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First War Horse teaser trailer includes Williams score


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I'm not a fan of ethnic music full stop. But I put up with it. Some of it is nice and usually pretty effective, but I'd rather a composer had the skill of someone like Jarre and just brilliantly manage to conjure up geography and culture largely with nothing more than a fully kitted-out symphonic orchestra and a liberal dose of reverb.

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Honestly, in my opinion, no. I mean, there is a theme...it's there...it's just...nowhere near something like Raiders or SW or another one of his "classic themes"

It's a decent theme...it works...it's neat...but it's not a classic that will go down in time.

King Mark, I edited my post to include scores

I feel like I should ask since you claimed your self to be a well established composer, even though there is a theme that's not pleasing you as the maestro's previous work, how does the maestro handle it? Infact to me, this is what John williams is all about in the first place. I always look beyond the melodies(Good or bad) and pay good attention to orchestration and technique and the handling on screen.

The latest war Horse trailer shows his mastery in the details. I even dare and say that his work from episode 1 and harry potter onwards was on a whole new level of orchestration mastery that are far away from his 70s and 80s self and that to me is where the Gold is. Though melodically not up there but its only the nature of the mastery of this man and his Logical musical progression.

I should point out humbly that I am personally trying to be a composer as well. In my experience, a well established composer will have Music studies/experience that will allow them to see through the commonalty and or the repetitiveness of technique from colleges or should I say, make him/her picker than your average listener. But for fan dudes like us who are not as detailed, Tin Tin's work might just hit us as starwars did and personally I'm really counting on it in the mids of all the RCP products out there if you know what I mean...

Ofcourse I'll have to hear it for my self and judge. I know you said you won't give details on it but I'm sure a generalized impression won't hurt.

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To put it in comparable terms...

War Horse = Angela's Ashes/Raiders/Far and Away/Saving Private Ryan

Tin Tin = Funny SW Prequel moments/Terminal/SOME Cmiyc/a PINCH of Jurassic Park

Angela's Ashes, Saving Private Ryan, The Terminal, and Catch Me If You Can are among my 10-15 JW favorites!! Color me even more excited for both scores!

And I must be playing that War Horse trailer at least five times a day. The images are clearly Spielberg's (love the shot of the girl in the horse's eye, he's always had a knack for cleverly utilizing reflective surfaces). And that sample of the music...it's not revolutionary or anything, but ahh it's JOHN WILLIAMS :D

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I like what I'm hearing. I'm trying not to let the absence of Williams music for the last few years let me get carried away. I'm trying to remain objective and not get overly gushy, but after hearing that short burst of music, I'm thrilled.

Tim

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I think it sounds nice, and really refreshing after all that 'remote control' stuff (I don't even want to write the term any more)... but I'm not sure if it's entirely like what I like best about Williams. The full score will tell ;-) So far it's like the pleasant lesser parts of Far and Away to me, a score of which I like some bits (the two themes at the very beginning of the movie titles) a lot. But did anyone else have to think of the brass music for Apollo 13 in the middle part of the War Horse trailer? I know it's different, but I have to think of it every time I get to that point in the trailer.

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In my experience, a well established composer will have Music studies/experience that will allow them to see through the commonalty and or the repetitiveness of technique from colleges or should I say, make him/her picker than your average listener. But for fan dudes like us who are not as detailed, Tin Tin's work might just hit us as starwars did

Nah, I think you'll find it works in quite the opposite way: the trained ear tends to be delighted, fascinated and thoroughly satisfied by contemporary Williams; whereas the laymen contingent of his audience (the vast majority) tends to be largely unimpressed, or unmoved by his musical sophistication - yearning (in vain) instead for the return of his 'golden age' sound; in full knowledge that it ain't ever gonna happen.

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...the trained ear tends to be delighted, fascinated and thoroughly satisfied by contemporary Williams; whereas the laymen contingent of his audience (the vast majority) tends to be largely unimpressed, or unmoved by his musical sophistication - yearning (in vain) instead for the return of his 'golden age' sound; in full knowledge that it ain't ever gonna happen.

Not necessarily. I suppose my ear would be considered "trained", and although I do enjoy and appreciate much of Williams' output in the last 10 years or so, I find myself yearning for that leaner, more emotionally direct "golden age" sound, too.

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in the trailer seems to be a shot of the horse jumping over something and it looked (bad) CGI movement.

I hope it was the editing..and that it was real horse...

Why would they use a CGI horse for that scene? :blink: It's just a horse jumping over a fence.

And no, I don't think it's the editing. More likely, it's the lighting.

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Not necessarily. I suppose my ear would be considered "trained", and although I do enjoy and appreciate much of Williams' output in the last 10 years or so, I find myself yearning for that leaner, more emotionally direct "golden age" sound, too.

