, there's no question we'll see Spielberg and Williams collaborating again together.
  12. I wouldn't go that far. It's true that the ARP is featured prominently, but it's mostly used as a color, and it's always used within the symphonic context. I think the first score where he used an ARP synth was The Eiger Sanction. He used it again in Family Plot, Superman, Empire Strikes Back and Jedi. From the mid-1980s onwards, Yamaha DX-7 took over and became the synth every composer wanted to use.
  13. I just published a podcast interview with session pianist Ralph Grierson, who performed on many John's scores in LA: https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/08/26/ralph-grierson-podcast He also talks about the use of piano in JW scores.
  14. Thanks for your nice words, Disco Stu. Talking with these legendary musicians is a real treat.
  15. The 1977 Italian release of the original soundtrack album sported the very same cover:
  16. https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/08/26/ralph-grierson-podcast I hope you'll enjoy this. It's truly fascinating to hear these amazing musicians talk so openly and joyfully about their incredible experiences. Ralph is a true legend--he performed in literally thousands of film and television scores!
  17. It wasn't included most likely for practical reasons, since it's used primarily to enhance a colour and it's not essential for the sense of the piece. It's much more affordable for orchestras to play the piece if the choir isn't mandatory for the performance (anyway, several choral pieces by JW like Duel of the Fates or Hymn to the Fallen are allowed to be performed without choir, as it's usually noted on the published version). The choral part here isn't from the original score, but most likely unofficially transcribed by an arranger (the overall performance is quite lackluster, anyway).
  18. You can buy it digitally on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/john-williams-live-in-vienna-visual-album/1513603217
  19. It was shot in 4K/60 fps as it's common nowadays for many live events. The Neuejahrekonzert is done the same way, I think.
  20. https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/buehne-und-konzert/amerikanischer-filmkomponist-john-williams-im-gespraech-16904749.html Some nice quotes.
  21. The five full takes of the Main Title (complete with slates from the recording booth) were released officially as a bonus track on the 1997 RCA Victor 2-CD set. You can hear them after the Binary Sunset alternate, following a couple of minutes of silence.
  22. No. 5 takes of the Main Title were recorded (take 16-20), all done in the second half of the March 5 session. What you hear in the film is an edit cobbled together from all those takes (except 16, if I remember well).
  23. I very much agree with this. Williams acknowledged that it was thanks to his father that he got access to good teachers (including Tedesco, he was considered “teacher du jour” in LA during the 1940s and 50s), but also told that a lot of what he learned was the result of beginning to work at a young age with great people he admired. He told several times about the importance of mentorship he got from people like Bobby Van Eps, Stanley Wilson and Conrad Salinger.
  24. Williams never said that he recorded the entire 15 minute sequence in one take (it’s three separate cues) without sync, but told many times that Spielberg re-edited part of that reel to conform to the performance and not viceversa.
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