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How familiar is JW with the greatest film composer who ever lived?


InTheCity
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And of course that would be Shostakovich. There are endless familiarities in the music but I was wondering if there are any quotes if him talking about Dmitri? 
 

Searching for quotes or interviews

 

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As far as I know Shostacovich was not very pashionate about his filmmusic work. Mostly he was forced by the authorities to underline some of their propaganda movies with his music. That is why it often has a quite militaristic style.

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5 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

As far as I know Shostacovich was not very pashionate about his filmmusic work. Mostly he was forced by the authorities to underline some of their propaganda movies with his music. That is why it often has a quite militaristic style.

His film music is far from his best work for sure although his score to Hamlet is superb. I’m guessing one he may have cared more about than the propaganda movies he had to score. 
 

Although to get back on topic, I thought Bach was usually considered the greatest composer who ever lived. Or Beethoven. Although I listen to more Shostakovich far more...

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I bet that JW knows Prokofiev's film music better than Shostakovich's film music (particularly Alexander Nevsky, particularly The Battle on the Ice ;)).

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I read a biography of Shostakovich where it said fifty scores for film were composed by him.

 

Perhaps I should have said that he was the greatest composer to ever pen a film score.

 

Personally I consider him the greatest composer of the 20th century.  So much of his writing is to be found in JW - the running woodwind octaves, the menacing low string octaves, the scherzos etc 

 

 

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The very un-shy music that JW writes shares most in common with Shostakovich.  
 

Film composing as a whole most closely follows his example. 

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I've always found this type of thread extremely off putting on a JW fan board . 

 

Someone proclaiming as a matter of fact that some random other composer is the best who ever lived and how JW "compares".  And this guy rarely scored films and I'm sure the majority here never heard one of them. 

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2 minutes ago, King Mark said:

I've always found this type of thread extremely off putting on a JW fan board . 

 

Someone proclaiming as a matter of fact that some random other composer is the best who ever lived and how JW "compares".  And this guy rarely scored films and I'm sure the majority here never heard one of them. 


It’s not like I am picking some random nobody - this is one of the greatest classical masters of all time .  He also composed 50 film scores all while under the eye of Stalin.

 

I’ll post some examples if I have the time.  His music speaks for himself. 

 

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no thanks, I don't need to be "converted" to the idea 

 

Reminds me of those treads proclaiming Lord of the Rings better than JW's entire output

 

I dunno, maybe you should have phrased it differently.

 

And we all know the best film composer who ever lived is Ilaiyaraja

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Mark its a shame you feel that way as you are missing out on some good music.

 

here is less than a minute of interesting shostakovich moments 

 

give me 60 seconds to make the case

 

you probably also know his jovial festival overture from Summon the Heroes 

 

Morricone:


Where is golden age cinema (Raksin/Hermann) with out this harmonic language?
 

 

Menken:
 

 

CE3K Conversation:
 

 

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The premise of this thread is stupid, and the title of it is clickbait-type bullshit.  Shostakovich might theoretically have been the best composer ever to score a movie; he was definitively NOT the greatest film composer.  He wouldn't even crack the top 25.

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Shostakovich's score for "The First Echelon" (1955) had a Williams-like "tradition as an anchor" approach:

1:30:48

.

.

 

Overall, most of Shostakovich's film scores, even when they sound symphonic and "impressionist", are often very crude in their approach when compared to the nuance and precision of Herrmann, Williams, Goldsmith, or Morricone.

.

 

7 hours ago, InTheCity said:

Where is golden age cinema (Raksin/Hermann) with out this harmonic language?

Quote

Another of Waxman's visitors to the Mulholland Terrace home was the man who is debatably the most important symphonist of the 20th century. Like Copland here in America, he was an industry unto himself in his native Russia. The only real musical regret of this author's life is that he never had the opportunity to meet him. His name was Dmitri Shostakovich.