:lol: Well, to each his own.

But bear in mind that not only JW's style of writing has changed. The movies have changed too. ;)

Nah, I think you'll find it works in quite the opposite way: the trained ear tends to be delighted, fascinated and thoroughly satisfied by contemporary Williams; whereas the laymen contingent of his audience (the vast majority) tends to be largely unimpressed, or unmoved by his musical sophistication - yearning (in vain) instead for the return of his 'golden age' sound; in full knowledge that it ain't ever gonna happen.

Actually I agree with this 100%.

And I must be playing that War Horse trailer at least five times a day. The images are clearly Spielberg's (love the shot of the girl in the horse's eye, he's always had a knack for cleverly utilizing reflective surfaces). And that sample of the music...it's not revolutionary or anything, but ahh it's JOHN WILLIAMS :D

I've seen that trailer 30 times already, I think, and I first saw it only yesterday afternoon. :P

Can't wait to actually hold the Original Soundtrack CD in my hands. Still 6 months to go...

The River-esque flute solo at the end sends shiver down my spine. Brilliant stuff.

You know, I've been racking my brains out to figure out what that very brief flute-solo (except for The River, yes) reminded me of.

And it suddenly hit me. The use of a solo flute here--to express the playful or soft, proud temperament of the animal, as it were--is somewhat similar to the very last (in the movie unused) bit of Saving Buckbeak, 6:18 - 6:30. Now, Buckbeak is a lot more temperamental, I think (or the horse is a lot gentler), so the music reflects that, of course, but I think these two musical ideas are very similar.

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As a composer and someone who has been trained in orchestration/theory and all of that junk, I must admit that I tend to "get more" from Williams current NON-ADVENTURE music. That includes War of the Worlds, Angela's, Saving Private Ryan etc. There is just a harmonic mastery going on in his more subtle cues that can't be matched by any working media composer today (myself included). It's not just the actual music, but the way even the orchestration and tone and timbre change over the slightest change in the visuals of the film.

With that being said...I will ALWAYS enjoy Williams' action setpieces of yesteryear the most. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when I say this, but Williams' action cues used to be able to be considered concert overtures in their own right. Every single one of them. Each action cue had it's own unique melody and amazingly detailed harmony as well as staying perfectly true to every millisecond of screen visuals. There is a reason that Williams is the most performed film composer of all time in the concert hall, and that is because his older style was literally to write amazing concert works that just happened to fit perfectly with the picture.

Compare that to his current action writing, and you'll notice that that is no longer the case for the most part. Very rarely do his action pieces contain melodies belonging solely to themselves. They sort of just hop on the back of the visuals without becoming their own creature. BUT, that is not Williams' fault at all. It's what modern directors and producers expect from their action music. Everyone on this board is a part of an upper class of film goers simply because you LISTEN for melody. Today's audience can actually be quite put off by having to subliminally recognize themes and complex music just because they have been so strongly trained to just open their mouths and pour the action in without any thought.

I can promise you that if William were allowed to unchain himself from modern conventions in film (no, even Williams can't do that if he wants to continue to work) we would be hearing those same classic setpiece action overtures.

But before anyone gets down on the current state of film music, let me clarify that War Horse (for the most part) does not follow that trend in writing :-)

The action pieces in War Horse are pretty neat, and while they don't use the same style as say, Forest Battle, or Indy's First Adventure in concert scoring, they certainly come close...and are DIFFERENT than his latest generic action music that has been accompanying most of his films (cue the xylophone and upper woodwinds chirping out endlessly). The few action cues in War Horse have great unique personality.

Tin Tin is a bit more like his general action music BUT there are several cues that achieve more than that. (There are a lot of moments of excitement in Tin Tin.)

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The action pieces in War Horse are pretty neat, and while they don't use the same style as say, Forest Battle, or Indy's First Adventure in concert scoring, they certainly come close...and are DIFFERENT than his latest generic action music that has been accompanying most of his films (cue the xylophone and upper woodwinds chirping out endlessly). The few action cues in War Horse have great unique personality.

Do you then also consider AOTC's "Chase through Coruscant" generic?

In my opinion it's the crowning achievement of Williams modern (much more rythm based) action music and is absolutely breathtaking.

This track alone elevates AOTC out of the mediocre score level. The technical finesse in this track and how all of the rythmic and orchestral motives work together to form an (even for Williams) unique action suite is astonishing.

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Chase Through Coruscant, while being an rather fun and exciting cue is exactly the sort of action writing JW has done far too much of in my opinion.

No clearly defined thematic ideas, no clear narrative structure, just rhythm, upon rhythm accentuated with all the bells and whistles of the percussion section.

