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This thread resurrection together with the recent Tintin appreciation thread shows that the Williams scores from the 2010s have often been talked down too much after release.  The music is not always

We just wanted to celebrate Johnnys 88th birthday and decided to watch something he scored, ended up with BFG which was perfect for our youngest, 7 year old. The dubbed version was so great, Dahl's br

Thanks to a friend who has seen the sheet music, I can reveal how JW constructed this OST album   1 Overture (1:18) unknown rewrite of the opening of End Credits 2 The Witching Ho

On 7/4/2016 at 6:26 PM, artguy360 said:

I kind of feel like a more inventive suite is possible with other material in the score. 

 

That's my thought, too. "Sophie and the BFG" is great but it doesn't really seem to offer much that we don't get in the rest of the score. A lot of it sounds kind of like copying and pasting from other cues (maybe Williams actually did that, I don't know). 

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59 minutes ago, king mark said:

There is ONE big rendition of Sophie's Theme... it's the one micro edited out of the OST in Giants Netted :(

 

I wonder if thats a microedit, or if the scene was extended after Williams first scored it, and he recorded an Insert, and chose not to put the Insert on the album.

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21 minutes ago, Jay said:

 

I wonder if thats a microedit, or if the scene was extended after Williams first scored it, and he recorded an Insert, and chose not to put the Insert on the album.

 

I think it has to be an edit. As I mentioned earlier, the whole confrontation with Fleslumpeater and BFG in that sequence as well as the helicopters coming in and netting the giants isn't on the OST. The track "Giants Netted" just covers Sophie releasing the nightmare and then the giants being taken to the island.

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I think the aborted soaring version of Sophie's Theme in Dream Country would have worked better if Williams had actually allowed the theme to soar. It's not like the action stopped, she kept running and chasing the dreams

11 minutes ago, ocelot said:

FYC here we come? lol

 

I expect we'll at least get that Sophie's Theme passage in the Giants Netted

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Yeah, that was one of the instances where I kinda felt like he went too mickey mouse. You get that nice overhead shot of her running and the music's building and building, then it instantly goes back to the flittering flutes once you get another closeup of the dreams flying around. May have been more satisfying musically and cinematically if he had run with a broader thematic statement instead, or just something that carried through that sense of buildup a little more.

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24 minutes ago, king mark said:

I expect we'll at least get that Sophie's Theme passage in the Giants Netted

 

Yea, that seems likely.

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3 hours ago, king mark said:

I saw the film

 

There seems to be a lot more unrelaased music than what Jay claims , especially i  the first half of the film

 

There is ONE big rendition of Sophie's Theme... it's the one micro edited out of the OST in Giants Netted :(

 

Good catch. That's a shame then... I didn't know the OST that well going in, so I missed that one.

 

Very strange decision for the album.. Especially when he already made the choice of putting in an overture. The end of the album sort of lacks. Needs that theme in Giants Netted

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maybe he felt that it would be Sophie's theme one too many times. I mean we hear her theme in almost every single track, and Williams clearly cares about our listening experience, and maybe trying not to exhaust a main theme as he did in the hpss album release? 

 

However, i would gladly have one of the bland appearences of Sophie's theme replaced with a soaring one

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I like the music fairly well; it's not an immediate favorite of mine among Williams scores, but that's no insult.

 

I haven't yet decided if I think it's good as a score to the movie itself.  As much as I like all the flutes and whatnot, I don't know that they fit the movie especially well.  Then again, it's not a great movie; this might have been one of those rare occasions in which Williams wasn't sure what the hell it was Spielberg needed.

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Saw the film today, I have to say it's a Williams score that might soon become one of my favorites and that it definitely gave so many scenes this magical feeling. I think hearing the score in context helped too. The scene at night by the tree in Dream Country was so magical with the music I was teary eyed at how special it was! 

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2 hours ago, RPurton said:

Saw the film today, I have to say it's a Williams score that might soon become one of my favorites and that it definitely gave so many scenes this magical feeling. I think hearing the score in context helped too. The scene at night by the tree in Dream Country was so magical with the music I was teary eyed at how special it was! 

It took me about five listens of this score to understand it, probably because I needed to memorize it, but I agree completely. Dream Country is a first rate track. I was expecting at least some minor similarities between The Force Awakens and this one in terms of JW's musical interpretation of sadness but I don't really see any. I'm not sure which score I like better. The main theme from Overture is so breezy, but couldn't it have been longer?

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Hehehe seems like I was a bit more critical than Broxton on the whole. His review even includes defensive/apologetic paragraph or two on the subject of critical reception of this music and the high expectations people have for any new Williams score. :lol:

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Broxton's review seems on point. Much of the criticism I've read seems more concerned with lamenting what the score is not, rather than focusing on (and dare I say: celebrating!) what it is.

 

I predict it's TFA all over again...

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3 minutes ago, Marcus said:

Broxton's review seems on point. Much of the criticism I've read seems more concerned with lamenting what the score is not, rather than focusing on (and dare I say: celebrating!) what it is.

