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Is Hans Zimmer the most revolutionary film composer of all time?


Hlao-roo

  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Is Hans Zimmer the most revolutionary film composer of all time?

    • Yes
      7
    • No
      27


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Influential? Yes. Revolutionary? Maybe. But neither in a way I personally prefer.

I think a big reason Zimmer's sound has caught on is because it's so easy to demo. It's much more difficult to get the sound of a full orchestra into the head of a director by means of a quick run-through on piano, particularly if they're musically challenged—as a lot of directors happen to be. On the other hand, the RCP gang can whip up a demonstration track that'll pretty much sound like the finished version from the get-go. It's easier for directors to say, "Yeah . . . just do it like that." (Which may point to directorial laziness as a culprit in itself.)

Interesting, though, how so many people are agreeing that Zimmer is indeed cutting-edge, yet he's only managed 3 votes so far on the "revolutionary" thing.

- Uni

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Interesting, though, how so many people are agreeing that Zimmer is indeed cutting-edge, yet he's only managed 3 votes so far on the "revolutionary" thing.

I didn't vote because I didn't really agree with the premise, especially the 'of all time' bit. I would have said something inbetween.

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I agree with much of what Karelm says. though the "real" composers part doesn't quite sit right with me.

Some of them (Poledouris, Barry, Jarre) were prety much semi-retired before they passed. And there are still many "real"composers of the 80's and upwards active (Elfman, Silvestri, JHN etc)

I can't deny your points.

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Can't you (all) think outside of your 'lush themes' vs. 'ambient' box? Are harsh Goldsmith 60's scores like SECONDS lush orchestral storytelling? Of course they are not, and still the score is able to convey a lot of á propos emotion in a very precise way in under 20 minutes - i don't find that level of dedication in most musical approaches these days, save a few scores like GHOST WRITER or TINKER TAILER SOLDIER SPY.

Will have an eye on the cornish score, Thor, but beware if it's just mediocre.

I agree. It's not a matter of ambient scores vs. lush orchestral scores. There were ambient/experimental scores back then too. It's just that as publicist says, both experimental and traditional works from the past still attempted to tell a story with effort and care, simply through different mediums. Nowadays, most scores are there to just service the film on the most basic level. Droning for the sake of droning to make a scene seem dark. The care and attempt at musical storytelling (which can be done through more experimental forms) isn't as obvious today as it was back then. Even with some of today's orchestral scores. , them being just serviceable at best. Composers these days seem to be thinking about ONLY servicing the film and getting their paycheck. Which is great for the film I suppose, but there was a time when composers used to think about servicing the music as well, music that could stand well on its own feet apart from the film.

This of course doesn't apply to everything produced today, but the majority of big Hollywood projects, yes.

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I agree with much of what Karelm says. though the "real" composers part doesn't quite sit right with me.

Some of them (Poledouris, Barry, Jarre) were prety much semi-retired before they passed. And there are still many "real"composers of the 80's and upwards active (Elfman, Silvestri, JHN etc)

I can't deny your points.

That much is certain.

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Thor, i know more than a few outside-Hollywood movies and i know that even if from this day on no movie ever would have a score at all, you still would compulsively insist that there never was a better period for film music, it's just your nature.

What i think should be made clearer,especially in light of whom this messageboard is dedicated to, is that a lot of people think of film music as a way of vivid storytelling. And you can twist and turn, this isn't how music by and large functions today in film, and not only Hollywood, since a lot of non-HW-filmmakers of course are influenced by that, too. Of course there are bright spots and brilliant applications of music to picture, but that is really not the norm and also shouldn't include great song scores (we just as well might include cricket chirping then).

So in essence, i don't dislike a score like GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO per se, i like quite a few Martinez or Mansell scores (recently: STOKER!) but i also see that they often don't function as great storytelling but more as loose moodsetters that often are rather vague in what they are conveying. This isn't to say they are bad or good, only that they are not able to direct my interest as the best Herrmann/Williams/Goldsmith-etc. scores could do. And that, for me is a fact that can be objectively proven. And those examples are still miles better than a lot - read. not all - factory-assembled RCP clone scores that range from GAME OF THRONES to the recent ENDER'S GAME.

Well said. This has to be the most constructive post of yours I've personally seen. Bravo!

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Really? Because all I see is an overly elaborate way of just saying: contemporary scores don't interest me, and they can be factually proven to be worse than older scores.

What a load of shit.

Nah, you must have missed the objective parts of pubs post. He was pretty clear and reasonable, I thought.

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Koray. what did you think of the score for Gravity? Praised by film critics, but generally regarded as the weak spot in a much loved film by film score fans.

You didn't ask me, but I'll reply anyway. The score is fantastic in the film (which is my favourite film of the year, btw), but it has yet to properly grab me on CD. A couple of standout tracks, but otherwise rather unmemorable. So far, anyway.

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I'm imagining myself to be well into and appreciative of the Gravity score while watching the film, but that's where its boundaries will be limited to as far as being effective listening music in its own right.

