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This is a comments thread about Blog Post: Film Music Is Dead by Kjell Neckebroeck
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:13 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

At some point, I'd like to see a thread about 'current times' where the mention of contemporary action films was prohibited, if only to hear what the naysayers can come up with for the gigantic field BEYOND that particular genre. I have a sneaking feeling it won't be much.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:18 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Me, too, considering almost nobody here watches, say, a Norwegian art-house movie whose score probably wouldn't be available either. What's the point analyzing movie scores (almost) nobody's heard. Hollywood dictates what's "en vogue" in commercial film making, extending to the music. Which in turn is being imitated for most other genre-movie scores around the world (be it China, Germany, or Russia).

Personally, I'm trying to keep up with what's going on in European film and TV (mostly, TV) music. Not too much. Especially since there's a general mistrust against music being used in films in some countries in Europe, like there's always been.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:27 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Me, too, considering almost nobody here watches, say, a Norwegian art-house movie whose score probably wouldn't be available either.

Fortunately, one doesn't have to go 'all arthouse' to go outside the Hollywood action films. Hollywood produces films in other genres too.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:32 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

This article is right on. Scoring a film is an "art". Believe it or not art has rules. Today they toss out all the rules. Film music is dead because the art of scoring is dead.

But it's not just film scoring. The art of film editing is dead. The art of pacing is dead. The art of sound design is dead. Mainstream media has become (in general) a soulless, automated process which is all flash and no substance.

It's nothing more than an attack on the sense's because they believe people don't want to invest anything into the experience. What did you feel when you walked out of "Superman The Movie"? Compared to what you felt walking out of "Man of Steel"?

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:38 AM   
 By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (Member)

I think this blog post makes an intelligent case - but not for the death of film music, only for the change in scoring a picture.

And although I have been guilty of traditionalism (hey, look at my screen name) and blaming the Zimmer-factory for making scores worse...

... I must admit that the accusation of "wall-to-wall"-scores of today was raised at John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner during the late 70´s and 80´s as well. I remember many critics longing for the good old days of early 70´s cinema when there were no scores at all, just carefully selected rock songs, instead of the orchestral bombast brought in by those composers so many (like me) adore and fondly look back to.

So, let´s just all admit that the style of making movies and scoring films is a cycle. Zimmer will not rule forever. Someone else will come along and be considered much more interesting and current.

And maybe this new guy will bring back traditional orchestral scoring, just like John Williams did.

It only takes one gigantic hit that no one expects. Like STAR WARS.

P.S. I also think that there are fantastic scores nowadays. And some of them, ahem, are written by Hans Zimmer.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:38 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I was tempted to post the picture of the old man with the waving cane again, but I didn't in fear of incurring the Wrath of FSM United.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:40 AM   
 By:   petek66   (Member)

Even at the dawn of the nineties, Hans Zimmer had barely left Germany and was working with Stanley Myers on such obscure fare as Castaway.

Along with a couple of other obscure projects such as consecutive BEST PICTURE winners Rain Man (1988) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989).

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 8:39 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

I had to laugh at another one I read recent saying it isn't film music when it can't be performed by actual players. roll eyes


I'd say it's not music at all, let alone film music, if it can't be performed by musicians.
And pigs grunting in a sty are more natural and accomplished vocalists than any synth choir.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Most of what is composed of the thousands of scores in any given year is more or less forgettable, whether it's 1936, 1972 or 2013, and quickly lost in the sands of time. It's only the good stuff that stands tall, and I would guess that an average of about 10-20 pr. year is a good estimate.


Right on. I remember waiting and waiting for the next good score back in the 70s. It may have popped up in mainstream studio fair in those days more often but it was never all that plentiful. Time compresses in memory so the past always seemed a richer time. The bane of our existence then were rock and song scores. I actually have some old newspapers where the good scores are all in second run theaters and the new stuff has nothing, as there are some good scores on DVD now (our second run) but nothing currently out in theaters of interest. And having all those film music magazines still on my shelf I cannot find one period where the "current" state of film music wasn't being lamented over some distant mythical "past".

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   Jon Broxton   (Member)

20 excellent scores just from 2013? OK, you got it:

- Roque Banos, Evil Dead
- Bartosz Chajdecki, Baczynski
- Sarah Class, Africa
- Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
- Ilan Eshkeri, Justin and the Knights of Valor
- Laurent Eyquem, Copperhead
- Laurent Eyquem, Winnie Mandela
- Joe Hisaishi, Miracle Apples
- Joe Hisaishi, The Wind Rises
- Federico Jusid, Isabel
- Abel Korzeniowski, Escape from Tomorrow
- Abel Korzeniowski, Romeo & Juliet
- Maurizio Malagnini, The Paradise
- Mark McKenzie, The Ultimate Life
- Atli Örvarsson, Colette
- Victor Reyes, Grand Piano
- Carlo Siliotto, Instructions Not Included
- Benjamin Wallfisch, Summer in February
- John Williams, The Book Thief

And that's just off the top of my head.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 9:56 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

There are still good scores coming out, for sure. Desplat alone keeps a nice supply coming.

