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First War Horse teaser trailer includes Williams score


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No. Nor do I think he was in any way going for a Goldsmith sound.

Generally Goldsmith's action music, although very rhythmic in nature is very thematic. Jerry tended to build his themes so they could easily be adapted for action material. After a main action motif would be adapted from the main theme. There was always a definite kinship between individual cues, individual themes, individual motifs, everything. This was enhanced by a very linear type of writing Goldsmith tended to employ (particulary since the 80's). Therefore Goldsmith's action music tended to have a very clear narrative.

If anything modern Williams action music is to densly textured to achieve what Goldsmith could. It's not linear enough.

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No. Nor do I think he was in any way going for a Goldsmith sound.

Generally Goldsmith's action music, although very rhythmic in nature is very thematic. Jerry tended to build his themes so they could easily be adapted for action material. After a main action motif would be adapted from the main theme. There was always a definite kinship between individual cues, individual themes, individual motifs, everything. This was enhanced by a very linear type of writing Goldsmith tended to employ (particulary since the 80's). Therefore Goldsmith's action music tended to have a very clear narrative.

If anything modern Williams action music is to densly textured to achieve what Goldsmith could. It's not linear enough.

OK I get it. What do you think about the late streamlined Golsmith? He seemed to have into extreme with this style. It's completely stripped-down of any ornamentation. No meat on the bones at all. Just energy. Is that not the opposite problem to Williams is doing (assuming that's a problem)?

Karol

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OK I get it. What do you think about the late streamlined Golsmith. He seemed to have into extreme with this style. It's completely stripped-down of any ornamentation. No meat on the bones at all. Just energy. Is that not the opposite problem to Williams is doing (assuming that's a problem)?

Karol

Towards the latter years of his career Goldsmith indeed stripped his music to the bare essentials. Some critics say that he just lost interest and did it because it was easy, others say he had learned to do more with less.

In any case I vastly prefer Jerry's streamlined, clear-line approach the JW's chaotic clutter

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I actually like his ST: Nemesis score. In a different way than I and V though. I think the brilliant things he's done with it is the Shinzon's theme, which sounds nothing like typical villain's music, especially in the end credits. No evil chords, just pure bitterness. That's well done.

Karol

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This conversation is getting very silly.

That's what you get when Williams only scores one film in the past 6 years and suddenly we get a small sample of new music.

Nah, I can handle the resulting overenthusiasm about the music itself - I feel exactly the same way! Makes me giddy! :D But comparing Williams' more recent scores to Goldsmith's approach makes absolutely no sense to me. If anything, Williams used to have more Goldsmithian tendencies - streamline the music without unnecessary frills, and in some cases, develop a theme for the film as a whole that gets interpolated in various ways throughout the score, favoring unity and memorability over a more varied leitmotivic approach.

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He's gonna get nominated, that's for sure. This year has sucked for scores, so far. I just hope he made Tintin as bad as the rest so the vote doesn't get split.

No this year has been the same as the past 10 years, except John Williams has 2 scores coming out. Once again my only current purchases have been from Michael Giacchino.

Thankfully Giacchino and Silvestri have salvaged the first part.

There has yet to be a How To Train Your Dragon, Ratatouille, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, 3:10 To Yuma, The Fountain, Prisoner Of Azkaban, Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, or anything of that caliber this year.

Super 8 is good, Rango is good, and that's about it.

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Nah, I can handle the resulting overenthusiasm about the music itself - I feel exactly the same way! Makes me giddy! :D But comparing Williams' more recent scores to Goldsmith's approach makes absolutely no sense to me. If anything, Williams used to have more Goldsmithian tendencies - streamline the music without unnecessary frills, and in some cases, develop a theme for the film as a whole that gets interpolated in various ways throughout the score, favoring unity and memorability over a more varied leitmotivic approach.

I think the problem is that when Williams has gone back to films, like Star Wars and IJ, it almost feels like his heart isn't in it.

I think his maturation as a composer suites the more serious subject matter he's tackled the past 25 years or so.