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Koray. what did you think of the score for Gravity? Praised by film critics, but generally regarded as the weak spot in a much loved film by film score fans.

My full review.

Though I'm not sure how my opinion on this score relates to the discussion in this thread.

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The whole finale with is scored with the worst trailer music clichés imaginable. This kind of dummy music the film did not deserve and i bet a gallon of my mojo it was demanded by the money people.

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Either way I thought it was effective on screen. Give me JW's Azkaban or Tavener's Children Of Men over it any day, though.



Anyway, the vibe I'm getting from people in this thread is just the usual: I judge film music as the listening experience on my computer and not based on its relation to the film it was written for.

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Well, Kieslowksi films have excellent thematic scores and they are art-oriented.

So I don't agree that such films are not served well by such scores and require (i assume that is what you meant) a minimalistic ambient score.

No, of course it depends on the filmmaker. But generally, more sociorealistic films (or arty films) these days don't rely much on a non-diegetic score at all. Which is how it should be, IMO. It would be terribly boring if all films had wall-to-wall music, whether orchestral or other styles.

But what if you look to the past, and take an extremely 'sociorealistic' drama such as Ken Loach's KES. That has a beautiful small orchestral score from John Cameron. Even if one is to argue that that was 60s, before ambient music took off - there was still plenty of musique concrète and proto-sound design in that period - look to Nicholas Roeg's films, Polanski's REPULSION, Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and so on.

I utterly disliked TINKER, TAILOR..., but then again I never liked Iglesias much in the first place. Too many intense 'intense drones' with very little harmonic and melodic variation.

Not many drones, but plenty of dissonant sustained chords and harp ostinati that call to mind composers like Ginastera and Varése. Though I half-expected you wouldn't like it, Thor, since you came to film music from the benign world of 80s synth pop, and have little appreciation or tolerance for so called 'cerebral' or avant-garde music, whether it's Iglesias or Rosenman.

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But what if you look to the past, and take an extremely 'sociorealistic' drama such as Ken Loach's KES. That has a beautiful small orchestral score from John Cameron. Even if one is to argue that that was 60s, before ambient music took off - there was still plenty of musique concrète and proto-sound design in that period - look to Nicholas Roeg's films, Polanski's REPULSION, Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and so on.

Yes, that's exactly my point. Either there is no or very little music or there are alternative styles of music like those you mention. My point is that we need the traditional with the alternative. Variety is the spice of life!

Not many drones, but plenty of dissonant sustained chords and harp ostinati that call to mind composers like Ginastera and Varése. Though I half-expected you wouldn't like it, Thor, since you came to film music from the benign world of 80s synth pop, and have little appreciation or tolerance for so called 'cerebral' or avant-garde music, whether it's Iglesias or Rosenman.

True, it's not what I immediately reach for every day, but I do have a taste for the avantgarde if the textures are interesting enough. It's not accidental that Goldenthal is my third favourite composer or that Williams' IMAGES is dear to me. But it depends on the textures -- there are some composers whose dissonance I can't stomach (including Morricone's, for example). But I do love Ligeti, Penderecki, Pärt and many others.

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I guess Pasi is just a disgruntled John Williams fan, who has had enough of the name Zimmer in any context or form.

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He deserted and betrayed us!

I name him Gorthaur! The dread abomination!

Yet somehow I have to admire his zeal and commitment. It shows the stubborn Finnish sisu at its best and at its worst.

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Really? Because all I see is an overly elaborate way of just saying: contemporary scores don't interest me, and they can be factually proven to be worse than older scores.

But that's pretty much based on current reality, by and large. Ask any film composer who still has a serious musical training and has been around for more than 10 or 15 years. The shortened (or non-existent) time spans between the end of post production and the release of a film, paired with the general attitude of Hollywood producers to play it safe and hardly ever allow music that doesn't sound like the standard template for a particular kind of film any more, and what you are left with is, by necessity, much less interesting than what came before. Exceptions always exist, of course.

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Really? Because all I see is an overly elaborate way of just saying: contemporary scores don't interest me, and they can be factually proven to be worse than older scores.

But that's pretty much based on current reality, by and large. Ask any film composer who still has a serious musical training and has been around for more than 10 or 15 years. The shortened (or non-existent) time spans between the end of post production and the release of a film, paired with the general attitude of Hollywood producers to play it safe and hardly ever allow music that doesn't sound like the standard template for a particular kind of film any more, and what you are left with is, by necessity, much less interesting than what came before. Exceptions always exist, of course.

My only point is that you can't prove anything, but we've all been through this discussion before. Whether you like contemporary film music or not does not somehow make it non-music.

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Koray, there are different concepts of how to yield academic proof. It doesn't all work like MYTHBUSTERS. Not that it matters much, though. I don't need academic proof that IRON MAN 3 is hardly great music.

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Music isn't math. It's an artistic expression through sound. You certainly don't need academic proof to say Iron Man 3 isn't great music; my point is that there isn't any. It's called an opinion, treat it as such.

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There is. You are just ignorant of why and how. The thing is, does it matter to Koray Savas that there may be cultural scholars who have established certain criteria for music rating? It doesn't concern you (and i doubt anyone in academia ivory towers lowers himself into the field of filmmusic, anyway).

