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Legend Of Zorro - Conrad Pope or James Horner?


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I was just listening to James Horner's Legend Of Zorro (track 11, The Train) and from 8:30 through the end it sounds like a completely different composer. After a minute or so it struck me; this sounds very much like a lot of the action stuff in Williams' Episode III. I proceeded to check out the orchestrator lineup and sure enough, "Conrad Pope" among others. Pure speculation of course, but it sounds so radically different from what I've come to expect from Horner, I find it hard to believe it's him. What do ya'll think? Makes me wonder how much of the work Conrad Pope does when working with Williams. That guy has probably defined a lot of the Williams sound that we all love.

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Not according to Pope

"John’s point is that, he is the author of that music – fully and completely. When you take one of his albums, he is saying, “Look I am the architect of all the colors and you (the orchestrator) have just executed them.” And this makes perfect sense. I’m the same way. "

http://www.tracksounds.com/specialfeatures...interviewcp.htm

That guy has probably defined a lot of the Williams sound that we all love.

Seeing that Williams' sound was established long before Pope, I'd say not.

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Yeah I read that too a while ago, but have a listen at the cue I'm talking about. You'll hear some interesting similarities (to Williams' recent action writing). Personally I'm more into to the newer style of Williams rather than his older (70-80s). More unison doubling, modified octatonic scales, vibrant woodwinds writing, more developed rhythmical patterns etc. and it's curious to observe these features in pieces like this cue from Zorro. Certainly food for thought imo. From a creative orchestrator's perspective (and going by Pope's own compositions he's definitely creative) I think it'd be virtually impossible to orchestrate 6-8 staves (+) sketches without coloring the music quite a bit with your own musical inclinations. In the case of Zorro (and quite possibly some of Williams' stuff) I believe we're talking about more than just coloration. I strongly believe a lot of this was written by Conrad Pope, based on simple lead sheets provided by Horner. As Conrad suggests in that interview he isn't really that concerned with credits so I'm sure he lets a lot of stuff fly just because successful composers in the industry usually have such huge egos.

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I rather hear 'Episode III' on the temp track, which Horner apes.

This music isn't really a big stretch to write...at least not for Horner. The question rather is, if he is willing to invest the time....and here, he obviously was (although i agree to a certain point that his music becomes more colorful when other orchestrators work on the, see also 'Casper').

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I think waaaay too much has been made of this Williams connection in the score. Yeah, there are a few brief ideas that sounds like Williams, most likely due to temp score-itis. But they are a few seconds long, enveloped quite heavily by Horner's motifs, so much so, thatI barely even noticed the similarity until 5-6 times listening to the score.

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Seriously, if that's Horner's writing he has improved CONSIDERABLY. That's simply the best action writing I've heard from him, period. In a different league than his other stuff. That fact, and the obvious orchestrational similarities to Pope's work (disregarding the obvious temp track references to ep.III (triplet figures in trps etc)) leads me to believe this is not his work. I guess we'll never know.

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Superman - you are 100% correct. I have it from a VERY reliable source that Conrad Pope DID write "The Train" (and in one night too!). And it IS an incredibly challenging piece, Publicist, to orchestrate and compose.

As a matter of fact, that's not the only cue that Pope wrote for "Zorro", "Flightplan" "Troy"...the list goes on...

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you are 100% correct. I have it from a VERY reliable source that Conrad Pope DID write "The Train" (and in one night too!)

That's the usual fanboy bollocks. Of course, Horner DOESN'T EVEN KNOW how to ape Williams (a slight similarity in the last 3 minutes of the aforementioned piece). There MUST be a hidden secret about it...and Pope, hence the name, must of course be a godly talented and brilliant fellow without whom Horner had to quit the business. And now he has written all of Horner's scores from 2005...OK.

There is no question that Horner has employed ghostwriters on occassion, take 'A Far off Place', for example, which has a very unusual sound in some cues, apart from the theme. And i remember that Horner got in a ruffle with John Neufeld once, when he tried to coax him into ghostwriting a cue without crediting him, which Neufeld flatly refused. But to suggest that Horner hasn't the ego to write key sequences of his own prestige projects and leaves them to orchestrators is really a hoot.

The truth of the matter may be that Horner sketched the sequence in question and gave Pope the license to 'Williams' it up.

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Look, publicist, I never intended to imply that Pope wrote all of Horner's scores. Just many cues from the recent ones. If I was unclear, I apologize - but please don't misunderstand me.

Oh, and there is no "guessing" as to Pope's composing 'The Train'. I have it from a VERY credible source that he, in fact, composed the entire cue as well as a few others from that film. If I could say more, I would.

