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What do you think is Williams composing now?


What do you think is Williams composing now?  

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  1. 1. What do you think is Williams composing now?

    • Another concerto
    • Arrangements of his existing music
    • New commissioned concert works
    • New commissioned "commercial" works
    • A new film score
    • Something big (a symphony, an opera)
    • Something else
    • Nothing. Retirement is too much damn fun


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Unlikely, I think. After the "traditional", theme based suite of film music adaptations for ASM, I expect his next work the for the instrument to be something more "serious" (in the worst meaning of t

I have it on good authority (the Star Wars Disenchantment Thread) that he's busy at work finishing up the score to Star Wars Episode X.

Select cues from Williams' 2020 magnum opus:   Australia Burns The Quarantine Scene COVID-19 Flight of the Murder Hornet More COVID Johnny Finds the Mask Rememb

1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

It would be cool if he composed a new score for a silent film, either for the piano or for full orchestra. He's shown he can do it.

All live to projection concerts should be performed as subtitled silent movies with just the music.

At least I would prefer it that way. For such presentations he could fill the silent gaps of the existing score. If he did that for Star Wars he would have not that much work because most scenes are scored completely anyway.

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Live-to-projection concerts shouldn't exist at all, IMO. They're nothing more than a fancy moviegoing experience. The only proper film music concerts are those that focus the audience's attention on the music itself. Preferably with themes and suites. If you must have some visual aids, then put up some still images or similar in the background.

 

If I want to see music being played to screen, I'll watch some footage of a recording session.

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11 minutes ago, Thor said:

Live-to-projection concerts shouldn't exist at all, IMO. They're nothing more than a fancy moviegoing experience. The only proper film music concerts are those that focus the audience's attention on the music itself. Preferably with themes and suites. If you must have some visual aids, then put up some still images or similar in the background.

 

If I want to see music being played to screen, I'll watch some footage of a recording session.

That's probably just a matter of taste. If you like ballet music but don't mind watching ballet dancers and choreography and so on you prefer listening to the suite in the concert hall. Otherwise you watch the whole piece with dancers, stage design etc.

But same as for motion picture sundtracks in the end it is program music and independent of tast it makes sense to put it somehow into the original context as well as it might work out of this context, at least for most Williams scores.

 

What I don't like are projections that don't show the actual scene where the music was written for and just grab your attention away from the music.

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7 hours ago, Thor said:

Live-to-projection concerts shouldn't exist at all, IMO. They're nothing more than a fancy moviegoing experience. The only proper film music concerts are those that focus the audience's attention on the music itself. Preferably with themes and suites. If you must have some visual aids, then put up some still images or similar in the background.

 

If I want to see music being played to screen, I'll watch some footage of a recording session.

 

Thor, Thor, Thor...just like with C&C albums, these are the sorts of comments where you start drawing other posters' ire. Why can't it simply be "I don't like ________"? Why does it have to be "I don't like ________, so it shouldn't exist for anyone else either"? We know you have a strong distaste for the fact that film music is music written for film. What's so wrong with others feeling differently?

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35 minutes ago, Datameister said:

 

Thor, Thor, Thor...just like with C&C albums, these are the sorts of comments where you start drawing other posters' ire. Why can't it simply be "I don't like ________"? Why does it have to be "I don't like ________, so it shouldn't exist for anyone else either"? We know you have a strong distaste for the fact that film music is music written for film. What's so wrong with others feeling differently?

 

Well, I did put an "IMO" in there. What else do you want? 

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13 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

At the same time, more knowledge of their original intent doesn't hurt my musical appreciation.

 

I agree. But for that, I'll watch the film or footage of the recording session.

 

My main issue with this LtP thingie is that they aren't really concerts. And I think film music deserves to be heard and listened to in a proper concert setting for its sheer musical value. Cognitive research shows that in cases of audiovisual storytelling, visuals will almost always get priority over the aural (I'm obviously talking the general population here, not film score geeks like us). So going to an LtP event is more like a regular moviegoing experience, just with the added, "fancy" element of an orchestra that you glance at once in a while. It's relegated to the background, and no concert - the way I define and understand a concert, at least - should relegate music to the background.