I would really love a big long John Williams action cue were he starts with a strongly thematic idea and runs with it. Something that's actually melodic!

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Not a big fan of Chase through Coruscant.

It's lack of a general progression and coherent whole is reflected in that it's very hard to edit with the little pieces we get from videogames

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Yes. The problem is that in some modern action scenes JW seems to be scoring only what's going on at the screen at that moment.

If I listen to a 5 second snippet from The Desert Chase or Battle Of Yavin or Adventures on Earth, I will know from what part of the track that snipper comes from. I will know what came before it, I will know what comes after it.

But with a lot of Williams modern action scoring, I would not have a clue.

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Chase Through Coruscant, while being an rather fun and exciting cue is exactly the sort of action writing JW has done far too much of in my opinion.

No clearly defined thematic ideas, no clear narrative structure, just rhythm, upon rhythm accentuated with all the bells and whistles of the percussion section.

I would really love a big long John Williams action cue were he starts with a strongly thematic idea and runs with it. Something that's actually melodic!

Jungle Chase?

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Stefan, that is exactly what I feel on the matter. Chase Through Coruscant, while being rhythmically interesting, is just not the same for me as his more thematic action material. That's not to say that anybody who prefers that is wrong! My ear just gravitates towards interesting harmonies and melodies rather than driving rhythm as a focal point.

Crocodile, War Horse does NOT have a ton of action material. But that is what is so cool about the ones it does have. Most of the score is so spellbinding and beautiful that when all of a sudden something millitaristic and ugly crashes through the background, it is incredibly striking. The action music in War Horse is less about fun adventure ala Indy, and more about nastiness of war. It's harsh and brutal in most cases. There is definitely a rhythmic drive (done not with percussion, but more with exciting instrumental figures) but also strong melodic fragments. Again, I can't give out tooooo much detail about individual cues, but I think that should answer your question a bit.

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Yes, thank you. So I guess it is more like Empire of the Sun or Seven Years in Tibet then. Some brutal action there.

Chase Through Coruscant, while being an rather fun and exciting cue is exactly the sort of action writing JW has done far too much of in my opinion.

No clearly defined thematic ideas, no clear narrative structure, just rhythm, upon rhythm accentuated with all the bells and whistles of the percussion section.

I would really love a big long John Williams action cue were he starts with a strongly thematic idea and runs with it. Something that's actually melodic!

Jungle Chase?

I think he doesn't mean that the music doesn't use themes. It's about the piece having its own thematic structure. Now, the modern Williams uses that as well, but in a much more streamlined way. Besides, Jungle Chase consists of three different cues.

One a side note, I like Coruscant chase very much, but it loses some steam halfway through.

Karol

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I'm rather fond of Ants! cue in the KOTCS. It is modern Williams, but it is orchestrated brilliantly and this rawness to it. Also, halfway through when he states the Russian theme it almost feels as old Williams. With all these heavy brass hits.

Karol

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Yes, thank you. So I guess it is more like Empire of the Sun or Seven Years in Tibet then. Some brutal action there.

Chase Through Coruscant, while being an rather fun and exciting cue is exactly the sort of action writing JW has done far too much of in my opinion.

No clearly defined thematic ideas, no clear narrative structure, just rhythm, upon rhythm accentuated with all the bells and whistles of the percussion section.

I would really love a big long John Williams action cue were he starts with a strongly thematic idea and runs with it. Something that's actually melodic!

Jungle Chase?

I think he doesn't mean that the music doesn't use themes. It's about the piece having its own thematic structure. Now, the modern Williams uses that as well, but in a much more streamlined way. Besides, Jungle Chase consists of three different cues.

As are Desert chase, Battle of Yavin. Adventures on earth, or battle of hoth or battle of endor, etc.

Sorry Jungle chase is equal in thematic integrity as the 80's cues.

Its just that he uses some post 90's orchestrations-instrumentation that people dont like.

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Stefan, that is exactly what I feel on the matter. Chase Through Coruscant, while being rhythmically interesting, is just not the same for me as his more thematic action material. That's not to say that anybody who prefers that is wrong! My ear just gravitates towards interesting harmonies and melodies rather than driving rhythm as a focal point.

I think what changed mostly are the films themselves. If you compare the tight, lean and focused action sequences of The Empire Strikes Back or Raiders of the Lost Ark with the chaotic, hectic ones in Attack of the Clones, then what do we say?