There has yet to be a How To Train Your Dragon, Ratatouille, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, 3:10 To Yuma, The Fountain, Prisoner Of Azkaban, Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, or anything of that caliber this year.

Sorry Koray, out of all those scores you listed, only 2 are worthwhile.

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I think the problem is that when Williams has gone back to films, like Star Wars and IJ, it almost feels like his heart isn't in it.

But can we seriosly blame him? Even if you ignore the quality of the films, he's a 80 year old man. He might not want to do something he's been doing for so many decades. It's not fun enough for him.

Karol

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John Williams is not 80 now and certainly wasn't when he did The Prequels.

The problem is after TPM, were he really put in a lot of work, a lot of his music was moved around, cut up, deleted.

For the other 2 prequels Lucas seemed content to just let JW do his thing, knowing that he could just cut out the bits he did not like. I doubt he was pushed Williams to go the extra mile. Same thing for KOCS. Spielberg probably directed the film because it was expected of him, and he wanted to work with Lucas and Ford again. He was not much bothered by the deep flaws in the screenplay. The same casual attitude probably extended to how he worked with JW on the score.

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Well yeah, it's probably all true. But what I mean is that maybe he simply wants to spend some more time with his family or just write music for his own pleasure. The "extra mile" thing is mostly for people who still have something to prove. You know, the career thing.

Or maybe Gustavo Santaolalla caused his breakdown. ;)

Karol

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Jungle Chase to me lacks a center, and lacks heart. It's much ado about nothing. Lot of bells and whistles.

Again what version are you talking about, the amazing complete version or the truncated, heavily edited OST version which loses all it's magic?

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I think JW still cares about every note he writes including AotC,RotS and KotCS. It's Jerry Goldsmith that sounds like he didn't care in the last 15 years or so.

If you blend "Call of the Crystal" and Irina's theme and Mutt's Theme in a Williams compilation they fit in perfectly. I don't see them as lesser to some his other Indy themes.

Jungle Chase and Ants are great

Whirl though the Academy and Snake Pit are mediocre

But say what you will about the score, I'm still willing to edit an expanded score with little fragments of leaked music if it's what it takes.

Michael Giacchino:

Vastly overrated around these parts, BUT I wouldn't say he's a substitute by lack of anyone better. His music is very good sometimes, but he seems to lack ideas and a lot of his themes rendition sound alike. Still not sure how Star Trek got elevated to such a high status

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I think JW still cares about every note he writes including AotC,RotS and KotCS. It's Jerry Goldsmith that sounds like he didn't care in the last 15 years or so.

I think it's not so much about caring about notes, but more about realizing there are more important things in life than career and recognition. John Williams who composed TESB was probably way more stressed than the one who was doing ROTS.

You have to look at that from this perspective: We, fans, will never have enough. Even if he does a absolute masterpiece soon we will never say: "OK John Williams, you did enough. You may retire now and work in your garden and see your grandchildren.". We don't really care if he actually dies on this podium. We just want another one. The only reason Indy 4 happened is because we demanded it. And most people hate it. If I was John Williams I'd say: "Fuck it, I want to go see this match, watch some television and do a banjo concerto".

I'm sure he cares about music. But making us happy might not be his priority anymore.

Karol

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I think JW still cares about every note he writes including AotC,RotS and KotCS.

He does indeed.

Unfortunately though, I've found that especially in film music forums, that almost 100% of the time the formula used for measuring quality and effort is this -

I Like = inspired, effort put forth, hunger, etc.

I Dislike = generic, autopilot, uninspired, etc.

Or a slight variation is the - It's cluttered, it's chaos, there's no structure = it's shit!

Although, the alternative idea that perhaps the listener 'just doesn't have the internal hardware to keep up' intrigues me more.

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I will say one last thing. If he cared as much as you say, he would be working with other directors and doing other scores. It's not like he doesn't have time for that. Obviously in the 2005-2011 he's done only one score which probably took him around 3-4 months to complete.

How do you answer that?

