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The Book Thief (2013) - New Williams film score!


scissorhands
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Sounds quite lovely, sort of halfway between Jane Eyre and Presumed Innocent, with a lot of A.I. style writing in it as well. The running obstinato is certainly familiar, and the score does seem to a large degree to be a patchwork of familiar Williams ideas and techniques for light drama; quite different from the syrupy sweep of War Horse.

I love the 'syrupy sweep' of WAR HORSE too, although I wouldn't use that term, exactly. To me, much of that score falls in a more "English", pastoral mode (Vaughan Williams-style) with elements of Americana.

But yeah, I get what you mean.

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Just from these samples alone…Yet another masterpiece from the Maestro (than again, there is nothing less to expect from John Williams)!

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Sounds quite lovely, sort of halfway between Jane Eyre and Presumed Innocent, with a lot of A.I. style writing in it as well. The running obstinato is certainly familiar, and the score does seem to a large degree to be a patchwork of familiar Williams ideas and techniques for light drama; quite different from the syrupy sweep of War Horse.

I love the 'syrupy sweep' of WAR HORSE too, although I wouldn't use that term, exactly. To me, much of that score falls in a more "English", pastoral mode (Vaughan Williams-style) with elements of Americana.

But yeah, I get what you mean.

I love the syrupy sweep of War Horse as well! And it is definitely Ralph Vaughan Williams inspired - but it feel it gets more syrupy because of the condensed format of the film score. "Dartmoor, 1912" runs three minutes, where as a piece like Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, runs 18 minutes - leaving a lot more room for subtlety and complexity, while still maintaining the sweeping strokes and lofty pastoral quality what Vaughan Williams does so perfectly.

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I like the progression right at the start of the last track, but I'm not sure about the melody that follows it (the main theme I assume) - verryyyy similar to Angela's Ashes. Almost to a temp-track level with some of these samples actually.

Hate to be a voice against 'Rudy is Taken', but I agree with critics who consider that style of scoring overbearing. But I've never liked 'Death of Topthorn' much either.

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Hate to be a voice against 'Rudy is Taken', but I agree with critics who consider that style of scoring overbearing. But I've never liked 'Death of Topthorn' much either.

I generally agree. Williams did this kind of writing gorgeously in Schindler's List, because the quality of that score and every single cue is so overwhelmingly superior to any other drama score he has ever written, in my opinion. Thus, the choral lament of "Immolation" or the stark violin of Auschwitz are so gut wrenching, because they are pure emotion; as a listener, one does not feel manipulated or forcefully "made to feel" a certain way - as The Death of Topthorn, and many other cues, like the funeral cue for Anakin's mother in Attack of the Clones does to a much larger extent. I have to say, however, that the crescendo at 2:30 in Topthorn is very powerful - and definitely elevates that track beyond competent but token Williams despair. Again, in my opinion.

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I think most people and critics didn't get War Horse at all. It wasn't a historical drama (or weighty drama of any kind). It's a film based on a children's story and made in the style of the 40's cinema. If you look at it from this perspective, the score is one of the few elements of this that puts it in the right genre. Dated or not.

Karol

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As sublime as the main theme is, I personally find Williams's underscore for SCHINDLER'S LIST maudlin and tepid - lacking guts or anger. Spielberg should have gone with Kilar for that one.

As far as Williams's drama scores go, I prefer NIXON, A.I. (if that counts), ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, THE RIVER, SLEEPERS and GEISHA.

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NIXON is awesome - a fantastic score, which somehow escapes the fundamental silliness that could have come from giving that character and that film such a overly operatic and hyper emotional musical treatment.

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It's SCHINDLER'S overwrought choral stuff I can't stand.

NIXON is awesome - a fantastic score, which somehow escapes the fundamental silliness that could have come from giving that character and that film such a overly operatic and hyper emotional musical treatment.

Well said.

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I like Nixon music, but it didn't work very well with the film. Too much of a caricature.

Karol

That is how I feel about WAR HORSE. A lovely, occasionally gorgeous listen on album - but very badly placed in the film. Grand, sweeping strings tell us how to feel within the first couple of minutes - before we've had a chance to get to know any of the characters. And if it was just landscape scoring, that would be fine, but the birth of the horse right at the beginning is so heavily scored, that it actually distracts from the narrative. That is a fundamental flaw, IMO.

