Jump to content

Largest Orchestra/Most Complex Score


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 60
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Pirates of the Caribbean. If you count each key on the keyboard and each button on the synthethizer.

I guess "The Matrix" is a strong contender for both categories, even though it may not be the "winner" :P

"Matrix" score at JoAnn Kane music service:

Bigscore1-dondavis-matrix.jpg

Edit: BTW, regarding "largest Orchestra", the orchestra for "War of the Worlds" may not be the largest one ever assembled (though there are quite unusual forces in the brass etc... 3 Tubas, com on!), but it has one thing I haven't seen anywhere else yet: 24 violas! ROTFLMAO

Link to post
Share on other sites
Edit: BTW, regarding "largest Orchestra", the orchestra for "War of the Worlds" may not be the largest one ever assembled (though there are quite unusual forces in the brass etc... 3 Tubas, com on!), but it has one thing I haven't seen anywhere else yet: 24 violas!

That's something I wonder about. When the liner notes gives a list of orchestra personnel, does that mean every musician listed played on the sessions simultaneously? I mean, some of the action music in War of the Worlds sounds like there are 3 tubas, 4 pianos and 12 horns making noise, but I can't imagine The Terminal using 6 trumpets or 7 horns one any one cue, which is what the liner notes list.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe Jerry Goldsmith's score to The Blue Max used over 120 players, all playing together on cues, and is one of the biggest in film history, at least from what I have heard.

The most complex? Harmonically, David Rasksin is up there. Laura, Laura, the immmortal Laura. I don't think the Matrix is too complex, vertically it is perhaps, but definitely not in any linear fashion. A lot of Elfman's stuff can get complex. The Sleepy Hollow producers threatened Eflman with paying for any extra overtime if the orchestra kept having trouble with the complex nature of that score. I guess the performers were having major issues. Who know, maybe the parts were badly copied. ROTFLMAO

Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy cow!

The Sleepy Hollow producers threatened Eflman with paying for any extra overtime if the orchestra kept having trouble with the complex nature of that score. I guess the performers were having major issues. Who know, maybe the parts were badly copied

Well, Elfman did say that he likes to give the musicians a challenge ... he certainly wasn't kidding ROTFLMAO

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of, if not the largest orchestra was supposedly Back to the Future, according to the DVD extras, may be invalid info now..

Most complex, I would say Corigliano's Altered States

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark is right- something like Alex North's Dragonslayer is incredibly dense and complex. Or Spartacus. Leonard Rosenman's 50's scores also would contend for most complex scores. And more recently, Goldenthal's Alien3.

I remember John Mauceri saying that the final duel in The Adventures of Robin Hood was incredibly rhythmically challenging for the orchestra because of all the complex meter changes and beat divisions. Korngold was a master

As for big French Horn sections try Poledouris' Conan The Barbarian "Riddle of Steel" which has 24 horns on that opening line.

For largest orchestra, I think Total Recall had a pretty big group.

Remember folks that large numbers of players doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a massive sound. Good orchestration can easily give you a big sound with a medium sized group. I've been re-visiting Arnold's Stargate which sounds massive but as far as I know, used less than 100 players. We must credit Nicholas Dodd for his inspired orchestrations.

As for generally big orchestral pieces, try Mahler's 8th Symphony which was nick-named Symphony of A Thousand. Even though it doesn't call for quite that many players, the usual numbers exceed 300 because of the multi-chorus' he employed.

For most complex pieces, try Xenakis or Pierre Boulez. Or even Frank Zappa who managed to stump the London Symphony Orchestra with the rhythmic complexity of his orchestral works.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember John Mauceri saying that the final duel in The Adventures of Robin Hood was incredibly rhythmically challenging for the orchestra because of all the complex meter changes and beat divisions.  Korngold was a  master  

I also saw this on some documentary that also featured David Raskin. Any idea how was it called? I've been trying to watch it again.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Really, on the CD it doesn't come across as 24 French Horns.

It's still a DAMN great score though, with one of the fullest string sections I ever heard.

I was very disappointed when I first read in the liner notes that there were 24 horn players in the Conan the Barbarian score since I can't really hear that kind of sound in the score. I mean 24 players should be heard right away since they would generate a pretty awesome amount of sound. The score is still great though.

BTW Williams' War of the Worlds has about 120 person orchestra. Williams uses 12 French horns in the score not to mention very large brass and wood wind sections. I do not know if it is the largest orchestra but that came to my mind first.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Boy, would I love to see 24 hornists on stage, playing unisono (or even chords...), can you imagine the sheer sonic power of this?

It's not 24 horns, but as I've said before, you have to experience Strauss' Alpensinfonie live. Seeing a large brass group of the orchestra leave to play that offstage part against a still huge on-stage orchestra is just mad. :) And of course, the overall setup is massive; clearly over a 100 players, if I'm not mistaken (including a wind machine by the way).