There is an anecdote that Shostakovich read some of Waxmann's music and thought it to be a rip-off of his own - but then Waxmann asked Shostakovich about the year when he had composed the supposed source piece. It turned out that Waxmann's piece came earlier. Considering how often Williams' influences are actually closer to home than people think, I would say that Waxman and Herrmann were responsible for a lot of what you think is Shostakovich in Williams' music. Then there is Bartok and many other modernists, some of them perhaps obscure by now, who could have been the potential inspirations.

 

Ultimately, skilled though Shostakovich was (preludes and fugues, quartets), and perhaps the only 20th century composer capable of writing more than one or two melodies as good as JW's, he was not a better composer overall. In the end, thanks to various factors, but foremost to sensitivity combined with perfectionism and dilligence, longevity, and willingness to engage the idioms of the greatest composers and "do the real thing, with some sincerity" Williams has outdone him, just as he has outdone Herrmann, Waxmann, and Korngold.

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5 hours ago, Fabulin said:

There is an anecdote that Shostakovich read some of Waxmann's music and thought it to be a rip-off of his own - but then Waxmann asked Shostakovich about the year when he had composed the supposed source piece. It turned out that Waxmann's piece came earlier.

 

Apocryphal, but not quite true. These claims were made by third parties, the Waxman piece in question stems from 'A Place in the Sun', while the Shostakovich facsimile was composed years later, the catch being that Shosti was without access to american movies and couldn't have possible seen or heard Waxman's piece.

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19 minutes ago, Marcus said:

Some of Shostakovich's early film music efforts are quite outstanding, but as has already been mentioned, the scores he wrote for propaganda films often feel rather tepid and uninvested, and, dare I say, emotionally dishonest. 

Arguably, that’s to his credit, wouldn’t we say? It suggests he wasn’t a willing propagandist. 

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6 minutes ago, Bayesian said:

Arguably, that’s to his credit, wouldn’t we say? It suggests he wasn’t a willing propagandist. 

 

It doesn't suggest, he was in fact facing a cruel end in some siberian gulag if he would have defied Stalin's wishes, i. e. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20150807-shostakovich-the-composer-who-was-almost-purged

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It's a curious quirk of the way we tell film music history that Shostakovich, despite being the far more productive composer for films, is basically ignored, compared to his counterpart Prokofiev, who only wrote, what, 4 or 5 scores? 

 

But those happen to be for more "important" movies, and have enjoyed an afterlife in the concert hall thanks to the composer's savvy -- and their high quality too, don't get me wrong -- Nevsky is a blast. The Prokofiev scores cast both a longer shadow in critical/scholarly discourse (see Eisenstein's Film Sense, Adorno/Eisler Composing for Films, much, much else), and, in a way, a larger influence on film musical style too. Need I mention the "Battle on the Ice"?

 

@InTheCityand others who are interested, consider checking out Joan Titus's excellent series of books on DSCH's film scores with OUP: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-early-film-music-of-dmitry-shostakovich-9780199315147?cc=us&lang=en&. She's doing more than anyone to raise Shosty's profile as a film composer, in the anglophone world at least

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1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Are there specific film works you'd like to recommend?

As I mentioned, I’d recommend Hamlet as one of his finest scores. There’s a very fine recording of it on Naxos conducted by Dimitry Yablonsky which is the first (and I think only) recording of the full score. For a wider sampling there are several albums on Chandos in fine sound and performance that contain extended suites from a good number of his scores. An alternative would be the 4CD selection of film music and jazz suites in Brilliant Classics which I got for only a few pounds.

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Shosti's 5th in D minor was a springboard for several beloved, or at least respected, Williams, Goldsmith and Horner scores, note the similarity of the opening cue to the John Cassavates head blowup scene in The Fury, or its similarity to Goldsmith's existentialist theme from 'Seconds'. Horner quoted the Largo in 'Clear and Present Danger'.

 

And below you will find, after ca. 55 seconds of the first cue, Jerry's inspiration for the sinister Final Conflict theme.

