Author Topic: Film (movie) Music  (Read 210427 times)

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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1400 on: August 28, 2021, 10:01:56 PM »
I disagree with you.  This is just a personal approach to interpretation that favors the gravity of the work rather than the levity and in some music that works brilliantly.  So compare Elgar's Nimrod and you'll claim Bernstein's BBC Symphony recording is sacrilege because it is so slow but to me, this is my favorite.  Yes, it's probably more Germanic (Wagner/Mahler) than English but it damn well works emotionally.  So there are interpretations.  I love Walter Weller's unorthodox Prokofiev cycle because it is more German.  That doesn't mean it's the only version I like, just that he brings out something unique to the music I don't often hear and there is room for that.  Herrmann was a fantastic conductor but he tended towards the gravity of the music and thought was wonderful when appropriate.  To me, some of this music earns it and that makes his conducting uniquely qualified to deliver that style of interpretation.

Normally I would agree with you both about the valid range of expressive intent and interpretative style and also about Herrmann's certain genius.  But with this specific disc something feels wrong.  It not got gravitas its leaden and glum, the phrases sag in the middle, it sounds effortful - it is just odd!  Also I would say that with film music we know with absolute certainty what is being illustrated and how it was done originally.  I'm not saying every further performance should slavishly re-create the original soundtrack but I also think it is wrong to add two minutes to a piece of music that should take 7.  That overly distorts the original intent - scherzos are not played as slow movements.....

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1401 on: August 28, 2021, 11:58:54 PM »
I first came to know many of those British film scores through Herrmann's Phase 4 LP, which got played repeatedly when it first came out. I was unaware of alternative versions, or the original films for that matter, and therefore simply enjoyed the music that was in front of me. I'm with relm1 over Weller's Prokofiev cycle. My main objection to Herrmann's 'Things to Come' is that, like too many other versions (Naxos for example) he misses out my favourite section 'Machines' (relm1 and I have communicated about this before); this, for me, is a far more serious problem than the tempo variations (especially as Bliss himself included it in his own recording - I think that it was arrogant for others to leave it out). I remember when the 'Forgotten Records' CD of Sauguet's magnificent Symphony No.1 'Expiatoire' appeared a reviewer told us to throw the (much slower) Marco Polo recording away; however, I'm very glad to have both versions and find it interesting to hear different takes on my favourite music. Malcolm Arnold's recording of his own First Symphony is also much slower than any other recording, yet it remains my favourite version, much as I admire Hickox's much faster version, for example.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2021, 12:02:15 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 Roasted Swan

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1402 on: September 08, 2021, 10:56:01 PM »
I caught up yesterday with the BBC Concert Orchestra's "Britsh Film Music" Prom (in the UK the entire Prom season can be streamed until October I think).  I had really high hopes for this Prom - interesting music getting a deserved outing with an orchestra who have this repertoire in their bones.  But I have to say I was rather disappointed - it was certainly "OK" but somehow the playing and the interpretations felt a bit under-cooked.  Perhaps we've been spoilt by the brilliance sonically and technically of (say) the Chandos/Alwyn discs but here the excerpts from Odd Man Out felt almost flat.  Likewise the Walton Escape me Never Suite. 

I also find trotting out the St, Trinians suite and then having sanctioned "high jinks" - percussion wearing straw hats and pigtails and throwing paper balls at each other really laboured and too much like Classical Music trying to prove they like having a jolly japey time.  Still worth a listen for a couple of rarities but not the BBC CO's finest hour.

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1403 on: September 09, 2021, 02:15:38 AM »

I also find trotting out the St, Trinians suite and then having sanctioned "high jinks" - percussion wearing straw hats and pigtails and throwing paper balls at each other really laboured and too much like Classical Music trying to prove they like having a jolly japey time.  Still worth a listen for a couple of rarities but not the BBC CO's finest hour.

I do hate the dumbing down of things for popular appeal by trying to make things attractive to the kool kidz. 'Look! We're not stuffy or boring. Honest. We have lots of fun. See my funny hat and silly string! You can Insta us'

Wtf. 

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1404 on: September 09, 2021, 02:26:10 AM »
I do hate the dumbing down of things for popular appeal by trying to make things attractive to the kool kidz. 'Look! We're not stuffy or boring. Honest. We have lots of fun. See my funny hat and silly string! You can Insta us'

Wtf.

