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Poll

Do you entertain the possibility that (e.g.) Williams "borrowed" from other composers, from the classical literature?

Yes, pending proof
14 (73.7%)
No, it is impossible
5 (26.3%)

Total Members Voted: 11

Author Topic: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)  (Read 9714 times)

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Offline karlhenning

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #120 on: May 17, 2012, 09:22:03 AM »
Though I almost cannot fathom anyone not getting a charge out of Shakespeare : )
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Sammy

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #121 on: May 17, 2012, 09:33:16 AM »
I'm glad you like these movies, Karl, but Shakespeare really isn't my thing. In fact, I don't think I've ever voluntarily read any Shakespeare at all. I remember reading his plays in high school and really hating every minute of it. I just don't relate to it at all.

Same here.

Antoine Marchand

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #122 on: May 17, 2012, 09:54:45 AM »
Same here.

Well, plays are not written to be read, but to be performed, so yours is not an unusual attitude, I think. Anyway, I have highly enjoyed the reading of some plays, for instance, the frivolous Oscar Wilde, who is amazingly readable even for non-native English readers.

Leon

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #123 on: May 17, 2012, 10:01:52 AM »
Shakespeare is mandatory, IMO, one of a handful of universal artists.  His plays have been a constant in my life, reading and re-reading them again and again.  I don't have the opportunity to see them performed as much as I'd like, but spent a good part of my earlier life involved in staging them.  However, I can't say that I am a fan of operatic adaptations of the plays.

 :)

Offline karlhenning

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #124 on: May 17, 2012, 10:02:21 AM »
Well, plays are not written to be read, but to be performed . . . .

Exactly.  I've known many who hated their obligatory high school Shakespeare reading, but who as mature adults found watching the plays staged or filmed an entirely different (and a thoroughly enjoyable) matter.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline karlhenning

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #125 on: May 17, 2012, 10:05:50 AM »
Shakespeare is mandatory, IMO, one of a handful of universal artists.  His plays have been a constant in my life, reading and re-reading them again and again.  I don't have the opportunity to see them performed as much as I'd like, but spent a good part of my earlier life involved in staging them.  However, I can't say that I am a fan of operatic adaptations of the plays.

 :)

Viz. one of a handful of universal artists . . . my exact point in expressing my difficulty in conceiving of anyone not liking Shakespeare.  But of course, on GMG we've met folks who cannot relate to Mozart (e.g.) . . . I know it is possible, I just don't fathom how.

Regarding your last, though . . . have you given Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream a shot yet?
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Leon

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #126 on: May 17, 2012, 10:35:12 AM »
Viz. one of a handful of universal artists . . . my exact point in expressing my difficulty in conceiving of anyone not liking Shakespeare.  But of course, on GMG we've met folks who cannot relate to Mozart (e.g.) . . . I know it is possible, I just don't fathom how.

Regarding your last, though . . . have you given Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream a shot yet?


I've got a recording of the Britten work, but I always feel that when adapting the plays to opera too much is lost of the original, including that work.

Offline karlhenning

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #127 on: May 17, 2012, 10:42:44 AM »
That's fair.  Operas based on the plays, I consider in a somewhat different 'space'.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

eyeresist

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #128 on: May 17, 2012, 05:46:22 PM »
I've got a recording of the Britten work, but I always feel that when adapting the plays to opera too much is lost of the original, including that work.

This is something I've been thinking about - in the same way some people see movie music as inherently inferior, for me opera is a trashy genre. Because the music is subservient to the story, there is no structural integration beyond recurring themes, certainly nothing comparable to sonata form or fugue. (Hindemith's Der Harmonie der Welt is an obvious exception.)

Also, most opera's plots are primitive in literary terms.


That said, Lucas is echoing other and finer directors, in underscoring the important role which the musical soundtrack plays.  The obvious examples are Bernard Herrmann and Shostakovich.

The driving scenes in Psycho would be boring if not for Herrmann, whose music gives the action psychic import.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #129 on: May 17, 2012, 06:49:52 PM »
This is something I've been thinking about - in the same way some people see movie music as inherently inferior, for me opera is a trashy genre. Because the music is subservient to the story, there is no structural integration beyond recurring themes, certainly nothing comparable to sonata form or fugue. (Hindemith's Der Harmonie der Welt is an obvious exception.)