 

I will always stand on the bannisters to fight for the independent potential of film music, whether it has to do with album presentations or how it's presented in a concert setting. It deserves to get the full attention from the audience as a piece with its own inherent musical values, not just as a tool in a different context.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

My main issue with this LtP thingie is that they aren't really concerts. And I think film music deserves to be heard and listened to in a proper concert setting for its sheer musical value. Cognitive research shows that in cases of audiovisual storytelling, visuals will almost always get priority over the aural (I'm obviously talking the general population here, not film score geeks like us). So going to an LtP event is more like a regular moviegoing experience, just with the added, "fancy" element of an orchestra that you glance at once in a while. It's relegated to the background, and no concert - the way I define and understand a concert, at least - should relegate music to the background.

 

I will always stand on the bannisters to fight for the independent potential of film music, whether it has to do with album presentations or how it's presented in a concert setting. It deserves to get the full attention from the audience as a piece with its own inherent musical values, not just as a tool in a different context.

You are right about the usual LtP. But we were talking about a LtP option that to my knowledge does not exist. A whole movie without sound, just accompanied by the live music. Like the music only version of The Last Jedi. And of course that is not the only way to experience the music in an appropriate way, but I think a very good one because I can fully experience the music without being overlayed by voices and other sounds, just like Jurrassic Shark said, like a silent movie. But I can listen to it following the pictures, being able to follow the accentuations or emphasis related to the pictures, that it was created for.

It might not be necessary for lovers of film music but seems still to me a good way to experience the music. 

And I like the idea of John Williams extending a score for a silent movie version of his films to fill the few scenes that remaint unscored before, which of course only makes sense for a silent movie. 

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6 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

can fully experience the music without being overlayed by voices and other sounds, just like Jurrassic Shark said, like a silent movie.

 

Hey, those were wise words!

 

16 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Unlikely, I think. After the "traditional", theme based suite of film music adaptations for ASM, I expect his next work the for the instrument to be something more "serious" (in the worst meaning of that term, but you know what I mean). 

 

 

These things are hard to discuss with you, because you deny film music any musical validity in its original settings as film music. Others (so-called classical purists) do the opposite and deny it any musical validity when separated from the film. I consider both dogmas to be extremely short-sighted and limiting.

 

I listen to film music for the music. I have tons of scores that I've never seen the film to, and for a good deal of those I barely know what the film is about, and yet I enjoy them. At the same time, more knowledge of their original intent doesn't hurt my musical appreciation. I don't like Beethoven's 6th symphony any less because I know the programme it was based on or his 9th symphony because I can understand the lyrics in the finale. I don't like Wagner's Ring less because I know the story, understand the lyrics, and have seen it live multiple times - on the contrary, it has increased my appreciation for it, and my understanding for the music. This argument remains valid regardless of whether the actual story is good or not, although the added value of a "complete" presentation is of course reduced if the additional elements have little worth themselves. (Exceptions exist, of course, if the setting is so distracting, or contrary, or perhaps artistically beneath the music that the mere association taints it. But I find those to be very rare)

 

Along the same lines, narrative film music can make more musical sense when you understand why it was written like it was written, or what it was written to express. That knowledge doesn't undermine its musical value in any way, just like recognising the themes and how they are treated throughout a symphony doesn't, or like understanding the lyrics to a choral composition doesn't. On the contrary, if it had a significant effect on the musical structure and purpose (like the themes in a symphony, the lyrics in a choral composition, and the libretto of an opera definitely are), it has definitive musical relevance.

 

I don't want random "visual aids" when listening to music. I find still images or animations from the film, loosely related to the music being performed, utterly distracting and counter productive. If you're performing a suite of music, perform the suite, and don't dilute it with vaguely related content that had no bearing on the actual composition.