 

I predict it's TFA all over again...

While I genuinely like this score and do admire its compositional, dramatic and orchestrational qualities, I can't say I am so utterly enthralled and enchanted by it as some people here are. Maybe it will grow on me in time as I readily admit that not all of such a classic as E.T. was to my liking when I first acquired the 1996 expanded soundtrack and which I now absolutely love.

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1 minute ago, Jay said:

I certainly liked it more once I saw the film

Undoubtedly the context for the score would help to appreciate its whole musical narrative better. But somehow the movie itself doesn't compel me in the least to see it.

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8 minutes ago, Incanus said:

Undoubtedly the context for the score would help to appreciate its whole musical narrative better. But somehow the movie itself doesn't compel me in the least to see it.

 

It's not a good film, but it still helps you appreciate the score.

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It was easy to guess with TFA from the outset that it would be something that needed to grow on most people thanks to the great subtlety in the writing.  I just don't see that being the case here, familiarity will breed acceptance rather than greater understanding, but who knows.

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59 minutes ago, Marcus said:

Much of the criticism I've read seems more concerned with lamenting what the score is not, rather than focusing on (and dare I say: celebrating!) what it is.

 

This is basically what happened to me. For some reason I was expecting a soundtrack that would be very lyrical, so I felt a bit disappointed upon first listening to find that this wasn't the case. But now that I've gotten over that initial "shock", I enjoy it a lot. It's subtle, but effective music (to me at least).

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20 minutes ago, Jay said:

 

I know, right?  And the same thing happened with TFA!

It didn't seem to happen with Tintin, Lincoln, or Book Thief, so I dunno why this new trend started...

 

My guess would be that those scores didn't have clear analogs for people to expect them to sound like.  TFA was expected to live up to and sound like the preceding 6 scores in the SW franchise.  BFG I think a lot of people wanted to be another Hook or E.T., given Melissa Mathison's involvement.  I mean, just look at all the begging in this thread for a "soaring" rendition of Sophie's theme.  That's not the type of score this is and people are disappointed it didn't match those expectations.

 

Tintin people might have wanted to sound like an Indiana Jones score, but I think the bar was set low for many after IJ4 (which I love.)  Lincoln people probably just expected to sound like typical JW Americana, and it was.  Though, I do remember a lot of complaints at the time that it was boring.  Maybe people expected The Book Thief to sound like Schindler's List?  Either way, I recall TBT being called boring a lot as well, upon release.

 

I can't say I wasn't immediately disappointed TFA didn't sound how I wanted, but I am more than satisfied with TFA and BFG.

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On 6/30/2016 at 8:27 PM, Jay said:

The Witching Hour - Very early into the track I thought "I betcha this will be a favorite track of mine when all is said and done", and I was right!  I loved this.  BTW, the way the track ends so suddenly, I have to assume its meant to segue directly into the next cue - whether or not that's the next music on the OST or not, I don't know

 

 

On 7/1/2016 at 0:07 AM, Jay said:

I just got done seeing the film

 

[...]

 

 after a little bit The Witching Hour begins (and that leads directly into To Giant Country just as I suspected).

 

:)

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I strangely didn't have any heightened expectations for this score nor much preconceived notions of how The BFG should sound beyond the assumption there would be some familiar elements Williams is fond of using in the scores for this genre.

 

I readily accept that at this point Williams won't make huge stylistic departures and that this style remains mostly in the symphonic idiom, which is all fine and good as it is the style I know and love but I found this new score looking back musically a tad too much for it to be in my mind a pure winner in all respects.

 

As for TFA, which had high expectations but also well established formula of what to expect, the score all but immediately convinced me and impressed me and delivered in all departments for me. For a SW score the style was familiar as well, shot through with Williamsisms, but there they were easier to accept since the score was part of a larger already established tapestry of SW sound and musical vocabulary With the BFG this overt familiarity feels less acceptable somehow as it is a singular film with its own universe which should not sound so much like Harry Potter.

 

So it seems it might take some time for me to get over this "shock of familiarity" and focus rather on the attractive qualities of this composition.

 

It is indeed strange how this affects me so much here when Tintin, War Horse and Lincoln all sport similarly familiar elements.

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To me Lincoln was very original, but that could be because I am not overly familiar with his 90s dramatic work

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7 minutes ago, Muad'Dib said:

It's curious that a sequel score like TFA feels more inventive than a standalone entry like BFG, even when the former has to use previous themes from the franchise. 

 

I assume the superior quality of TFA movie is a big cause of that including the character of Rey.

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7 hours ago, EdwardHall said:

I was expecting at least some minor similarities between The Force Awakens and this one in terms of JW's musical interpretation of sadness but I don't really see any. 

 

I was expecting that, too. But instead Williams returned to the War Horse/Lincoln style. Both sadness styles are great, although the TFA one may edge the other. 

