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Steven Spielberg Is Officially Remaking West Side Story. JW will be an arranger?

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No doubt the original film recording is the superior performance, but in that case, another set of criteria will come in play for me: Performance vs. sound quality. I think, ultimately, sound quality would win out and the Elfman would still come out on top, despite an effort to "clean up" the original.

 

I would be curious to hear what Williams would or could add to a Bernstein adaptation, if anything at all.

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20 hours ago, Thor said:

No doubt the original film recording is the superior performance, but in that case, another set of criteria will come in play for me: Performance vs. sound quality. I think, ultimately, sound quality would win out and the Elfman would still come out on top, despite an effort to "clean up" the original.

 

Intrada finally released a magnificently sounding remastering of North by Northwest some years ago, and as you know Psycho was made just after NBNW. Since the master tapes do exist, it's not impossible to have the score released in greatly improved sound in the future. Unless the tapes have deteriorated... All releases up to this point have come from the foul LP release, which sounds like it was recorded in the early 40s and not 20 years later.

 

Edit: @Thor, I just became aware that two tracks from the original master tapes of Psycho have recently been released on a 7" single: Prelude and The Murder. A complete CD release will hopefully come soon...

 

https://store.stylotone.com/products/psycho-7-single

 

Here's the Prelude. That's a greatly improved sound!

 

 

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An arranging job does need to be done.  While the music and orchestrations don't necessarily need to change, the lengths of the songs and underscore may very well need to.  You don't always have complete versions of songs int he film adaptations, so some songs will likely be shortened.  Some underscore may need to extended.  Things like that.

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13 minutes ago, Joe Brausam said:

An arranging job does need to be done.  While the music and orchestrations don't necessarily need to change, the lengths of the songs and underscore may very well need to.  You don't always have complete versions of songs int he film adaptations, so some songs will likely be shortened.  Some underscore may need to extended.  Things like that.

 

Absolutely. It's curious to note that for the Film Concert Live presentation of the 1961 film version, the score was actually reconstructed and rearranged (under the supervision of Leonard Bernstein's Estate) to be closer to the original Broadway score. Lenny never liked the beefed up orchestrations of the film version, so I guess JW or whoever will work on the new film will stay as close as possibile to Bernstein's original score.

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1 hour ago, TownerFan said:

 

Absolutely. It's curious to note that for the Film Concert Live presentation of the 1961 film version, the score was actually reconstructed and rearranged (under the supervision of Leonard Bernstein's Estate) to be closer to the original Broadway score. Lenny never liked the beefed up orchestrations of the film version, so I guess JW or whoever will work on the new film will stay as close as possibile to Bernstein's original score.

 

The full score of the original Broadway orchestration is available for sale, published by Boosey & Hawkes (a wonderful score, by the way). The ensemble requires, for example, 7 violins, 4 cellos, 1 contrabass (no violas), and only 5 woodwind players who alternate several instruments, as usual in theater productions. I'm not familiar with the film score, but I guess an arrangement for the Spielberg version could consist in enlarging the ensemble to a full orchestra (I would be against it), and/or altering a bit the (few) underscore cues, while leaving the main numbers unchanged. Other than that, I don't see what else they could do without completely altering the mood of the piece. I would be happy if they just used the original Broadway score to make a full re-recording and fit the movie to that. In this case, I would really be very interested to hear JW's take at conducting it! 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

How do you mean this was "out of respect"? Did Koussevitzky hate musicals?

 

Yes.

4 hours ago, TownerFan said:

Daddy-O seems to be influenced more by the jazzy sound of "the other Bernstein" (Elmer). I'm sure JW always had Lenny in high esteem. I mean, he was a towering figure since the early 1950s for any musician.

 

I always found some Lenny-inspired moments in JW's early concert piece "Prelude and Fugue", btw.

 

Lenny's Prelude, Fugue and Riffs always seemed to me as a starting point for Williams' Prelude and Fugue.

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2 minutes ago, Score said:

 

The full score of the original Broadway orchestration is available for sale, published by Boosey & Hawkes (a wonderful score, by the way). The ensemble requires, for example, 7 violins, 4 cellos, 1 contrabass (no violas), and only 5 woodwind players who alternate several instruments, as usual in theater productions. I'm not familiar with the film score, but I guess an arrangement for the Spielberg version could consist in enlarging the ensemble to a full orchestra (I would be against it), and/or altering a bit the (few) underscore cues, while leaving the main numbers unchanged. Other than that, I don't see what else they could do without completely altering the mood of the piece. I would be happy if they just used the original Broadway score to make a full re-recording and fit the movie to that. In this case, I would really be very interested to hear JW's take at conducting it!