Also, most opera's plots are primitive in literary terms.

My, my, my...I'm inclined to agree with you about the music being almost an afterthought in an opera BUT Wagner has made me appreciate the genre. Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle is another opera I love. The music behind the voices is so extraordinary that I don't pay attention to the singing, but with a movie, which, let's be honest, is completely different medium of expression altogether, I can easily focus on the story at hand and tune the music out. An opera's story has never interested me, it's the music itself that I'm fascinated by. What's interesting is people ask me why don't I just buy, for example, a recording of Wagner's preludes and overtures  and don't worry with the full work. The main reason is because overtures and preludes don't contain all the music of an opera. The music that accompanies the voices is still an integral and vital part of the work.

P.S. Speaking of operas, have you ever heard Langgaard's Antikrist? All I have to say is the music will blow you out of here. The story doesn't make any sense to me, but my goodness --- THE MUSIC!!!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 06:53:57 PM by Mirror Image »
My favorite symphonists (from left to right): Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, and Nielsen


eyeresist

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #130 on: May 17, 2012, 07:16:13 PM »
Haven't heard Antikrist, as Langaard hasn't hugely impressed me so far. I do wish there were (many) more recordings of the Fiery Angel. (Plus there is Terterian's Earthquake, hopefully recorded before I die.)

Wagner had the advantage of being the greatest opera composer of all time ;)

I've been wondering how I'd react if I was asked to write an opera libretto. It would be interesting to try to produce something serious and substantial as a basis for the music - but who gives a damn about librettists? It's a thankless job, being an historical footnote only mentioned to point out weaknesses and errors. So I'd say no - unless there was serious cash on the table.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #131 on: May 17, 2012, 07:23:25 PM »
Haven't heard Antikrist, as Langaard hasn't hugely impressed me so far. I do wish there were (many) more recordings of the Fiery Angel. (Plus there is Terterian's Earthquake, hopefully recorded before I die.)

Wagner had the advantage of being the greatest opera composer of all time ;)

I've been wondering how I'd react if I was asked to write an opera libretto. It would be interesting to try to produce something serious and substantial as a basis for the music - but who gives a damn about librettists? It's a thankless job, being an historical footnote only mentioned to point out weaknesses and errors. So I'd say no - unless there was serious cash on the table.

I should also mention my love for Shostakovich's twisted Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Berg's brutal Wozzeck. These operas, for me, are rare exceptions in the genre to where I have actually read the libretti. My reaction to reading both of these was ??? but, again, THE MUSIC!!! :) Wow...

I think you'd like this Langgaard opera. Give it a listen sometime.
My favorite symphonists (from left to right): Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, and Nielsen


eyeresist

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #132 on: May 17, 2012, 07:45:37 PM »
I think you'd like this Langgaard opera. Give it a listen sometime.

Have you seen the DVD?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #133 on: May 17, 2012, 07:51:06 PM »
Have you seen the DVD?

No, I own the hybrid SACD.
My favorite symphonists (from left to right): Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, and Nielsen


Offline Cato

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #134 on: May 26, 2012, 03:38:59 PM »
Today I heard on local classical radio a piece previously unknown to me:

George Antheil's Hot Time Dance.

Listen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmHkxgQ3fVI

Now I kept thinking: "This sounds familiar...or at least I have heard something similar..."  And then it struck me:

The score by Danny Elfman to Pee-Wee's Big Adventure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSgO9gwW-FU  Especially the part around 1:50 or so.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2012, 04:38:26 PM by Cato »
"Anyone who would bludgeon their elderly aunt to death can't be all bad!"- Alfred Hitchcock

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Offline Cato

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George Antheil and Danny Elfman
« Reply #135 on: May 26, 2012, 04:40:28 PM »
Who knows if Elfman had ever heard the Hot Time Dance?

A case of coincidence in style?
"Anyone who would bludgeon their elderly aunt to death can't be all bad!"- Alfred Hitchcock

- from The Young One Season 3 Ep. 9 of Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Offline karlhenning

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #136 on: May 27, 2012, 03:59:15 PM »
Hah!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline karlhenning

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #137 on: May 30, 2012, 09:52:19 AM »
The real John Williams (and I am definitely a fan).
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

eyeresist

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Re: An Earnest Inquiry (of John Williams fans)
« Reply #138 on: May 30, 2012, 05:36:13 PM »

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