Superman hit the nail on the head. Good ears, Superman.

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James Horner has worked under very tight schedules before, for instance the heavily re-edited Aliens was scored in three and a half weeks - which is considered to be very quick. However, Troy, sets a new record with its two weeks. No additional composers were involved and Horner used only four orchestrators, which isn't more than what is used for an average score written under "normal" conditions.

"James is very focused and does some of his best work under what others would deem as unbearable pressure. The only problem is the practical process getting out of his head and onto paper quickly enough! His score for Troy tends to play more the emotional strife of the story rather than rigidly adhere to supporting every nuance of action. As a direct consequence this approach sets up the moving climax of the film really well," Simon Rhodes says.

Music from the Movies

Troy, Flightplan as well as The Legend of Zorro all sound very "Hornerish"...

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No additional composers were involved

I was not familiar with this article, but I can honestly tell you that the above statement is false. I know for a fact that several cues on Troy were written by the orchestrators.

It's too bad that talented composers, like Conrad Pope, don't get credit for ghostwriting - but I guess that's how the business works. In my opinion, he wrote the best action cue of the year with "The Train".

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In the book "On the Track" there is a chapter on the different composers' use of orchestrators. Quotes by Williams' orchestrators say that they do not write any of his music or choose instruments. But the quote by Horner's orchestrator says that he will begin to write a piece of music and have the orchestrator complete it. Having just come off Sith, it is no wonder that Pope would write some of Horner's music, and that some of it might sound like Sith.

Because the orchestrators in that book are so open and forthcoming about which composers write complete music and which ones don't, I do not think that there is any sort of conspiracy coverup.

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Because the orchestrators in that book are so open and forthcoming about which composers write complete music and which ones don't, I do not think that there is any sort of conspiracy coverup.

:angry:

It would be fair however to credit all the collaborators in the right way... if someone else composed a piece of music, he/she should be credited as an additional composer, not just an orchestrator... but, hey, if someone invented the term "ghost-writer", there should be a reason! ROTFLMAO

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In the book "On the Track" there is a chapter on the different composers' use of orchestrators. Quotes by Williams' orchestrators say that they do not write any of his music or choose instruments. But the quote by Horner's orchestrator says that he will begin to write a piece of music and have the orchestrator complete it. Having just come off Sith, it is no wonder that Pope would write some of Horner's music, and that some of it might sound like Sith.

Because the orchestrators in that book are so open and forthcoming about which composers write complete music and which ones don't, I do not think that there is any sort of conspiracy coverup.

But what you are describing is orchestration not ghost-writing.

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No additional composers were involved

I was not familiar with this article, but I can honestly tell you that the above statement is false. I know for a fact that several cues on Troy were written by the orchestrators.

Unless you are able or willing to produce some factual evidence to substantiate your claim i'm just gonna treat this as another internet rumor.

"Trust me" doesn't cut it, as far as i'm concerned.

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As I said before: All these scores sound 100% like Horner. Trust me, I have heard many Horner scores. Even a good orchestrator - which Conrad Pope obviously is - can't imitate a style of a composer 100% correctly. One example of a score that sounds very noncoherent for every listener who is a little bit familar with some more composers is The Rock, because Nick Glennie-Smith, Harry Gregson-Williams, Hans Zimmer and some other composers were involved (even James Newton Howard wrote a theme). I simply can't see (or hear) this in Horner's recent ones.

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I don't blame any of you for scoffing at my post and my "source". But, since there's no proof that Horner himself wrote this cue, I guess it's your word against mine.

But, just as you find my argument of "trust me" to be ridiculous, I don't buy your "It sounds like 100% horner" argument.

As anyone can see from my post count, I don't post here often and I'm not a "fanboy". Treat it as an internet rumor if you want, but I guess all I can say is that I know that "The Train" was written by Conrad Pope. I know that several cues from Horner's recent films were written by Conrad Pope and the dozens of orchestrators Horner employs. Superman was correct. But everyone else is free to disagree with me.

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there's no proof that Horner himself wrote this cue

Well, there's the "music composed by James Horner" credit. :wave:

Although I can't really comment on this. I've not heard this cue, and Horner's recent scores don't really interest me that much anymore.

- Marc

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there's no proof that Horner himself wrote this cue

Well, there's the "music composed by James Horner" credit. :wave:

Although I can't really comment on this. I've not heard this cue, and Horner's recent scores don't really interest me that much anymore.

- Marc

Good point. I withdraw my comment. But, Pope's involvement in the score is evident to me.

And please remember that so many credits are misleading. The previous mention of "The Rock" - reminded me of the composers that added to that score - many uncredited.