 

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3 minutes ago, Tom Guernsey said:

As I mentioned, I’d recommend Hamlet as one of his finest scores. There’s a very fine recording of it on Naxos conducted by Dimitry Yablonsky which is the first (and I think only) recording of the full score. For a wider sampling there are several albums on Chandos in fine sound and performance that contain extended suites from a good number of his scores. An alternative would be the 4CD selection of film music and jazz suites in Brilliant Classics which I got for only a few pounds.

 

Yeah, I recently purchased his Hamlet score on Naxos when I found it very cheap (on DVD-A of all things!), and his score to The Fall of Berlin. Looking forward to check them out!

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56 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

It's a curious quirk of the way we tell film music history that Shostakovich, despite being the far more productive composer for films, is basically ignored, compared to his counterpart Prokofiev, who only wrote, what, 4 or 5 scores? 

 

But those happen to be for more "important" movies, and have enjoyed an afterlife in the concert hall thanks to the composer's savvy -- and their high quality too, don't get me wrong -- Nevsky is a blast. The Prokofiev scores cast both a longer shadow in critical/scholarly discourse (see Eisenstein's Film Sense, Adorno/Eisler Composing for Films, much, much else), and, in a way, a larger influence on film musical style too. Need I mention the "Battle on the Ice"?

 

@InTheCityand others who are interested, consider checking out Joan Titus's excellent series of books on DSCH's film scores with OUP: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-early-film-music-of-dmitry-shostakovich-9780199315147?cc=us&lang=en&. She's doing more than anyone to raise Shosty's profile as a film composer, in the anglophone world at least

I think I've read at least a bit of that publication at some point and was surprised that a book on such a topic even exists.

 

The most bizarre thing to me in the history of film music is that Gottfried Huppertz is completely ignored.

He was:

1) The first high profile specialist (purely) film composer, described and defended in public as such by Fritz Lang "an artist of a new kind"

2) The first composer of a film score whose music achieved an immediate large scale commercial success outside of the film

3) After a century still a composer of some of the best scores in film history with Metropolis and the Nibelungen duology.

 

Back to Shostakovich and Prokofiev, there was some recognition in the professional circles at the time. Bernard Herrmann considered Nevsky to be the greatest film score ever written (he says so in the recorded 1970 home interview) and also conducted some Shostakovich on a recording.

 

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3 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

I think I've read at least a bit of that publication at some point and was surprised that a book on such a topic even exists.

 

The most bizarre thing to me in the history of film music is that Gottfried Huppertz is completely ignored.

He was:

1) The first high profile specialist (purely) film composer, described and defended in public as such by Fritz Lang "an artist of a new kind"

2) The first composer of a film score whose music achieved an immediate large scale commercial success outside of the film

3) After a century still a composer of some of the best scores in film history with Metropolis and the Nibelungen duology.

 

 

No argument there. Huppert's Metropolis is a musical marvel. I suppose the unavailability of a high-quality complete recording (or any recording?) of that score until a two decades ago has something to do with its unfairly marginal status in film music history. Because boy is it a glorious thing to hear.

 

It's easy to see the appeal Shostakovich held for Herrmann -- acerbic, sarcastic, disappointed romantics both.  

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What a fascinating thread this turned into today. It made me realize how little of Shostakovich’s work I know—and how feasible it is that he could become a top 5 composer for me once I start digging into his oeuvre. I plan to get going on that ASAP.

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1 hour ago, karelm said:

For example, I doubt JW would ever listen to Star Wars because he likes it.  He would listen to it because the job required it or something like it.  I bet JW prefers Sabrina to SW, Raiders, Harry Potter, etc.

 

I remember reading somewhere around here that JW was bored of writing fanfares for the sequel trilogy -but of course, he's a professional and he did them.

I bet he was looking forward to writing other, smaller material.

