Author Topic: Film (movie) Music  (Read 168686 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #80 on: August 18, 2008, 09:47:45 PM »
Film music is not designed to stand alone.

But in some moments, it can take center-stage. Just like in some moments, the visuals may be the most important element. In some others, the dialog. Or a balance of the three, and other elements. Film can be many things, and its elements can be mixed and balanced in many ways.

But I still don't understand why in the case of Kubrick's use of AsZ,
The use of the piece is pretentious. It was a lapse of judgment on the director's part, an embarrassing cry for attention and a trivialization of what might been.

I can see why someone might not like it, but why is it an "embarassing cry for attention" and a "trivialization"?

I don't give a damn whether you agree.

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Very fitting quote, as I am in Atlanta right now  ;D

Offline knight66

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9959
  • Location: Edinburgh
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #81 on: August 18, 2008, 10:03:56 PM »
M, Yes, I can see how the three elements can be made to interplay, but I think my point stands. Even if the music predominates and is the most satisfactory element; it was designed to accompany the visuals. But there again, who knows what goes on in anyone else's head? A composer may have had a composition on the stocks for ages waiting for an opportunity to fit it into a film.

As to being in Atlanta...don't go starting any fires!

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline sound67

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 710
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #82 on: August 18, 2008, 10:12:42 PM »
As I understand the art of music and the craft of composition, I should not call (e..) Morricone a composer, based solely on the skill with which he furnishes sound appropriate to film;  because that work, while clearly related to Sense B, fails to fulfill Sense A.  Because of the peculiar requirements for music in film, and the exigencies of post-production editing, it is a rare thing when writing music for film fulfills Sense A.

That's what Goldsmith meant when he said: Good film music must be good music first.

The best scores, a lot of which have now been mentioned, have withstood time not as mere film accompaniments, but as independent musical works. Many of Morricone's do too, they stand up eminently well on disc (some of his more modernist crime scores do not). So I have to disagree with you strongly on your sweeping judgement concerning Morricone's work. Scores like Sahara, The Untouchables, Novecento (1900), Once Upon a Time in America, The Mission and many others contain great set pieces that make for exciting listening independent of the films - but work just as well in their original dramatic context. But he has written too much music. IMDB currently lists 484 composer credits for Morricone, and I doubt the list even complete. Inevitably, there are weak scores along the line, more specifically a number of bad pop and icky Italian schmaltz (the worst kind of schmaltz) scores.

BTW, in Italy he is also considered an imortant concert composer.

It is certainly true that most film (or worse, TV) scores do not stand up well on an album. Only, let's say, 10-15% do, and even that might just be too optimistic an estimate. If you judged film music solely by today's standards, the picture would be pretty dire indeed. Orchestral music, if employed at all, is very often limited to a simple, monotonous droning, sustained pedal points that underline moments of suspense e.g. This influence can be more or less attributed to Hans Zimmer and Media Ventures, which is why I think this music "factory" has had such a disastrous impact on film music in general.

Only a handful of composers in Hollywood now seem to be able to craft something one would call symphonic (a flawed term for film music, but one that has come to be accepted for want of a better word), senior among them John Williams, who's had his fair share of uninspired scores like every film composer. But men like Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles), Alexandre Desplat (The Golden Compass), Dario Marianelli (Pride and Prejudice) or Marco Beltrami (I, Robot) have carried symphonic film music over into the 21st century.

It is no coincidence that people who listen to and collect film music "soundtracks" on a regular basis often favor the so-called Golden Age music of the 1930-50s. It was easier then for a film composer to write something that not only complemented the picture but that in and of itself had form and meaning. One of the reasons for this, and IMHO the most important, is that composers like Korngold, Steiner, Newman, Waxman or Herrmann (partly) - or Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Vaughan Williams, Bliss, etc al - did not have to deal with sound effects! In those days, scores had to carry the film along acoustically because the means of creating a realistic, or hyper-realistic, soundscape were not available, or severely limited. Today's Hollywood composer has to work in close cooperation with the sound effects editor, he is less free in how to shape his score. That's why film music and sound effects these days are often referred to in tandem under the term "sound design".

Also, the idea hinted at in the posts above is that most people buy and enjoy soundtrack CDs as a means to re-create their impression of the movie, or as a mere souvenir. That is not so. I myself and a lot of others buy film music albums solely because of the music even if we never intend to see the picture. Many great scores were written for lousy pictures. Does that mean we cannot evaluate and enjoy the music because we do not know or care for the scenes the music is meant to accompany? No. Because good film music must be good music first, and good music can always be enjoyed without the film.

