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Spoiled by John Williams


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This is a dilemma easily remedied by listening to Williams' influences. Prokofiev, Haydn, Copland, Hermann, Steiner, Vaughn Williams, Tchaikovsky, etc. You might not find a lot of Williams in any one of them, but you can certainly find all of them in Williams. 

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17 minutes ago, Docteur Qui said:

This is a dilemma easily remedied by listening to Williams' influences. Prokofiev, Haydn, Copland, Hermann, Steiner, Vaughn Williams, Tchaikovsky, etc. You might not find a lot of Williams in any one of them, but you can certainly find all of them in Williams. 

Yes, I can listen to Herrmann, Lutosławski, tonal Schoenberg, Bruckner, Wagner, and other composers... of the past, and some of their best works are quite satisfying. The sort of synthesis of some of their best qualities that Williams did, however, seems... sadly rather unique to him. I don't hear it often (rarely ever) with composers younger than Williams.

 

Exception: I've recently been to a premiere of a new staging of Verdi's Don Carlos, which included a rather Stravinskian prelude written by some contemporary composer. I really enjoyed it, and when I had the opportunity to hear that staging at a later point, I was more excited about the prelude than about any of Verdi's original music. 

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I can enjoy a good Williams pastiche by the likes of Debney, McNeely, Verta or whoever, but I do not for one second feel that it's on the same level as the master. Williams is Williams. But then I don't go out actively to seek out more music like him just for the sake of it. I have no need to listen to the same exact music all the time, but rather enjoy the different takes on an idiom.

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Unfortunately, Williams' scores are often limited by critics to classical holywood sound. But in my oppinion managed to make that sound fit for modern cinema without losing the high standard of classical composition.

Unfortunately, that path has not really been followed on to the full possible extend.

Mainly probably because this is an effort, that you can easily save by zimmering your score together on the keyboard, because the only ones who care about that are we few fans. 

 

That is by the way the same development that pop music took since the 60s. Composition becomes less important. Sound is everything. Few exceptions. As always.

 

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When it comes to film music, yes. I've more or less given up on other film composers, with a few exceptions for the occasional Herrmann, Goldsmith, or Horner (early Horner) score. And even those leave me wanting. As was mentioned before, his music is a synthesis of craft. Now when it comes to orchestral music in general, I find myself more spoiled for choice than anything else.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm familiar with that comment made on the LegacyofJW podcast (hehehe).

Let me elaborate a bit on that.

Of course, to state that John Williams' music is of such caliber that no one else's can compare and therefore is not  enjoyable would be silly.

If anything, John Williams actually helped me appreciate music more, of any kind, by any artist.

If it's just a matter of taste, meaning JW's music has a particular, very specific flavour that I prefer above all others, and I cannot get the same kick from any other composer, well... that can be said of any composer or musician with a strong personal voice, be it Bach, Strvinsky, Danny Elfman or Paul Simon.

 

My point was rather that being exposed to Williams at a very young age and in the context of popular mainstram media, maybe instilled in me the expectation that any piece of popular entertainment would display the same lavel of sofistication.

Not that as a youngster I would have been able to articulate it, but it was almost like demanding of every major hollywood movie to have rich yet direct thematic material, detailed counterpoint, cristaline orchestrations and sofisticaded harmonies. To be fair, there have been plenty of scores by many other composers doing just that, but nonetheless we are talking of a very high bar, hence the idea of 'being spoiled'.

 

The only real instance of me getting 'spoiled' to the point I stopped enjoy other works in a field has been the tv show The Wire. To this day no matter how much I can appreiate a series, I stilll end up thinking "Well, it wasn't The Wire".

 

 

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I find it hard to enjoy the official scores for Harry Potters 4-8 because of how awesome the first 3 scores are. Similarly, Giacchino's Rogue One score was a huge letdown. Also, most modern film scores nowadays focus on using pre-existing pop music to set the mood, which ends up getting stale fast. Sympathy for the Devil and Don't Stop Me Now have appeared in more major films than the Ode to Joy, despite the Choral Symphony having been around for far longer.

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On 13/12/2021 at 4:00 PM, Ian Stouffer said:

I find it hard to enjoy the official scores for Harry Potters 4-8 because of how awesome the first 3 scores are. Similarly, Giacchino's Rogue One score was a huge letdown. Also, most modern film scores nowadays focus on using pre-existing pop music to set the mood, which ends up getting stale fast. Sympathy for the Devil and Don't Stop Me Now have appeared in more major films than the Ode to Joy, despite the Choral Symphony having been around for far longer.

I would say, the song I heard most in movies is "What a Wonderful World". Seems to appear in almost every fifth movie. 

Or maybe it is just because I preferably like watching movies about the end of the world, and for those the directors love to use that song in at least one scene.

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  • 3 weeks later...
19 minutes ago, QuartalHarmony said:

"A friend who really likes opera convinced me I should give it a try, so he lent me his discs of Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro. I listened to them and liked them so I went back to my friend and said 'They were great, I really like opera, what should I listen to next?'. My friend looked a bit sheepish and said 'Well, you do realise you started with the best ones: it's all a bit downhill from here.'.

 

HA! The best one is of course Die Zauberflöte.

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