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London or Los Angeles for Star Wars VII score? [UPDATE: It's Los Angeles]


Where do you predict the Episode 7 score will be recorded?  

37 members have voted

  1. 1. Where do you predict the Episode 7 score will be recorded?

    • John Williams will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in London
    • Another conductor will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in London
    • John Williams will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra during their tour of the US
    • John Williams will conduct a Los Angeles based orchestra


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Here's just a few examples of the type of stuff that makes Hollywood orchestras less good than the LSO (or any regular orchestra). This is actually from a cue that I quite like - one of the best in Tintin IMO. Most of my problems are with the brass, which may have more to do with the fact that I play a brass instrument and thus have a sharper ear for brass.

2:38 - trombones and percussion are not in sync on the hits at the end of the glisses (trombone are dragging)

3:19 - low brass and low strings are not together on the triplet figures

3:32 - trumpets are early on the second hit

4:07 - trumpet intonation(?) on the high note

I'm sure the LSO and other established orchestras also make these types of mistakes, but thinking through the JW scores they've done in the last 15 years, I can't think of any off the top of my head. Note also that none of these mistakes are the fault of any individual player - they have more to do with problems of coordination. Which I think is because freelance players aren't constantly playing with the same people, so they are less able to anticipate how others will interpret the music than a group that always plays with the same people.

It has been a while since you heard the original trilogy, I take it? Remember that what was considered acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable with auto tune and excessive editing to remove all imperfections at the cost of music. You should hear what Rachmaninoff, Holst, Vaughan Williams sounded like. The point is, you are being pedantic in these references and LSO original trilogy would fail in spades if you applies the same level of scrutiny but our ears have evolved with the technology available. You really should compare era specific recordings. Modern LSO to modern LA and vintage LSO to vintage LA. You'll see it is your expectations that have changed.

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They've got a two-day head start, which is more than they need. LA musicians have friends in every town and county from here to Culver City. They play a dozen idioms, know every local style. They'll b

Thor just has a grudge against the LA musicians because their reuse fees have prevented so many scores from being complete and chronological.

I just returned from playing with the Baltimore Symphony and was very excited to meet David Cripps - the principal horn of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1970 to 1983. He is THE Princess Leia hor

I'm sure the LSO and other established orchestras also make these types of mistakes, but thinking through the JW scores they've done in the last 15 years, I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Really? You honestly can't think of any? Take a listen to the Potters/prequels, with a totally open ear. This sort of thing is par for the course in those scores too, if a bit more swallowed up by Abbey Road's acoustics.

The HSS is not a bunch of people playing with new colleagues every day. Everyone knows everyone else, and composers often have the same exact groups, if everyone is available. Williams certainly has his preferred list, and they're all quite familiar with each other from his scores and others, you can be sure.

Honestly, those things you pointed out indicate more of a problem with the conductor, who would be the one to make sure those sorts of things don't happen. Perhaps John just didn't particularly care about this score that much and getting everything perfect.

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Here's just a few examples of the type of stuff that makes Hollywood orchestras less good than the LSO (or any regular orchestra). This is actually from a cue that I quite like - one of the best in Tintin IMO. Most of my problems are with the brass, which may have more to do with the fact that I play a brass instrument and thus have a sharper ear for brass.

2:38 - trombones and percussion are not in sync on the hits at the end of the glisses (trombone are dragging)

3:19 - low brass and low strings are not together on the triplet figures

3:32 - trumpets are early on the second hit

4:07 - trumpet intonation(?) on the high note

I'm sure the LSO and other established orchestras also make these types of mistakes, but thinking through the JW scores they've done in the last 15 years, I can't think of any off the top of my head. Note also that none of these mistakes are the fault of any individual player - they have more to do with problems of coordination. Which I think is because freelance players aren't constantly playing with the same people, so they are less able to anticipate how others will interpret the music than a group that always plays with the same people.

It has been a while since you heard the original trilogy, I take it? Remember that what was considered acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable with auto tune and excessive editing to remove all imperfections at the cost of music. You should hear what Rachmaninoff, Holst, Vaughan Williams sounded like. The point is, you are being pedantic in these references and LSO original trilogy would fail in spades if you applies the same level of scrutiny but our ears have evolved with the technology available. You really should compare era specific recordings. Modern LSO to modern LA and vintage LSO to vintage LA. You'll see it is your expectations that have changed.

Nope, I'm comparing to the prequels, not the OT (as I stated in my post--read the last paragraph). Parts of the OT performance sound sloppy to me, tbh.

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Here's just a few examples of the type of stuff that makes Hollywood orchestras less good than the LSO (or any regular orchestra). This is actually from a cue that I quite like - one of the best in Tintin IMO. Most of my problems are with the brass, which may have more to do with the fact that I play a brass instrument and thus have a sharper ear for brass.