Karol

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Williams obviously cares a lot about Memoirs...and I find the themes to that some of his less inspired.

We don't know how much time he took to compose Indy 4

Why do you assume he's interested solely in being a good tunesmith? There is more to orchestral mastery than that.

You know, maybe Williams is very proud of The Ferry Scene. It kind of sounds a bit like Alex North's 2001 (with all the abrassive brass and the wild timpani). Maybe he had a great deal of fun doing something like that? Composing a score with no recognizable themes to speak of? We don't know really... See my point?

Karol

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I have a question for FilmComposer518

How do the themes from Tintin compare in memorability to the themes of Harry Potter? That's the most recent and relevant perspective I can think of

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There has yet to be a How To Train Your Dragon, Ratatouille, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, 3:10 To Yuma, The Fountain, Prisoner Of Azkaban, Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, or anything of that caliber this year.

Sorry Koray, out of all those scores you listed, only 2 are worthwhile.

Ratatouille and Azkaban? ;)

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Even though the debate continues unabated as it is unlikely anyone can through words persuade another person to hear music differently if he/she decides not to like it. It is not an excercise in logic where one series of conclusions can lead to the truth. But I find the points brought up by Stefan interesting.

If anything I find the modern Williams action music in some cases to be more economic and thematically lean because of the subject matter and demands made on him. He eschews the long lined thematic approach for smaller musical cells. I good case to a point is the truly controversial Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant. First of all it would be better to listen the Prequels without the measuring stick of the OT. Different times, different films, different approaches. But then again we all listen with our own tastes and predilections in mind.

This whole sequence is about kinetic drive, pushing this fast moving chase forward and providing constant relentless momentum to the scene. George Lucas wanted Williams to compose something percussive in the spirit of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or so it was reported at the time. The rather Asian style of Tan Dun's percussion was not perhaps entirely suite for the scene so Williams' reply was a extremely fast paced and percussion laden orchestral piece. It goes through 4 individual cues, from the initial suspence music with a recurring percussion motif for Zam's assassination plan and thematic hints of Shmi's theme (not heard on the album), to the chase sequence that is not a cluttered mess but extremely clear and motivic, Williams giving Zam a percussion motif which is repeated throughout. Percussion and rhythm are the main focus but the motif is very prominent and easy to follow and goes through many permutations from orchestra and percussion with which Williams catches the on-screen antics and sync points. This passage ends when Anakin crash lands with Zam which is followed by suspence writing with wonderfully blaring horns adding tension and again peppered by ominous low percussion for Zam (not her motif though) and the piece ends with a quote (I do not know if it is tracked or not) of the Separatist/Conspiracy motif. It is a set piece with its own action motif (Zam's theme by Williams' own words), here quite self contained as she dies at the end of the scene, but surrounded by other thematic material. Of course you may not like it but it certainly is not non-thematic or badly structured. As a modern (and old) Williams writing YES-man I find it riveting and am swept away by the pure kinetics of the percussion and orchestra time and time again. It was also quite fresh Williams to my ears, something he had not done in this way in his earlier scores.

FilmComposer518 has given us out of necessity only lean information but based on his words there probably will be music from Williams this year for both those who love his old music and new. Luckily I happen like both. :)

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Let me go on record (again) that I rather like Chase Through Coruscant.

Yes it does not sound much like Star Wars, but it's very energetic. Also like The Arena (which DOES harken back to that old-fasioned JW action music by establishing a thematic basis and sticking to it throughout most of the cue.

Don't much care for most of the other action music in AOTC though.

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Let me go on record (again) that I rather like Chase Through Coruscant.

Yes it does not sound much like Star Wars, but it's very energetic. Also like The Arena (which DOES harken back to that old-fasioned JW action music by establishing a thematic basis and sticking to it throughout most of the cue.

Don't much care for most of the other action music in AOTC though.

Weren't you raving about Jango's Escape and Bounty Hunter Pursuit a couple of years ago...?

