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Prokofiev scores that influenced film music?


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I was just reading the liner notes to the new Home Alone cd which said that the producers wanted a Prokofiev-like score and that's what they told Williams.

I assume it has been discussed before, but I was wondering what Prokofiev scores would you suggest for studying (scores that influenced film music) [apart from Scythian Suite].

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On top of my mind, I suggest you to start with these Prokofiev works:

. Symphonies N°1,3,4 and 5--there are some really Williams-esque passages in those (esp. the Home Alone/Hook/Harry Potter style of writing).

. The ballets Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella--full of stylistic traits that you'll find in many Williams scores (check out the complete ballet scores if you can).

. Aleksandr Nevskij and Ivan The Terrible--written originally as film scores, but generally available as symphonic concert suites. Many film composers borrowed something from these works (including Goldsmith, Horner and Poledouris).

. Peter and the Wolf--it's almost proto-film music in a sense. This was a huge influence on Williams' Home Alone imho (esp. the burglars' theme)

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On top of my mind, I suggest you to start with these Prokofiev works:

. Symphonies N°1,3,4 and 5--there are some really Williams-esque passages in those (esp. the Home Alone/Hook/Harry Potter style of writing).

. The ballets Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella--full of stylistic traits that you'll find in many Williams scores (check out the complete ballet scores if you can).

. Aleksandr Nevskij and Ivan The Terrible--written originally as film scores, but generally available as symphonic concert suites. Many film composers borrowed something from these works (including Goldsmith, Horner and Poledouris).

. Peter and the Wolf--it's almost proto-film music in a sense. This was a huge influence on Williams' Home Alone imho (esp. the burglars' theme)

thanks. to tell the truth, i haven't heard much of his symphonies, except for the Classical one.

I always thought that when we say prokofiev-influence on Williams we usually mean those whimsical comedic march-like passages (e.g. with solo winds or tuba like in home alone, or something like the villain's theme for Superman).

Where can i find such themes in Prokofiev's work?

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I always thought that when we say prokofiev-influence on Williams we usually mean those whimsical comedic march-like passages (e.g. with solo winds or tuba like in home alone, or something like the villain's theme for Superman).

Where can i find such themes in Prokofiev's work?

Check out Peter and the Wolf before anything else (esp. The March of the Hunters theme).

Then you also should check out the suite from The Love of the Three Oranges--the March is the blueprint for the Ewoks theme.

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I always thought that when we say prokofiev-influence on Williams we usually mean those whimsical comedic march-like passages (e.g. with solo winds or tuba like in home alone, or something like the villain's theme for Superman).

Where can i find such themes in Prokofiev's work?

Check out Peter and the Wolf before anything else (esp. The March of the Hunters theme).

Then you also should check out the suite from The Love of the Three Oranges--the March is the blueprint for the Ewoks theme.

I honestly would not have noted that the march from The Love of the Three Oranges bears a resemblance to the March of the Ewoks if people had not mentioned it. But yes there is a similarity there. I guess this must be the most usual example of Prokofievian influence in Williams' music.

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Not sure what work inspired Horner, but "Malmori Rearguard" and "Klingons" both have Prokofiev all over them.

Just listen once through ENEMY AT THE GATES and there is everything from Prokoviev over Shostakovitch to Rachmaninov. It's quite a stunner if you're into russian music.

As for Sergej, Williams always seemed to love the 5th symphony, which you hear from in FITZWILLY up to HARRY POTTER. A lot of scherzo stuiff is derived from that.

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I honestly would not have noted that the march from The Love of the Three Oranges bears a resemblance to the March of the Ewoks if people had not mentioned it. But yes there is a similarity there. I guess this must be the most usual example of Prokofievian influence in Williams' music.

Well, of course it isn't a direct lift, but it's clear Williams modeled the piece after Prokofiev's. A kind of pastiche, if you like. It's more a matter of harmonic language and orchestration technique than direct quotes of a thematic/motivic material.