 

But an opera is only fully complete when it's staged. As is a narrative ballet. A composition distinctly based on (rather than just "using") lyrics can only be completely understood and appreciated when you understand the lyrics. If a composer tells you the programme for their symphony, they don't require you to "see" their original images, but the fact that they tell you the programme indicates that they believe it to have value for those experiencing the composition.

 

A narrative, leitmotivic film score (to use the strongest example for the context we're discussing) derives its use of themes, orchestral colours, dramatic arcs from the images it was written for. When done well, it turns them into a musical structure, just like an opera or ballet does with its libretto. It can increase the understanding of that structure to experience it in its original "habitat" - more than that, it can increase your appreciation for those bits of music that are not musically out of place (as a "classical purist" would claim), but are primarily motivated by the images they were written to. One example is that short chromatic motif in the duel music from Korngold's The Sea Hawk. It's not out of place musically, it's fun and perfectly valid when just listening to it as "absolute" music (something that is, historically, very rare; even your typical Mass is closer to programme music than to absolute music). But when seeing the film you realise that it's there for a purpose: It underscores Errol Flynn (or was it Henry Daniell?) cutting down a candle in the middle of the duel. That knowledge isn't necessary to appreciate the music, but neither does it hurt. What it does is improve my appreciation for Korngold's grasp of his art, because seeing it I can admire the way he turned a detail in the film into a musically integrated element.

 

And as @GerateWohl said, the best (i.e. most musical) way to present that would, in most cases, be an LtP presentation without (or at least with very little) sound effects and music. There are instances where the music actively interacts so closely with the non-musical sound track that it can be justified to include a bit of that, but by and large, the "traditional narrative Hollywood film score" is musically and narratively strong enough to stand on its own (or most of us wouldn't be here listening to it) and has little direct relation to the other elements on the soundtrack (or used to have, before they became so overpowering and narrative music so relatively outfashioned that its main purpose now is often purely atmospheric rather than narrative, and not so much musically atmospheric rather than an element to only fill in the space left by the sound effects).

 

Frankly, I find both denying a film composer the musical validity of their work and denying them the narrative validity in the film (which is its main purpose - or arguably its only real purpose, but fortunately for us there are still composers who strive to write something of musical worth rather than merely a functional sequence of sounds (which, again, is what "classical purists" have always been reducing film music to)) highly disrespectful of the art of the composers, and limiting the scope (and thus potential for enjoyment) of the actual music.

 

Summary, please.

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35 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

You are right about the usual LtP. But we were talking about a LtP option that to my knowledge does not exist. A whole movie without sound, just accompanied by the live music.

 

I've actually been to a couple of those. KON-TIKI and PERFUME - THE STORY OF A MURDERER in Krakow several years ago. I seem to remember that the volume of the sound and dialogue was dialled way down. But people were still engrossed by the film and the narrative and the visuals, because that's what we do. The music played second fiddle in the experience.

 

However, I quite like other forms of silent film performances, wherein an artist performs his own compositions to an old movie. That's more free-form, like a 60s Pink Floyd concert or an art installation. Both the visuals and music are self-contained and "at the same level" in the experience. My good friend Gisle Martens Meyer (aka Ugress) does a lot of those.

 

With music that is specifically tailored to the film from the get-go, however, you don't get that. It becomes 'invisible', as is the purpose of classical film music. And that doesn't work for me in a concert setting. They fail to celebrate the music's independent qualities, and is in many ways a disservice; a great argument for all the critics who claim film music can't stand on its own.

 

While my hate of C&C releases is an extreme view that few share, these LtP events are a more divisive matter. We've been discussing it over on FSM too.

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4 hours ago, Thor said:

They fail to celebrate the music's independent qualities, and is in many ways a disservice; a great argument for all the critics who claim film music can't stand on its own.

When I read this I remembered like in the 90s suddenly easy listening became very popular and people were going to concerts watching bands actually performing "elevator music". Yes, performing film music without the film has its justification. Still I am convinced that I would enjoy such silent movie performances.