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1 hour ago, Bayesian said:

What a fascinating thread this turned into today. It made me realize how little of Shostakovich’s work I know—and how feasible it is that he could become a top 5 composer for me once I start digging into his oeuvre. I plan to get going on that ASAP.


you have chosen wisely

 

Symphony 11 is a natural starting place for film music fans

 

7 for history buffs 

 

 

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2 hours ago, karelm said:

JW is NOT a bombastic composer but is a professional composer who uses bombast par none because the project required it.  

This maybe one of the most insightful sentences describing Williams that I have ever heard.  

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Wikipedia on the 11th

 

Quote

The Eleventh is sometimes dubbed "a film score without the film". Indeed, the musical images have an immediacy and simplicity unusual even for Shostakovich the epic symphonist, and an additional thread is provided by the nine revolutionary songs that appear during the work. Some of these songs date back to the 19th century, others to the year 1905. Shostakovich does not merely quote these songs; he integrates them into the symphonic fabric within the bounds of his compositional style. This use of pseudo-folk material was a marked departure from his usual technique. However, it lent the symphony a strong emphasis on tonality and a generally accessible musical idiom.[5] They were also songs the composer knew well. His family knew and sang them regularly while he was growing up.[6]

 

I invite anyone to watch the video i posted way above and offer a composer that time after time inspires more film music

JW's main usage of winds is copied directly from Shosty - that running octave 

 

Similar with the low strings and huge string octaves

 

its all there

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11 hours ago, InTheCity said:

JW's main usage of winds is copied directly from Shosty - that running octave...

 

...Which they are both taking from the Russian symphonic tradition.  Compare the wind run here:

with here:

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, karelm said:

 

...Which they are both taking from the Russian symphonic tradition.  Compare the wind run here:

with here:

 

well yes they do runs - so does ravel and debussy but Shostakovich does those angsty/piercing dimished scale runs that JW does in scores like POA - that is 99% percent shostakovich 

Not exclus

2 hours ago, karelm said:

 

 

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7 hours ago, InTheCity said:

Not exclus

 

But my example is a chromatic run which RK did as did JW.  That's my point, you are picking and choosing examples that meet your criteria.  It's not a convincing argument because you found an example that matched what you looked for as did I matching a different example from a style they both revered.  You are sort of saying West Side Story is inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette and I am saying both West Side Story and Shakespeare were based on the Greek tragedies of Sophocles and that is the source of their influence.  We might be saying the same thing.

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I'm either giving you too much or too little respect 

 

this is what I'm talking about

 

 

and I think you know it

 

Shosty and JW do this, very few others 

 

scales are scales, they are meaningless and trite 

 

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That does reminds me of Shostakovich, but can someone confirm that it is truly his trademark? Musical ideas like that usually don’t exist in a vacuum.

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11 hours ago, InTheCity said:

I'm either giving you too much or too little respect 

 

this is what I'm talking about

 

 

and I think you know it

 

Shosty and JW do this, very few others 

 

scales are scales, they are meaningless and trite 

 

Probably too much AND too little respect..hahaha.  This stuff is all over Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakav, but yes I hear what you are saying.  Yes, it sounds like Shosty...doing that thing Russians do with winds.

compare with this (yes, I'll grant it's more manic hyper mode making the Tchaikovsky tame by comparison but it took about 2 seconds to find a tchaik example).

 

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On 1/26/2021 at 1:49 AM, karelm said:

JW is NOT a bombastic composer but is a professional composer who uses bombast par none because the project required it. 

 

Well, he sure didn't dodge the bombastic assignments, and without putting too fine a point on it, he's world's worst dodger with dozens of celebratory fanfares and multiple big franchises built on bombast. 

 

My take is that Williams generally dislikes working without the resources of a big orchestra (post SW) and bombast comes with the territory.

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well this is much closer to the Azkaban example than your quasi trills 

 

 

I don't really get the bombast argument, composers use bombast when they wish and don't use it also when they wish 

 

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