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Film music
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Dinora
2010-02-14 13:26:14 UTC
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Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly some
newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than the usual
Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical pieces?
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-14 16:50:15 UTC
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Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly
some newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than
the usual Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical
pieces?
The Hollywood film score has suffered a terrible decline over the past 20
years. The basic problem is that composers are largely writing "all music,
all the time" scores, with 75% or more of the running time musically backed.
This isn't new; that grand master of excess scoring, Max Steiner, was
criticized for it during his life. * The first movie I remember with "too
much" music was "Conehead the Barbiturate", scored by Basil Pouledoris. As I
walked out of the theater, a woman's comment to her boyfriend mirrored my
own thoughts -- "I've never seen a movie with so much music."

The question is... Why?

Bernard Herrmann laid down a number of rules about film scoring. Only one of
them is invalid -- "The music should make an emotional connection between
the audience and what's happening on the screen." -- but it helps us
understand the current musical excess.

In my view, there are two broad schools of directing -- American and
European. American directing has traditionally been in-your-face, with
intense involvement with the story and characters. European directing has
usually been cooler, with less-explicit involvement. ** For reasons I don't
understand, American directing has been moving in the direction of European,
with an increasingly cool and even "detached" approach. Martin Scorsese's
work gives a good example: "The Departed" is a much less immediately
involving film than "GoodFellas" (to the extent that Jack Nicholson's
typically emphatic performance looks quite out of place), though they're
separated by only 16 years.

As films have gotten increasingly "distant" and even "affectless" (at least
compared to the way they used to be made), film composers appear to have
been "filling in the blanks" by trying to enhance the weaker emotions of the
films. An emotionally intense movie -- especially a drama -- doesn't need a
lot of music.

"Lord of the Rings" is an excellent example. The story has little dramatic
content or thrust. So is it much of a surprise that Howard Shore
(over)loaded it with music? These films are nearly buried under the weight
of their spectacle and special effects; Howard had to do /something/ --
though he might have done it better with less and more-intense music. (I've
wondered why he created his own Ring motive, when he could have stolen from
Wagner.)

Contrariwise, consider the 1974 TV movie, "The Execution of Private Slovik".
Other than source music, it has no score whatever. It doesn't need it. It's
so well-written, directed, and acted, that the connection between the screen
and the audience is made /without/ a composer's intervention.

Once upon a time, music was present because it was needed for some good
reason. The almost steady "drone" of modern scores reveals how unimportant
they are. Herrmann used to sit in on the final mix and raise the faders to
increase the level of his music! (Really. I don't know he got away with it.)
One cannot imagine any current composer doing that, as there is so rarely
anything in the music worth drawing the viewer's attention to.

Bernard Herrmann remains the emperor of film scoring. Other composers have
matched him with particular films (Goldsmith and Elfman come to mind), but
no composer has come remotely close to the consistent high quality of his
scores. *** More than any other composer, Herrmann's scores are repeatedly
praised for /greatly/ enhancing their films. For many of Herrmann's scores,
it is impossible to /imagine/ the film without his score. To cite one
example... Robert Wise, who knew Herrmann when both worked on "Citizen
Kane", wanted Herrmann to score "The Day the Earth Stood Still", because he
knew it would be good. He later said he had no idea just /how/ good it would
be. Herrmann's music "makes" this film; one cannot imagine the film without
it.

It would be reasonable to say that the best film scores can stand comparison
with good classical music. (And God knows, enough film composers --
including Herrmann -- have stolen from classical composers. The "Mad House"
theme in "Psycho" is lifted directly from Bartok's "Music for Strings,
Percussion, & Celeste".) If film music achieves its intended effect --
usually of enhancing the audience's emotional reaction to the film, and in
some cases creating it outright -- then it can be considered "good" music.

(Before someone objects "You don't like program music!", I will say that
film scoring is closer to opera.)

It's easy to write bad film scores. Frank De Vol's for "What Ever Happened
to Baby Jane?" should be a warning to anyone who thinks Mickey-Mousing is a
good way to write a score. Amazingly, his terrible score doesn't seem to
hurt the film -- but one wonders what it might have been like with a
Goldsmith or Herrmann score. And then there's Hans Salter's loud, noisy,
raucous, noisy, stupid, noisy, idiotic -- did I say noisy? -- score for
"Ghost of Frankenstein". (It's particularly ironic, as the previous film in
the series, "Bride of Frankenstein", has one of the all-time-great scores,
from Franz Waxman. Still a classic.)

But the very worst score I've yet heard comes from John Williams' declining
years (which started ca. 1980). His music for "Jurassic Park" ignores
another Herrmann dictum, that music should supply what the director cannot
or will not show on the screen. Spielberg gave Williams the perfect
opportunity, with a PG-13 film that should have been gory enough to garner
an R. Instead, we get a lot of brass fanfares and uninspired "cookie cutter"
filler that does little to enhance the visuals. In short, Williams had the
opportunity to terrorize the audience, but did nothing, instead churning out
a score he could have written in his sleep (and probably did).

Perhaps I should add that my least-favorite composer is Miklos Rosza. Most
of his film scores sound like a bunch of notes jumbled together, without
motive (in both senses of the word) or direction. He reminds me of Max
RegeR, whose music seems to have no apparent "polarity" -- is it being
played forwards or backwards? And at least one of Rosza's scores -- "King of
Kings" -- verges on the theatrically campy.

What comprises a good score is difficult to say. Unquestionably, the best
scores raise their films to a higher artistic level. Royal S. Brown, who
used to review film scores for "Fanfare", feels that a good score has to be
able to stand on its own, separate from the film. I'm not sure I agree, but
the best film composers are able to achieve both goals.

As for recent good scores, I can't think of many, because I don't go to the
movies much. Danny Elfman has been a major letdown, never living up to his
original promise ("Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", "Beetlejuice", "Batman"). As
with too many composers, he's fallen back on what he's done before. I've
seen the trailer for "Alice in Wonderland", and maybe, just maybe, Elfman
has gotten his groove back. There is no excuse for his not turning in a
really great score for a fantasy film of this sort.

The best score of the last five years is probably Gustavo Santaolalla's for
"Brokeback Mountain", precisely because there's so little of it. Most of the
music is atmosphere, not directly connected with the characters or their
situations. The guitar theme, which represents Ennis and Jack's emotionally
unconsummated relationship, is used sparingly. This is a fine example of a
film that /doesn't need/ music, because the actors say it all. Any attempt
to "play up" the drama with music would have only weakened the film, and
possibly have ruined it. Santaolalla had the good sense not to mess up a
good thing.

One reason dramas should be scored lightly (or not at all) is that the
music, contrary to Herrmann's view, /does not/ connect us with the emotion,
but dilutes or even obscures it. When the /music/ is telling us what to
feel, and how to feel it, we are /not/ directly experiencing it. ****

Of course, it's sometimes useful for the music to set the tone. I recently
got the Blu-ray of that great guilty pleasure, "Gremlins". Joe Dante tells
how, when Jerry Goldsmith played the "gremlin rag", he didn't know what to
think (apparently because he had not fully arrived at the understanding that
the film -- which had not started shooting -- would, however black, be a
comedy). Then he thought "This is Jerry Goldsmith! He knows what he's
doing." And he did. The humor of his score both complements and enhances the
film's nasty edge.


* Steiner was not only a believer in Leitmotivs (it's hard to write a film
score /without/ using them), but in Mickey-Mousing the screen action -- that
is, having the orchestra mimic or comment on what's happening. This worked
extremely well in Steiner's "King Kong" -- the first great film score for a
talkie -- but can be annoying if overused and/or not done well. At the end
of "Dark Victory", Bette Davis walks up a flight of stairs to die. She
commented: "Either I will walk up those stairs, or Mr. Steiner will walk up
those stairs, but not both of us." Unfortunately, Jack Warner paid no
attention to Ms. Davis's threat, and we are forced to hear the orchestra
follow Ms. Davis. It's fairly obvious that this moment would be far more
effective experienced in silence. To which point I will return later.

** Take, for example, "The Bicycle Thieves" (the correct translation of the
title). An American director would have really hit the audience hard,
perhaps even leaning in the direction of extreme sentimentality.

*** It should be noted that Herrmann wrote in the way Haydn recommended to
Beethoven -- small motivic chunks that are easily manipulated. Herrmann
could write long melodies, but they were not the bread and butter of his
scoring.

**** I'm working on a script for Jeff Bridges and Robert Duvall. In the
unlikely event it's ever produced, I will ask that it have no scoring
whatever.
Sol L. Siegel
2010-02-14 17:37:21 UTC
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Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly
some newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than
the usual Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical
pieces?
The two that jump to my mind in the past 40 years are both Francis
Coppola flicks: Bram Stoker's Dracula (Wojciech Kilar), a leitmotiv-
laden, post-romantic gem, and The Conversation (David Shire) - a spooky,
slow-jazz solo piano score composed, according to Walter Murch, before
shooting so that the actors could hear the music that would accompany
their scenes.

Disclosure: Amazon has the Conversation soundtrack, but it's $20 for 37
minutes of music, and I haven't yet given in to the temptation.
--
- Sol L. Siegel, Philadelphia, PA USA
Allen
2010-02-14 20:00:17 UTC
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Post by Sol L. Siegel
Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly
some newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than
the usual Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical
pieces?
The two that jump to my mind in the past 40 years are both Francis
Coppola flicks: Bram Stoker's Dracula (Wojciech Kilar), a leitmotiv-
laden, post-romantic gem, and The Conversation (David Shire) - a spooky,
slow-jazz solo piano score composed, according to Walter Murch, before
shooting so that the actors could hear the music that would accompany
their scenes.
Disclosure: Amazon has the Conversation soundtrack, but it's $20 for 37
minutes of music, and I haven't yet given in to the temptation.
Thanks for mentioning Kilar, a much underrated composer. I haven't seen
Dracula, but his music for the "color" movies is fine. In my opinion,
most contemporary film music is nothing more than sound effects. Where
are the Shostakoviches, the Prokofievs, the Schnittkes, the Revueltases,
the Honeggers (etc) hiding?
Allen
Kip Williams
2010-02-14 20:30:09 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
As for recent good scores, I can't think of many, because I don't go to the
movies much. Danny Elfman has been a major letdown, never living up to his
original promise ("Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", "Beetlejuice", "Batman"). As
with too many composers, he's fallen back on what he's done before. I've
seen the trailer for "Alice in Wonderland", and maybe, just maybe, Elfman
has gotten his groove back. There is no excuse for his not turning in a
really great score for a fantasy film of this sort.
Don't forget Elfman's first score, "Forbidden Zone." Good use of old
78s, and the "Squeezit the Moocher" scene has a great buildup to the
"Minnie the Moocher" tune.