And while we're in the concert world, let's not forget Mendelssohn's Elias, which reportedly premiered with a choir of 400.

Marian - who thinks Rosenman deserves a mention.

I was very disappointed when I first read in the liner notes that there were 24 horn players in the Conan the Barbarian score since I can't really hear that kind of sound in the score. I mean 24 players should be heard right away since they would  generate a pretty awesome amount of sound. The score is still great though.

I guess it's just an unspectacular orchestra and a generally not great sounding CD. Apparently, Poledouris was not satisfied with the performance.

Marian - who would buy a good re-recording.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To my knowledge all 24 horns were played at once. but honestly, anyone who knows anything about orchestration knows that too large of a section ends up with the tones being cancelled out. There is still physics of sound to take into consideration here folks. Probably why that many horns don't sound any different than 8.

As I said before, a good orchestrator can make a reasonable sized orchestra sound massive. 8 horns in unison is what normally passes as large. Goldenthal may have used 16 because they were playing chords, thus sub-dividing 4 horns in unison into 4 parts to play harmonies. Otherwise, 8 horns in unison is very big sounding.

I just went to the ballet that other night and hear d aTchaikovsky piece that employed double winds and brass. Strings were modest sized. Not huge. And the orchestra sounded very full.

Link to post
Share on other sites
As I said before, a good orchestrator can make a reasonable sized orchestra sound massive. 8 horns in unison is what normally passes as large. Goldenthal may have used 16 because they were playing chords, thus sub-dividing 4 horns in unison into 4 parts to play harmonies. Otherwise, 8 horns in unison is very big sounding.
Very true

Hey, Wrath of Khan had...what? 75? 80 pieces? Recorded in early 80's...

Sounds bigger to me than a lot of 100+ piece orchestras employed in soundtracks today.

There are a lot of massive orchestras in soundtracks that don't sound sound all that massive. U-571 immediately comes to mind...

Van Helsing sounds a mute but heavy too...and that was pushing near 120...

Link to post
Share on other sites

so true Pixie! Das Lied Von Der Erde also is a complex piece that employed a big orchestra although most people don't realise it wasn't because Mahler had large tutti sections but more because he wanted to achieve different colors through varying combinations of instrument groups.

Link to post
Share on other sites
didn't lotr have an enormous orchestra? cuz i recall the lotr symphony needed 150+ people. so MAYBE it also needed a large orchestra?

100 piece orchestra...around 60 chorus people plus the 40 something boys choir .

Link to post
Share on other sites
For most complex pieces, try Xenakis or Pierre Boulez.  Or even Frank Zappa who managed to stump the London Symphony Orchestra with the rhythmic complexity of his orchestral works.

I heard a lot of Zappa stuff over the summer. Hated it, but incredibly complex

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is such an interestering topic to read and to think about what was the largest Orchestra/Most Complex score to assembled for a film ever in the world. But I have no knowedge whatsoever what was the largest orchestra or most complex score to assembled for a film. but according to this thread John Williams doesn't use a very huge orchestra for his films except for War of the Worlds right?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Williams seems to use quite often a standard more or less 100 person symphony orchestra. Even scores like Terminal had 97 person orchestra so it can be deduced that his bigger scores atleast use standard symphony orchestra plus additional members.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess it's just an unspectacular orchestra and a generally not great sounding CD. Apparently, Poledouris was not satisfied with the performance.

It's a very atmospheric recording though, and the playing, while messy at times, is quitte flavourfull, reminds me of Morricone's western scores.

Perhaps it's an Italian quality. :sleepy:

Marian - who would buy a good re-recording.

Oh definatly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps that gritty sound is just what Conan the Barbarian needs :sleepy:

And I would buy a rerecording of the score in a heart beat. All I have are the mp3s and I will not buy the regular one. I want the complete score.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps that gritty sound is just what Conan the Barbarian needs :sleepy:

And I would buy a rerecording of the score in a heart beat. All I have are the mp3s and I will not buy the regular one. I want the complete score.

Varese released an expanded score somewere in the mid 90's.

It's OOP but you can find it on eBay at times.

The master tapes are supposed to be damaged or lost, so this is probably all we are ever gonna get.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't the LSO run with about 100+ people back in the early 80's?

Perhaps that gritty sound is just what Conan the Barbarian needs :sleepy:

And I would buy a rerecording of the score in a heart beat. All I have are the mp3s and I will not buy the regular one. I want the complete score.

Varese released an expanded score somewere in the mid 90's.

It's OOP but you can find it on eBay at times.

The master tapes are supposed to be damaged or lost, so this is probably all we are ever gonna get.

Maybe we should talk to chrischrushercomix then. Maybe he could help fill in the blanks?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.