4 hours ago, Thor said:

However, I quite like other forms of silent film performances, wherein an artist performs his own compositions to an old movie. That's more free-form, like a 60s Pink Floyd concert or an art installation. Both the visuals and music are self-contained and "at the same level" in the experience. My good friend Gisle Martens Meyer (aka Ugress) does a lot of those.

So this LtP works for you as long as the movie is old and the soundtrack is performed by the composer himself. Your argumentation when visuals and music are Container und at the same Level and when not does not really convince me.

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On 11/9/2020 at 11:54 AM, Thor said:

Live-to-projection concerts shouldn't exist at all, IMO. They're nothing more than a fancy moviegoing experience. The only proper film music concerts are those that focus the audience's attention on the music itself. Preferably with themes and suites. If you must have some visual aids, then put up some still images or similar in the background.

 

If I want to see music being played to screen, I'll watch some footage of a recording session.

 

Jesus Christ

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So this LtP works for you as long as the movie is old and the soundtrack is performed by the composer himself. Your argumentation when visuals and music are Container und at the same Level and when not does not really convince me.

 

No. What I said is that I have no issues with contemporary artists composing new music for silent films and performing it live. In most of these cases, the music lives its life alongside the film - they're on the same level as the visuals, sometimes even commenting rather than working as a traditional underscore. For example, I would gladly attend a concert of Moroder's music to METROPOLIS, or any of the myriad of electronica/pop/rock artists who have put music to it over the years, but I would have limited interest in an LtP with Huppertz' original score performed live. Then I'd just watch the film at the Cinemateque instead.

 

Still, LtP works slightly better with silent films. For sound films, even when you remove the sound, the music was there to be subservient to the narrative and sound to begin with. Or "invisible", as we say. As such, what you're attending is essentially just a film screening, not a concert, and most people's attention will be on the film's narrative. I don't think this is the right way to showcase the great, independent values of film music.

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21 minutes ago, Thor said:

No. What I said is that I have no issues with contemporary artists composing new music for silent films and performing it live. In most of these cases, the music lives its life alongside the film - they're on the same level as the visuals, sometimes even commenting rather than working as a traditional underscore.

 

I've attended LtP concerts of newly written scores for silent films where the films seemed to have been chosen just for their prestige and the music wasn't so much written for or alongside the films, or even as a recognisable commentary on them, but simply something that often (unproductively) worked against the film and didn't support it at all when the film needed it the most - I've cited my experience with Metropolis before, where the score was just 10 minutes of tacet during the film's climactic sequence. People started laughing at the film because without the music (which, event though in my opinion it didn't fit the film, still helped people to "accept" the film simply by being there) they were suddenly too aware of the film's artificial nature.

 

21 minutes ago, Thor said:

but I would have limited interest in an LtP with Huppertz' original score performed live. Then I'd just watch the film at the Cinemateque instead.

 

But you can also listen to "real" (haha) music on CD without going to a live concert. Still, we go to live concerts because we enjoy the experience of having the music performed live. Even when we already have multiple versions on CD which are likely better than any live performance we will ever attend.

 

21 minutes ago, Thor said:

Still, LtP works slightly better with silent films. For sound films, even when you remove the sound, the music was there to be subservient to the narrative and sound to begin with. Or "invisible", as we say.

 

But I disagree with the notion that the "traditional, narrative, leitmotiv-drive" Hollywood film score is invisible or hides behind the dialogue. It may be invisible for people who don't pay attention to the music to begin with, and who who are so engrossed by the film that they simply forget it's there. But our kind doesn't, and I don't perceive those scores (when they're good) as mere underscore padding. And even those other people who "don't notice the music" have left screenings of Star Wars films humming the themes, so clearly the music isn't completely lost on them either.

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On 11/6/2020 at 8:33 AM, Not Mr. Big said:

Home Alone 6

John Debney is writing music for that streaming film

I know this is about what John Williams is doing right now, but you can choose what I'm thinking about right now;

John Williams is probably/basically....