Kip W
Mr. Mike
2010-02-14 22:20:43 UTC
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On Sun, 14 Feb 2010 08:50:15 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
Perhaps I should add that my least-favorite composer is Miklos Rosza.
What do you mean, your least favorite composer of anything, not just
film music?

You might learn to spell his name correctly...
wagnerfan
2010-02-14 23:06:42 UTC
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Post by Mr. Mike
On Sun, 14 Feb 2010 08:50:15 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
Perhaps I should add that my least-favorite composer is Miklos Rosza.
What do you mean, your least favorite composer of anything, not just
film music?
You might learn to spell his name correctly...
I think his score for 1940's The Thief of Baghdad is one of the great
scores. Wagner fan
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-14 23:44:22 UTC
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Post by Mr. Mike
Post by William Sommerwerck
Perhaps I should add that my least-favorite composer
is Miklos Rosza.
What do you mean, your least favorite composer of anything,
not just film music?
I don't care much for his concert music, but in the context, I meant film
music. He's often praised for his "lushly romantic" scores, which to me are
jumbles of notes. Perhaps his music (like RegeR's) is, to me, like certain
chemicals some people can't taste.

I forgot to mention Alan Menkin. His score for "The Little Mermaid" was just
about perfect for that film, and deserved the Oscar nomination it got. (It
also won.)
David Oberman
2010-02-15 07:42:59 UTC
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On Sun, 14 Feb 2010 15:44:22 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
I forgot to mention Alan Menkin. His score for "The Little Mermaid" was just
about perfect for that film, and deserved the Oscar nomination it got. (It
also won.)
Not familiar with this, but have you heard some of the film work of
Carlo Crivelli? He has done excellent work -- memorable work -- for
Bellocchio, including THE PRINCE OF HOMBURG.
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-15 11:16:37 UTC
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Post by David Oberman
On Sun, 14 Feb 2010 15:44:22 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
I forgot to mention Alan Menkin. His score for "The Little Mermaid"
was just about perfect for that film, and deserved the Oscar
nomination it got. (It also won.)
Not familiar with this, but have you heard some of the film work
of Carlo Crivelli? He has done excellent work -- memorable work
-- for Bellocchio, including THE PRINCE OF HOMBURG.
I know next to nothing about current European film-making. Would I make
myself look shallow or even stupid if I said I was surprised that you'd
never seen "The Little Mermaid"? It discards the metaphysics and (more or
less) unhappy ending of the Andersen original, but who cares? It's one of
Disney's best.
M forever
2010-02-14 23:24:46 UTC
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On Feb 14, 11:50 am, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly
some newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than
the usual Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical
pieces?
The Hollywood film score has suffered a terrible decline over the past 20
years. The basic problem is that composers are largely writing "all music,
all the time" scores, with 75% or more of the running time musically backed.
This isn't new; that grand master of excess scoring, Max Steiner, was
criticized for it during his life. * The first movie I remember with "too
much" music was "Conehead the Barbiturate", scored by Basil Pouledoris. As I
walked out of the theater, a woman's comment to her boyfriend mirrored my
own thoughts -- "I've never seen a movie with so much music."
The question is... Why?
As (nearly) always, Wikipedia has the answer:

Originally, producer Dino De Laurentiis had planned a soundtrack of
pop music for the movie, but was eventually persuaded by Milius to use
a full orchestral score. For this purpose, Milius hired the Greek-
American composer Basil Poledouris, a former classmate of his from the
film department at the University of Southern California, and assigned
him to make "a continuous musical drama." The result was a choral and
orchestral soundtrack that fills nearly every moment of the film, with
pronounced use of leitmotifs to portray mood and character.
David Oberman
2010-02-15 07:38:04 UTC
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On Sun, 14 Feb 2010 08:50:15 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
One reason dramas should be scored lightly (or not at all) is that the
music, contrary to Herrmann's view, /does not/ connect us with the emotion,
but dilutes or even obscures it. When the /music/ is telling us what to
feel, and how to feel it, we are /not/ directly experiencing it. ****
I really enjoyed your writeup, but I don't share your disagreement
with Herrmann here. I think that sometimes the music does indeed
connect me with the emotion -- in some cases even generates the
emotion. Two examples: Walton's nightmarish descending broken triads
underscoring Richard's private face with Buckingham in the scene in
Olivier's RICHARD III where Richard, with a shocking hand gesture,
brings Buckingham to the ground in front of him to kiss his ring; &
Steiner's dawning-recognition motive in the scene in NOW VOYAGER where
Davis tells her mom that she's "not afraid," & then suddenly looks off
into the distance, finding strength in the newfound recognition that
she really _isn't_ afraid.
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-14 18:34:27 UTC
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Dinora <***@gmail.com> appears to have caused the following letters to
be typed in news:cdedae39-73e0-4f68-b89b-
Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly some
newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than the usual
Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical pieces?
From the past, I'd start with Prokofiev's for "Alexander Nevsky" and Bliss'
for "Things to Come."

One that I'm looking forward to experiencing is Gottfried Huppertz' original
score for Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." Newsgroup readers in Europe will almost
certainly know, and those of us in the Americas might know, that another
restored version, this one containing nearly all of the formerly missing
footage, just premiered across Germany last night.

I imagine it will eventually have theatrical runs in the USA, and probably
ultimately a DVD release, but ARTE televised it, and it is thus trivially
available, having fallen off the back of a virtual truck, as it were.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-14 19:35:26 UTC
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
One that I'm looking forward to experiencing is Gottfried Huppertz'
original score for Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." Newsgroup readers in
Europe will almost certainly know, and those of us in the Americas
might know, that another restored version, this one containing nearly
all of the formerly missing footage, just premiered across Germany
last night.
The 12th, actually.

The Kino edition of just a few years ago included the Huppertz score, which
although highly derivative (Strauss, Wagner) is also very good.

The Kino was derived mostly from the camera negatives, and looked as if had
been filmed yesterday. (That's not a joke.) It's good enough for a Blu-ray
version. There will presumably be a BD version of the near-complete edition.
I've marked my Amazon account to be notified when it's released.
Dil
2010-02-15 22:38:27 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
One that I'm looking forward to experiencing is Gottfried Huppertz'
original score for Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." Newsgroup readers in
Europe will almost certainly know, and those of us in the Americas
might know, that another restored version, this one containing nearly
all of the formerly missing footage, just premiered across Germany
last night.
The 12th, actually.
The Kino edition of just a few years ago included the Huppertz score, which
although highly derivative (Strauss, Wagner) is also very good.
The Kino was derived mostly from the camera negatives, and looked as if had
been filmed yesterday. (That's not a joke.) It's good enough for a Blu-ray
version. There will presumably be a BD version of the near-complete edition.
I've marked my Amazon account to be notified when it's released.
Yet another restored version? –Excellent.

Coincidently, just a few days ago, I watched that Kino DVD release of
Metropolis (billed as “The Ultimate Restored Version”) that runs
pretty long but through reading the leaflet that accompanied the
release, I understand there was about another half hour (or so) of
footage that was excised from the second original theatrical release
and subsequently lost. FWIR, the writer predicted it wouldn’t be
found. -Well, I guess they found it.

That Kino version, btw, does look outstanding. It’s clean and very
stable, with excellent definition. –However, I thought the commentary
was dull -offering more narration than commentary/annotation.

Dil.
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-16 01:43:11 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
One that I'm looking forward to experiencing is Gottfried Huppertz'
original score for Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." Newsgroup readers in
Europe will almost certainly know, and those of us in the Americas
might know, that another restored version, this one containing nearly
all of the formerly missing footage, just premiered across Germany
last night.
The 12th, actually.
The Kino edition of just a few years ago included the Huppertz score,
which although highly derivative (Strauss, Wagner) is also very good.
The Kino was derived mostly from the camera negatives, and looked as if
had been filmed yesterday. (That's not a joke.) It's good enough for a
Blu-ray version. There will presumably be a BD version of the
near-complete edition. I've marked my Amazon account to be notified
when it's released.
Yet another restored version? –Excellent.
Coincidently, just a few days ago, I watched that Kino DVD release of
Metropolis (billed as “The Ultimate Restored Version”) that runs pretty
long but through reading the leaflet that accompanied the release, I
understand there was about another half hour (or so) of footage that was
excised from the second original theatrical release and subsequently
lost. FWIR, the writer predicted it wouldn’t be found. -Well, I guess
they found it.
They did, in Argentina a couple of years ago. It was a 16mm copy of what
had been a 35mm copy (itself destroyed or lost) of the original which was
uncut but very dirty and scratched. They did what they could with it, and
even though the "new" portions show a lot of scratches, they are very much
worth having, because the film now has a coherent plot. The backstory
between Frederson and Rotwang actually makes sense, at that.
That Kino version, btw, does look outstanding. It’s clean and very
stable, with excellent definition. –However, I thought the commentary
was dull -offering more narration than commentary/annotation.
Well, get ready for this one, because I'm sure that anybody who is fond of
the film will want to see it. I wasn't a particular fan of it before; but
I am one now! And I very rarely rave about motion pictures.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Allen
2010-02-14 19:53:52 UTC
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
be typed in news:cdedae39-73e0-4f68-b89b-
Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly some
newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than the usual
Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical pieces?
From the past, I'd start with Prokofiev's for "Alexander Nevsky" and Bliss'
for "Things to Come."
One that I'm looking forward to experiencing is Gottfried Huppertz' original
score for Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." Newsgroup readers in Europe will almost
certainly know, and those of us in the Americas might know, that another
restored version, this one containing nearly all of the formerly missing
footage, just premiered across Germany last night.
I imagine it will eventually have theatrical runs in the USA, and probably
ultimately a DVD release, but ARTE televised it, and it is thus trivially
available, having fallen off the back of a virtual truck, as it were.
Nevsky has to be at or near the top. In my opinion, taking the music
away leaves the movie nothing much more than the Saturday afternoon
westerns that were rampant when I was a child and youth--not nearly as
strong as some of Eisenstein's other films. Ever since I heard Trmis's
Curse Upon Iron I've wished that he would write an alternative score for
it--he might be able to eclipse the holy.
Allen
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-14 20:21:54 UTC
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Post by Allen
Nevsky has to be at or near the top.
There's an excellent performance on a multi-ch SACD disk.
number_six
2010-02-14 20:33:45 UTC
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I agree with Sol re Shire's spare but extremely effective score for
The Conversation and with William re Bernard Herrmann; The Devil and
Daniel Webster, Fahrenheit 451 are also among his gems. Antheil did
some good scores.