Williams always responds to what he's seeing onscreen and tries to create the best musical translation. He always says that he mostly looks at the rhythm of a film and how he can inform that with the music. The action sequences of the SW prequels are very LONG set-pieces with a ZILLION of things happening onscreen (a sign of a bad direction, imho). Of course Williams can't catch every single visual element, but he has to follow anyway the "busy-ness" of what's happening onscreen, hence the complex rhythmic approach and the various timbral ornamentaions here and there. If we compare the "Chase through Coruscant" sequence from AOTC with the "Asteroid Field" one in TESB, we'll see how much more perfectly paced and constructed is the latter, while the former is bloated, exaggerated and overly complicated one (i.e. a nightmare for the film composer). Also, I guess Williams is also aware he's got much more competition with the sound effects track than in the past, so he also has to keep that in mind while writing the score.

We can criticize Williams' modern approach to action scenes saying he isn't capable anymore to conceive setpieces that are equally spot-on as musical accompaniment AND great stand-alone listening experiences... but before that, we should look at how the films themselves are differently shaped and constructed from the ones he wrote for in the past.

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We can criticize Williams' modern approach to action scenes saying he isn't capable anymore to conceive setpieces that are equally spot-on as musical accompaniment AND great stand-alone listening experiences... but before that, we should look at how the films themselves are differently shaped and constructed from the ones he wrote for in the past.

But the Spielberg films are largely without those hectic action scenes but the music sounds the same.... :blink:

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Maurizio, you are correct. If you back track a little on this topic, you'll see that I say that Williams is not at fault with his current writing style, and that he is adjusting to what directors, producers and modern films are dictating.

Please understand that while I don't enjoy the current action writing trend, that doesn't mean that I think Williams isn't CAPABLE of writing what he used to. He is bound to the film, and you are very correct in your analysis of frenetic crazy action scenes in modern films.

Publicist, I actually have to disagree with you a little on your last statement about Spielberg films having less going on. Yes, they are still very slick and very focused in their main characters and flow. But, look at something like Minority Report while Anderson is escaping from his car...look how much is going on in that scene around him. Or watch the chase through Yale...ahem...I mean...whatever college Indy works for in Indy 4...there is sooooo much going on in that scene.

On the flip side, watch the Desert Chase in Raiders...surrounded by...well...desert. There are a few cars, Indy, and a couple nazis...yet the chase is just as exciting!

Listen, Spielberg still orchestrates the best and most intricate action sequences in film. He is a MASTER at that...but they are certainly more cluttered with "extra stuff" than they used to be. Obviously I haven't SEEN War Horse, but I have heard the score, and I think Spielberg might have asked Williams to harken back to his older style with it. Either that, or Spielberg harkened back to HIS old style a little bit, because the action cues are very very focused in it.

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Do you then also consider AOTC's "Chase through Coruscant" generic?

In my opinion it's the crowning achievement of Williams modern (much more rythm based) action music and is absolutely breathtaking.

This track alone elevates AOTC out of the mediocre score level. The technical finesse in this track and how all of the rythmic and orchestral motives work together to form an (even for Williams) unique action suite is astonishing.

Couldn't agree more, I think it's an inspired piece and juicy as hell.

I can feel Williams' enthusiasm all over it, from the writing to the conducting of it ....but I also believe AOTC to be the most musically genuine SW prequel.

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I don't necessarily agree with this view that recent JW action cues have become less interesting. Stuff like T-Rex Rescue, Belly of the Steel Beast, The Hunt, Escape from Naboo, Anakin Defeats Sebulba, Everybody Runs! or General Grievous are some of the best action music he has ever written. I actually greatly admire action tracks that don't require an underlying melody that's constantly repeated to be enjoyable. T-Rex Rescue is a great example of this. The action cues in The Phantom Menace are so stunning, so intricate, that some of his older stuff actually sounds rudimentary in comparision.

I must admit, I've always found Desert Chase to be one of the most uniteresting big action cues that JW has written (although it is sill great). It's basically theme and repetition, with a somewhat thin orhchestration. Does wonders in the movie, but something like The Battle of Hoth, which he had written just the year before, his an endlessly more intersting listen, due to all the crazy ideas going on mind blowing orchestration.

Mind you, this is coming from a completely musically uneducated listener

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I think the prequel action music is comparatively weaker in areas partially due to Williams scoring early rough cuts of the movies. I get the distinct impression that the space battle in Star Wars or the snow battle and asteroid field in Empire were clearly composed when something strongly resembling the final film existed.

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While perhaps there is no definitive answer and the fact that every film will offer a different set of challenges and way to approach it.

I thought Williams would generally only watch a film during the intial spotting sessions and then the different scenes after composing a cue, to check its timings, etc, as shown in the BBC doc for example.

The actual composition process though is done through referencing the detailed notes provided by the music editor isn't it? So I don't think the look of the film and unfinished shots are the big cross they're made out to be.

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