A) Writing symphony movements for Redlands Symphony

B) Writing music for Quentin Tarantino's last film

C) Writing for Pixar's Luca

D) A concerto for Craig Huxley's Blaster Beam/tribute for the late Emil Richards

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9 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I've cited my experience with Metropolis before, where the score was just 10 minutes of tacet during the film's climactic sequence. People started laughing at the film because without the music (which, event though in my opinion it didn't fit the film, still helped people to "accept" the film simply by being there) they were suddenly too aware of the film's artificial nature.

 

I think that can be healthy once in a while; I'm kinda Frankfurter school that way. Moreover, it doesn't only have to be 'alienating', since it isn't really about following the film slavishly (every narrative turn, every edit), but rather creating new meanings and feelings out of the visuals and music, music video-style. As I said earlier, it's closer to an art installation or a visually driven concert (Muse, Pink Floyd, Phish, Jarre etc.). I recommend some of Ugress' work on silent films for a good example of this.

 

Quote

But you can also listen to "real" (haha) music on CD without going to a live concert. Still, we go to live concerts because we enjoy the experience of having the music performed live. Even when we already have multiple versions on CD which are likely better than any live performance we will ever attend.

 

Exactly. Albums and concerts are about music listening, not film experiences.

 

Quote

But I disagree with the notion that the "traditional, narrative, leitmotiv-drive" Hollywood film score is invisible or hides behind the dialogue. It may be invisible for people who don't pay attention to the music to begin with, and who who are so engrossed by the film that they simply forget it's there. But our kind doesn't, and I don't perceive those scores (when they're good) as mere underscore padding. And even those other people who "don't notice the music" have left screenings of Star Wars films humming the themes, so clearly the music isn't completely lost on them either.

 

I put the word 'invisible' in quotes, because it's the common (mis)conception about ideal film music. I, too, disagree with it, as that notion reduces it to mere wallpaper. It's clearly more than that. But it's a good rhetorical shorthand to use, because the basic ideology of classical Hollywood film music persists - it follows the Aristotelian notion of storytelling, wherein the narrative should be 'invisible', it should tell itself. You shouldn't pay attention to the artifice of film. So that ideology would be on display even when you muted a sound film; for most people, it would work and function as a film screening, first and foremost (as I said earlier, we as film score geeks are an exception, because we tend to pay extra attention to the music while watching a film).

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15 hours ago, Thor said:

So that ideology would be on display even when you muted a sound film; for most people, it would work and function as a film screening, first and foremost (as I said earlier, we as film score geeks are an exception, because we tend to pay extra attention to the music while watching a film).

 

But I don't think many of those people would actually pay to go see a film in a concert hall without dialogue, even if they would end up paying more attention to the film than to the music. Or at least not twice. So in the end it would leave audiences of people actually interested in the music, who pay to hear the music accompanied by the film - rather than the other way round - for a change.

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15 hours ago, Arpy said:

@Thor So you're entire argument is semantics over LtP concerts being classified as 'concerts'? 

 

That's certainly an important element. But mostly, it's a call for more proper concerts, less LtP. I'm aware LtP events are wildly popular, but that's also part of the problem. I don't consider them the best way to 'sell in' the virtues of film music as an independent entity. So the more people who attend these, and the more widespread they are, the less chance of selling in these particular virtues.

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5 hours ago, Thor said:

 

That's certainly an important element. But mostly, it's a call for more proper concerts, less LtP. I'm aware LtP events are wildly popular, but that's also part of the problem. I don't consider them the best way to 'sell in' the virtues of film music as an independent entity. So the more people who attend these, and the more widespread they are, the less chance of selling in these particular virtues.

Not all film scores lend themselves to standalone concerts, instead individual suites maybe?

 

 

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11 hours ago, Arpy said:

Not all film scores lend themselves to standalone concerts, instead individual suites maybe?

 

Absolutely true. I wouldn't want to attend a concert of Mica Levi's UNDER THE SKIN, for example, even though I think the score works great in context. But perhaps as a single theme or suite would do.

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