Awhile back I posted some of these favorites in an OT thread in
another group, so I can just paste and augment with a few more of my
personal favorites --

Arnold - Bridge on the River Kwai
Barry - Diamonds are Forever
Barry - The Ipcress File
Bonfa - Orfeu Negru
Delerue - Contempt (Le Mepris)
Glass - Koyaanisqatsi
Glass - Kundun
Jarre - Dr Zhivago
Jarre - A Passage to India
Mancini - The Great Race
Mancini - The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again
Morricone - The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Morricone - Once Upon A Time in America
Morricone - Once Upon A Time in the West
Nyman - The Draughtsman's Contract
Olivieri /Ortolani - Mondo Cane
Popol Vuh - Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes
Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky
Rota - The Godfather
Shire - The Conversation
Theodorakis - Z
Thomson - The Plow That Broke the Plains
Andrej Kluge
2010-02-14 22:43:01 UTC
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Hi,
Post by number_six
Awhile back I posted some of these favorites in an OT thread in
another group, so I can just paste and augment with a few more of my
personal favorites --
(sorry for snipping your list)

That reminds me: yesterday, I saw for the first time "The Piano" (*). A
great movie, no doubt, but what irritated me was the music she was actually
playing on her piano. I would have expected something more familiar (and
something that probably would have been more familiar to the people in that
movie too), but instead she kept playing music by a certain Michael Nyman of
whom I have never heard before. I looked him up at IMDB and found that he
supplied a number of soundtracks to other films, but why on earth would a
late 19th / early 20th century pianist play something so clearly out of
place? (at least so it sounded to me). Why not Brahms, Chopin, Beethoven,
Liszt etc.?

Ciao
AK


(*) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107822/
MiNe 109
2010-02-14 23:19:11 UTC
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Post by Andrej Kluge
Hi,
Post by number_six
Awhile back I posted some of these favorites in an OT thread in
another group, so I can just paste and augment with a few more of my
personal favorites --
(sorry for snipping your list)
That reminds me: yesterday, I saw for the first time "The Piano" (*). A
great movie, no doubt, but what irritated me was the music she was actually
playing on her piano. I would have expected something more familiar (and
something that probably would have been more familiar to the people in that
movie too), but instead she kept playing music by a certain Michael Nyman of
whom I have never heard before. I looked him up at IMDB and found that he
supplied a number of soundtracks to other films, but why on earth would a
late 19th / early 20th century pianist play something so clearly out of
place? (at least so it sounded to me). Why not Brahms, Chopin, Beethoven,
Liszt etc.?
How about "A Maiden's Prayer" or "The Lost Chord"?

Stephen
number_six
2010-02-15 00:16:36 UTC
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Post by Andrej Kluge
Hi,
Post by number_six
Awhile back I posted some of these favorites in an OT thread in
another group, so I can just paste and augment with a few more of my
personal favorites --
(sorry for snipping your list)
That reminds me: yesterday, I saw for the first time "The Piano" (*). A
great movie, no doubt, but what irritated me was the music she was actually
playing on her piano. I would have expected something more familiar (and
something that probably would have been more familiar to the people in that
movie too), but instead she kept playing music by a certain Michael Nyman of
whom I have never heard before. I looked him up at IMDB and found that he
supplied a number of soundtracks to other films, but why on earth would a
late 19th / early 20th century pianist play something so clearly out of
place? (at least so it sounded to me). Why not Brahms, Chopin, Beethoven,
Liszt etc.?
Ciao
AK
(*)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107822/
Re The Piano, I did not think that was one of Nyman's better efforts.
Sometimes anachronistic music works well -- say, the Schubert in Barry
Lyndon; other times it can flop badly.

To hear Nyman's best film music, I'd suggest The Draughtsman's
Contract, The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and Her Lover, or a Zed and
Two Noughts. But the filmmaker behind these flicks -- Peter Greenaway
-- has a nasty, brutish, stylized approach, not to all tastes, and far
less to my own taste than a decade ago.

Here's a link to the Nyman band playing "In re Don Giovanni" -- if
this does not grab you, you won't like the rest of his output either!


Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-15 15:33:46 UTC
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number_six <***@hotmail.com> appears to have caused the following
letters to be typed in news:20ca5d16-59f0-48ed-ad6f-
Post by number_six
Re The Piano, I did not think that was one of Nyman's better efforts.
Sometimes anachronistic music works well -- say, the Schubert in Barry
Lyndon; other times it can flop badly.
In the latter category I would place the snippet of Mozart's Requiem in
"Elizabeth": wrong in so many ways.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
wagnerfan
2010-02-14 20:44:52 UTC
Reply
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Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Allen
Nevsky has to be at or near the top.
There's an excellent performance on a multi-ch SACD disk.
What should be issued on DVD (I transferred it myself) is the RCA
video issue of some years where the remastered video was allied to a
new and excellent recording of the score conducted by Temirkanov -
watching this tremendous film with the score coming out of the
speakers in full stereo is a thrilling experience. Wagner fan (and
they should do the same with Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete whose score
by Auric has a gorgeous recording on Naxos)
JAC
2010-02-14 21:09:24 UTC
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Permalink
I thank those who have contributed so knowledgeably on this topic.
From Grover Gardner's list, I am especially fond of Korngold, Raksin,
and Alex North. The latter kept producing marvelous work in many
styles over a long career -- consider the range shown by DEATH OF A
SALESMAN, STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, THE RAINMAKER, SPARTACUS, CLEOPATRA,
and DRAGONSLAYER. (Not to mention the rejected score for 2001.)

It's true that one sometimes fantasizes about "a Goldsmith or Herrmann
score" for an ineptly scored job (and they don't, alas, come much more
ham-handed than Frank DeVol). But even the masters can misstep, as I
think Jerry Goldsmith did with THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL. His idea for it
-- showing the breakdown of Germanic culture by giving us a Viennese
waltz that decays (like what Mahler did with popular materials) --
sounds plausible. But the aural result is to add another layer of
campy excess to an already preposterous movie, as we watch the
dramatic events unfold to an incessant oom-pah-pah.

(By contrast, Richard Rodney Bennett used the kitsch factor of a
sugary waltz for just the right value in his music for MURDER ON THE
ORIENT EXPRESS. There, they mean us to smile as the train waltzes out
of the station, and it fits this kind of all-star romp.)

Of present-day composers, one name I'd mention is Michael Giacchino,
who hit the mark beautifully just last year in UP. A simple piano
waltz carries considerable emotional importance without getting
overblown.
Mr. Mike
2010-02-14 22:46:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sun, 14 Feb 2010 13:09:24 -0800 (PST), JAC
Post by JAC
But even the masters can misstep, as I
think Jerry Goldsmith did with THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL. His idea for it
-- showing the breakdown of Germanic culture by giving us a Viennese
waltz that decays (like what Mahler did with popular materials) --
sounds plausible. But the aural result is to add another layer of
campy excess to an already preposterous movie, as we watch the
dramatic events unfold to an incessant oom-pah-pah.
Goldsmith's score for this film is brilliant (it was issued a while
back by Intrada in a two-CD set). I've never understood why people
totally overlook any connection between this music and that of Richard
Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.
JAC
2010-02-15 03:55:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Feb 14, 5:46 pm, Mr. Mike <***@spamcop.net> wrote:

[The Boys from Brazil]
Post by Mr. Mike
Goldsmith's score for this film is brilliant (it was issued a while
back by Intrada in a two-CD set). I've never understood why people
totally overlook any connection between this music and that of Richard
Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.
I haven't overlooked it -- it was one of the first things that
occurred to me when I saw the movie (though I happened not to mention
it in my previous reply). But it doesn't make the score any more
appropriate to my ears. I understand the rationale for the conceit, I
just don't think it comes off. I know others do.

JAC
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-14 23:39:58 UTC
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Post by JAC
Of present-day composers, one name I'd mention is Michael
Giacchino, who hit the mark beautifully just last year in UP.
A simple piano waltz carries considerable emotional importance
without getting overblown.
I'd forgotten about Giacchino. He isn't quite at the Herrmann/Goldsmith
level, but his scores are awfully good, "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille",
especially.
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-15 15:33:47 UTC
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wagnerfan <***@comcast.net> appears to have caused the following
letters to be typed in news:fd972543-9a30-49c3-84c0-
What should be issued on DVD (I transferred it myself) is the RCA video
issue of some years where the remastered video was allied to a new and
excellent recording of the score conducted by Temirkanov - watching this
tremendous film with the score coming out of the speakers in full stereo is
a thrilling experience.
I agree completely. So far as I'm aware, it was issued on VHS and LaserDisc,
but no DVD yet.
Wagner fan (and they should do the same with Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete
whose score by Auric has a gorgeous recording on Naxos)
Which reminds me that I refuse to buy certain releases of "La Belle et la
Bete" or the 1931 "Dracula" because of the presence of Philip Glass' music.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Christopher Webber
2010-02-15 16:02:41 UTC
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Which reminds me that I refuse to buy certain releases of "La Belle et
la Bete" or the 1931 "Dracula" because of the presence of Philip Glass'
music.
The only release I know of "La Belle et la Bete" which contains the
Philip Glass opera version is the Criterion R1 DVD. It does so only as a
(to my mind highly desirable) extra, so you shouldn't spurn it on that
count.

Of course it is simply not possible to replace the original Auric score
with the Glass because he operaticizes the whole caboodle, dialogue and
all. So you do get the Auric, beautifully restored as the picture
itself, as the main meat of the offering.

All of which makes this a must-buy even for nelophobes.

(Goodness, I've ALWAYS wanted to find the opportunity to use that
word!!!)

