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TownerFan

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Everything posted by TownerFan

  1. He's not bad at all, but it sounds like she's really going to be a star. As in most musicals, the dialogue between singing verses is an essential part of the overall fabric, so it makes absolute sense to have it there on the album too, like a recitativo passage in an opera. Bernstein also had it in his own 1984 recording with Carreras and Kanawa, performed by his son and daughter, so he likely considered it really part of the score. I understand though the desire to hear some of that lovely scoring isolated. Btw, Newman's orchestration sounds like is very very faithful to the original Broadway score.
  2. To anyone not much familiar with the music itself, I heartily suggest to watch (or rewatch) the film first. While for regular movies it's possible to appreciate the score as a stand-alone listening experience even without seeing the film first, musicals are totally different beasts and you really need to experience Fiddler on The Roof as a piece of musical filmmaking first and foremost. That will give you the absolutely essential context in which appreciate the music itself and Williams' stellar adaptation. I know many here don't like musicals per se as a genre, but anyone with good taste should appreciate Fiddler for the great film it is, so when yo will go through this new edition it will be a true feast for your ears.
  3. Come on, guys, you know very well that what people in soundtrack forums do 90% of the time is indeed complaining about something.
  4. There is no clear template from a classical music piece that JW used for his Banquet cue, it's 100% JW stuff. Joel McNeely is a wonderful composer and a true nice chap, but here he was adhering very very closely to the template of the temp track, which was of course Hook.
  5. Nessun problema Many of your questions will be answered soon by Mike himself in an upcoming podcast episode on The Legacy of John Williams.
  6. I did some consultancy on this project so I will probably come out biased, but the only thing I can say is that this release is worth all the time, money and attention of any serious John Williams fan. It's truly a wonderful presentation. Courage's involvement is known since 1971, as he's credited in the main titles. Williams' Oscar is more than deserved. It's a massive work of arranging, orchestration and also composition.
  7. It's not however the original 40-minute OST program assembled in 1981, but the expanded version released originally by Concord in 2008.
  8. Actually a patch session was planned, but they didn't do it.
  9. https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/11/16/mike-lang-podcast This is a lovely one. Mike is a truly gifted musicians and a wonderful, generous guy. He shared an incredible amount of insight about his work with John Williams and his life as a studio player. Hope you'll enjoy this!
  10. The film version of WSS is absolutely an all-time Hollywood classic. I was talking about WSS as a musical per se, in its original form. Much more than other stage musicals which have been successfully adapted for the big screen (like The Sound of Music, that's why I mentioned it), its nature as a quintessential piece of musical theatre supersedes the cult following of the film version made by Hollywood (IMHO, of course). I'm aware that for a substantial amount of people WSS means the film adaptation, and not the stage musical. I know. However, the film adaptation completely surpassed the original stage version at least in public consciousness. The same cannot be said of West Side Story (again, IMHO).
  11. I mean what I wrote. West Side Story isn't a Hollywood musical, but Broadway musical theatre first. The fact it lent itself well to a filmed adaptation doesn't mean that it's like Singing in the Rain or The Sound of Music.
  12. I don't know exact details as they kept everything under very tight wraps, but from what I gathered talking with musicians, it seems they stayed pretty close to the original Broadway orchestration. Anyway, I too guess it's going to be more than 30 players. I think that's the vocal track beefed up by the trailer music house who worked on this ad. They also obnoxiously repeated the first two stanzas avoiding the change of key (which is what makes the refrain special). Go figure. I hate to be this type of guy, but Spielberg isn't remaking the 1961 film. He's doing a new adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical. Of course a lot of people became acquainted and fell in love with WSS thanks to the 1961 film, so we can cut some slack if there are still people believing WSS is a classic Hollywood musical. But the reality is that it's not. As for the more pronounced Latino casting, well, it's 2021 and a lot of water went under the bridge since the late 1950s. Anyway, given what happened recently to Lin-Manuel Miranda for his In The Heights film musical, we can expect a lot of PC talk about this movie too, as the racial baggage that lies beneath even the original musical is huge given where we are now as a society and how the entertainment industry is feeling about these issues.
  13. Tomorrow at 7 PM CEST / 1 PM EST / 10 AM PST: It's going to be a lot of fun! Hope you'll tune in for this. If you can't, don't worry. It'll be available on demand immediately afterwards (also as audio podcast).
  14. Being credited on a poster as top/main billing is a matter of deals and agreements, so don't jump to conclusions too fast. I'm more than sure that Dave is going to be credited clearly during the main/end credits in the movie. From what I heard, he did most of his work during the rehearsals/pre-recordings and arranged some of Bernstein's score as underscore for some scenes. Conducting was all Dudamel. The film is using the original Broadway 1951 orchestrations for the most part, btw (pit orchestra of 30-ish elements).
  15. There is an absurd amount of urban legend concerning ghostwriting and a lot of that is just mismatched assumption or plain invention. Film composing is very rarely standing upon the shoulders of just one person and having trusted collaborators to help you get through impossible deadlines and ungodly requirements from directors etc. is absolutely essential. But it's possible to do it with integrity.
  16. FYI, the director who did the Vienna concert also did the direction for the Digital Concert Hall. I think he also did the Tanglewood concert of the Violin Concerto premiere.
