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What do you think about the score for ALWAYS (1989)?


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One of Spielberg's and JW's least celebrated collaborations, the most desired Matessino expansion by exactly 0 people, Always always (lol) had a bad fame. But is the score actually good?

 

Here's Jon Broxton's review, published today:

 

Quote

Many reviews of this score voice how disappointing it is because it fails to adequately capture the excitement and wonderment of flight in any meaningful way, but I would argue that those who do so are missing the point. Always is not a film about that; the breathlessness and excitement of aerial firefighting – while undoubtedly a worthy and important job – is ultimately the cause of so much pain in this film, and the music reflects the emotions of those who are left behind when things go wrong. It doesn’t so much celebrate flight as much as it mourns it. Williams focuses on these emotions – love, sorrow, grief, and ultimately redemption – because the film is a celebration of the human spirit when it overcomes those internal personal obstacles, instead of the more tangible and dangerous ones presented by fires and plane crashes.

 

Despite my personal appreciation for it, I still feel that Always is going to be one of the scores that appeals least to Williams fans, especially those who are more attuned to his bombastic marches, rousing action music, and moments of soaring emotion. As I mentioned, this is a score which requires a degree of patience, and a willingness to sit quietly and fully immerse yourself in the beautiful textures and instrumental combinations that Williams creates. If you do, you will be rewarded with some truly excellent moments of musical emotion that are both subtle and powerful, and prove that Williams is not just a composer who smacks you in the face with endless themes and variations. As a thoughtful rumination on life and love, and what death means for those left behind, Always leaves a positive impression.

 

https://moviemusicuk.us/2020/01/30/always-john-williams/

 

So, do you think Always deserves to be rediscovered?

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SABRINA, really? I think SABRINA is up there with the greats.

I want to see Follow Me scene from TFA with Follow Me music from Always. 

I particularly like(d) one of the later, long cues called "Dorinda's Solo Flight", if I remember correctly. Used to listen to this one a lot. The music is wonderful, the film, well, is a bit weird in the acting department and a remake at that. Hm. Why is Spielberg remaking things (like now)?

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This score has had a weird evolution for me. My first exposure to it were the two tracks on the FILMWORKS compilation in the mid 90s ("Dorinda's Solo Flight" and "Follow Me"). These tracks are upbeat and/or more theme-driven and I thought the rest of the score was like that too. When I got the soundtrack a couple of years later, I was disappointed to discover that they were, in fact, the only highlights on the album. The rest consisted of country-pop songs and a hundred variations of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". Also, most of the score was very static, exploratory and ambient in nature, and thus very "boring" for my young self. For many years, I considered it my least favourite Williams score.

 

That, however, has changed. As I've grown older, I've come to appreciate this type of calmer, exploratory sounds more. Now I quite like it. I also think the film is underrated; Spielberg really nailed the Victor Fleming-ish romance fantasy he was going for.

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Follow me is one of my least favourite Williams cues ever (I really like the original alternate much more).

I also love the magic atmosphere that is evoked in Pete in heaven. I'd love to see how is that written in the score.

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On 1/30/2020 at 7:22 PM, Edmilson said:

Many reviews of this score voice how disappointing it is because it fails to adequately capture the excitement and wonderment of flight in any meaningful way, but I would argue that those who do so are missing the point. Always is not a film about that; the breathlessness and excitement of aerial firefighting – while undoubtedly a worthy and important job – is ultimately the cause of so much pain in this film, and the music reflects the emotions of those who are left behind when things go wrong. It doesn’t so much celebrate flight as much as it mourns it. Williams focuses on these emotions – love, sorrow, grief, and ultimately redemption – because the film is a celebration of the human spirit when it overcomes those internal personal obstacles, instead of the more tangible and dangerous ones presented by fires and plane crashes.

 

Despite my personal appreciation for it, I still feel that Always is going to be one of the scores that appeals least to Williams fans, especially those who are more attuned to his bombastic marches, rousing action music, and moments of soaring emotion. As I mentioned, this is a score which requires a degree of patience, and a willingness to sit quietly and fully immerse yourself in the beautiful textures and instrumental combinations that Williams creates. If you do, you will be rewarded with some truly excellent moments of musical emotion that are both subtle and powerful, and prove that Williams is not just a composer who smacks you in the face with endless themes and variations. As a thoughtful rumination on life and love, and what death means for those left behind, Always leaves a positive impression.

Nah...

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I can't imagine needing more than the 46 minutes on the OST but I have no idea how much score was recorded or used in the film.

 

IMO it's pretty telling that the 30th Anniversary came and went without so much as a whisper of an expansion. I think any label would struggle to sell more than 500 copies.

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9 minutes ago, JTWfan77 said:

That Follow Me alt has been around for ages. I think I first heard about it in the mid to late 90s.