I think "Legend of Zorro" is a great score - and "The Train" is such a powerful action cue. I'd check it out.

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I think nobody here is guilty of giving Horner an easy ride, but these claims are pompous crap of the highest caliber.

I'm willing to believe Horner has a more, let's say unorthodox way of working with orchestrators than i. e. Williams. So it's entirely possible that Pope might have more work to do on 'Zorro' than on 'Episode III'...but sorry...'The Train' is THE major setpiece...never ever this piece was 'entirely composed by Pope'. It's a no-brainer...

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Harryfrishberg,

Thanks for confirming what I believed to be the case. Despite having quite a few contacts in the industry (including one of Horner's orchestrators on Flightplan), I haven't been able to confirm this particular claim myself (he would probably be reluctant to divulge any such information anyway - there's a family-like code of loyalty, trust and confidentiality amongst those who work on these kinds of projects. Those who keep their mouth shut continue to get calls). This industry is very sensitive and consequently secretive. Because of the large amounts of work to be carried out over relatively short periods of time it goes without saying that composers need help.. a LOT of help. Harry is right. The Train is a very demanding cue to write and in no way a stroll in the park, even for the most seasoned pro's. "Orchestration" in the traditional sense (condensed sketch) is becoming a rarity in the industry. I don't think many of you are entirely aware of the way things work. A lot has changed since the 80s you know, particularly with regards to the advancement of computer technology and samples.

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If there's one thing I hate about posters is when they say they have a credible source but can't name who that credible source is. :roll: That pretty much throws all crediablity out the window.

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Well, you're just gonna have to deal with it. What Harry has revealed is as much as you could ever expect to read about this topic on a public forum. If anything you should consider yourselves privileged. Seriously guys, this is the reality in this industry. There are enough indications, facts and audible indices to support our claims with vast credibility, without unnecessary exposure of sources on whom we depend in order to live and work in L.A. If you feel that these claims are unsubstantiated and, as such, false, you are of course free to dismiss them as you please. Naturally such foolish ignorance (and all contingencies considered you'd be pretty darn ignorant to have another take on this) will serve you no good. Take a moment to review the facts as they have been presented to you before you fend them off like the plague. You may just find some credibility to them afterall. Have a great day y'all.

PS! I'm curious as to why you guys believe a disclosure of sources could ever substantiate our claims in any way? Are you completely devoid of the ability to draw logical conclusions based on objective ascertainment and deduction?

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PS! I'm curious as to why you guys believe a disclosure of sources could ever substantiate our claims in any way? Are you completely devoid of the ability to draw logical conclusions based on objective ascertainment and deduction?

Meaning you post an opinion, backing it up with vague confirmations that none of us are able to verify, and trow a hissy fit when your opinion is not seen as undeniable fact.

You have 10 posts to your name here, we don't have a clue who you really are, what you do and if you have an active imagination.

Credibility must be earned, don't expect it straight away.

Unlike popular myth not everything posted on the Internet is true.

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I'll state again, I think that orchestrators have been very forthcoming on who provides a full sketch and who does not. Williams does, Horner does not. Therefore with Horner, the orchestrator is allowed to add a few touches of his own. Maybe it is not ghost writing per se, but it at least might account for the "Williamsy" orchestrations Pope chose to apply to Zorro.

However, to expect us to believe that Horner did not even provide a sketch for the action scene in question requires proof. Those are strong accusations.

Max Steiner did not write very detailed sketches when he had no time, but they were still his compositions. Sure, there is some mystery to it, but much has been revealed too.

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Fair enough, Stefancos. I don't have much time to post so the count isn't likely to increase by much. It does look like a fine little community you guys have assembled here, and I mean no disrespect by any means. Sorry if it came across that way, but Publicist didn't exactly offer me a hot cup of coffee and a vacant chair either :) (which is also part of the reason why I assumed a similar fighting stance). It looked as if some of you were covering your ears and going "lalala" as if in complete denial. Anyway, I have no further interest in this case. As far as that's concerned my assumptions have been confirmed (thanks again, Harry).

Cheers!

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Well, I for one do think Mr Frishberg is coming off believably. (Although I do think Horner will have written at least a few sketches for like the action centrepiece of the score?) It'll always stay a rumour, it just can't be confirmed - that's the problem with real inside information, the people can almost never disclose their sources, that's the nature of such information. Thus it is bound to resemble untrue information.

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I'll state again, I think that orchestrators have been very forthcoming on who provides a full sketch and who does not. Williams does, Horner does not.

Well, Don Davis or Greig McRitchie don't support your view. According to them, Horner often writes 12-line-sketches, if you believe it is another matter.