There are several Williams compositions where you can find Sergej's spirit floating around: "The Menu" and "Catamaran Race" from Jaws 2, "March of the Villains" from Superman, "Parade of the Ewoks" from ROTJ, the burglars's theme from Home Alone, a lot of action cues from Home Alone 2...

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On top of my mind, I suggest you to start with these Prokofiev works:

. Symphonies N°1,3,4 and 5--there are some really Williams-esque passages in those (esp. the Home Alone/Hook/Harry Potter style of writing).

. The ballets Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella--full of stylistic traits that you'll find in many Williams scores (check out the complete ballet scores if you can).

. Aleksandr Nevskij and Ivan The Terrible--written originally as film scores, but generally available as symphonic concert suites. Many film composers borrowed something from these works (including Goldsmith, Horner and Poledouris).

. Peter and the Wolf--it's almost proto-film music in a sense. This was a huge influence on Williams' Home Alone imho (esp. the burglars' theme)

To this very good list, on which I completely agree (especially regarding the ballets), I will add the 6th symphony, in E flat minor - one of the "war" compositions. Perhaps it's only a personal impression, but I think that the themes of the first movement of that symphony could have been a source of inspiration for JW for the theme of Angela's Ashes. The "mood" is very similar, and there are some oboe parts which remind me of Angela.

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Not sure it influenced film music, but his 2nd piano concerto is probably the most underrated Prokofiev piece out there.

I would say the Canto Sinfonico tops that by quite a league, as far underappreciation goes. For one, just look at how many views and uploads there are of the two works on Youtube.

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Not sure where he picked up those tendencies, but you're right that he uses both of those pretty frequently. (Had to look up the Hungarian minor scale, but now that I know which scale it refers to, I agree. :P)

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and the use of Hungarian Minor Scale? Those seem to be distinctly John Williams.

Can you suggest any examples of Williams for this?

The one I have on the top of my head is one of the Voldermort's Themes.

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Among your suggestions, I loved the 4th movement of Prokofiev's Symphony 5.

But again, I can't find the richness and multi-texture of orchestration that I find in Williams..

For example, is there any piece with such traits in orchestration as the piece "To the Plaza, presto" from Home Alone 2? thas is one of my favourite tracks of the 2 Home Alone soundtracks..

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For example, is there any piece with such traits in orchestration as the piece "To the Plaza, presto" from Home Alone 2? thas is one of my favourite tracks of the 2 Home Alone soundtracks..

The Final Movement of the 5th Symphony is probably the closest thing. I think "March in B-Flat major" also has something in common with it (even though it was originally a piano piece later orchestrated by other people):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWWbP20DiSM

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and the use of Hungarian Minor Scale? Those seem to be distinctly John Williams.

Can you suggest any examples of Williams for this?

Tonnes.

If I did it a complete list from my score collection, I'd be here all day. :P

Revenge of the Sith:

Scenes and Dreams - When Anakin wakes up from the nightmare and walks toward the camera at bar 35, the harp is told to glissando ad lib, with pedal markings for E Hungarian Minor (D#, F' and A#) - but is disrupted by an Ab Harmonic Minor sound in by strings, muted trombones, winds, synth and piano.

I Am The Senate - G Hungarian Minor seems to be the pervading tonality for the prelude before the actual fight. First signs of this at bar 6-8, where the violins and violas play two high G min/maj 9ths with added #4th and added b6ths (this a classic John Williams 'suspense' chord, when he's not using chromatic and octatonic clusters), played sul ponticello. Very eerie harmonic texture, mostly down to the three adjacent minor second intervals found in the scale - C#-D-Eb - Which Williams exploits to create a slight 'cluster' sound. In fact most of the material surrounding the repetitions of the Emperor's Theme in The Emperor's Throne Room from ROTJ, uses this tonality. So since this is 'The Emperor's Grand Reveal' it makes sense that harmonically, it should be a close relative.