----------------
[And alas, I add my voice to everyone who's bewailed RCA's astounding
failure to remaster the Temirkanov "Alexander Nevsky" score remake from
VHS to DVD. The original film soundtrack, even on the Criterion and
recent European issues, sounds appallingly crumbly and spoils the
experience once you've heard the Temirkanov recension.]
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-15 17:01:44 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Which reminds me that I refuse to buy certain releases of "La Belle et
la Bete" or the 1931 "Dracula" because of the presence of Philip Glass'
music.
The only release I know of "La Belle et la Bete" which contains the
Philip Glass opera version is the Criterion R1 DVD. It does so only as a
(to my mind highly desirable) extra, so you shouldn't spurn it on that
count.
Of course it is simply not possible to replace the original Auric score
with the Glass because he operaticizes the whole caboodle, dialogue and
all. So you do get the Auric, beautifully restored as the picture
itself, as the main meat of the offering.
Well, of course; but I have to listen to and/or watch everything in my
collection at least once. I suppose I could lie back and think of France.
Post by Christopher Webber
All of which makes this a must-buy even for nelophobes.
(Goodness, I've ALWAYS wanted to find the opportunity to use that
word!!!)
All right, Christopher, you've been vitreous today. Er, I mean virtuous.
Post by Christopher Webber
----------------
[And alas, I add my voice to everyone who's bewailed RCA's astounding
failure to remaster the Temirkanov "Alexander Nevsky" score remake from
VHS to DVD. The original film soundtrack, even on the Criterion and
recent European issues, sounds appallingly crumbly and spoils the
experience once you've heard the Temirkanov recension.]
We are in total agreement there!
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-15 17:08:27 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
All of which makes this a must-buy even for nelophobes.
One might also choose "hippophobes".
Christopher Webber
2010-02-15 17:14:43 UTC
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Well, of course; but I have to listen to and/or watch everything in my
collection at least once. I suppose I could lie back and think of France.
Do you even force yourself to watch those interminable, dribbling
"Director's Commentary" extras? I avoid them on the principle that
though Art may be Long, Life (and my temper) are Short.

Apparently in 1999 Stanley Kubrick was asked to provide some of these
burblings for a forthcoming DVD edition. "Over my dead body" came the
pithy reply. Alas, his veto was overridden in precisely that
circumstance. Some critic or other determinedly provided the wretched
things after Kubrick's demise a week or two later.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-15 17:49:08 UTC
Reply
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Well, of course; but I have to listen to and/or watch everything
in my collection at least once. I suppose I could lie back and
think of France.
Do you even force yourself to watch those interminable, dribbling
"Director's Commentary" extras? I avoid them on the principle that
though Art may be Long, Life (and my temper) are Short.
They are often unfocused/rambling and self-indulgent. "Deliverance" has a
very informative one. "Gremlins" has two, both of them good. And some are
downright outstanding. You won't believe this, but the best running
commentary (from someone who participated in making the picture) I've ever
heard was for... "Flesh Gordon". Really.
Post by Christopher Webber
Apparently in 1999 Stanley Kubrick was asked to provide some
of these burblings for a forthcoming DVD edition. "Over my dead
body" came the pithy reply. Alas, his veto was overridden in precisely
that circumstance. Some critic or other determinedly provided the
wretched things after Kubrick's demise a week or two later.
The commentaries from film historians (eg, Rudy Behlmer) are often
worthwhile. And you're not /obliged/ to listen to them.

Kubrick's films are Great Works Of Art (I mean that both seriously and
sarcastically) that don't need running commentaries. Stephen Spielberg also
has the sense not to provide them. However, he isn't averse to talking about
his films in a separate supplement. The one for "Close Encounters" is good.
Sol L. Siegel
2010-02-15 21:07:26 UTC
Reply
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Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
Do you even force yourself to watch those interminable, dribbling
"Director's Commentary" extras? I avoid them on the principle that
though Art may be Long, Life (and my temper) are Short.
They are often unfocused/rambling and self-indulgent. "Deliverance"
has a very informative one. "Gremlins" has two, both of them good. And
some are downright outstanding. You won't believe this, but the best
running commentary (from someone who participated in making the
picture) I've ever heard was for... "Flesh Gordon". Really.
The commentaries from film historians (eg, Rudy Behlmer) are often
worthwhile. And you're not /obliged/ to listen to them.
Exactly. If it's good, keep listening. If not, don't. FWIW, the
earlier Criterion tracks tend to be better than the more recent ones. I
suppose it's become something of a de rigeur (sp?) thing over the years.

My own fave: "El Mariachi", a humorous but also accurate crash course in
how to make a movie for less than the cost of a good used car. The twin
tracks for "The Conversation" (Coppola and Walter Murch) are also more
informative than annoying - it was a picture whose creation process was
a good deal more interesting than most.
--
- Sol L. Siegel, Philadelphia, PA USA
Allen
2010-02-15 21:38:47 UTC
Reply
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Post by Sol L. Siegel
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
Do you even force yourself to watch those interminable, dribbling
"Director's Commentary" extras? I avoid them on the principle that
though Art may be Long, Life (and my temper) are Short.
They are often unfocused/rambling and self-indulgent. "Deliverance"
has a very informative one. "Gremlins" has two, both of them good. And
some are downright outstanding. You won't believe this, but the best
running commentary (from someone who participated in making the
picture) I've ever heard was for... "Flesh Gordon". Really.
The commentaries from film historians (eg, Rudy Behlmer) are often
worthwhile. And you're not /obliged/ to listen to them.
Exactly. If it's good, keep listening. If not, don't. FWIW, the
earlier Criterion tracks tend to be better than the more recent ones. I
suppose it's become something of a de rigeur (sp?) thing over the years.
My own fave: "El Mariachi", a humorous but also accurate crash course in
how to make a movie for less than the cost of a good used car. The twin
tracks for "The Conversation" (Coppola and Walter Murch) are also more
informative than annoying - it was a picture whose creation process was
a good deal more interesting than most.
I don't know if he mentioned it, but Rodrigues financed it by
participating in pharmaceutical testing programs. It's done pretty well
for a movie made as a student project--I assume he got an A.
Allen
El Klauso
2010-02-15 18:05:17 UTC
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William Sommerwerck's prejudices aside, a good bit of Rozsa's Film
Music is indeed concert-worthy, including the scores for "Jungle
Book," "Thief of Bagdad," "Spellbound," "Quo Vadis," "Ben-Hur," and
"El Cid." Even such late period work as "Eye of the Needle," "Golden
Voyage of Sinbad" and "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" have their moments.

As far as scores that contain what can be termed as proven concert
music potential, Copland and Thomson's film output is firmly
established along these lines, and portions of Korngold's "Adventures
of Robin Hood," "The Sea Hawk," " Deception" and several others have
been successfully grafted into the concert hall. I favor Herrrmann's
"Devil and Daniel Webster," "North by Northwest" Prelude, selections
from "Vertigo," "Psycho" and the "Welles Raises Kane" Suite as
particularly viable. The potential is virtually endless, as worthy
scores by Jerome Moross, John Corigliano, Honegger, Vaughan Williams,
and dozens of other musicians are waiting further exploration.

The concert-giving world simply needs to wake up - and catch up - to
the potential audience growth and interest that this music represents,
and not just lazily program in another performance of the Tchaikovsky
Piano Concerto No. 1.
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-15 18:11:31 UTC
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The concert-giving world simply needs to wake up -- and
catch up -- to the potential audience growth and interest
that this music represents, and not just lazily program
in another performance of the Tchaikovsky PC1.
I've long-wondered why orchestras don't have Halloween concerts comprising
program music that most people -- even those unfamiliar with it -- will
enjoy. "Psycho -- a Narrative for Orchestra" would make a great selection.

I would rather listen to good performances of Schoenberg than Rozsa. The
former sounds like music; the latter does not.
Christopher Webber
2010-02-15 18:45:44 UTC
Reply
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Post by William Sommerwerck
I would rather listen to good performances of Schoenberg than Rozsa.
The former sounds like music; the latter does not.
Precisely. That's why life is too short to bother listening to *most*
music written for films, outside its natural habitat. These
prom-concert-loads of the stuff here in London bore me at least to
distraction. Something in me resents the work that goes into
resuscitating, reconstituting and reconstructing the tawdry stuff,
preparing parts and what not, when there's so much real music awaiting
one iota of this loving care.

Having said which, I cried the other day when I heard the "Lily Watkins
Theme" on BBC Radio 4. I cried partly because I was sad to think that
the great Jean Simmons was no longer with us, but partly because of the
cunning art with which Ben Frankel constructs the tune. As someone once
said (far too often): Strange how potent cheap music is.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
Christopher Webber
2010-02-15 18:49:27 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Having said which, I cried the other day when I heard the "Lily Watkins
Theme" on BBC Radio 4. I cried partly because I was sad to think that
the great Jean Simmons was no longer with us, but partly because of the
cunning art with which Ben Frankel constructs the tune. As someone once
said (far too often): Strange how potent cheap music is.
I should have made clear, that the film in question is "Footsteps in
the Fog". Highly recommended for these two reasons and many more.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
Terry
2010-02-15 22:50:29 UTC
Reply
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by Christopher Webber
Having said which, I cried the other day when I heard the "Lily Watkins
Theme" on BBC Radio 4. I cried partly because I was sad to think that
the great Jean Simmons was no longer with us, but partly because of the
cunning art with which Ben Frankel constructs the tune. As someone once
said (far too often): Strange how potent cheap music is.
I should have made clear, that the film in question is "Footsteps in
the Fog". Highly recommended for these two reasons and many more.
An excellent film!
--
Cheers!

Terry
Terry
2010-02-16 03:44:18 UTC
Reply
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Post by Terry
Post by Christopher Webber
Post by Christopher Webber
Having said which, I cried the other day when I heard the "Lily Watkins
Theme" on BBC Radio 4. I cried partly because I was sad to think that
the great Jean Simmons was no longer with us, but partly because of the
cunning art with which Ben Frankel constructs the tune. As someone once
said (far too often): Strange how potent cheap music is.
I should have made clear, that the film in question is "Footsteps in
the Fog". Highly recommended for these two reasons and many more.
An excellent film!
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like to nominate as the
single film in which the film and the music combine to achieve the
nearest-to-perfect final result.

Only one nomination each, please.

My nomination: ²Cinema Paradiso³ (composer Ennio Morricone)
--
Cheers!

Terry
wagnerfan
2010-02-16 03:53:27 UTC
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Post by Terry
Post by Terry
Post by Christopher Webber
Post by Christopher Webber
Having said which, I cried the other day when I heard the "Lily Watkins
Theme" on BBC Radio 4. I cried partly because I was sad to think that
the great Jean Simmons was no longer with us, but partly because of the
cunning art with which Ben Frankel constructs the tune. As someone once
said (far too often): Strange how potent cheap music is.
I should have made clear, that the film in question is "Footsteps in
the Fog". Highly recommended for these two reasons and many more.
An excellent film!
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like to nominate as the
single film in which the film and the music combine to achieve the
nearest-to-perfect final result.
Only one nomination each, please.
My nomination: ²Cinema Paradiso³ (composer Ennio Morricone)
--
Cheers!
Terry- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
La Belle et la Bete (composer Georges Auric) Wagner fan
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-16 05:17:27 UTC
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Post by Terry
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like
to nominate as the single film in which the film and the
music combine to achieve the nearest-to-perfect final result?
The film is so obvious that I'm embarrassed to name it. So I won't.
SG
2010-02-16 06:23:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Lots of good things already named. Unless I missed these others, here
they are:

- Shosty's Hamlet has been mentioned. I would put the later King Lear
score, scarce and austere as it may be, even higher.