2:38 - trombones and percussion are not in sync on the hits at the end of the glisses (trombone are dragging)

3:19 - low brass and low strings are not together on the triplet figures

3:32 - trumpets are early on the second hit

4:07 - trumpet intonation(?) on the high note

I'm sure the LSO and other established orchestras also make these types of mistakes, but thinking through the JW scores they've done in the last 15 years, I can't think of any off the top of my head. Note also that none of these mistakes are the fault of any individual player - they have more to do with problems of coordination. Which I think is because freelance players aren't constantly playing with the same people, so they are less able to anticipate how others will interpret the music than a group that always plays with the same people.

Here comes the orchestra police. Were those timestamps actual mistakes or just bits you didn't like for some reason?

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Recording quality and performance is probably 10th in the hierarchical reasoning of doing this in LA vs the LSO. In Hollywood, production rules everything. It's all about the $$$, JJ Abrams and K.Kennedy are almost the best in the business at that.


There were probably dozens of meetings about this decision. You do not write a contract with somebody like John and don't have all this written down. You accept that he's in his 80's when you sign the contract. There's leverage on everybody's side, then you find a common ground. Johnny can probably summon any key LSO member to play what part he wants him to play. Within 12 hours he's in L.A. recording the part.



This decision screams "best of both worlds"

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Am I the only who doesn't hear any problems with the track, aside from the horrible YouTube quality? Maybe I just have a tin ear...

Or is it Tintin ear? ;)

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Am I the only who doesn't hear any problems with the track, aside from the horrible YouTube quality? Maybe I just have a tin ear...

Or is it Tintin ear? ;)

Tinntinitus if he's hearing a ringing sound.

It adds a nice element of natural treble to any Zimmer score.

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Williams won't be summoning any LSO players, and he certainly doesn't need to. LA musicians are just as good.

I think that people tend to think the LSO is the be-all-end-all orchestra. They are good, and prolific in recordings, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're the best. Any number of LA musicians, or musicians from other orchestras could hold their own against them.

Williams has worked exclusively with the LA players for 10 years now, and they're going to give him the performance he's looking for.

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Williams won't be summoning any LSO players, and he certainly doesn't need to. LA musicians are just as good.

I think that people tend to think the LSO is the be-all-end-all orchestra. They are good, and prolific in recordings, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're the best. Any number of LA musicians, or musicians from other orchestras could hold their own against them.

Williams has worked exclusively with the LA players for 10 years now, and they're going to give him the performance he's looking for.

Absolutely, no question there. It was more a matter of tradition, I think. Plus, I've always felt that where the LA orchestras may match the LSO in terms of technical prowess, the LSO has the extra 'artistic' edge in terms of range -- maybe because the LA pick-up orchestras are more specialized and the LSO has more versatility in both lighter and heavier orchestral music.

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And one more point, the LA musicians are not a random assortment of various skill levels that we are talking about. It is the first call group and I guarentee they all know each other and perform heroically together frequently. We are talking about the creme dela creme performers. If one hired the LSO, you would still get ringers and outsiders to fill in the ranks as the score needs so either way you have a group that frequently plays together under stressful scenarios and top levels.

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Depends on how you define versatile. The LSO has traditionally been more versatile through their forays not only into classical music and film music, but also pop music and other genres. I'm not sure the LA orchestras have the same experience. There's also the advantage of having the same orchestra members play together constantly, as opposed to the various set-ups of the pick-up orcestras. Like a football team.

I'm biased because I think the LSO is the best orchestra in the world, but there's still some factual and observable advantages they hold over almost anyone else. It's hard to put into words, but for me there's always been a warmth and personality to their playing, while a lot of the pick-up orchestras sound more clinical and dry.

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Depends on how you define versatile. The LSO has traditionally been more versatile through their forays not only into classical music and film music, but also pop music and other genres. I'm not sure the LA orchestras have the same experience.

Uhhh... still no.

Again, the occasional foray into "lite" music or a "pop" album doesn't nearly match the range of material that LA's musicians deal with on a regular basis.

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Depends on how you define versatile. The LSO has traditionally been more versatile through their forays not only into classical music and film music, but also pop music and other genres. I'm not sure the LA orchestras have the same experience.

Uhhh... still no.

Again, the occasional foray into "lite" music or a "pop" album doesn't nearly match the range of material that LA's musicians deal with on a regular basis.

You say so, but I don't share that evaluation. The LSO is about the most versatile orchestra in the world while still having their own unique brand or identity and high level of performance. I've never heard any LA orchestra -- pick-up or otherwise -- that has been able to match those things combined.

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Far from it. Degrees of 'versatility' is something that is rather difficult to measure. It's always a mix of fact knowledge (the actual range of projects that they do) and "gut feeling" in terms of how it plays out in sound and performance.