I'll just wait for the day when 'harryfrishberg' overhears three words of a conversation in the musician's cafeteria and then proudly proclaims he's got the proof that 'Munich' was written by John Neufeld. The lack of reasoning behind these claims is astounding. Everyone hates Horner, so OF COURSE he can't write his own stuff...it's simply shabby and unnecessary. Again, i'm far form a Horner groupie, but still....

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I'll just wait for the day when 'harryfrishberg' overhears three words of a conversation in the musician's cafeteria and then proudly proclaims he's got the proof that 'Munich' was written by John Neufeld.

I may be overreacting, but this kind of comment is not called for, Publicist. As many people have pointed out - the nature of confidential sources is that they ARE CONFIDENTIAL. You can say that it's a lie or that it's BS and to be honest, I can't really defend it. But please don't portray me as some naive boy overheaing things in a Cafeteria. I would never make a personal attack on you - despite my feelings on statements you make.

I'll say it again, I had a personal conversation with a credible, confidential source and I can't name names. Those who wish to believe me can, and those who say I'm full of it are entitled to their opinion. Please stop the personal attacks.

Thanks.

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I believe you...

K.m.Who thinks film music is geeky enough and of interest to such a narrow group of people that there wouldn't be a point of making up elaborate lies.

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More unison doubling, modified octatonic scales, vibrant woodwinds writing, more developed rhythmical patterns etc.

I have to disagree there with you Superman,

IMHO Williams' best orchestration was delivered in Williams' golden era, and that is the 70's and 80's.

I mean if you go through the scores:

Indiana trilogy,

SW trilogy,

ET

Superman movies

Jaws

Incredible orchestrations

I find the new era orchestrations jaded and to a certain extent they lack character and zest.

The last orchestrations I heard that gave me the classic Williams feel was from the first and (even more) the second Harry Potter.

I really don't like his action orientated writing anymore.

It all feels a bit tired and overdone

With the exception of Everybody Runs, The Ferry Scene, Duel of the Fates, and track 28 on the special edition TPM disc.

Saying that I think the more subdued writing has gained strength (even more from before) But I favour old style orchestrations (and sound engineering too)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having finally listened to the cue in question I will admit it does have a fresh sound when compared to most of Horner's recent works.

That being said I find it stretching things to say this sounds like Williams.

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Well, i dont think it sounds like Williams at all in the 1st 9:00 minutes.

From there, you can just hear horner doing a.... Horner. (AKA Ripp off) We are talking of the 'Battle of the heroes trumpet fanfares rigth? I think i also hear some 'everybody runs' in the beggining.

But i could not say if its conrad pope influence or horner himself. Since in this case it is not the melody what he is copying, just a part of the background.

My brother heard it without telling him. And he guessed the composer right. Well that and the danger motif helped too ;)

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I believe harry frishberg's comments are genuine. It would be a sad thing though if the best cue of a Horner score is in fact written by his orchestrator...maybe it's a good time for Horner to quite the business and give credit to those who deserve it.

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Having just discovered that another composer wrote uncredited additional music for Flightplan, perhaps this could be true after all.

Don't forget that Horner spent eight months (January to August) writing music for The New World. He may have needed assistance for his other projects during that period.

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Excellent! I didn't spot the Zorro tracks on ASCAP. All of them are credited to James Horner.

All of the album tracks for Flightplan are credited to Horner, with some unspecified cues in the film by Michael Danna. There are a couple of un-Hornerish cues in the film, and a number of the Horner cues seem to have been moved around or dropped.

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But he didn't write any music that appears on the album.

And regarding "The Train": ASCAP

Yes Horner owns the rights for sure. ASCAP is no way proof of who wrote what.

Another known example of ghostwriting Independence Day, where Nicholas Dodd declared that he composed some uncredited cues for that movie.

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Given the way movies are made these days with post production going up to the last minute it wouldn't suprise me that a film with wall to wall music would have to have some cues ghost written.

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In the case of Williams...

Would it be better if a ghost writer had fixxed (composed them so they dont sound jarring) all the edits in the prequels or the actual butchered williams' cues?

though to chose I think....

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I wonder if on a Williams album cues would be ghost-written (hypothetically), would we notice?? I can think of composers who can mimic Williams for at least a few minutes:

- Bruce Broughton

- Conrad Pope

- John Neufeld

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No there is no official confirmation.

I believe Marco Polo producer John Morgan mentioned this on the FSM forum.

Wow, if this is true, then it is plausible that it happened more often since then. I can easily imagine Williams' modern action stuff to be written by ghost writers.

BTW, Alfred Newman died in 1970.

I think it was David Newman

LOL sorry should have checked my facts

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