Exactly - you put that a lot better than me!!  On a slight tangent - I think genuine humour in music (of any genre) is about the most elusive thing.  Putting aside comedy songs - where the humour resides in the lyric and comedy performances (Victor Borge et al) where the humour is in what/how the performer does whatever, "funny music" is almost non-existant.  Witty, joyful, light-hearted, buoyant absolutely but laugh out loud funny almost never.  Humour relies on 2 main things - the unexpected and the timing.  Unless its the first time you hear something its not unexpected and the requirements of musical cohesion precludes the 2nd.

This is where my theory is completely shown to be misguided and wrong with dozens of examples of genuine hilarity........

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1405 on: September 09, 2021, 03:26:05 AM »
Exactly - you put that a lot better than me!!  On a slight tangent - I think genuine humour in music (of any genre) is about the most elusive thing.  Putting aside comedy songs - where the humour resides in the lyric and comedy performances (Victor Borge et al) where the humour is in what/how the performer does whatever, "funny music" is almost non-existant.  Witty, joyful, light-hearted, buoyant absolutely but laugh out loud funny almost never.  Humour relies on 2 main things - the unexpected and the timing.  Unless its the first time you hear something its not unexpected and the requirements of musical cohesion precludes the 2nd.

This is where my theory is completely shown to be misguided and wrong with dozens of examples of genuine hilarity........

I agree wholeheartedly. There are lots of attractive and engaging pieces for the uninitiated to enjoy. Lots of legitimately approachable works that draw in inexperienced listeners. My difficulty comes when serious music is trivialised for the sake of popularity. I remember a C20th preacher in London talking about attracting people to Christianity - different subject matter, but the same principle in play - he reminded his people that if you have to put on a carnival to attract people, you end up having to put on carnivals to keep them. Classical music can be anything but serious at times, but it is what it is. Usually serious and requiring greater attention span than the average pop song. If you want show tunes and oompah comedy, then that can be found and can be a good way in to light classical and even a gateway to far more, but bread and circuses only leads to more bread and circuses.

YMMV.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1406 on: September 13, 2021, 06:06:35 AM »
I was severely lacking John Williams soundtracks in my collection with the notable exception of the first three Star Wars films, but here’s what I bought:



I also bought these two box sets:

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1407 on: September 13, 2021, 08:11:59 AM »
I was severely lacking John Williams soundtracks in my collection with the notable exception of the first three Star Wars films, but here’s what I bought:



I also bought these two box sets:


A great selection. 'Saving Private Ryan' is one of my favourite John Williams soundtracks.
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1408 on: September 13, 2021, 08:22:37 AM »
A great selection. 'Saving Private Ryan' is one of my favourite John Williams soundtracks.

Great to read, Jeffrey. I need to check out Saving Private Ryan. I already own quite a bit from Jerry Goldsmith and Ennio Morricone, so Williams scores were next on my list.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1409 on: September 13, 2021, 03:56:40 PM »
NP:

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - The Complete Recordings [Disc 1]



Make no mistake, this is a masterful score. Howard Shore did a remarkable job composing these works. I haven’t heard his Hobbit trilogy scores yet (they’re still in their plastic wrap) as I seem to not be able to move past The Lord of the Rings.
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Offline relm1

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1410 on: September 13, 2021, 04:30:44 PM »
John Williams doesn't get anywhere near enough love.  He is why the movies he scores are great.   This is an example of absolutely perfect music that tells the story in a great film by the way.  Please watch first then I'll explain why it's a masterpiece of scoring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC3CRqnkIhs

It really is a fantastic film and the first of Spielberg's mature phase. The film is full of subtext and fantastic John Williams score is full of subtext. It is less "on the nose" but closer to the true meaning of a thought, idea, or feeling.  Perfect example, Saving Private Ryan does not score battles.  It doesn't score what is happening.  It scores moods and feelings only, not action nor events.  I love that score too.  The Empire of the Sun scene I posted above is one of the most sublime and beautiful examples of subtext in film.   This scene is just one of the best Spielberg has ever shot (shout out to the exceptional cinematography from the late Allen Daviau who also did E.T.).