- an extraordinary score for an extraordinary movie - young Schnittke
for Alexandr Askoldov's Komissar, possibly the greatest Russian movie
I've personally seen not only heard of.

- I forget who wrote it, but the "main titles music" in the famous
British series "I Claudius" wasn't chopped liver - just the right
blend of biting sarcasm and exquisite creepiness à fleur de peau.

- as long as we dutifully consort with the dull and the British, but I
repeat myself, ( : I love the music of "Jeeves and Wooster," including
the endless and always fun to follow improvisations/variations on the
main theme.

Nino Rota remains in my opinion the greatest film music composer, when
both quantity and quality are to be recognized - Godfather I and II
are striking examples, but so are dozens of other movies he provided
music for... emphatically so in the early Fellini - La Strada and Le
Notti di Cabiria... middle Fellini such as Amarcord, or even the
marginally entertaining latish Death on the Nile (no Fellini,
unfortunately).

regards,
SG
Alan Dawes
2010-02-16 15:17:12 UTC
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In article
Post by SG
- as long as we dutifully consort with the dull and the British, but I
repeat myself, ( : I love the music of "Jeeves and Wooster," including
the endless and always fun to follow improvisations/variations on the
main theme.
Anne Dudley wrote the music and also won an Academy Award for Best
Original Musical or Comedy Score for the Full Monty in 1998. She also
wrote the scores for a number of films including the Bright Young Things
(2003), The Crying Game (1992) and Tristan and Isolde (2006).

Alan
--
***@argonet.co.uk
***@riscos.org
Using an Acorn RiscPC
David Oberman
2010-02-16 18:06:43 UTC
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On Mon, 15 Feb 2010 21:17:27 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Terry
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like
to nominate as the single film in which the film and the
music combine to achieve the nearest-to-perfect final result?
The film is so obvious that I'm embarrassed to name it. So I won't.
For my money, it's "What's Opera, Doc"
Allen
2010-02-16 18:39:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Oberman
On Mon, 15 Feb 2010 21:17:27 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Terry
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like
to nominate as the single film in which the film and the
music combine to achieve the nearest-to-perfect final result?
The film is so obvious that I'm embarrassed to name it. So I won't.
For my money, it's "What's Opera, Doc"
My guess is it was a few years earlier (1940) and was a full-length
animated film--initials LS involved.
Allen
Kip Williams
2010-02-16 20:08:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Allen
Post by David Oberman
On Mon, 15 Feb 2010 21:17:27 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Terry
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like
to nominate as the single film in which the film and the
music combine to achieve the nearest-to-perfect final result?
The film is so obvious that I'm embarrassed to name it. So I won't.
For my money, it's "What's Opera, Doc"
My guess is it was a few years earlier (1940) and was a full-length
animated film--initials LS involved.
I liked that one too, but had to limit myself to one.


Kip W
Kip Williams
2010-02-16 20:07:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Oberman
On Mon, 15 Feb 2010 21:17:27 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
Post by Terry
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like
to nominate as the single film in which the film and the
music combine to achieve the nearest-to-perfect final result?
The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Kip W
David Oberman
2010-02-16 21:15:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 15:07:24 -0500, Kip Williams
Post by Kip Williams
Post by Terry
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like
to nominate as the single film in which the film and the
music combine to achieve the nearest-to-perfect final result?
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Excellent, excellent! Thanks to Arlen/Harburg's songs & Herbie
Stothart's score of Beethovenian nobility & Stifteresque stateliness,
this movie perfectly combines audio & visual signals in Attic
proportion!

How many movies combine Holstian martial themes, Frimlesque Bavarian
creampuff melodic lines, & American vaudevillian jinks & gags?
number_six
2010-02-16 15:55:24 UTC
Reply
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Post by Terry
Post by Terry
Post by Christopher Webber
Post by Christopher Webber
Having said which, I cried the other day when I heard the "Lily Watkins
Theme" on BBC Radio 4. I cried partly because I was sad to think that
the great Jean Simmons was no longer with us, but partly because of the
cunning art with which Ben Frankel constructs the tune. As someone once
said (far too often): Strange how potent cheap music is.
I should have made clear, that the film in question is "Footsteps in
the Fog". Highly recommended for these two reasons and many more.
An excellent film!
Just to change the topic slightly, what would people like to nominate as the
single film in which the film and the music combine to achieve the
nearest-to-perfect final result.
Only one nomination each, please.
My nomination: ²Cinema Paradiso³ (composer Ennio Morricone)
--
Cheers!
Terry- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Very tough to limit it to one, and there's a temptation to want to
different choices for films with original music and films that used
other sources. Nonetheless, following your phrasing -- "the single
film in which the film and the music combine to achieve the nearest-to-
perfect final result" -- I believe I have to pick 2001: A Space
Odyssey.
SG
2010-02-16 16:01:29 UTC
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"the single film in which the film and the music combine to achieve
the nearest-to-perfect final result"

Put like that, tough call. It might have to be Chaplin's City Lights,
but I'll sure think about more "single films" which fit the bill ( ;.
number_six
2010-02-16 16:04:16 UTC
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Taxi Driver is another superb Bernard Herrmann score not mentioned
yet.

I also liked the Barrons' electronic score from Forbidden Planet.
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-16 16:30:31 UTC
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I might as well say it... You'd be hard-pressed to find a better example of
film/music integration than "Psycho". It's impossible to imagine the film
without the music -- and not just the shower scene. Herrmann does a terrific
job of revealing what's going on the characters' minds.
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-15 20:08:51 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by William Sommerwerck
I would rather listen to good performances of Schoenberg than
Rozsa. The former sounds like music; the latter does not.
Precisely.
But I meant that as an indictment of Rozsa's music, not a generic
condemnation of film-music-as-isolated-entertainment.
Post by Christopher Webber
That's why life is too short to bother listening to *most* music
written for films, outside its natural habitat. These prom-concert-
loads of the stuff here in London bore me at least to to distraction.
Something in me resents the work that goes into resuscitating,
reconstituting and reconstructing the tawdry stuff, preparing parts
and what not, when there's so much real music awaiting one iota
of this loving care.
But some film music is awfully good. Despite my constant emphasis on
"serious" music, there's nothing wrong with listening for -- gasp! -- "fun".
One can't listen to Schoenberg and Mahler -- or even Haydn -- all the time.

The late Erich Kunzel did a great job of ruining film-music appreciation.
The few excerpts I've heard utterly butchered the music. There are,
fortunately, other conductors -- such as McNeely, Stromberg, and a Finnish
conductor whose name I can't think of -- who treat film music well.

One of the problems with film music is that composers are (or at least were)
often under pressure to write "big tunes" that are both obvious and
commercially exploitable. Bennie refused to do this, which caused his break
with Hitchcock. Good film music is not a subliminal droning or the creation
of Leitmotivs to be trotted out as needed. A talented composer will write
coherent, developed music that can stand on its own as well as a Beethoven,
Schumann, or Chopin work.

Two non-Herrmann examples... The opening scene of "Star Trek -- the
Motionless Picture" is backed by several minutes of Jerry Goldsmith's music
for the Klingons' encounter with the Cloud. The music is genuinely
"composed" with a beginning, an end, and development in-between. Goldsmith
also follows Herrmann's dictum to select instruments appropriate for the
film -- Goldsmith uses the glass harmonica, hardly a standard instrument in
the modern orchestra.

Another example is the title music for "Beetlejuice". Elfman combines
bluegrass, Grieg, and the "Dies Irae", whipping them up into a wonderful
concoction. It's fun to listen to simply because it's so cleverly put
together.
El Klauso
2010-02-15 22:30:25 UTC
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CW: That's why life is too short to bother listening to *most*
music written for films, outside its natural habitat.

EK: One can easily apply the above statement to most music written for
the concert hall.
Most of it is, at best, a time-killer, but - thankfully - certain
great works and superior creative figures consistently rise above the
mediocre.
This applies equally to film music. With thousands upon thousands of
hours of music written and recorded for film projects, there are some
great gems to be found amoungst the dross.
Christopher Webber
2010-02-15 23:01:31 UTC
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Post by El Klauso
EK: One can easily apply the above statement to most music written for
the concert hall. Most of it is, at best, a time-killer, but -
thankfully - certain great works and superior creative figures
consistently rise above the mediocre. This applies equally to film
music. With thousands upon thousands of hours of music written and
recorded for film projects, there are some great gems to be found
amoungst the dross.
That's of course true. But when it comes to film music, there is also
plenty of dross to be found amongst the gems - short cues of purely
functional utility, for one obvious thing.

Was there ever any film score which, per se, held together when played
*in toto* to make more than the sum of its parts, without the visual
stimulus? By definition, I would think, no - because to be good music
for its purpose, a film score needs to work with (or against) the visual
image at all times. Even where the music comes first (the Glass trilogy)
it can't work so well independent of the image.

That's why "quality" film music has to be arranged into suites, cantatas
and symphonies (RVW 7th, for example of the latter) before yielding much
of sustained interest as an ears-only experience for concert hall or
disc.

So, a challenge: can you point me towards one example of a *complete*
film score that would repay repeated listening over the next 30 years or
so? ... to the degree that (off the top of my head) Bax's 6th Symphony
or Enescu's 3rd have held me enthralled, amazed and refreshed over the
decades, seeming to change and grow as I grow and decline.

Don't misunderstand me. I love and admire the film music of Walton, Yuki
Kajiura, Prokofiev, Shostakovich (his "Hamlet", perhaps the most
satisfying film score of all) ... and have spent plenty of time
multi-tasking to many other suites and sound tracks as background
stimulus.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
David Oberman
2010-02-16 00:24:16 UTC
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On Mon, 15 Feb 2010 23:01:31 +0000, Christopher Webber
Post by Christopher Webber
That's why "quality" film music has to be arranged into suites, cantatas
and symphonies (RVW 7th, for example of the latter) before yielding much
of sustained interest as an ears-only experience for concert hall or
disc.
Ah, but is the same true of music written for theater? Beethoven's
incidental theater music? Aaron Copland's "Quiet City"? Fleetwood
Mac's "Maker of the Birds"?


_______

The red haw grows at the old home,
Which is sweeter than the river haw;
But the river haw has a perfume
Which is nice in the nostril to draw.

-- from "The Old Homestead" (Mattie J. Peterson)
Christopher Webber
2010-02-16 01:49:39 UTC
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Post by David Oberman
Ah, but is the same true of music written for theater? Beethoven's
incidental theater music?
Well, now you've got me!