Then, suddenly in bar 9, we here the same chord is voiced delivery in the lower registers - bowed tremolo in the strings while the harp plays it as a rolled chord. 2 tubas and 6 horns reinforce the tonality by playing the tonic - G, in bar 10 - then threaten to break it by the chromatic oscillations of G-Ab-A-F# in bar 12. Followed by the menacing descent from Bb to C# from tubas and trombones. What follows is a rhythmic rising-falling ostinato in the low registers - dyads of thirds, still centred around the G harmonic minor tonality. But it's haemorrhaged by fully chromatic bowed tremolo figures from the violins, and sustained chords (with incongruent pitches) from the oboes and clarinet - B-C-D-Eb being a close voiced C m/maj9th w/o the 5th.

Birth of The Twins - The 'Vader's Rebirth' interludes from are in A Hungarian Minor. Bars 17-20, and 29-34. Harp pedal markings state this pretty clearly when it's instructed to glissando ad lib from bars 31-34, with G# and D#.

- More examples to come.

i was actually more asking about themes. Do you have examples of themes which are built on this scale? not surrounding or descriptive material..

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and the use of Hungarian Minor Scale? Those seem to be distinctly John Williams.

Can you suggest any examples of Williams for this?

Tonnes.

If I did it a complete list from my score collection, I'd be here all day. :P

Revenge of the Sith:

Scenes and Dreams - When Anakin wakes up from the nightmare and walks toward the camera at bar 35, the harp is told to glissando ad lib, with pedal markings for E Hungarian Minor (D#, F' and A#) - but is disrupted by an Ab Harmonic Minor sound in by strings, muted trombones, winds, synth and piano.

I Am The Senate - G Hungarian Minor seems to be the pervading tonality for the prelude before the actual fight. First signs of this at bar 6-8, where the violins and violas play two high G min/maj 9ths with added #4th and added b6ths (this a classic John Williams 'suspense' chord, when he's not using chromatic and octatonic clusters), played sul ponticello. Very eerie harmonic texture, mostly down to the three adjacent minor second intervals found in the scale - C#-D-Eb - Which Williams exploits to create a slight 'cluster' sound. In fact most of the material surrounding the repetitions of the Emperor's Theme in The Emperor's Throne Room from ROTJ, uses this tonality. So since this is 'The Emperor's Grand Reveal' it makes sense that harmonically, it should be a close relative.

Then, suddenly in bar 9, we here the same chord is voiced delivery in the lower registers - bowed tremolo in the strings while the harp plays it as a rolled chord. 2 tubas and 6 horns reinforce the tonality by playing the tonic - G, in bar 10 - then threaten to break it by the chromatic oscillations of G-Ab-A-F# in bar 12. Followed by the menacing descent from Bb to C# from tubas and trombones. What follows is a rhythmic rising-falling ostinato in the low registers - dyads of thirds, still centred around the G harmonic minor tonality. But it's haemorrhaged by fully chromatic bowed tremolo figures from the violins, and sustained chords (with incongruent pitches) from the oboes and clarinet - B-C-D-Eb being a close voiced C m/maj9th w/o the 5th.

Birth of The Twins - The 'Vader's Rebirth' interludes from are in A Hungarian Minor. Bars 17-20, and 29-34. Harp pedal markings state this pretty clearly when it's instructed to glissando ad lib from bars 31-34, with G# and D#.

- More examples to come.

i was actually more asking about themes. Do you have examples of themes which are built on this scale? not surrounding or descriptive material..

You could make a case for Darth Vader's theme/Imperial March being based around. And by that I mean the accompanying chords.

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Speaking about rambunctious Russian music that probably JW likes

Shostakovich's 11th symphony. Reminds me of AOTC. And there's a bit in Shostakovich's Hamlet score that briefly appears in Desert Chase.

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Speaking about rambunctious Russian music that probably JW likes

Shostakovich's 11th symphony. Reminds me of AOTC. And there's a bit in Shostakovich's Hamlet score that briefly appears in Desert Chase.

Yep, Shostakovich's 11th was also robbed quite a lot by Horner in Enemy at the Gates, if I remember well.

However, returning to Prokofiev, I think the whole suite from The Love for Three Oranges contains some very Williams-esque passages, not just the popular march. Check it out, it's great music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0AkO2OTfjA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daVtV30JSQo

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