Thomas
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 01:20:36 AM by sound67 »
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

eyeresist

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #83 on: August 18, 2008, 11:00:22 PM »
Just to pursue the wallpaper analogy a little further, I'd like to remind my fellow art lovers that Leonardo's famous painting of the Last Supper was commissioned to decorate a dining hall!
 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 11:03:51 PM by eyeresist »

Offline sound67

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 710
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #84 on: August 18, 2008, 11:31:52 PM »

Yeah, what M said is true - he and I rarely agree on anything. But I agree with him here.

All the amateur (internet) self-aggrandizement in the world can't compare to the accomplishments of the rightful masters of their craft.

It hurts to say it, but the 'less able' just need to accept that.

Do you ever judge a musical performance by a conductor, or orchestra, or soloist? Or that a certain concert work is worthy of your attention, and others are not? If so, how can you, if you're not a conductor, or orchestral player, or soloist, or composer? These "judgements" are made on this board and elsewhere every day.

If you don't ever make such a judgement, I'd recommend you see a psychiatrist about it. There might be an underlying inferiority complex that has to be dealt with  ;)

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline sound67

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 710
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #85 on: August 18, 2008, 11:40:30 PM »
Thomas,
Was about to PM this, but thought it fit here.  When you have a chance, might you list, IYHO, the "best" efforts in regard to Hitchcock film recordings.  I know you listed some recordings earlier, but which seem to come the nearest to the actual score used, and for that matter, are there any recordings of the actual score for any of Hitch's movies (vinyl, earlier pressed cds, etc.)?

I don't know if I can answer that because when it comes to "re-recordings" of film music, what I'm looking for is not a close replica of the film soundtrack, but a performance that makes musical sense, even if that means changing the tempi of the original score drastically. E.g. Herrmann's own re-recordings are much slower than the film versions, because as a conductor he generally preferred broad tempi, so he also employed them when recording film music ("It's not the film" he used to say). The reason why the performances of "original soundtracks" can seem uninspired is because of their "click-tracked" nature (the click track is a technical means of synchronizing music and film). That is why I think that e.g. Joel McNeely's VERTIGO is the best available version of that score, and the same is true of his The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, or The Trouble with Harry. I'm less convinced by The Three Worlds of Gulliver, because Herrmann's own recording for Decca is very good.

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline sound67

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 710
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #86 on: August 18, 2008, 11:56:50 PM »
I find it difficult to judge without the visuals and I have the R Strauss/Ligeti/Khachaturian score deeply ingrained in me since I saw the film 8 times in a row at the Odeon Leicester Square in 1968 (on the big screen....

And this is why the 2001 soundtrack, such as it is, has come to be accepted as something even "inevitable". Because we're used to it, and it's difficult to imagine other music set to the pictures. But when the film came out, responses to the music were divided. A typical reaction today is one like "domwyn"'s: The film is a classic, the director an acknowledged master. Therefore, all his decisions must have been right, or, again, "inevitable" - therefore to even think that what has come to be seen as "classic" MIGHT have been a mistake is sacrilegious.

Domwyn is of course entitled to this argumentation, as much as I'm entitled to call it cowardly.  0:)

Thomas 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 11:59:32 PM by sound67 »
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

Offline sound67

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 710
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #87 on: August 19, 2008, 12:00:59 AM »
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Now isn't that great? Finally we agree on something.
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

ezodisy

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #88 on: August 19, 2008, 12:47:23 AM »
The best combination of film and original music I've yet encountered is by Bela Tarr and Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

Regarding pretentiousness, I find that it comes when the music is too heavy for the subject matter or for the underlying feeling of the film. Ceylan's early film, Clouds of May, is an example of this with its rather bitter-sweet feeling yet using the opening of Verdi's Requiem to close, something well out of sync. The plainsong or whatever was used in Zvyagintsev's recent film The Banishment was ridiculous, but then that whole film drowned unders its own weight. Disparity between music and film isn't necessarily negative though -- I've heard it used ironically to great effect. Through Antonioni I started to appreciate natural and industrial sounds as part of a film's soundtrack and I find these just as important as any external music, especially from him as he used music so sparingly. If you'd like a contemporary example of music, natural sounds and images (highly, creatively distorted), there's one here:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ95cX7-wGw&feature=related

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 18763
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #89 on: August 19, 2008, 01:15:19 AM »
And this is why the 2001 soundtrack, such as it is, has come to be accepted as something even "inevitable". Because we're used to it, and it's difficult to imagine other music set to the pictures. But when the film came out, responses to the music were divided. A typical reaction today is one like "domwyn"'s: The film is a classic, the director an acknowledged master. Therefore, all his decisions must have been right, or, again, "inevitable" - therefore to even think that what has come to be seen as "classic" MIGHT have been a mistake is sacrilegious.