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Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant was just an example of how Williams' modern action writing, though different from the OT style, is still highly thematic and motivic and well structured.

AOTC is as a whole quite a good example of how Williams has to write music that pushes things forward with constant prodding and ostinati while abandoning the more free flowing long lined thematic approach. The action pieces do have repeating motivic cells (Jango's Escape and Bounty Hunter's Pursuit) but as mentioned several times before they do not focus on melodies but smaller building blocks because their focus is kinetic push and fracas, not the characters. You may wonder whose fault is that, the director's or the composer's.

I spoke in my earlier post about artists not wanting to repeat themselves and Prequels are a good example where this tendecy worked against Williams a bit. This can be heard in his album presentations very often. For better or for worse Williams tried to present the new and leave the older thematic material off the albums. This goes for the writing as well. I do know based on reading the descriptions of the spotting sessions that Lucas is very thematically minded and can say "We'll use this and this theme here." and he knows very specifically what he wants which can be well and good. Williams on the other hand seems to want to focus on new things more than the old, but even when complying to the director's demands, and always with an air of protestation of innoncence is quick to point out how much of the music is new and how little they used the existing thematic material. This "looking forwards"- thinking works somewhat against him in these movies since it obviously stopped him (sometimes alongside Lucas' orders) from incorporating his older themes and material to his music for the fear of being accused of regurgitating material even if there is a perfectly good reason to do so. Or so I suspect some of the decisions to drop of thematic material have come about, out of the need to move on and write new instead of old. And then there are the express and rather miss-guided demands of direct lifts from the earlier music Lucas wanted but that is another story. It is interesting to note this shift since OT has much more continuity and less sense of shame in using older themes than Prequels. But again we are veering off the subject here.

How about that War Horse huh?

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Weren't you raving about Jango's Escape and Bounty Hunter Pursuit a couple of years ago...?

Listen, just because you have always said that John Williams is not very good in writing pop songs, but you changed your mind because the missus like the A.I. song.....

Not completely true. :lol: I still stand by the notion that JW is not very capable of writing good songs. I don't like any of them, and his Thomas And The King musical is an artistic disaster IMO. BUT there are two songs that I like - and have always liked. One is For Always, the other is How Can I Remember from Sabrina. Nothing to do with the missus... ;)

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I was particularly happy to hear that this score will have a certain Englishness to it which is appropriate. Williams has after all expressed his great love for their music. From the descriptions of the writing, it seems more a gentle nod than heavily "ethnic" much in the same way as Williams scored Angela's Ashes, a more universal expression of underlying subtexts of the film than depiction of locale or area where it is happening. There was of course something slightly Celtic in the contours of the music in Angela's Ashes and especially the harp solos were a nod to the rich harp music tradition of that country but it remained symphonic, lyrical and beautiful comment on the film.

And also of course FilmComposer518's list of previous Williams scores that are akin to War Horse was a promising one, containing many of my personal favourites. The story is something that must have inspired Williams as well, which has an honest and poignant quality to it which promises well for the music beyond what was heard in the trailer. And I think he remarked to some fan from this MB who was attending one of the concerts and who got to say few words to him that he thought War Horse is great. :)

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:lol::up:

Let me go on record (again) that I rather like Chase Through Coruscant.

Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant was just an example of how Williams' modern action writing, though different from the OT style, is still highly thematic and motivic and well structured.

I kind of like AOTC (particularly the love theme, the Coruscant chase, the Arena and Finale). At the very least it is probably the best structured JW album in recent memory (though sounds like shit).

Karol

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:lol::up:

Let me go on record (again) that I rather like Chase Through Coruscant.

Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant was just an example of how Williams' modern action writing, though different from the OT style, is still highly thematic and motivic and well structured.

I kind of like AOTC (particularly the love theme, the Coruscant chase, the Arena and Finale). At the very least it is probably the best structured JW album in recent memory (though sounds like shit).

Karol

Yeah, I don't really have a problem with the score presentation on the CD either. I think it's a great album with a fantastic theme (Across The Stars) woven throughout.

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