Much though I love "Prometheus", "Egmont" and especially "The Ruins of
Athens" (which almost turns into a through-written opera by the last
scene) I guess that few would want to put these pieces in the same top
drawer as, say, the symphonies and string quartets.

"Incidental music" is a significant nomenclature perhaps, when it comes
to Beethoven. But I'd want to say that the symphonic density of a
handful of other complete theatre scores ("Peer Gynt" and "The Tempest",
in both the Sullivan and Sibelius incarnations, spring to mind straight
away) does make them ... well, indispensable to me at any rate.

Sibelius and Purcell are two special cases: composers whose "incidental"
theatre music consistently belies the term. Both wrote some of their
most essential work for theatre; though much of the latter's theatre
work (e.g. in the semi-operas such as "King Arthur" and "Diocletian")
comes in masque-like complexes, akin to mini-operas, and is hardly
incidental.

But, yes, I'm being inconsistent when it comes to Sibelius, whose
imagination is too fantastic to be taken at all lightly, in quite a few
of his superb theatre scores. Though as a rider I'd plead that, whilst
film music can't really be divorced from its original context, theatre
music can be (and often is) recycled for new productions and different
contexts with great success.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-16 05:14:56 UTC
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Post by David Oberman
Ah, but is the same true of music written for theater?
Beethoven's incidental theater music?
We've forgotten Mendelssohn. The incidental for "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
is arguably the best "film score" ever written.
Christopher Webber
2010-02-16 10:15:26 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
We've forgotten Mendelssohn. The incidental for "A Midsummer Night's
Dream" is arguably the best "film score" ever written.
And in Korngold's OTT expansion of Mendelssohn for Max Reinhardt's
masterly film of the play, genuinely in that field.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
El Klauso
2010-02-19 00:47:56 UTC
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CW: But when it comes to film music, there is also
plenty of dross to be found amongst the gems - short cues of purely
functional utility, for one obvious thing. Was there ever any film
score which,
per se, held together when played *in toto* to make more than the sum
of its parts, without the visual
stimulus? By definition, I would think no - because to be good music
for
its purpose, a film score needs to work with (or against) the visual
image at all times.

EK: At the risk of interupting your answer to your own question, you
seem to be well into the realm of constructing paper tigers here.
Even the greatest theatrical scores - probably our best analogy to
film music - are nearly universally known through abridged versions.
While there are a few complete recordings of the best of them, such as
Grieg's "Peer Gynt," do we return to these exclusively henceforth, and
abandon listening to the suites? (Likewise Mendelssohn's "MSND,"
Bizet's "L'Arlesienne," Nielsen's "Alladin," etc.)
Based upon this demanding a test of musical worth one might as well
ask that we listen to opera recitatives divorced from their place in
advancing a dramatic plot. Very few works with a narrative mission to
accomplish can really stand *in toto* divorced from their inspiration.
We might listen to some rather large chunks of Tchikovsky ballet
scores, but do we feel obliged to defend every note in the output of
Minkus?

And, returning to the realm of film music, I can think of a few scores
that can - unedited and unaltered - bear the weight of listening to
every note. (Although I can't vouch for them giving you the same
thrills you get from sometime Film Composer Bax...)
I would put before you the already much-discussed "Nevsky," and add
Korngold's reworking of Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" music
- with other additions from the Mendelssohn output , which is
admittedly a special case. I consider every note of Korngold's
"Adventures of Robin Hood" score to be concert-worthy, and his "Sea
Hawk" and "Captain Blood" are of about that level. Given sufficient
thought and typing time, I could probably turn up 20 or 30 more
examples, which really isn't too bad for an art form that has existed
for only about 80 years.
Christopher Webber
2010-02-19 08:13:53 UTC
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Post by El Klauso
And, returning to the realm of film music, I can think of a few scores
that can - unedited and unaltered - bear the weight of listening to
every note. (Although I can't vouch for them giving you the same
thrills you get from sometime Film Composer Bax...)
Excellently put! Yes, of course there are film scores where every note
counts. "Oliver Twist" is superbly fitted for purpose; and to argue
against myself somewhat, the little fragments are particularly valuable
to Baxians, as showing how AB could create substance in a bar or two -
his major concert works don't offer that gift.
Post by El Klauso
I would put before you the already much-discussed "Nevsky," and add
Korngold's reworking of Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" music -
with other additions from the Mendelssohn output , which is admittedly
a special case.
I take your argument to an extent - though I would say that, once you've
heard the "complete" "Peer Gynt" or "Midsummer Night's Dream" the Suites
tend to leave one feeling short-changed. "Nevsky" I find, however, best
seen with the film, but best heard alone in the cantata version.

As a general rule, the differences seem to me twofold:
first, Grieg for example allows us to "invent" visuals for ourselves,
once we know the play, which leaves more headroom for our imaginations.
Second, a good complete Theatre score is satisfyingly structured,
usually around a five-act sequence, with "interludes", "act music" and
so forth, all of which makes for satisfying sequential progress, taking
in the tiny fragments naturally (c.f. Sibelius "Tempest" score.)
Post by El Klauso
I consider every note of Korngold's "Adventures of Robin Hood" score to
be concert-worthy, and his "Sea Hawk" and "Captain Blood" are of about
that level.
Well as music, these may or may not be (according to taste -- I actually
saw "ARH" for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and felt that the
High Teutonic, pastiche-Mahlerian music was the one, jarring note in
this delightful confection!) However, I think my point about structure
holds: there is nothing in the way of overarching structure in ARH to
contain its incidental treasures.

I would say comparison of Korngold's MND expansion for Reinhardt (a
marvel of its kind, as I've written here before) against Mendelssohn's
complete stage score illustrated this point to perfection. The Korngold
does not make sense as a whole, the 19th century score does. The former
is tied to Reinhardt's stunning imagery, the latter offers the listener
complete freedom of imagination.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-19 11:47:24 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by El Klauso
I consider every note of Korngold's "Adventures of Robin Hood"
score to be concert-worthy, and his "Sea Hawk" and "Captain
Blood" are of about that level.
There is a seqence with cross-cutting between Robin's plans to attack the
party with Sir Guy, and the movement of the party itself, with some clumsy
jumps in the music. I wish someone would re-cut the film so that the music
and visuals properly align.

It would also be nice if the score could be re-recorded in modern sound.
Post by Christopher Webber
Well as music, these may or may not be (according to taste --
I actually saw "ARH" for the first time a couple of weeks ago...
In the UltraResolution transfer, I hope.
Post by Christopher Webber
... and felt that the High Teutonic, pastiche-Mahlerian music
was the one, jarring note in this delightful confection!)
Korngold was obviously not interested in writing a score that consistently
reflected the music of Robin Hood's era. The low point of this decision
comes in the scene of forest banqueting, which is underscored with
late-19th-century music. We are so accustomed to such music that we might
not immediately notice what should be a jarring discrepancy.
david gideon
2010-02-19 15:46:26 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
There is a seqence with cross-cutting between Robin's plans to attack the
party with Sir Guy, and the movement of the party itself, with some clumsy
jumps in the music. I wish someone would re-cut the film so that the music
and visuals properly align.
It would also be nice if the score could be re-recorded in modern sound.
you mean Robin Hood? Kojian did a decent recording of most of the score
(Varese Sarabande), but even better is Stromberg's Marco Polo/Naxos
recording. It's a terrific performance, uncut, and definitely in modern
sound.

dg
--
CD issues of long-unavailable classic performances exclusively from:
http://www.rediscovery.us
ReDiscovery radio internet stream: http://www.rediscovery.us/Listen.html
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-19 15:53:36 UTC
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Post by david gideon
Post by William Sommerwerck
There is a seqence with cross-cutting between Robin's plans to attack the
party with Sir Guy, and the movement of the party itself, with some clumsy
jumps in the music. I wish someone would re-cut the film so that the music
and visuals properly align.
It would also be nice if the score could be re-recorded in modern sound.
you mean Robin Hood? Kojian did a decent recording of most of the score
(Varese Sarabande), but even better is Stromberg's Marco Polo/Naxos
recording. It's a terrific performance, uncut, and definitely in modern
sound.
I knew I'd have to explain. I meant "to replace the existing soundtrack" --
which is what I thought "re-recorded" implied.
david gideon
2010-02-19 17:58:14 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
I meant "to replace the existing soundtrack" --
which is what I thought "re-recorded" implied.
Ah I get it. Not easily done, since they don't really have a track with
everything on it but the music. If they still have separate main vs
music/effect tracks, they could re-do the music but would have to
recreate all the sound effects too. That often doesn't work well (the
new sound fx in the stereo edition of Vertigo stick out like sore
thumbs).

dg
--
CD issues of long-unavailable classic performances exclusively from:
http://www.rediscovery.us
ReDiscovery radio internet stream: http://www.rediscovery.us/Listen.html
William Sommerwerck
2010-02-19 19:19:04 UTC
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Post by david gideon
Ah I get it. Not easily done, since they don't really have
a track with everything on it but the music.
It depends. The stems for dialog and effects might still exist.
wagnerfan
2010-02-19 17:23:05 UTC
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Yes the whole score and terrifically played. Wagner fan
Post by david gideon
Post by William Sommerwerck
There is a seqence with cross-cutting between Robin's plans to attack the
party with Sir Guy, and the movement of the party itself, with some clumsy
jumps in the music. I wish someone would re-cut the film so that the music
and visuals properly align.
It would also be nice if the score could be re-recorded in modern sound.
you mean Robin Hood? Kojian did a decent recording of most of the score
(Varese Sarabande), but even better is Stromberg's Marco Polo/Naxos
recording. It's a terrific performance, uncut, and definitely in modern
sound.
dg
--
CD issues of long-unavailable classic performances exclusively from:http://www.rediscovery.us
ReDiscovery radio internet stream:http://www.rediscovery.us/Listen.html
Christopher Webber
2010-02-19 20:10:39 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
Well as music, these may or may not be (according to taste --
I actually saw "ARH" for the first time a couple of weeks ago...
In the UltraResolution transfer, I hope.
Yes indeed. Glorious, fresh and succulent in every frame.
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
... and felt that the High Teutonic, pastiche-Mahlerian music
was the one, jarring note in this delightful confection!)
Korngold was obviously not interested in writing a score that
consistently reflected the music of Robin Hood's era. The low point of
this decision comes in the scene of forest banqueting, which is
underscored with late-19th-century music. We are so accustomed to such
music that we might not immediately notice what should be a jarring
discrepancy.
I certainly would cringe at any idea of pastiche music from Robin Hood's
era, as Perotin would have sounded even dafter than Korngold's
Mahlerianisms when placed against such a robustly wisecracking and
swift-moving Hollywood script. The characters are pure Woodland Camp.

