Jump to content

James Horner - Pas de Deux (Double Concerto for Violin and Cello)


Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Replies 85
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Steef, as someone who enjoys concert music, who frequents concert halls, I assure you this has nothing to do with being pretentious. This is the music world's equivalent of penis envy. In my experien

Interesting news! Jamie breaking into concert/orchestral music scene. Good for him! I think he should also do a larger orchestral work called Dangerous Motives, where he would explore the 4-note mott

That's a grander legacy then any of us can claim. He will just re-arrange Spectral Shimmerings for violin and cello.

After taking it in a bit more i must say that PAS DE DEUX is really a bit of a curiosity: flip-flopping between ripe filmmusic clichés (swooning strings intoning flowery prose), introspective soloistic, vaguely folkloristic impressionism (Vaughan-Williams looming large) and puzzling Hollywood grandstanding (a BEAUTIFUL MIND/STAR TREK-inspired finale), there never seems to be an attempt to adhere to any formal dictum which is of course necessitated by calling your piece a 'double concerto' (but for a Hollywood composer, we might let those annoying ground rules slide).

It's mainly Horner straying around in his old lumber room, and while the 25 minutes are mostly pleasant and in Horner's preferred romantic idiom, namely a broad british classicism modeled after Vaughan-Williams' or Delius' adaptations of english folk songs, the seasoned fan just cannot escape the fact that the finetuned reworkings of IRIS, SPITFIRE GRILL, several animated movies and so on come with a very heavy layer of patina - to stay on polite terms.

When Horner gets to his big finish - a melodramatic finale swinging from shimmering minimalist arpeggiations to tearful Hollywood schmaltz into what threatens to become the triumphant ROCKETEER finale - there is the distinct impression the composer is auditioning for an illiterate film mogul feeding him what an illiterate film mogul might consider 'great classical music'...you know, because it's played with instruments. It bears no connection to the rest and left me a bit perplexed why Horner has to resort to this kind of doubtful showmanship.

Be that as it may, it's far from bad (though classical connoisseurs might beg to differ) but it's also strictly for diehard Horner fans - which for reasons we all know all too well is a a hard-earned label - the old adage 'Cobbler, stick to your trade' might not yet in order but if his recent horn concerto is the same...well...you get the drift.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

This is my review of the CD:

http://www.colonnesonore.net/recensioni/cinema/3771-pas-de-deux-.html

(it's in Italian, so you might want to use an automated translator ;))

I'm enjoying this new Horner work a lot. I love it for its complete unpretentious spirit and beautiful lyricism. It's not music that wants to reinvent the wheel, nor it doesn't bring anything new to the repertoire. But it's very fine music written by a very competent composer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just listened to it and I'm afraid have to share Pub's sentiments. This is the kind of stuff that gives film composers a bad name in the concert sphere. What we're served is a putrefied corpse dressed up and powdered with heavy makeup.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't be so harsh. It's perfectly acceptable new music to be heard in a concert hall. It simply chooses to express itself within a consolidated and reassuring stylistic framework. I very much prefer this kind of intellectual honesty than a clumsy attempt at doing experimental or avant-garde.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm more in agreement in with pub and Sharky. Enjoyable enough on the surface, yes, but there's no reason for this music to exist in the concert hall really, when most of it is a regurgitation of what we've heard in his films. Pleasant enough and competently written sure, but don't quite see the point.

That and the Gorecki rip in the second movement irks me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just listened to it and I'm afraid have to share Pub's sentiments. This is the kind of stuff that gives film composers a bad name in the concert sphere. What we're served is a putrefied corpse dressed up and powdered with heavy makeup.

Like your avatar? ;)

I'll set TheGreyPilgrim on you.

I very much prefer this kind of intellectual honesty than a clumsy attempt at doing experimental or avant-garde.

I'd much rarer see and hear someone dare and fail, than this kind of pleasant orchestral mush.

In the words of Drew Barrymore, "If you don't take risks, you'll have a wasted soul."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes it's nice to just enjoy a lovely piece of music and appreciate it for what it is.

I'd love to see this sort of open-mindedness on here about certain other composers!

As I said a bit back in the thread, the music washes over the ears and that's about it. Music in my view is 50% sonic interest/pleasure and 50% spiritual/poetic meaning. This is 100% the former, and tenuously. And I also have to agree that this is the sort of thing that continues the stigma of film composers among the particularly pretentious and shitheaded - not that anyone should adjust their output to please them. But this *is* ammunition for their cause.

Link to post
Share on other sites

According to Steef, if you really like concert hall music, you're pretentious. And if you don't like a bunch of film scores regurgitated into a single aimless work of sugary fluff, you're a film-music damning elitist.

And Steef, plenty of us love the concert hall works of Williams, Shore, Goldenthal, Morricone, etc etc. There's nothing wrong with concert hall works sounding lke film music, but they should have something to say, which this piece doesn't really. Take James Newton Howard's recent work for instance (Plant a Tree?...I don't remember the name). It shares a lot of his stylistic film music traits, but is done so while challenging himself with more substance and development appropriate for this medium.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Steef, as someone who enjoys concert music, who frequents concert halls, I assure you this has nothing to do with being pretentious. This is the music world's equivalent of penis envy.

In my experience the very tiny fraction of concert-going people who use phrases like "not worthy of a concert hall" haven't done shit worthy of the reverberating chambers of a toilet, let alone a concert hall. That's why they have so much time to pick apart the professionals' works. They are people skilled enough to use big words and give pseudo-objective nitpickings, but not skilled enough to contribute anything anyone cares about.

Their professional envy and loud "critical" voice is what turns the public off from concert halls. It is THEIR bullshit that perpetuates the "Concert vs. Film Composer" divide. It is THEIR bullshit that destroys the concert hall, not the work of someone who spends years of their life crafting something FOR the concert hall.

When you see some asshole saying something like "not worthy of the concert hall" make sure to call them on their bullshit, and make sure everyone around knows they're a bullshitter. It's the only way to get rid of this cancer that cripples the concert community.

Anyways, rant aside, I came in here to say that Horner's death gave me cause to give this another spin. I still find Pas de Deux a bit too sweet for my personal tastes, but there are still some lovely moments all throughout. It's also fun hearing some of the familiar Hornerisms from the movies a bit more unpacked and "unstreamlined."

Link to post
Share on other sites

I still find Pas de Deux a bit too sweet for my personal tastes, but there are still some lovely moments all throughout. It's also fun hearing some of the familiar Hornerisms from the movies a bit more unpacked and "unstreamlined."

Pretty much how I feel now. I want to grasp onto something really spiritual in it. I'll keep trying.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too. It's enjoyable on a certain level to hear his Hornerisms executed less in broad strokes, but more intricate precision. Having said that, I still haven't really connected to it. It's pretty and sort of like a nice demo-reel of Horner's traits, but something missing to tie it together.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seriously though, I found trying to picture a dance between a guy and a girl on pointe heightened my enjoyment of the piece. Turn out the lights, put on the headphones, and try to choreograph the duet in your head!

Being the backwards sexist man that I am, the big boomy cello is the man and the violin is the woman. The final movement has this intricate footwork... ;)

I think that's why I have the young lovers image in my head. The music is youthful somehow.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the idea and I'm going to try it myself. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.

And I'm a real sexist too! I wrote a double concerto with extreme sexual undertones and cast the cello as myself and the violin as the lady... oops.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...