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There is. You are just ignorant of why and how. The thing is, does it matter to Koray Savas that there may be cultural scholars who have established certain criteria for music rating? It doesn't concern you (and i doubt anyone in academia ivory towers lowers himself into the field of filmmusic, anyway).

Well, I certainly did back in my day, if that means anything. Fortunately, the flora of academic film music literature has blossomed in recent years.

One of the courses I taught at the time was media criticism, which includes a way to set criteria for any artwork. Of course, even such general criteria are tinged with a sense of subjectivity. It's impossible to avoid that in art criticism. That's one of the reasons why I love humanistic sciences over the 'hard' sciences. But the dichotomy between objectivity and subjectivity will always be a 'hot topic', as evidenced above.

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There is. You are just ignorant of why and how. The thing is, does it matter to Koray Savas that there may be cultural scholars who have established certain criteria for music rating? It doesn't concern you (and i doubt anyone in academia ivory towers lowers himself into the field of filmmusic, anyway).

Not really. It's just a traditional precedent that some choose to follow for no real apparent reason, much like other things in human society. No, a collective opinion of your cultural scholars does not matter to me. When it comes to art, the only thing that matters is the connection between the artist and the audience.

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When it comes to art, the only thing that matters is the connection between the artist and the audience.

So, if let's say the Smurfs Movie makes a hit among the audience and all people around the world love it, that makes it one of the greatest films of all time?

or if the songs of Lady Gaga appeal to a wide audience, that means that as compositions they can stand next to a Beethoven or a Mozart symphony?

my point is: the value and greatness of a work of art, is not defined by the appeal to the general masses.

or the connection as you put it.

If only a handful of people can connect to 2001: A Space Odyssey, that doesn't lessen its importance and value.

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When it comes to art, the only thing that matters is the connection between the artist and the audience.

So, if let's say the Smurfs Movie makes a hit among the audience and all people around the world love it, that makes it one of the greatest films of all time?

or if the songs of Lady Gaga appeal to a wide audience, that means that as compositions they can stand next to a Beethoven or a Mozart symphony?

my point is: the value and greatness of a work of art, is not defined by the appeal to the general masses.

or the connection as you put it.

If only a handful of people can connect to 2001: A Space Odyssey, that doesn't lessen its importance and value.

When did I say anything about appeal? I said the connection between the artist and the audience. I mean this quite literally. An artist creates the art, the audience then consumes it. There is a direct line drawn between the two. What I feel when I listen to a piece of music or watch a film is exclusive to me. I am the one that qualifies the work based on my own personal experience with it. Therefore making someone elses own criteria for qualifying the same type of art completely irrelevant. It's all about taste. Someone could love Uwe Bol enough to fund his next movie on Kickstarter, which people have, but that doesn't mean anything to me. I think he's one of the worst filmmakers ever.

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you said that in art, what all matters is the connection between the artist and the audience.

What all matters for whom? the creator? the audience? the work of art itself? History? the review and judgement on the work of art?

As you put it, i assumed that you meant that when there is NO connection between the artist and the audience, then the work of art doesn't matter (=is not important), since the connection is the most important thing.

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It depends on what aspect of the relationship you're looking at and your scope. The art will most likely always mean something different to the artist than to the audience. While there's a connection there's certainly a very strong separation as well. The artist could have intended the art to be one thing, while I could perceive it as something entirely different. Am I wrong because the artist meant something else? Absolutely not, because it belongs to both of us. Your latter questions about the arts place in history and how others perceive it simply fall under my previous point about other opinions being irrelevant. If you, filmmusic, love old films, why does it matter what others think or them or if they're forgotten to rot for eternity? Does your relationship to that art diminish or fade because others don't share your personal experience?

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I think he has been revolutionary -- but a lot of that is due to all the mentoring he's done, so in his words "for better or for worse" he has sort of infiltrated film scores with his sound.... but we all know these things go in cycles.

He must be influential... listen to Terminal (temped with As good as it Gets) and No Mans Land from War Horse...... bit of an odd choice there ... the music editor temping a horse running through barbed wire with Zimmers epic pirate music.

BTW on a side note does anyone know when JW started putting that 7 8 ostinato in his scores. e.g. the cello concerto, mecha world, munich letter bombs, indiana jones ( ants), war horse ( no mans land). This kind of minimalist repeating motif is what distinguishes JW early work up until mid 90's to his more recent output.


In response to the above posts I find it funny that thesedays call themselves professional film composers. There really isn't any such thing. Where in the world can you study to be that and come out profecient in writing all genres of music? You are either a good composer or you're not and in most cases it's a talent you're born with which you then have to develop.

No disrespect to "academic" type composers but most of their work is too intellectual to resonate on an emotional level and is meaningless to the majority of the public. Most people I know barely have the capacity to understand a simple pop song and dismiss anything other than predicatable as "weird" and in the case of film scores they may ask "why is there no drum beat? why is no one singing? where are the guitars??!!

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