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 Posted:   Apr 6, 2014 - 7:25 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I would have been happy to add my comments to an existing thread, but it would not have gotten bumped, so, ergo, I am starting a new thread.

For ages I have had the Columbia LP (paired with the West Side Story Suite). I didn't love it, but liked it enough to not bring it back to the thrift store.

I just watched the movie for the first time in who knows how long. I thought the music was very amateurish, very over the top, lots of busy melodies played in octaves with minimal harmonic foundations below. It sounded like second-rate library music inappropriately tracked into a film.

The music almost ruined the film.

I guess either Leonard Bernstein figured out his strengths, or his would-be employers did.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 3:53 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Disagree.

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 3:59 AM   
 By:   Maleficio   (Member)

Thanks for that humorous opening post, hilarious!

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 4:30 AM   
 By:   jeff1   (Member)

I read it and was kinda hoping nobody would dignify it with a response.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 4:38 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I've never seen the film (other than a scene or two, many years ago) and my first exposure to the music - early 1970s - was a suite performed by Stanley Black ... enjoyable but not a piece I was particularly fond of as a young teenager. Last year I purchased a 21' recording: Eduado Mata / Dallas Symphony (1992) of Bernstein's symphonic suite which I now enjoy a lot.

As for the film score~visuals: Mervyn Cooke in his 2008 publication A History of Film Music describes Bernstein's involvement (originally reluctant) in the film and his "... wholesale indebtedness to Copland ..." and goes on to state that Director Elia Kazan "... drew attention to the inappropriately bustling and menacing music at the start of the film ... commenting '... It sets a tone of highfalutin melodrama that's more befitting Aida than Waterfront' - though he declared the rest of the score to be 'excellent'. The author adds: Kazan's principal cause for regret was that Bernstein's musical personality was too forceful and therefore drew undue attention to itself.

Amongst other comments, the author mentions that Bernstein received a fee of USD15,000 for the project (plus USD39 for playing jazz piano in a bar scene!)

Given this sole scoring assignment, I do wonder if Bernstein did not seek, or was not asked, to work on other film scores.

Mitch

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 4:44 AM   
 By:   Maleficio   (Member)



Given this sole scoring assignment, I do wonder if Bernstein did not seek, or was not asked, to work on other film scores.

Mitch


Bernstein did not seek to write anymore film scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 5:20 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



Given this sole scoring assignment, I do wonder if Bernstein did not seek, or was not asked, to work on other film scores.



Yeah, that's what I'm wondering too.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

I read it and was kinda hoping nobody would dignify it with a response.

if only more people would do that with more threads. cool

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 6:30 AM   
 By:   orbital   (Member)

Disagree.

+1

+looking very much forward to Intrada's release.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 6:46 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

"The music almost ruined the film."

Bit like the music almost ruined "Spartacus", I guess. And yes, that score too has come in for its share of flack as too much, too loud, too over the top.

For me the "Waterfront" score gives the film a dimension it would otherwise have lacked, surely the true function of film music. If you feel the sadness of life in a wasteland of glass and concrete, with only a pidgeon loft to remind you of the natural world, it must surely be partly due to Bernstein's soaring trumpet lament as the camera pans over the smoky skyline. If you feel uplifted by the last scene, even to the fadeout to the Columbia torchbearer, it has to be largely due to Bernstein's triumphant orchestral paean to the triumph of decency against overwhelming odds.

Sorry to get poetic, but I just think this score is utterly fitting and brilliant in its own right, and I'm surprised at the negativity it sometimes engenders.

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 6:58 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

He was sought to score "In Cold Blood" (one of the people at the studio didnm't want Jones scoring it and set about for another composer). I don't know if he was ever formally asked and accepted.

"Brother Son, Sister Moon" he was also scoring (As well as doing songs with Leonard Cohen), this film; Cohen doesn't go into full details in his book, merely saying the film opened with music by Donovan.


He was hired to score "Tucker: A Man and His Dream" and flew out to work with the director but only ended up completing a song before what ever events transpired in the change in composer. He was worried, it turns out some what rightfully so, about an "Apocolypse Now" situation. That was, reportedly, after they had tried to get John Williams.

He was also sought to do music for a film adaption/musical, "Aida" (Zeffirelli), but I don't know what came of that. Jack Gottlieb's book very breifly mentions this. He worked some with the composer.


He's also listed for a 1957 Hallmark Hall of Fame episode, "The Lark", and this is also mentioned along with the 1955 stage musical by the same name, in Bernstein's book which features information and personal letters. But no souce that I saw, says whether they tracked music or he created new arrangements.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 7:11 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

There was talk of a collaboration with Ingmar Bergman on a film of Tristan und Isolde. But I don't imagine it would have involved "additional music by LB" ! The recently published selection of his letters reveals that back in the 1940s there was a Hollywood plan for a Tchaikovsky biopic in which Bernstein was to have starred with Greta Garbo as Mme. von Meck. Maybe the idea fell through when somebody discovered that Tchaikovsky never actually met his patroness,

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 7:47 AM   
 By:   fleming   (Member)

My only problem with Bernstein's score for "On the Waterfront" is his handling of music under dialogue, specially the scenes with Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint. He uses a fully orchestrated version of the love theme which proves disruptive, when a solo flute or a harp could have done the job better. The music for the beginning and closing sequences is excellent, though.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 7:55 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

the score was later re-used in "Screaming Mimi"(1958) but is more of a distraction if you associate the music with WATERFRONT.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

The love music never bothered me. Like many of us music lovers, I've always had the ability to assimilate music (good music) when it's prominent in the mix. Obviously there are many moviegoers and critics who feel otherwise. But the opening scene does strike me as excessive. The music certainly captures the violence of the scene (the killing of Edie's brother). But at this point the audience doesn't know what all is the fuss is about. The dialogue here, though sparse, is essential to comprehension, and the loud, percussive music all but obliterates the words and therefore the significance.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   jeff1   (Member)

the score was later re-used in "Screaming Mimi"(1958) but is more of a distraction if you associate the music with WATERFRONT.

And paid homage by Goldsmith in both CITY HALL and LA CONFIDENTIAL.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 8:35 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

the score was later re-used in "Screaming Mimi"(1958) but is more of a distraction if you associate the music with WATERFRONT.

And paid homage by Goldsmith in both CITY HALL and LA CONFIDENTIAL.


interesting. cool

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 8:44 AM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

"The music almost ruined the film."

Bit like the music almost ruined "Spartacus", I guess. And yes, that score too has come in for its share of flack as too much, too loud, too over the top.

For me the "Waterfront" score gives the film a dimension it would otherwise have lacked, surely the true function of film music. If you feel the sadness of life in a wasteland of glass and concrete, with only a pidgeon loft to remind you of the natural world, it must surely be partly due to Bernstein's soaring trumpet lament as the camera pans over the smoky skyline. If you feel uplifted by the last scene, even to the fadeout to the Columbia torchbearer, it has to be largely due to Bernstein's triumphant orchestral paean to the triumph of decency against overwhelming odds.

Sorry to get poetic, but I just think this score is utterly fitting and brilliant in its own right, and I'm surprised at the negativity it sometimes engenders.


Don't apologize. You've admirably expressed your appreciation quite eloquently. Many reading this agree with your statements including myself.

I think for some, especially nowadays, hearing ANY music is too much.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

I think for some, especially nowadays, hearing ANY music is too much.

the "Film Scoreless Musicless" message board. I like it, it's catchy!

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 10:19 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I remember Edie's brother is scapegoated as the canary who could sing but couldn't fly, or something like that. The point was very obvious, music or no.

 
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