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Based on what the composer chooses orchestra for recording?


mxsch
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I would think that budget, geography, composer preference, and availability all play a role. It's especially common with big studio films to just record at one of LA's big scoring stages with freelance studio musicians. (When it comes to those musicians, I believe orchestra contractors are responsible for making sure each session has the right players.)

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If it's a package deal, the composer decides.  Packages are generally indies and less.  If it is a studio project, the composer has an opinion but other factors like distribution and buy outs from the producers will factor in.  Generally, the bigger the budget, the less control the composer has but the higher profile the composer the more clout their opinion carries.  EG:  JNH can argue for a very expensive soloist like Hillary Hahn in The Village.  Including her probably doubled the music budget.  That was the producer who agreed it was worth spending that money but the music direction had to pitch it arguing a virtuoso violin would be the voice of the blind, an obvious nod to Bernard Herrmann who used the solo viola d'amore as the "voice" of the blind heroine in On Dangerous Ground as she is generally unaware of the danger she is faced with so the music has to "speak" for that.  So the composer said I can help you tell your story if you budget for a concert violinist and the producer agreed to the pitch but the producer controlled the budget.  Generally, the lower the budget, the more control the composer gets.  Directors would want to hear what the composer's ideas are and how they can help with the story telling but the producer can say no if the request is too impractical.  I believe in Troy, Horner requested double violas (or might be double cellos...I forget exactly but something highly irregular).  Let's assume it was cellos.  So a normal big budget orchestra would use 10 or maybe even 12 cellos and Horner wanted 24.  He got it but it was the producer and director who agreed to spend it on his vision and remember they had a huge budget and tossed out an already recorded expansive score by Gabriel Yared.  This is just an example where it was actually the director and producers decision to agree to Horner's lavish proposal rather than Horner's decision.   Ideally, it's a partnership where the decision is made based on what the filmmakers need most.  You would be surprised how often big budget studio films don't have the budget they need for music but the composer suggests options to meet them in the middle based on the practical limitations.  

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14 hours ago, karelm said:

JNH can argue for a very expensive soloist like Hillary Hahn in The Village.  Including her probably doubled the music budget.

 

Is that really true?

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8 hours ago, karelm said:

If it's a package deal, the composer decides.  Packages are generally indies and less.

 

Yes, that's the most common practice in Norway, and not only for indies. It's often up to the composer how much he or she wants to use on orchestras and external musicians. It will obviously eat into his or her own fee.

 

In many cases, composers look to Eastern Europe for cheaper, but still very skilled orchestras and musicians (Macedona, Slovakia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are particularly popular). Fortunately, new regulations have made it easier and less expensive to use Norwegian orchestras. For the most part, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra is used, since they have a good deal with film companies and composer organizations in regards to film music. Very rarely, the Oslo Philharmonic. For non-Oslo productions, the local symphony orchestras are usually "easier" to negotiate with than Oslo.

 

But yeah - Norway is not Hollywood.

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On 6/1/2021 at 3:34 AM, Muad'Dib said:

I remember an anecdote Silvestri told about the recording process of Predator. The studio insisted on hiring an orchestra from Indonesia or something like that (and doing the recording there as well) because it was cheaper, but Silvestri tried to disuade them (and wanted to do the recording with an LA orchestra, which was more expensive) because the orchestra the studio had chosen had little to no experience with a film score.

 

While all this might be true, i take it with a big grain of salt. The producer of this particular movie was Joel Silver, together with Lawrence Gordon, both experienced guys and Fox was the studio behind it. The sheer fact that no Hollywood score *ever* seems to have been recorded by an indonesian orchestra (asian, let's say) makes such a chain of events rather unlikely. Maybe he meant 'Idaho', which is at least a possible ballpark.

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11 hours ago, Jay said:

 

Is that really true?

 

No.  More like the musician budget.  In The Village, the orchestra was about $500,000 for 8 days (90 piece "A" orchestra and 65 piece "B" orchestra).  She was probably around $50k per day but only used for one or two days.  If she was there the whole time (which would be foolish) you could imagine that the orchestral musicians budget was 500k and her fee was 400k so it's a significant line item in the budget that practically doubles the musician cost but they probably arranged it so her music was all recorded in one or two days.  The total music budget was about 3 million and JNH was 1.5 million of that half the music budget was his fee.  This was recorded in 2003 so today she would probably command 100k per day which is what top soloists can command.  3 million for music might sound high but the movie budget was around 75million.  An early draft of the budget is online and might be interesting to review but it isn't the final budget, just a draft budget as various teams propose estimates for the producers and accounting teams. 

 

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Wow, that's really interesting!

 

I had no idea top tier soloists could get so much money for performing on a film score.  Really interesting!

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3 hours ago, LSH said:

50 grand for a day's work? Fuck me.

 

Yeah, ok, fuck you.  Basketball player Stephen Curry was paid $40 million in 2020 alone.   Average NBA player salary (not including endorsements, etc.) is 8 million (doubled with endorsements).  Classical babe Yuja Wang, the closest equivalent's total worth is 20 million.  These are people who started working at around 3 or 4 years old and like the very finest athletes are peerless in their class having spent the entirety of their life focusing on this talent.   It is probably a dozen or two world wide who command this fee and they are exceptional talents. 

Yuja-Wang.jpg

 

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On 6/2/2021 at 6:42 AM, publicist said:

 

While all this might be true, i take it with a big grain of salt. The producer of this particular movie was Joel Silver, together with Lawrence Gordon, both experienced guys and Fox was the studio behind it. The sheer fact that no Hollywood score *ever* seems to have been recorded by an indonesian orchestra (asian, let's say) makes such a chain of events rather unlikely. Maybe he meant 'Idaho', which is at least a possible ballpark.

 

Found the interview!

 

 

Wasn't Indonesia, it was Bupadest :lol:

 

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1 hour ago, Muad'Dib said:

Please explain! I'm unfamiliar with the phrase :lol:

 

Goldsmith started to record in Budapest with the Hungarian State Orchestra in 1985 (King Solomon's Mines), possibly because producer Andy Vajna was hungarian and wanted to boost his home country. From that one several productions used Hungary, though they got worse, not better after their first gig. Also, it robbed Goldsmith of a real Oscar chance, because his big sports/americana score for 'Hoosiers' was recorded abroad there, which brought him bad press (for a lack of patriotism). With all that in mind i imagine Silvestri knew what he was headed for.

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