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I like Nixon music, but it didn't work very well with the film. Too much of a caricature.

Caricature of what? It fits the film like a glove.

If it took me out of the film, with all the best intentions, then it didn't.

I like Nixon music, but it didn't work very well with the film. Too much of a caricature.

Karol

That is how I feel about WAR HORSE. A lovely, occasionally gorgeous listen on album - but very badly placed in the film. Grand, sweeping strings tell us how to feel within the first couple of minutes - before we've had a chance to get to know any of the characters. And if it was just landscape scoring, that would be fine, but the birth of the horse right at the beginning is so heavily scored, that it actually distracts from the narrative. That is a fundamental flaw, IMO.

I think Spielberg's schizophrenic direction is to be blamed here. It's as if he didn't know what kind of film he was doing. I know what you're saying, but, again, Williams was one of the few crew members who understood the core of this story. And it's old-fashioned needs.

Karol

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Hmm. It is true the main theme isn't immediately gripping but then again Williams has been doing quite a bit of different kinds of scoring of late. None of Tintin or War Horse or Lincoln have clearly delineated "main theme" in the traditional sense. Tintiin has a motif, not a proper theme. War Horse has one but again no singular concert arrangement just highlighting the theme. Lincoln had a couple of gorgeous pieces, but it was barely used in the film.

But the score within the movie sounded fantastic for Tintin and War Horse. So i hope same is the case here. Maybe once we listen to the music with the visuals, it will have more emotion.

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I find the main theme very moving, memorable, and marvellously sculpted. To me, these samples already reveal a gem of a score, of a quality not likely to be penned by anyone but Williams. There's a lot of heart in these brief sonic glimpses; this sounds like a very personal effort to my ears.

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I have a feeling that piano motif on the second track is part of the main theme. I'm sure it's one of those complex JW themes that is comprised of 3 or 4 distinct phrases that could work independently almost as seperate themes

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I find the main theme very moving, memorable, and marvellously sculpted. To me, these samples already reveal a gem of a score, of a quality not likely to be penned by anyone but Williams. There's a lot of heart in these brief sonic glimpses; this sounds like a very personal effort to my ears.

I don't... but again, just my opinion. Feels like a not-so-great alternate approach to Angela's Ashes. (don't take that as a general negative - I love the theme from Ashes)

Regarding previous comments about War Horse, I liked the movie, and the score as a whole. It's really only isolated cues where Williams uses these forceful string 'elegies' and throws subtlety out the window. This is not inherently a bad thing - I just don't get much out of Williams using that technique. Angela's Prayer is one of probably few examples where I enjoy it, but that's primarily because it has an underlying melody that's stronger to my ears than what I'm hearing in these clips. (2:50 onwards....sublime)

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I find the main theme very moving, memorable, and marvellously sculpted. To me, these samples already reveal a gem of a score, of a quality not likely to be penned by anyone but Williams. There's a lot of heart in these brief sonic glimpses; this sounds like a very personal effort to my ears.

That's what I though after the first listen. The main theme is at the core of Williams' most personal voice.

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I find the main theme very moving, memorable, and marvellously sculpted. To me, these samples already reveal a gem of a score, of a quality not likely to be penned by anyone but Williams. There's a lot of heart in these brief sonic glimpses; this sounds like a very personal effort to my ears.

That's what I though after the first listen. The main theme is at the core of Williams' most personal voice.

That!

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'Beauty' is not particularly a word I'd use to describe either, actually.

'Tragic' certainly, but it feels more like Williams is shouting 'feel sad now!' and laying on the strings. I just don't get it.

Oh, and 'unique'? Sorry, no. There's absolutely nothing new here.

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'Beauty' is not particularly a word I'd use to describe either, actually.

'Tragic' certainly, but it feels more like Williams is shouting 'feel sad now!' and laying on the strings. I just don't get it.

Oh, and 'unique'? Sorry, no. There's absolutely nothing new here.

Well for me this tragic music is a synonym for beauty.

I don't mind Williams shouting "feel sad now!" like I don't mind JW shouting "feel triumph now!" when listening "The Helicopter Landing"

in Jurassic Park.

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I think it sounds like an amalgam of what's best in Willliams dramatic scores. There doesn't seem to be "auto- skip" tracks

True in a very positive way. I hear the best things of Angela's Ashes, Seven Years In Tibet, War Horse, Lincoln. I hoped for something like this!

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