And there were probably always bad ones too, it's just that they get forgotten in the march of time.

However, I share the general idea that the recent era of film music is less inspiring overall than past eras and the post makes some good points about style.

My pet peeve is the ubiquity of two-hour films with three-hours of music scored for the beefed-up crash-bang-wallop orchestra and great grand choir of the apocalypse — and yet for all the crashing and bashing and Carmina Burana-ing, almost nothing of distinction to remember.

Put it this way. If you put the film score decade of the 00s head-to-head with the 50s, or the 60s, or the 70s, or the 80s, I think the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s, whichever one it's head-to-head with, beats it.

But, still, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are good scores, always. And maybe our perceptions are distorted by our biases.
Cheers



Maybe. I always thought about the irony that the composers I really admired thought movies of the past had been overscored. The difference being Max Steiner was using a sound popular for his time as Horner does for ours. I find both would indulge in terrible overkill, no matter how much I like both of their "sounds". And Steiner would use more of his overkill on sentimentality rather than action. I also found many "synthplayers" from the Golden Age, they had all strings play the same line, kept counterpoint out of it and added pretty much library music to the film they were working on (because of time or money constaints or sometimes because they were simply hacks). BTW I have to thank William Stromberg for showing me how Steiner would have sounded on the scoring stage as opposed to the tinny sound that much of his stuff seemed to be, based on the recording equipment of the time. This is an exaggeration as there are some wonderful Alfred Newman scores that are practically main and end titles only. But then, as now, the practice is if the film sucks let's inject it with music to artificially pump it up. And, then as now, I know plenty of "fans" who eat it up. I personally like filmscores that give a variety of fair. Where they try to do more than the meat and potatoes that is always demanded (action and sentimentality). These composers give me a view of a whole world of music that could be quizzical, luxurious, subliminally tense, anxious, pastoral, antic, ironic, lightly primitive, foreboding, gradually chaotic, playful, intimate or stately.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 9:59 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

"I remember seeing MY GEISHA at Radio City Music Hall in 1962. Yes, that was pretty much the end of good film music." - Page Cook, c. 1969.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 9:59 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

20 excellent scores just from 2013? OK, you got it:

- Roque Banos, Evil Dead
- Bartosz Chajdecki, Baczynski
- Sarah Class, Africa
- Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
- Ilan Eshkeri, Justin and the Knights of Valor
- Laurent Eyquem, Copperhead
- Laurent Eyquem, Winnie Mandela
- Joe Hisaishi, Miracle Apples
- Joe Hisaishi, The Wind Rises
- Federico Jusid, Isabel
- Abel Korzeniowski, Escape from Tomorrow
- Abel Korzeniowski, Romeo & Juliet
- Maurizio Malagnini, The Paradise
- Mark McKenzie, The Ultimate Life
- Atli Örvarsson, Colette
- Victor Reyes, Grand Piano
- Carlo Siliotto, Instructions Not Included
- Benjamin Wallfisch, Summer in February
- John Williams, The Book Thief

And that's just off the top of my head.


Man, 8 of those I haven't even heard. Thanks Jon!

Jon is a film music lover. He digs for treasure.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 9:59 AM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

If you think film music is dead, what you're really saying is "my personal and narrow focus of a genre is outdated and I refuse to look elsewhere".

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 10:00 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

20 excellent scores just from 2013? OK, you got it:

- Roque Banos, Evil Dead
- Bartosz Chajdecki, Baczynski
- Sarah Class, Africa
- Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
- Ilan Eshkeri, Justin and the Knights of Valor
- Laurent Eyquem, Copperhead
- Laurent Eyquem, Winnie Mandela
- Joe Hisaishi, Miracle Apples
- Joe Hisaishi, The Wind Rises
- Federico Jusid, Isabel
- Abel Korzeniowski, Escape from Tomorrow
- Abel Korzeniowski, Romeo & Juliet
- Maurizio Malagnini, The Paradise
- Mark McKenzie, The Ultimate Life
- Atli Örvarsson, Colette
- Victor Reyes, Grand Piano
- Carlo Siliotto, Instructions Not Included
- Benjamin Wallfisch, Summer in February
- John Williams, The Book Thief

And that's just off the top of my head.