  17. LOL It's okay, we don't need to be constantly gushing about JW (nor anyone else) and I am certainly guilty of that I also think that any composer/musician etc. has the right to be criticized, positively or negatively. That's part of the deal. It's true that Hollywood composers live in a privileged bubble, but I don't think we're just worshipping at the altar of popularity. I think JW truly earned the respect and even the reverence he now gets from institutions like Vienna and Berlin thanks to his talent and hard work. I completely get your point and I even agree for the most part, but that's the inherent problem of presenting film music out of its original context. If you take out the visuals, most of film music loses its power and even its significance, so it's essential to rework it (sometimes even extensively) to present it as pure music in a concert hall. It's true that one of Williams' ultimate talents is his ability to create a coherent musical discourse while accompanying the film narrative, and that goes beyond the usual 3-4 minutes miniatures he prepares for concert performances (the live-to-picture performances are perhaps a good compromise in this regard). I guess it's his own modesty at play here too, as he would probably feel too pretentious to present a 25-minute suite from just one score, so I suppose he feels that those 3-4-5 minutes are enough to satisfy both himself and his audience. But again, it's also a matter of how staggering his output is. Even cutting out completely everything before 1975, it's still 45+ years of music. Anyway, let's not miss one very important point: by doing these concert arrangements Williams is not necessarily simplifying his musical discourse, but more likely making an effort to reach a wider audience. My wife didn't know a jack about John Williams and film music in general (nor even classical or symphonic stuff) before we met, but now after attending several concerts she's starting to sincerely enjoy some of John's music. She learned to appreciate not just the tunes, but also how the pieces sound and how they tell a story. She never saw any of the Star Wars films, but she can enjoy the music. It's fascinating for me to see someone completely unfamiliar making a process of discovery even without all the context in which that music was born.
  18. Seeing JW playing in places like the Musikverein and the Philharmonie surely looks like the ultimate revanche for any film music fan and there is certainly something devilishly delicious in seeing stuffy critics fuming when they see the Berliner and the Wiener treating him with the same reverence they reserved only for titans like Karajan or Carlos Kleiber. Anyway, after all the water that passed under the bridge, there is apparently still a need to make compulsory defense statements toward JW music and his persona on one side, and on the other a need to patronize fans and tell them "Hey this ain't Mozart or Stravinsky, only innocuous Hollywod film music aimed at pleasing crowds". As I tried to express in my own piece, if the Berlin concerts showed something is indeed the fact that Williams' film music can be enjoyed as music per se without necessarily having a bond or a connection with the films themselves--do we really have to remind ourselves of Far and Away, Solo, or Sabrina, with all due respect for fans of these films? At this point in history, it's almost irrelevant to even know that the Imperial March is the music of the villain from the Star Wars films. It's now repertoire of any orchestra and you can enjoy it just because it's a great piece of music, very much like we do when listening to excerpts from a Prokofiev ballet or a jubilant Walton overture. Could JW make more structured, thorough suites out of his film scores to make them even more worthy of the concert hall tradition? Sure he could, but when you reach this kind of staggering output, it's always a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. So for anyone craving to hear a 20-minute suite from Dracula, there will be others wanting to hear as much different and varied music as possible. But the point is that either you listen to it like a symphonic collection of miniature pieces or in a more tone poem-like fashion, the undisputable quality of his music and the impeccable craft with which virtually all of his pieces are constructed make it always worthwhile to be experienced live, possibily performed with the same dignity of the classical repertoire. I think it's duty of future conductors and interpreters to propose different and maybe more varied ways to present Williams' film output in a concertized context, in addition to the classic "greatest hits" format that will likely remain a standard. It will be interesting to see how his music will be treated and if any perception of it might change in this regard.
  19. Very sorry about this. He was a fine gentleman by all accounts, and a very fine music man. He was one of JW's longest time friends. They met back in the mid-1960s when they were both working under the 20th Century Fox roof together with an impressive pool of talent under the supervision of Lionel Newman which included Jerry Goldsmith, Alex North, Sandy Courage, Herb Spencer, Arthur Morton, Ian Fraser, Kenny Wannberg, Kenny Hall, Bob Hathaway among others. Those were the days. I was in touch with Mike Matessino to get Leslie for an interview for the Legacy of JW podcast, but alas that didn't happen. May he rest in peace.
  20. My own 2 cents: https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/10/19/john-williams-in-berlin/
  21. Yes, Simone knows JW and was invited in the Green Room after Thursday concert. Guitarist Pablo Villegas was there the same day (I think he posted pics on Instagram). I just want to add a few personal considerations about these fantastic Berlin concerts. For me, this has been really the ultimate consacration of JW's greatness, not just because of the prestige of the venue and the orchestra, but because it truly felt like a joyous celebration of his musical life in the city that has always been at the crossroad of history. I don't think I ever attended a concert where the electricity and the happiness was so palpable. The Saturday performance will be remembered as an historic event for decades to come and I felt so honoured to be part of it together with thousands of other people. Each one of us has a deep personal relationship with John's music that, imho, goes beyond the nature of its commitment. For most of us, it truly makes us feel like kids again and brings us back to that magical moment in our lives when we first experienced it. This is one of the reason why I think it's above most of film music. Of course this can happen with other film composers, but JW is the only one who now belongs to three different generations of listeners and filmgoers. And it's not only Star Wars nerds, thanks goodness, but people with very different backgrounds, histories and personal bond with his music. The feeling I had during the Berlin weekend was that everyone was there only because of the man and his music, and what it means deep down for each one of us. I am sorry I didn't catch with any of the other fans besides the wonderful Miguel and briefly with Thor and Marian. I attended with some other friends, plus I had a couple meetings I had to attend and of course I planned some tourist time with my wife. I hope to have more time in Milan, as for me it won't be a tourist place
  22. Conrad orchestrated for JW until 2011 (I think Tintin was the very last he did for him). War Horse was all Eddie, and starting with Lincoln, JW turned sketches directly to Mark Graham and his team, as others said above. I think JW got Bill Ross on board to help out on the Disney Star Wars films, though.
  23. While finishing packing suitcases for Berlin, here's a brief reflection of mine on a stunning coincidence in JW history: https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/10/14/65-years-on/
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