Only, I found myself thinking wistfully at every cue how much better a
job a thoroughly 1930's composer (Walton, Constant Lambert....) would
have made of it. There's a mismatch here, for sure.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-19 20:41:22 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Christopher Webber
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
Well as music, these may or may not be (according to taste --
I actually saw "ARH" for the first time a couple of weeks ago...
In the UltraResolution transfer, I hope.
Yes indeed. Glorious, fresh and succulent in every frame.
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
... and felt that the High Teutonic, pastiche-Mahlerian music
was the one, jarring note in this delightful confection!)
Korngold was obviously not interested in writing a score that
consistently reflected the music of Robin Hood's era. The low point of
this decision comes in the scene of forest banqueting, which is
underscored with late-19th-century music. We are so accustomed to such
music that we might not immediately notice what should be a jarring
discrepancy.
I certainly would cringe at any idea of pastiche music from Robin Hood's
era, as Perotin would have sounded even dafter than Korngold's
Mahlerianisms when placed against such a robustly wisecracking and
swift-moving Hollywood script. The characters are pure Woodland Camp.
Only, I found myself thinking wistfully at every cue how much better a
job a thoroughly 1930's composer (Walton, Constant Lambert....) would
have made of it. There's a mismatch here, for sure.
How about the utterly absurd choice of music in "A Knight's Tale"?
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
number_six
2010-02-19 21:15:13 UTC
Reply
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by Christopher Webber
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
Well as music, these may or may not be (according to taste --
I actually saw "ARH" for the first time a couple of weeks ago...
In the UltraResolution transfer, I hope.
Yes indeed. Glorious, fresh and succulent in every frame.
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
... and felt that the High Teutonic, pastiche-Mahlerian music
was the one, jarring note in this delightful confection!)
Korngold was obviously not interested in writing a score that
consistently reflected the music of Robin Hood's era. The low point of
this decision comes in the scene of forest banqueting, which is
underscored with late-19th-century music. We are so accustomed to such
music that we might not immediately notice what should be a jarring
discrepancy.
I certainly would cringe at any idea of pastiche music from Robin Hood's
era, as Perotin would have sounded even dafter than Korngold's
Mahlerianisms when placed against such a robustly wisecracking and
swift-moving Hollywood script. The characters are pure Woodland Camp.
Only, I found myself thinking wistfully at every cue how much better a
job a thoroughly 1930's composer (Walton, Constant Lambert....) would
have made of it. There's a mismatch here, for sure.
How about the utterly absurd choice of music in "A Knight's Tale"?
--
Matthew B. Tepper:  WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here:http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Imprisoned on an airplane, eager for entertainment to pass some time
during a long flight, I nonetheless cast aside the headset in disgust
rather than endure that film. The dialogue was as bad as the music.
wagnerfan
2010-02-19 20:28:55 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Christopher Webber
Post by El Klauso
I consider every note of Korngold's "Adventures of Robin Hood"
score to be concert-worthy, and his "Sea Hawk" and "Captain
Blood" are of about that level.
There is a seqence with cross-cutting between Robin's plans to attack the
party with Sir Guy, and the movement of the party itself, with some clumsy
jumps in the music. I wish someone would re-cut the film so that the music
and visuals properly align.
It would also be nice if the score could be re-recorded in modern sound.
Post by Christopher Webber
Well as music, these may or may not be (according to taste --
I actually saw "ARH" for the first time a couple of weeks ago...
In the UltraResolution transfer, I hope.
Post by Christopher Webber
... and felt that the High Teutonic, pastiche-Mahlerian music
was the one, jarring note in this delightful confection!)
Korngold was obviously not interested in writing a score that consistently
reflected the music of Robin Hood's era. The low point of this decision
comes in the scene of forest banqueting, which is underscored with
late-19th-century music. We are so accustomed to such music that we might
not immediately notice what should be a jarring discrepancy.
Yes but Strauss filled Der Rosenkavalier with waltzes - not many
complain about that. Wagner fan
Alan Cooper
2010-02-19 12:42:37 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by El Klauso
And, returning to the realm of film music, I can think of a few
scores that can - unedited and unaltered - bear the weight of
listening to every note. (Although I can't vouch for them giving
you the same thrills you get from sometime Film Composer Bax...)
Excellently put! Yes, of course there are film scores where
every note counts.
Every note? Every *single* note? Then you've cut the field to one: Takemitsu's
score for "Kwaidan." http://www.avantgardeproject.org/AGP24/index.htm .
Incomparably the finest composer of music for films, imo, yet he is seldom brought
into the discussion. See http://www.filmreference.com/Writers-and-Production-
Artists-Ta-Vi/Takemitsu-Toru.html .

AC
Christopher Webber
2010-02-19 20:05:27 UTC
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Takemitsu's score for "Kwaidan."
http://www.avantgardeproject.org/AGP24/index.htm . Incomparably the
finest composer of music for films, imo, yet he is seldom brought into
the discussion.
Ah, good -- another admirer of Toru the Great.

I agree that his film scores (those few I've managed to track down)
possess a unique degree of distillation ... and few composers so
consistently avoid the trap of writing down to cinema audiences. He's
less happy, I feel, when required to provide pastiche. When he tries,
the results for me lack energy and, I think, conviction.

"Kwaidan" is an exquisite score, although (Japanophile though I am) I
have to say that I feel it's ultimately wasted on a film which is all
style and no substance. (Though what style!)
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
Alan Cooper
2010-02-19 20:39:50 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
Post by Alan Cooper
Every note? Every *single* note? Then you've cut the field to
one: Takemitsu's score for "Kwaidan."
http://www.avantgardeproject.org/AGP24/index.htm . Incomparably
the finest composer of music for films, imo, yet he is seldom
brought into the discussion.
Ah, good -- another admirer of Toru the Great.
I agree that his film scores (those few I've managed to track
down) possess a unique degree of distillation ... and few
composers so consistently avoid the trap of writing down to
cinema audiences. He's less happy, I feel, when required to
provide pastiche. When he tries, the results for me lack energy
and, I think, conviction.
"Kwaidan" is an exquisite score, although (Japanophile though I
am) I have to say that I feel it's ultimately wasted on a film
which is all style and no substance. (Though what style!)
Fair and judicious comments, and while I agree that Takemitsu is the star of
Kwaidan, I may have more patience than you for the highly stylized film itself. I
love the conceit of having the paintings come to life (and vice versa). Do you
know the Lafcadio Hearn stories on which the film was based? They're fun to read,
and downloadable free from Project Gutenberg or Google Books.

AC
David Oberman
2010-02-16 00:22:05 UTC
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On Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:30:25 -0800 (PST), El Klauso
Post by El Klauso
This applies equally to film music. With thousands upon thousands of
hours of music written and recorded for film projects, there are some
great gems to be found amoungst the dross.
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.

It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.


_______

The red haw grows at the old home,
Which is sweeter than the river haw;
But the river haw has a perfume
Which is nice in the nostril to draw.

-- from "The Old Homestead" (Mattie J. Peterson)
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-16 07:41:02 UTC
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Post by David Oberman
Post by El Klauso
This applies equally to film music. With thousands upon thousands of
hours of music written and recorded for film projects, there are some
great gems to be found amoungst the dross.
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
I'm sorry, but for me it's too close to Zoltán Kodály's "Háry János."
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
wagnerfan
2010-02-16 10:20:04 UTC
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Post by David Oberman
Post by El Klauso
This applies equally to film music. With thousands upon thousands of
hours of music written and recorded for film projects, there are some
great gems to be found amoungst the dross.
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
I'm sorry, but for me it's too close to Zolt n Kod ly's "H ry J nos."
--
Matthew B. Tepper:  WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here:http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
The changing of the guard is at the Witchs castle near the end ofthe
film - not the Emerald City. Wagner fan
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-16 15:39:14 UTC
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wagnerfan <***@comcast.net> appears to have caused the following
letters to be typed in news:e55e41aa-b858-420f-a6bc-
Post by wagnerfan
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by David Oberman
Post by El Klauso
This applies equally to film music. With thousands upon thousands of
hours of music written and recorded for film projects, there are some
great gems to be found amoungst the dross.
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
I'm sorry, but for me it's too close to Zoltán Kodály's "Háry János."
The changing of the guard is at the Witchs castle near the end ofthe
film - not the Emerald City. Wagner fan
When I was a kid, we would sing the words "O-re-o, coooooo-kies!" to that. I
suppose it has a kind of minimalistic charm, but "one of the greatest"!?!?
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
David Oberman
2010-02-16 17:58:03 UTC
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On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 02:20:04 -0800 (PST), wagnerfan
Post by wagnerfan
Post by David Oberman
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
The changing of the guard is at the Witchs castle near the end ofthe
film - not the Emerald City. Wagner fan
No, no, not the MARCH OF THE WINKIES. I refer to the martial "Wizard"
theme, part of the SIGN ON GATE/CITY GATES OPEN cue, the CHANGE OF THE
GUARD cue, & the AT THE GATES OF THE EMERALD CITY cue.

The martial theme is Beethovenian in its spirituality:
all-encompassing, noble, & humane.
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-16 20:32:06 UTC
Reply
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Post by David Oberman
On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 02:20:04 -0800 (PST), wagnerfan
Post by wagnerfan
Post by David Oberman
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
The changing of the guard is at the Witchs castle near the end ofthe
film - not the Emerald City. Wagner fan
No, no, not the MARCH OF THE WINKIES. I refer to the martial "Wizard"
theme, part of the SIGN ON GATE/CITY GATES OPEN cue, the CHANGE OF THE
GUARD cue, & the AT THE GATES OF THE EMERALD CITY cue.
all-encompassing, noble, & humane.
Ummmm.... I don't have the movie handy. Give me a few notes, please.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
David Oberman
2010-02-16 21:11:32 UTC
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On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 14:32:06 -0600, "Matthew B. Tepper"
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by David Oberman
all-encompassing, noble, & humane.
Ummmm.... I don't have the movie handy. Give me a few notes, please.
Dum-dum-dum
Dum-dum-dum
Do-dee-dum-dee-dee

I'll post an MP3 via sendspace.com
wagnerfan
2010-02-16 21:21:28 UTC
Reply
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Post by David Oberman
On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 02:20:04 -0800 (PST), wagnerfan
Post by wagnerfan
Post by David Oberman
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
The changing of the guard is at the Witchs castle near the end ofthe
film - not the Emerald City.  Wagner fan
No, no, not the MARCH OF THE WINKIES. I refer to the martial "Wizard"
theme, part of the SIGN ON GATE/CITY GATES OPEN cue, the CHANGE OF THE
GUARD cue, & the AT THE GATES OF THE EMERALD CITY cue.
all-encompassing, noble, & humane.
Yes you are right - its wonderful Wagner Fan
JAC
2010-02-17 02:25:02 UTC
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Permalink
There was an excellent paper at a musicology conference a few years
back (it won the prize for best paper by a student, and deservedly) on
Stothart's score for THE WIZARD OF OZ. He spoke of the actual quotes
(Happy Farmer, Mendelssohn scherzo, etc.), the textural pastiches
(Kodaly, Stravinsky, etc.), and the original material, and tied it all
together nicely. I hope it gets published.

