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Is John Williams' film music more elegant than Jerry Goldsmith's?


Jurassic Shark
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Is John Williams' film music more elegant than Jerry Goldsmith's?  

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  1. 1. Is John Williams' film music more elegant than Jerry Goldsmith's?



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I love the music of both composers, and both are capable of writing a wide variety of music, including elegant music.  Overall, John's music is more elegant than Jerry's, sure

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I watched a Jerry Goldsmith video on YouTube talking about the scoring of Alien. About watching a scary scene while composing, he said : "It get the shit out of me!".

 

Less elegant, but the result is there!!! :lol:

 

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1 hour ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

I see JW, and Jerry, as the heart and mind of one organism.


Interesting analogy!  Tell me more!

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Jerry was a high flyer in the 60s but eclipsed by Williams in the 70s. I love both composers but Williams is the daddy of them all. Also remember Williams never had a single score rejected whereas Goldsmith had plenty. Plus the fact that Goldsmith's output declined in quality by the mid 80s whereas Williams continued to improve. Just two entirely different composers I guess. 

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The fact is that Goldsmith even at his very best couldn't compare with the terrifying passion and sheer metaphysical weight of Williams. Dont get me wrong I love Goldsmith but he is Haydn to Williams Mozart. 

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I'd argue that the answer greatly depends on how you define "elegant" - if you mean "refined and colourful, ever changing orchestration and subtle motivic integration", this would fit more with Williams's output. But if you define it as "use the simplest fitting means to achieve maximum effect" (a.k.a. the Mozart way), this fits better with the music of Goldsmith. (Or as he is reported to have answered the question of how to write good music: "You put something on the top... something on the bottom... and something in the middle.")

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I think we can all agree that the output of the devine Mozart was more elegant than Haydn. Just like with Goldsmith and Williams, Haydn came a very very close second. Otherwise this is all merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

DAHLINGS! 

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49 minutes ago, ChrisAfonso said:

The original Zimmer way was just the Jerry way with (more) synths!

 

…and simpler rhythms.

 

Anyway, more elegant? It depends on the score/what they were going for. There are many cases where JW excels, but then there's also stuff like this:

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Cerebral Cortex said:

While I feel both excel quite well in this category, Williams does seem to be a cat that always manages to gracefully land on its feet. Few instances highlight this to greater effect in my mind than in the end credits to ROTJ, where Williams has tasked himself with somehow transitioning out of the endearingly wonky Ewok theme and into the exact musical polar opposite: Luke and Leia's theme.

 

And yet the end result is somehow seamless, not jarring at all and, dare I say, elegant. 

 

I probably don't appreciate those transitions enough because they are the worst in the trilogy. Which is like being the ugliest Hemsworth. 

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For me Goldsmith was essentially a rhythmic composer and a timbre junkie. He could create music which was at once archaic and futuristic like POTA. But then again he could disapoint in the breadth of a single score. For instance with Capricorn One. He immediately grabs our attention with a staggering main title of visceral arrest, unearthly motoric cogs in interlocking pulse patterns in the Docking cue. But then he ruins the score with a sappy kind of lame love theme which is really just a sequence of notes rather than an actual melody. 

       Williams just could not ever have imagined the sonic territory of a score like The Mephisto Waltz for instance. Whilst Goldsmith lacked the melodic facility and breathtaking rapture of Williams at his height. I have recordings of almost everything Goldsmith wrote from 1959 to 1979. His greatest era. Its useless really to compare these two gas giants. I think in their own different ways they are completely equal. 

Heaven could include Close Encounters/The Red Pony 

Hell could be Alien/Images. Complete parity of genius. 

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I'm not sure how I'm feeling about "elegant". I mean, both of them could be sublime.

 

I hate to say this here of all places, but I think I know more Goldsmith scores than Williams. Williams stopped holding my attention at some point and Goldsmith never did. But there are fewer Goldsmith scores that I know every note of and more Williams where that's the case. (There are more Goldsmith scores that I'm at least a little interested in? But more Williams scores that have my undivided attention.)

 

It's like picking my favorite kid. Or even more appropriate: My favorite parent. They both gave me such different gifts.

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9 hours ago, stravinsky said:

Jerry was a high flyer in the 60s but eclipsed by Williams in the 70s. I love both composers but Williams is the daddy of them all. Also remember Williams never had a single score rejected whereas Goldsmith had plenty. Plus the fact that Goldsmith's output declined in quality by the mid 80s whereas Williams continued to improve. Just two entirely different composers I guess. 

 

That's fanboy rationalizing - one could easily counter that Williams is more opportunistic and his conservative approach served him well, especially in the likeminded Hollywood of the 80's/90's.

 

Be that as it may, JW is the more elegant composer, but frankly also the more boring one.

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42 minutes ago, publicist said:

..., but frankly also the more boring one.

That view highly depends in what is your aera of interest in music. 

 

I would say, Goldsmith wrote more boring scores than Williams. 

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I'm impressed there's still all this stamina to discuss something so tired and old. The Williams vs. Goldsmith debate has been a stalwart discussion for as long as I've been visiting film music forums (long before too, but then less visible). What happened with enjoying both composers' work for their own inherent values?

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