Domwyn is of course entitled to this argumentation, as much as I'm entitled to call it cowardly.  0:)

Thomas 



Yes, a fair point, although I think that the Blue Danube music with the revolving space ship was a very inspired choice.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 06:32:56 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Grazioso

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2324
  • Currently Listening to:
    notes
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #90 on: August 19, 2008, 03:29:10 AM »
ok to enjoy it of course, but it shouldn't be confused with the serious stuff. and the concert works that i have heard from highly successful film composers are usually just as light and trite.

Korngold?
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline Wanderer

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5532
  • Quo non ascendam?
    • Il faut regarder la vie en farce
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #91 on: August 19, 2008, 03:54:13 AM »
YES! He fits into what I said easily.

You can't have heard much Korngold, then.

Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #92 on: August 19, 2008, 04:15:44 AM »
oh, i've heard enough ...

What about Die Tote Stadt? Das Wunder der Heliane? Oh, I forgot — opera is a "cop out" genre.  ::)

The violin concerto may not be the most profound piece in the world, but music would be pretty unbearable if everything were as deep as the B Minor Mass.  ;)

Offline Wanderer

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5532
  • Quo non ascendam?
    • Il faut regarder la vie en farce
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #93 on: August 19, 2008, 04:16:05 AM »
oh, i've heard enough ...

Which works?

Are you saying that works like the piano concerto, the op.23 Suite or Die tote Stadt are "light and trite"?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 04:17:47 AM by Wanderer »

Offline sound67

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 710
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #94 on: August 19, 2008, 04:33:29 AM »
James, so just you know, is an prick. He tried to poison the thread on film music on the old board, too.

He knows NOTHING about film music and is just repeating old cliches. No old film score is even remotely as cliched as is his own tired routine.

Just disregard his postings. They're  worthless (see above).

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #95 on: August 19, 2008, 04:39:10 AM »
There's no practical reason why a wallpaper designer cannot create something of artistic worth . . . .

Sure, but the wallpaper designer is not an artist by virtue of his being a wallpaper designer;  there is a bundle of skills/discipline which remains to be acquired.

That's what Goldsmith meant when he said: Good film music must be good music first.

The best scores, a lot of which have now been mentioned, have withstood time not as mere film accompaniments, but as independent musical works. Many of Morricone's do too, they stand up eminently well on disc (some of his more modernist crime scores do not). So I have to disagree with you strongly on your sweeping judgement concerning Morricone's work.

Where exactly did I make any "sweeping judgement concerning Morricone's work," Thos?

Part of what tends to cloud such a discussion is the emotional attachment viewers have formed with The Film-Scorer.  Very well, you think highly of Morricone;  what I said, exactly, was:

Quote from: karlhenning
I don't know any of Morricone's concert works, so I cannot offer what I consider a fair answer to the question.  What I can say is, that at the Museum shop we have on offer two discs of anthologized Morricone film bits;  and neither of those discs is a "composition."

Which are two quite specific remarks.

I am similarly guarded about pop musicians, Thos;  not everyone who can write a really good three-minute song, is a composer.  Your average film scorer has a better tool-box and more refined skill than Barry Manilow.  But practically everyone here has actually missed my point:  that there is a mastery of large-scale artistic integrity and coherence which is a necessary component to composition in art.  And the ability to supply suitable (yea, even well-written) sonic stuff to accompany visual images, does not presuppose, guarantee, or substitute for, that mastery.

Offline sound67

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 710
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #96 on: August 19, 2008, 04:48:10 AM »
Which scores did these Morricone CDs contain, Karl?

Thomas
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #97 on: August 19, 2008, 05:06:40 AM »
Which scores did these Morricone CDs contain, Karl?

No entire score, in either case. It's the theme from this, the theme from that, Thos.

Actually, the only Morricone-scored film which I recall watching in its entirety, is Zeffirelli's Hamlet.  It's a good film, and the music serves it well (a couple of weird timbral choices IMO, but let that pass).  The score to that film is not a composition in the same sense that a Vaughan Williams symphony is, Thos (an idea with which, normally, I should have thought you would agree).

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #98 on: August 19, 2008, 05:10:48 AM »
Here are the two discs in the shop I'm talking about, Thos:

Ennio Morricone - Film Music, Vol. 1



Ennio Morricone - Film Music, Vol. 2


Kullervo

  • Guest
Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #99 on: August 19, 2008, 05:16:24 AM »
Was there, or will there ever be a film writer who creates stuff that compares to [...] Webern for instance?

There is Hans Werner Henze's score for Alain Resnais's Muriel ou le temps d'un retour.

Ligeti?

Per Nørgård's score for Babettes gæstebud.

And don't forget the numerous film scores by Tōru Takemitsu.