The context is an English boy in a prisoner camp who is separated from his family during WWII.  He has a life long obsession with flight.  The film never states this but shows it throughout.  Here in the midst of the labor camp he approaches the Japanese zeros as the pilots prepare for what we as audiences know will be a Kamikaze mission (which the film never states but we know through the lens of history that they just performed their final toast before flying to their deaths).  The sound design fades out and we hear no sound of troops, construction, etc., we just hear what the boy feels.  Beauty, majesty, freedom, and joy and the spirit of flight.  The guard takes aim at the boy and rather than scoring the scene (danger music), since the boy is oblivious to the soldier yelling and pointing a gun, we don't hear any of this.  At 0:58, the soldier sees the pilots which the guard too regards as on a different level of heroics.  They stand with the rising sun (symbol of Japan military) behind them as the pilots and boy salute each other because they share the divine aviators spirit though are on opposite sides in a war.  The soldiers salute the prisoner as the music swells. All of this is told without a word.  JW is brilliant at subtext.  Also important, this is probably the first time we hear a big theme in the film, maybe 90 minutes in.  Part of the story telling of music.  It is an incredibly powerful moment in the film because after barely any really themes we finally hear this heartache of music and it isn't about fear or sorrow but awe and inspiration of flight.  Truly powerful stuff. 
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 04:43:15 PM by relm1 »

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1411 on: September 13, 2021, 10:02:35 PM »
John Williams doesn't get anywhere near enough love.  He is why the movies he scores are great.   This is an example of absolutely perfect music that tells the story in a great film by the way.  Please watch first then I'll explain why it's a masterpiece of scoring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC3CRqnkIhs

It really is a fantastic film and the first of Spielberg's mature phase. The film is full of subtext and fantastic John Williams score is full of subtext. It is less "on the nose" but closer to the true meaning of a thought, idea, or feeling.  Perfect example, Saving Private Ryan does not score battles.  It doesn't score what is happening.  It scores moods and feelings only, not action nor events.  I love that score too.  The Empire of the Sun scene I posted above is one of the most sublime and beautiful examples of subtext in film.   This scene is just one of the best Spielberg has ever shot (shout out to the exceptional cinematography from the late Allen Daviau who also did E.T.).

The context is an English boy in a prisoner camp who is separated from his family during WWII.  He has a life long obsession with flight.  The film never states this but shows it throughout.  Here in the midst of the labor camp he approaches the Japanese zeros as the pilots prepare for what we as audiences know will be a Kamikaze mission (which the film never states but we know through the lens of history that they just performed their final toast before flying to their deaths).  The sound design fades out and we hear no sound of troops, construction, etc., we just hear what the boy feels.  Beauty, majesty, freedom, and joy and the spirit of flight.  The guard takes aim at the boy and rather than scoring the scene (danger music), since the boy is oblivious to the soldier yelling and pointing a gun, we don't hear any of this.  At 0:58, the soldier sees the pilots which the guard too regards as on a different level of heroics.  They stand with the rising sun (symbol of Japan military) behind them as the pilots and boy salute each other because they share the divine aviators spirit though are on opposite sides in a war.  The soldiers salute the prisoner as the music swells. All of this is told without a word.  JW is brilliant at subtext.  Also important, this is probably the first time we hear a big theme in the film, maybe 90 minutes in.  Part of the story telling of music.  It is an incredibly powerful moment in the film because after barely any really themes we finally hear this heartache of music and it isn't about fear or sorrow but awe and inspiration of flight.  Truly powerful stuff.

Great post - thankyou for articulating that so well!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1412 on: September 14, 2021, 01:42:28 AM »
Great post - thankyou for articulating that so well!
+1 I found your comment about mood painting in 'Saving Private Ryan' to be very interesting and very true.
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1413 on: September 14, 2021, 05:37:47 AM »
John Williams doesn't get anywhere near enough love.  He is why the movies he scores are great.   This is an example of absolutely perfect music that tells the story in a great film by the way.  Please watch first then I'll explain why it's a masterpiece of scoring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC3CRqnkIhs

It really is a fantastic film and the first of Spielberg's mature phase. The film is full of subtext and fantastic John Williams score is full of subtext. It is less "on the nose" but closer to the true meaning of a thought, idea, or feeling.  Perfect example, Saving Private Ryan does not score battles.  It doesn't score what is happening.  It scores moods and feelings only, not action nor events.  I love that score too.  The Empire of the Sun scene I posted above is one of the most sublime and beautiful examples of subtext in film.   This scene is just one of the best Spielberg has ever shot (shout out to the exceptional cinematography from the late Allen Daviau who also did E.T.).