Only one I've heard was The Book Thief and it was as understated and redundant as one can get. Serviceable at best. Edit: I've heard Abel Korzeniowski's, Romeo & Juliet and it's just a lessor version of the far superior Copernicus Star.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 10:08 AM   
 By:   Jon Broxton   (Member)

Only one I've heard was The Book Thief and it was as understated and redundant as one can get. Serviceable at best. Edit: I've heard Abel Korzeniowski's, Romeo & Juliet and it's just a lessor version of the far superior Copernicus Star.

Well, you're just a bundle of sunshine, aren't ya?

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   Erik Woods   (Member)

Jon Broxton wrote:
You're not listening to the right scores, clearly. I can list 10-20 scores from this year alone which fulfill your criteria for being "good scores". You're like the film music equivalent of chicken little.


Thor wrote:
This is one of MY 'pet peeves' in these discussions -- that people draw conclusions on the general state of things by only taking their point of departure in mainstream Hollywood ACTION films. As if that was the only genre around.


Lehah wrote:
If you think film music is dead, what you're really saying is "my personal and narrow focus of a genre is outdated and I refuse to look elsewhere".


^ Yeah, that!

-Erik-

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 10:44 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Only one I've heard was The Book Thief and it was as understated and redundant as one can get. Serviceable at best. Edit: I've heard Abel Korzeniowski's, Romeo & Juliet and it's just a lessor version of the far superior Copernicus Star.

Well, you're just a bundle of sunshine, aren't ya?


In reflection there have been some really nice scores over the last decade or two, just not in the arena of the Hollywood summer blockbuster's which is what got me into scores to begin with. Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, A Little Princess, Dangerous Beauty, Shakespeare In Love, are all top quality scores. wink

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   GOLDSMITHDAKING   (Member)

That's why nowadays I stick mainly to european composers (and their work for european movies) like Kaczmarek, Marianelli, Desplat, Martichelli, Korzeniowski, Einaudi etc. The americans just don't do it for me anymore. Outside of the occasional John Williams and James Newton Howard.

Yawn.Yet another article and thread to state that ' Oh film music was much better when i was growing up as a kid in the 70s, you youngsters today dont know what REAL film music is with all your world wide interwebs and zimmerisms '

By that by, i just want to say that Brian Tyler in my opinion, is the best ever composer for action movies.Yep, even better than the mighty Goldsmith.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 12:29 PM   
 By:   Vincent Bernard   (Member)

20 excellent scores just from 2013? OK, you got it:

- Roque Banos, Evil Dead
- Bartosz Chajdecki, Baczynski
- Sarah Class, Africa
- Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
- Ilan Eshkeri, Justin and the Knights of Valor
- Laurent Eyquem, Copperhead
- Laurent Eyquem, Winnie Mandela
- Joe Hisaishi, Miracle Apples
- Joe Hisaishi, The Wind Rises
- Federico Jusid, Isabel
- Abel Korzeniowski, Escape from Tomorrow
- Abel Korzeniowski, Romeo & Juliet
- Maurizio Malagnini, The Paradise
- Mark McKenzie, The Ultimate Life
- Atli Örvarsson, Colette
- Victor Reyes, Grand Piano
- Carlo Siliotto, Instructions Not Included
- Benjamin Wallfisch, Summer in February
- John Williams, The Book Thief

And that's just off the top of my head.


Holy crap, I'm almost halfway through this list—I'm streaming 'em on YouTube—and I'm fighting to stay awake here!

Most of this stuff feels like it was composed in Digital Performer. Only Desplat has held my interest for any length of time—the rest felt like over-programmed pablum.

Is this what passes for good film music today? Synth french horns and choirs? Long string lines that go nowhere? Evil Dead sounded like a demo track for an orchestral sampler effects articulation patch for fuck's sake!

If this is the future of film music, you fuckers can have it.

EDIT: And what's with all the solo piano in these? Where is the orchestra!?!

EDIT 2: Hold the phone! Sounds like Federico Jusid actually studied music. That's 2 for 10!

EDIT 3: Man, Abel Korzeniowski wants to grow up to be John Barry, huh?

EDIT 4: Hola, Victor Reyes! Fun and inventive stuff at last! 3 for 16.

FINAL EDIT: Final count is 3 for 19. Even my beloved JW came up short. It seems that my personal and narrow focus of a genre IS indeed outdated. Oh well, at least I tried to look elsewhere. Turned out most of elsewhere is boring as fuck.

 
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