Exactly, in the first half of the 90s I for example got a tape (!) from a guy who made me a copy of various rare (no internet back then) stuff during his day work at an airforce base (!!) and I transfered it to minidisc, and that's how it now resides on my shelf. (yes, that Sony MD player with built-in keyboard is still working as are the discs ;))

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2 hours ago, JTWfan77 said:

 

Not sure what it has to do with ALWAYS, but yes -- I certainly remember that. It was really the best Williams site in the 90s. I wonder what happened to Scott Hanson?

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It was where I learned about the bootleg of BOTFOJ that had the alternate of Follow Me - so a tangental post, yes, as I searched on my 2001 CD-ROM backup for evidence of that release based on Crumbs' question.

 

On a more tangental note, I'm thrilled that my 2001 CD-ROM backup still reads without errors!

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I've always been fond of the score although I rarely listen to the whole thing. Among the Clouds, Follow Me, Saying Goodbye, Pete & Dorinda, and Dorinda Solo Flight are my favorites from the CD as well as the suite on the first Williams/Spielberg compilation. 

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Does anyone have a cue list or sheet music for this score? Or is anyone aware of a bootleg? Information seems relatively scarce for this score.

 

I'm working on a spreadsheet and there's about 3 sections of music on the OST that can't be placed in the film (so some sheet music would fill in the blanks). There's also some film versions I'm not convinced match their OST counterpart (either different takes or partially replaced by inserts).

 

Another classic JW OST -- the film only has 44 minutes of music, and the OST 46 minutes, yet somehow there's still half a dozen cues missing (plus film takes and inserts). Then there's an alternate version of Follow Me (mentioned by @filmmusic) that supposedly leaked on a BOT4J bootleg?!

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3 hours ago, crumbs said:

Does anyone have a cue list or sheet music for this score? Or is anyone aware of a bootleg? Information seems relatively scarce for this score.


There’s been a handful of sketches in circulation:

 

6M2 Pete’s Aura

12M2? Dorinda Solo Flight

12M3 Dorinda + Pete

12M3 Alternate - Dorinda and Pete

15M1 Among the Clouds

15M2 Dorinda Survives

 

@crumbs Does that cue number make sense for Dorinda Solo Flight? I haven’t seen the film. The top is cut off, but there’s an instruction at the beginning to “Overlap R[something]P1”. Looks like “12” to me, but it’s not very legible.

 

12M3 Alternate is the version of “Dorinda and Pete” on the OST, but it’s only the first 1:35 of the track.

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Never saw the film., and I used to never miss a SS movie.

Why? Because it was a remake of a horrible film A GUY NAMED JOE.

Weird that he didn't keep the WWII setting considering.his filmography.

On 2/2/2020 at 2:00 AM, crumbs said:

I think any label would struggle to sell more than 500 copies.

Well, that means that this site has 502 members. 😎

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I imagine once the complete score is released everyone here will suddenly change their tune after 30 years (20 in the case of the millennial and Gen Z twits) and adore it.

 

"The most underrated Spielberg/Williams collaboration?"

 

"Almost as great as Harry Potter"

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On 9/20/2020 at 3:54 AM, BrotherSound said:

12M3 Alternate is the version of “Dorinda and Pete” on the OST, but it’s only the first 1:35 of the track.

 

Thanks for this @BrotherSound. Can you confirm my theory that the second half of that track is the other version of 12M3? Because I can't place it anywhere else in the film, so it has to be an alternate for something (and it runs the same length as the piano-heavy film version, which is the first 1:35 of the same track).

 

My guess is JW liked both versions of the cue and merged them into one track for his OST (he does this regularly with alternates). Makes for a very nice suite of their love theme.

 

On 9/20/2020 at 3:54 AM, BrotherSound said:

6M2 Pete’s Aura

12M2? Dorinda Solo Flight

12M3 Dorinda + Pete

12M3 Alternate - Dorinda and Pete

15M1 Among the Clouds

15M2 Dorinda Survives

 

@crumbs Does that cue number make sense for Dorinda Solo Flight? I haven’t seen the film. The top is cut off, but there’s an instruction at the beginning to “Overlap R[something]P1”. Looks like “12” to me, but it’s not very legible.

 

That's weird. 15M2 Dorinda Survives is almost certainly OST T18 Dorinda Solo Flight, because 15M1 Among the Clouds is the first half of OST T7 Among the Clouds and the two cues overlap.

 

The scene immediately preceding 12M3 Dorinda + Pete is a sequence where Dorinda dances by herself to diegetic music (Smoke Gets In Your Eyes). There's no score before that for 7 minutes, so 12M2 Dorinda Solo Flight before 12M3 Dorinda + Pete doesn't make sense.

 

What's the difference between the sketches for 12M2 Dorinda Solo Flight and 15M2 Dorinda Survives? Which one matches the OST track?

 

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