He also pronounced Stothart's name differently from how I'd always
supposed, but then I never really knew.

JAC
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-17 04:31:54 UTC
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JAC <***@gmail.com> appears to have caused the following letters to
be typed in news:a3ebe31b-89e3-49c7-a896-
There was an excellent paper at a musicology conference a few years back
(it won the prize for best paper by a student, and deservedly) on
Stothart's score for THE WIZARD OF OZ. He spoke of the actual quotes
(Happy Farmer, Mendelssohn scherzo, etc.), the textural pastiches
(Kodaly, Stravinsky, etc.), and the original material, and tied it all
together nicely. I hope it gets published.
If it does, I'd very much like to read it. I wrote something similar as my
term paper for an undergraduate class in film music in 1977-78, only my topic
was the influences in John Williams' score for "Star Wars."
He also pronounced Stothart's name differently from how I'd always
supposed, but then I never really knew.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
David Oberman
2010-02-17 05:40:45 UTC
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On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 22:31:54 -0600, "Matthew B. Tepper"
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
If it does, I'd very much like to read it. I wrote something similar as my
term paper for an undergraduate class in film music in 1977-78, only my topic
was the influences in John Williams' score for "Star Wars."
You undoubtedly mentioned Korngold's KING'S ROW, didn't you?


_______

Friendliness is at the core of the American spirit.
The desire to give a guy a fair shake animates us.

-- Jacques Barzun
"God's Country & Mine"
Beaver Lad
2010-02-17 10:20:17 UTC
Reply
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Post by David Oberman
On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 22:31:54 -0600, "Matthew B. Tepper"
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
If it does, I'd very much like to read it. I wrote something similar as my
term paper for an undergraduate class in film music in 1977-78, only my topic
was the influences in John Williams' score for "Star Wars."
You undoubtedly mentioned Korngold's KING'S ROW, didn't you?
=================

No apostrophe in KINGS ROW. Korngold wrote the title theme knowing only
the title of the book/movie, and assumed that it was another Errol
Flynn-type swashbuckler.
Matthew B. Tepper
2010-02-17 15:17:04 UTC
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Post by David Oberman
On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 22:31:54 -0600, "Matthew B. Tepper"
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
If it does, I'd very much like to read it. I wrote something similar as
my term paper for an undergraduate class in film music in 1977-78, only
my topic was the influences in John Williams' score for "Star Wars."
You undoubtedly mentioned Korngold's KING'S ROW, didn't you?
Yep, and the then-still-living Walton in general, for all of those major
seventh chords in the brass.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here: http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Kip Williams
2010-02-16 14:10:26 UTC
Reply
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by David Oberman
Post by El Klauso
This applies equally to film music. With thousands upon thousands of
hours of music written and recorded for film projects, there are some
great gems to be found amoungst the dross.
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
I'm sorry, but for me it's too close to Zoltán Kodály's "Háry János."
There is a bit of Viennese Musical Clock there. It actually served to
make me aware of Kodaly, and for that I'll always be grateful, It also
works well in the movie (as do bits of Mendelssohn, Schubert, and one
bit that reminds me of a passage in Shostakovich's piano/trumpet concerto).


Kip W
Allen
2010-02-17 13:31:34 UTC
Reply
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Post by David Oberman
On Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:30:25 -0800 (PST), El Klauso
Post by El Klauso
This applies equally to film music. With thousands upon thousands of
hours of music written and recorded for film projects, there are some
great gems to be found amoungst the dross.
Like Herbie Stothart's triumphal march for the changing of the guard
at the entrance to Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It's one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed in the West.
_______
The red haw grows at the old home,
Which is sweeter than the river haw;
But the river haw has a perfume
Which is nice in the nostril to draw.
-- from "The Old Homestead" (Mattie J. Peterson)
Believe it or not, in spite of its many TV showings, I haven't seen the
Wizard since its initial release in 1939. I guess I'll have to drop by
BlockBuster or some such place and watch/listen again. The only music I
remember from is (of course) Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which I _have_
heard since 71 years ago.
Allen
number_six
2010-02-15 18:39:07 UTC
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snip < The potential is virtually endless, as worthy
scores by Jerome Moross, John Corigliano, Honegger, Vaughan Williams,
and dozens of other musicians are waiting further exploration.
I recently snagged a CD of Corigliano's Altered States soundtrack.
It's very impressive. 49th Parallel by RVW is in my CD queue, but
I've never seen the film.
Christopher Webber
2010-02-15 18:46:43 UTC
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49th Parallel by RVW is in my CD queue, but I've never seen the film.
Oh, it is a great treat - not least Laurence Olivier's outrageous
French-Canadian fur trapper.
--
___________________________
Christopher Webber, Blackheath, London, UK.
http://www.zarzuela.net
Alan Cooper
2010-02-15 19:06:41 UTC
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Post by Christopher Webber
49th Parallel by RVW is in my CD queue, but I've never seen the film.
Oh, it is a great treat - not least Laurence Olivier's
outrageous French-Canadian fur trapper.
Ahh, you just evoked a fond memory of Elwy Yost, thanks to whom we had our first
opportunity to see the film on "Saturday Night at the Movies." A quick check reveals
that Elwy is living in retirement in his 85th year:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwy_Yost. Each of the vignettes in the movie is
amusing and quirky in its own way. The line that cracks me up every time is the plug
for Ontario catawba wine. We used to live near the wineries on the Niagara Peninsula
and indulged occasionally in tours and tastings. Dreadful stuff! And Olivier is
indeed a panic.

AC
wagnerfan
2010-02-15 21:50:43 UTC
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
letters to be typed in news:fd972543-9a30-49c3-84c0-
What should be issued on DVD (I transferred it myself) is the RCA video
issue of some years where the remastered video was allied to a new and
excellent recording of the score conducted by Temirkanov - watching this
tremendous film with the score coming out of the speakers in full stereo is
a thrilling experience.
I agree completely.  So far as I'm aware, it was issued on VHS and LaserDisc,
but no DVD yet.
Wagner fan (and they should do the same with Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete
whose score by Auric has a gorgeous recording on Naxos)
Which reminds me that I refuse to buy certain releases of "La Belle et la
Bete" or the 1931 "Dracula" because of the presence of Philip Glass' music.
--
Matthew B. Tepper:  WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
Read about "Proty" here:http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/proty.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
Actually the transfer I made of the Nevsky sounds really good - but
I'm sure an official DVD release would sound better!!! Wagner fan
El Klauso
2010-02-15 22:22:54 UTC
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WF: Actually the transfer I made of the Nevsky sounds really good -
but
I'm sure an official DVD release would sound better!!!

EK: Those interested in the original "Nevsky" tracks will possibly
wish to beware what I can only define as Soviet-era habits of
"touching up" - a procedure they not only applied to photographs of
political figures who became undesireable, but evidently also to movie
sound tracks.
I've heard at least two different versions of the 'original' Nevsky
soundtrack in what I assume are different strikes of the film. One was
(possibly?) the original, a terribly thin-sounding recording of the
music track which was at least consistent in its bad sound.
However, it seems that in some (presumeably later) versions of the
film, sections of the original musical score recording (circa 1938,
and not one of the Soviet sound cinema's best attempts at recording
music) have been dubbed out, and replaced by a recording of the music
which I would estimate - based upon sound quality - to be immediate
post-WWII.
Uncle Joe worked in mysterious ways.
D***@aol.com
2010-02-14 23:26:52 UTC
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Post by Matthew B. Tepper
be typed in news:cdedae39-73e0-4f68-b89b-
Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly some
newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than the usual
Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical pieces?
From the past, I'd start with Prokofiev's for "Alexander Nevsky" and Bliss'
for "Things to Come."
For sure, and I'd add Honegger's scores for films, especially suites
from: Le Demon de l'Himalaya (1935) and L'Idee (1934). I've found them
hypnotic listening. Both, with more, are on a Naxos CD.

Don Tait
Grover Gardner
2010-02-14 19:36:34 UTC
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Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly some
newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than the usual
Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical pieces?
In terms of the past, that's easy--Korngold, Rosza, Franz Waxman,
David Raksin, Jerry Goldsmith, Alfred Newman, Hugo Friedhofer, Max
Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Dmitri Tiomkin, Virgil Thomson, Aaron
Copeland, Alex North, Nino Rota, William Walton and Ralph Vaughn
Williams (to name just a few) wrote wonderful film music that is
eminently enjoyable in and of itself.

I'm not very familiar with the current crop, but Thomas and Randy
Newman, Anne Dudley and Hans Zimmer seem to be highly regarded. I've
always enjoyed Danny Elfman's stuff and thought it was worth
revisiting after the movie was over. Paul Buckmaster is interesting
too. You'd have to do some googling to find out more about current
film composers. I imagine there's a fair amount of good stuff out
there.
Grover Gardner
2010-02-14 19:41:25 UTC
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Post by Grover Gardner
Post by Dinora
Are there any film scores, of the past, but more importantly some
newer ones, that you'd say have a higher quality than the usual
Hollywood fare? Equal in value as some classical pieces?
In terms of the past, that's easy--Korngold, Rosza, Franz Waxman,
David Raksin, Jerry Goldsmith, Alfred Newman, Hugo Friedhofer, Max
Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Dmitri Tiomkin, Virgil Thomson, Aaron
Copeland, Alex North, Nino Rota, William Walton and Ralph Vaughn
Williams (to name just a few) wrote wonderful film music that is
eminently enjoyable in and of itself.
I'm not very familiar with the current crop, but Thomas and Randy
Newman, Anne Dudley and Hans Zimmer seem to be highly regarded.  I've
always enjoyed Danny Elfman's stuff and thought it was worth
revisiting after the movie was over.  Paul Buckmaster is interesting
too.  You'd have to do some googling to find out more about current
film composers.  I imagine there's a fair amount of good stuff out
there.
I see William has much more to say about modern film scores. Thank
you, very interesting.
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