 

He's already conducted selections from West Side Story:

 

 

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While Bernstein might have not been too happy with the "Hollywoodization" of his work, he had high praise for the orchestral adaptation of his Mass commissioned by Arthur Fiedler. Fiedler did a whole record with that one (also includes the Overture to Candide), and the Simple Song section was recorded again by Williams on Bernstein by Boston. On the later release, no credit went to the arranger, who was Irwin Kostal.

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Speaking of which, I recently got a turntable from my dad, along with several LPs from his vast collection. Among them was an album from WEST SIDE STORY, but is this the one where Williams performs (uncredited)?

 

Original_Soundtrack_West_Side_Story.jpg

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19 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

He's already conducted selections from West Side Story:

 

 

 

I'm fairly sure the "Selections" heard here is an orchestral arrangement done by one of Pops' arrangers of the days, could be Sid Ramin or Richard Hayman. It's the same arrangement JW performed when touring with the Pops in Japan in 1993. Strangely enough he chose this (rather uninteresting) chart instead of going for the classic Symphonic Dances.

 

1 minute ago, Thor said:

Speaking of which, I recently got a turntable from my dad, along with several LPs from his vast collection. Among them was an album from WEST SIDE STORY, but is this the one where Williams performs (uncredited)?

 

Original_Soundtrack_West_Side_Story.jpg

 

No, this is the original Broadway Cast recording (and imho the best ever done, albeit incomplete).

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2 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

I'm fairly sure the "Selections" heard here is an orchestral arrangement done by one of Pops' arrangers of the days, could be Sid Ramin or Richard Hayman. It's the same arrangement JW performed when touring with the Pops in Japan in 1993. Strangely enough he chose this (rather uninteresting) chart instead of going for the classic Symphonic Dances.

 

Surely it's an arrangement, but at least we have some indication of how he would conduct the original arrangement.

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I don't know, this is more like a concert medley arranged and performed in typical Pops fashion. There's nothing wrong with it, of course, but it serves a different purpose.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if JW would like to involve someone like Gustavo Dudamel for this Spielberg production, btw.

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3 hours ago, TownerFan said:

No, this is the original Broadway Cast recording (and imho the best ever done, albeit incomplete).

 

Damn, I'd hoped I inadvertantly got the one with Williams. Oh well, it's still a great album.

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1 minute ago, Thor said:

 

Damn, I'd hoped I inadvertantly got the one with Williams. Oh well, it's still a great album.

 

The original cast recording is the real deal, a musical gift from the gods, just close your eyes and listen.

 

However, the later LP of the film was in so many people's collections, you should have no problem finding a copy of that one as well.

 

Enjoy!

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10 hours ago, TownerFan said:

 

I'm fairly sure the "Selections" heard here is an orchestral arrangement done by one of Pops' arrangers of the days, could be Sid Ramin or Richard Hayman. It's the same arrangement JW performed when touring with the Pops in Japan in 1993. Strangely enough he chose this (rather uninteresting) chart instead of going for the classic Symphonic Dances.

Those “Selections” are a standard school arrangement. I even remember playing it in high school! It’s Jack Mason…I don’t know who that is. But, yeah, I doubt it’s indicative of how Williams would handle the material.

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/west-side-story-selections-for-orchestra-sheet-music/4174580

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9 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

That's the 1997 release.

 

What about the 50th anniversary remastered release? Have anybody done a comparison?

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/West-Side-Story-50th-Anniversary/dp/B00826QLOS/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1517390819&sr=1-4&keywords=west+side+story+soundtrack+sony

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1 hour ago, Hedwig said:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/gustavo-dudamel-conduct-score-west-side-story-1211638

 

Pretty weird that John Williams appears to be having zero involvement with this project?  

 

It simply comes down to conflict of scheduling. The Maestro will begin conducting and recording Star Wars in June.

 

David Newman is involved with pre-recordings for West Side Story, which would take place around the same time. Gustavo Dudamel will be conducting West Side Story, with Newman steping in to conduct as needed only when Dudamel is not available in post production.

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Seems very weird, so they're splitting conducting duties between the composer and Dudamel? Strikes me as a Williams recommendation, in any event. 

 

But yeah, you'd have thought he'd guest conduct a few cues or something but he must have zero interest. 

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4 hours ago, crumbs said:

Seems very weird, so they're splitting conducting duties between the composer and Dudamel? Strikes me as a Williams recommendation, in any event

 

Arranger, the composer Leonard Bernstein is dead.

 

 

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