The context is an English boy in a prisoner camp who is separated from his family during WWII.  He has a life long obsession with flight.  The film never states this but shows it throughout.  Here in the midst of the labor camp he approaches the Japanese zeros as the pilots prepare for what we as audiences know will be a Kamikaze mission (which the film never states but we know through the lens of history that they just performed their final toast before flying to their deaths).  The sound design fades out and we hear no sound of troops, construction, etc., we just hear what the boy feels.  Beauty, majesty, freedom, and joy and the spirit of flight.  The guard takes aim at the boy and rather than scoring the scene (danger music), since the boy is oblivious to the soldier yelling and pointing a gun, we don't hear any of this.  At 0:58, the soldier sees the pilots which the guard too regards as on a different level of heroics.  They stand with the rising sun (symbol of Japan military) behind them as the pilots and boy salute each other because they share the divine aviators spirit though are on opposite sides in a war.  The soldiers salute the prisoner as the music swells. All of this is told without a word.  JW is brilliant at subtext.  Also important, this is probably the first time we hear a big theme in the film, maybe 90 minutes in.  Part of the story telling of music.  It is an incredibly powerful moment in the film because after barely any really themes we finally hear this heartache of music and it isn't about fear or sorrow but awe and inspiration of flight.  Truly powerful stuff.

I used to have much ambivalence towards John Williams, but in recent years I’ve come to enjoy what he does --- compose great film music (I haven’t heard any of his serious concert works). I also cannot ignore that as somewhat of a film buff early on that his music has been a part of my life. I think this post shows that he’s an original voice in the medium he chose to write in and that he does have his own unmistakable style. You are certainly correct in a lot of what you wrote and Williams does tell a wonderful musical narrative with or without the film and that’s saying a lot.
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Offline relm1

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1414 on: September 14, 2021, 04:27:50 PM »
Just listen to how evocative and gorgeous this is:
The Return to the City  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scP3DGhkVa0

This is exceptional film music and could be concert music from so many great 20th century composers.  I would imagine anyone hearing this music without the film can just imagine exactly what was happening, what the drama was.  Just exceptional.  This is NOT the sort of music John Williams is famous for, those big themes.  This is something that he composes for those lesser scenes that for me at least, end up being some of the more memorable moments. 

But then, you also get something like this from him:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FyCy5INAMU&list=RD1FyCy5INAMU&start_radio=1
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 04:31:28 PM by relm1 »

Offline Roy Bland

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1415 on: October 05, 2021, 06:16:37 PM »
Great movie on Napoli's revolt of 1943 by Rustichelli
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVg1s8rtHSQ

Offline relm1

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1416 on: October 06, 2021, 06:12:41 AM »
Great to read, Jeffrey. I need to check out Saving Private Ryan. I already own quite a bit from Jerry Goldsmith and Ennio Morricone, so Williams scores were next on my list.

If you are able to add these, you will enjoy them as well.
Empire of the Sun (the expanded full score): https://lalalandrecords.com/empire-of-the-sun-limited-edition-2-cd-set/
Harry Potter (JW did the first three films and the music is exceptional.  I'm talking about the material after the main theme, it's of such consistently high quality and very thorough).  Again, I prefer the expanded releases because the OSTs tend to focus on the hummable themes rather than the dramatic underscore.  To get a greater appreciation of JW, listen to the work in entirety where you gain a better understanding of his structural and developmental quality.  For example, in Close Encounters - probably the single greatest of his scores - is a very slow transition from Ligeti/Penderecki fear gradually transforms to wonder to impressionism and finally downright awe and wonder.  A great, great example of darkness to light so best to get the full OST to hear this gradual unfolding.  Something we almost rarely get in modern scoring because films being digitally edited get edited considerably until the last moments so the composer might only get scenes to score and then suddenly that scene they scored that was originally at the end gets dropped or chopped or moved to the start based on audience screenings and producer feedback.  In the old days, films were locked as editing and film where complex to manipulate so the composer only got involved when editing was done. 

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1417 on: October 06, 2021, 06:15:32 AM »
Great movie on Napoli's revolt of 1943 by Rustichelli
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVg1s8rtHSQ

Looks interesting, Roy.
Do you happen to know an Italian director Francesco Rosi?
I like his works and also Luchino Visconti.

Offline Roy Bland

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1418 on: October 06, 2021, 07:53:46 AM »
Looks interesting, Roy.
Do you happen to know an Italian director Francesco Rosi?
I like his works and also Luchino Visconti.
Surely i know Francesco Rosi his movie version of Carmen with Domingo was a event

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhzw1G5M9Ms

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Film (movie) Music
« Reply #1419 on: October 06, 2021, 02:01:44 PM »
Surely i know Francesco Rosi his movie version of Carmen with Domingo was a event

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhzw1G5M9Ms

That’s a good movie! I also like Eboli and Chronicle of a Death Foretold as well.