I say LSO is more versatile than any LA orchestra, you say the opposite -- and so we can go back and forth untill the cows come home. Rather pointless. Let's just agree that both are versatile, and then after that let our preferences go in opposite ways.

In either case, I'm sure the LA orchestra will do fine with this particular assignment.

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Except it is rather easy to measure. Which group tackles a greater diversity of musical styles, often only days apart?

It's well known that the LA musicians are the most flexible and diverse in the world. That is a virtually universal opinion held among people who know about such things. If you choose to think differently, you're just wrong. This isn't one of those "everyone is entitled to their own opinion" moments.

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Except it is rather easy to measure. Which group tackles a greater diversity of musical styles?

The LSO, IMO.

But again, it's only part of the equation. Versatiliy also lies in execution, not only in range of projects.

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How can you have that opinion? What is the reasoning behind that? Didn't you read my earlier post? How is an orchestra that deals primarily in standard classical repertoire and the occasional film score/genre-bending album less specialized than the musicians who tackle the immense diversity of music that makes up Hollywood scores?

Don't wait for the translation! Answer me now!

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How can you have that opinion? What is the reasoning behind that? Didn't you read my earlier post? How is an orchestra that deals primarily in standard classical repertoire and the occasional film score/genre-bending album less specialized than the musicians who tackle the immense diversity of music that makes up Hollywood scores?

Don't wait for the translation! Answer me now!

The LSO has been doing classical, film music, pop, rock and whatnot for DECADES. How can you NOT acknowledge this?!?

I'm not denying that there are musicians in LA that may have had similar exposure and experience, but a rotating assembly of such guys does in NO WAY compete with a singular orchestral entity that has been doing it for years upon years.

But again (what is this, like, the THIRD time I'm saying this now?), versatility isn't only measured by the range of projects that an orchestra does, but also in HOW it does it. How can an orchestra be BOTH versatile and keep the quality/identity/"warmth" up at the same time? That's the crucial aspect you seem to be missing.

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No, I think you're just dead-set in a romanticized notion of holding up the LSO as the absolute best. It's a shame. I have nothing else to say on it though, as you clearly aren't interested in looking at things differently.

No, I'm not, and neither are you.

That's why this is all subjective and bound to go in circles. We prefer the orchestras that we do for our own reasons.

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Only that both of you aren't even able to point out examples that might support your argument which is usually a dead giveaway that both of you just bullshit around.

I don't need to point out examples. What would that accomplish except start an example war? The output of both ensembles speaks for itself, and I'm hardly the only person to feel this way. When the widespread professional opinion on the matter changes, then I'll either change my mind if it's warranted, or start offering proof for why I feel the way that I do.

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I agree with Pilgrim there. Examples wouldn't help as we'd be here for years listing all imaginable projects the LSO has done, and then each project that the most-often used musicians in LA have done. It would be pointless. Plus it would only be part of the equation. It would say nothing about the evaluation of said projects.

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Rubbish. If you don't have examples that form that opinion, it's worth nothing. Example wars means just c/v-ing Wikipedia entries. If you have so strong feelings for either case - decidedly not 'they're on par' - you must be able to point to specific examples.

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Rubbish. If you don't have examples that form that opinion, it's worth nothing. Example wars means just c/v-ing Wikipedia entries. If you have so strong feelings for either case - decidedly not 'they're on par' - you must be able to point to specific examples.

But it's not a question of "not on par" or of individual scores pitted against each other. It's about the overall output and the diversity of the types of music that each is engaged to play. What proof would you seek for that? Examine their output for yourself.

You simply will not hear many people denying that the LA musicians are the most versatile in the world for the fact that they are presented with so many different tasks, and that their backgrounds are far richer than your average conservatory player training to be in the LSO or something. Why don't many people deny that? Well, because it's frankly quite a silly thing to deny. And I've seen no convincing reasoning for doing so here.

Take a cursory glance through this no doubt incomplete LSO discography.

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/london-symphony-orchestra-mn0000602907/discography

You'll see a few film scores, some "orchestra plays rock" stuff, holiday compilations... and reams of concert music.

Now think about the sorts of scores that have been recorded in LA. Symphonic, electronic, rock, hybrid, jazz or big band, light small ensemble stuff for the endless slew of romantic comedies and crap... and individual players appear on countless pop albums as session players, not to mention that many are involved in any number of LA based ensembles with equally varied musical focuses.

Nowhere else in the world will you find a trumpet player who is equally at home playing a piccolo horn on some quasi-baroque score as playing rich romantic lines for Star Wars as screaming in the high register on a big band score. And this is true of every person who is on that roster.

And once again, bear in mind that this is not the hodgepodge of random people you seem to think. As I said, virtually everyone knows everyone else, and you couldn't ask for a more warm and unified group of musicians. There are no strangers, no surprises, no unpredictability, no failure to "meld" as a group. It happens within a few bars. They're that good.

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