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9 hours ago, EdwardHall said:

minor similarities between The Force Awakens 

This isn't related to his interpretation of sadness, but in terms of similarities between the scores, but [4:09-4:16] of the witching hour sounds very similar to the death section of "torn apart" to me

 

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For TFA, JW seemed genuinely inspired by the character of Rey and he seemed to have a great time working with JJ Abrams. Also, he had a lot of time to work on it. The BFG is just him churning out a score for an average Spielberg film, something he can probably do in his sleep these days.

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7 hours ago, alextrombone94 said:

For TFA, JW seemed genuinely inspired by the character of Rey and he seemed to have a great time working with JJ Abrams. Also, he had a lot of time to work on it. The BFG is just him churning out a score for an average Spielberg film, something he can probably do in his sleep these days.

 

I'm not ready to say this score was "easy" to write for JW.

 

JW approached this score like an exercice in style. He did a "ballet". An impressionistic ballet.

 

For me, it's maybe a work too near from what JW usually does in his concert works. It's as if the mask had fallen.

 

Is this score too intellectual, too virtuosic... too "english"?

 

Does it serve the movie well? It's the only thing we can wish.

 

One thing is sure, at 84, we never expected a score like this from Williams.

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I think Williams really had fun writing this. 

And it sure sounds like he had energy to spend; he's flexing his musical muscles quite considerably. 

 

I forget at what age Verdi wrote "Aida", but this score must surely be one of the most spirited ever penned by an 84 year old composer!

 

Here's to many more! 

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2 hours ago, Marcus said:

I forget at what age Verdi wrote "Aida", but this score must surely be one of the most spirited ever penned by an 84 year old composer!

 

Using my amazing mathematical skills, I have determined that at the same age as Verdi at the time of Aida, Williams was probably writing Home Alone :D (58).

 

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Verdi was around 80 when he wrote Falstaff.

18 hours ago, Jay said:

To me Lincoln was very original, but that could be because I am not overly familiar with his 90s dramatic work

 

Well, I love Lincoln and I think it's one of JW's subtlest, most austere yet heartfelt works. But one can't deny it's not "original" in the sense that it really doesn't invent anything new--the role models are very clear (ie. Copland) and it purposefully gets back at a certain 19th century American lyricism/modality (mostly based on sacred hymns and folk tunes), as if it's really music coming from the historical period of the film itself. Anyway, Williams' own voice is still loud and clear all throughout. So in this sense I think it's much like The BFG.

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I have ordered the CD from HMV, and I'll pick it up on Saturday. I'm trying not to hear the samples, as I don't want to spoil it for myself. Besides, I've got a super-duper new smarty phone. Do you know that you can listen to the whole of the complete score to STAR TREK V on something called YouTube? For free!!!!!!

Fuck me sideways with a pineapple, and a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic!!! 

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24 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

Verdi was around 80 when he wrote Falstaff.

 

Well, I love Lincoln and I think it's one of JW's subtlest, most austere yet heartfelt works. But one can't deny it's not "original" in the sense that it really doesn't invent anything new--the role models are very clear (ie. Copland) and it purposefully gets back at a certain 19th century American lyricism/modality (mostly based on sacred hymns and folk tunes), as if it's really music coming from the historical period of the film itself. Anyway, Williams' own voice is still loud and clear all throughout. So in this sense I think it's much like The BFG.

 

It sounds so much like Copland (and I agree, very much clearly blended with Williams own voice) that I have to think it was a note from Spielberg. Or maybe even Spielberg did some temp scoring with Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" or something!

 

BTW, "Lincoln Portrait" is one of my favorite classical pieces of all time :)

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Yes, it sounds very Copland-esque (much like Saving Private Ryan or the Americana sections of Amistad), but imho it never goes into "pastiche" territory. It's more a choice of modality and stylistic reference, not mere aping or regurgitation of a model. And this is one of Williams' best assets, imho: even when the reference models are very clear and obvious, it's his own musical personality that emerges foremost. I think the brilliant Richard Dyer (former music critic of the Boston Globe) summarized it best than anyone else:

 

Quote

"Even when he's being a ventriloquist, as he sometimes has to be as a film composer, I don't think he's ever written a dishonest note. Like everybody else, some things worked out better than other things did. But I don't think it's a mechanical process for him. He can write music of heroic resolve because he feels heroic resolve. He's drawing on his own inner life and creating additional dimensions in the movies. And that's what makes the concert music work too."

 

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@king mark I went again last night and found a few glaring unreleased segments. There are probably about 20 seconds missing when Sophie first gets into the BFG's hut of simple theme material (so not a big loss). There is an oboe statement of Sophie's theme I didn't recognize when he turns around in his rocking chair. 

 

but the biggest omission that is beautifully orchestrated is a huge segment of oboe solos, flute and more "wagnerian" string writing when Sophie is brought back to the dream cave. It's probably a minute or more of unreleased music I think.

 

There is also some transition material out of the Rule Brittania material left out, and some flute and harpsichord material left out during the Breakfast Scene. 

 

 

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