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 Posted:   Feb 26, 2004 - 10:05 AM   
 By:   WesllDeckers   (Member)

I just went back and "cleaned up"/edited this thread for easier reading (at least the posts to which I have access, i.e. my own), since I referred to it in another thread just now.


Easier? It's such an enormous lap of text... I'm gettin' dizzy. wink

And yes, why aren't there any more of this long discussions anymore?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2004 - 10:58 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Well, the main reason is obviously that the people who used to partake in such discussions are not here anymore (or at best extremely sporadically, like Swashbuckler). Then there's also the fact that we have covered so many "extensive" topics over the years that maybe we've drained the well? Then again, maybe not.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2004 - 11:03 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Actually, I just realized that this thread dates back to BEFORE august 2000, since that was the time I RESURRECTED it, after all (as the title suggests), due to the interface change between 1999 and 2000 when all the threads were lost. I think it was originally posted back in 98 or 99. Wow, gotta love these FSM Messageboard archeological activities! big grin

 
 Posted:   Feb 27, 2004 - 10:08 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

Thor, do you still agree with your original message in this thread? Are you happy to let someone else choose what cues you will listen to on a soundtrack recording?

Secondly, there are other forums that do seem to still have these long discussions, such as bernardherrmann.org's forum.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 27, 2004 - 10:15 AM   
 By:   Jostein   (Member)

For me, this topic boils down to the music itself; if the music is as phenomenal as Star Wars, Superman or some of Goldsmith's best, then I certainly think an expanded/complete release is the ideal.

However, most of today's score releases don't need to be this long.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 27, 2004 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

***Thor, do you still agree with your original message in this thread? Are you happy to let someone else choose what cues you will listen to on a soundtrack recording?***

Well, yes, I still agree with what I said back then, although over time I have come to nuance my viewpoint more properly, and am now more consistent when I debate. At least I hope so.

I'm certainly happy to let other people choose and arrange the tracks, particularly if it's the composer himself and if they are as good as Williams. He KNOWS what makes a good listening experience. I don't! smile

***Secondly, there are other forums that do seem to still have these long discussions, such as bernardherrmann.org's forum.***

Ah yeah, you're probably right. I've never really been a member there, though. I only have time (and stamina) for one messageboard at a time. Thanks for the tip anyway.

 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2004 - 1:59 PM   
 By:   WesllDeckers   (Member)

My preference goes to albums the way the composer intented. Lenght, order, combinations of cues, alternates, whatever...

But, on the other hand, complete scores can give a better overview of the entire composition. Often some great cues are left of of the album.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2004 - 4:37 PM   
 By:   estgrey   (Member)

I'm certainly happy to let other people choose and arrange the tracks, particularly if it's the composer himself and if they are as good as Williams. He KNOWS what makes a good listening experience. I don't!

Not to be impertinent, but if you don't know "what makes a good listening experience" then who cares what you think about a particular CD? I certainly know, after listening to a CD, whether or not it was a "good listening experience" for me. I am presuming that this isn't really what you meant to say since it completely undermines your stated position that a full score CD is generally too long for you, by implication not a "good listening experience." (I don't see that the smiley changes the meaning of this apparent mis-statement.)

Although I do like a complete score to be presented on CD (although some may admittedly become somewhat tedious), I'm not really fussy about the sequence of a CD, unless, perhaps, for particularly significant events in the film. (I do prefer my main title to come before my end titles.) If "source" music cues are included, I tend to prefer them at the end, so that they do not disrupt the score proper and I can easily ignore them if I choose to do so.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 29, 2004 - 10:14 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Not to be impertinent, but if you don't know "what makes a good listening experience" then who cares what you think about a particular CD?

Of course, what I meant - and what I repeatedly underline in the above thread - was that I'm not an expert on album arranging and producing. Having absolutely no musical skill, I cannot be expected to know (how to do) this.

What I certainly DO know, is what makes a good listening experience for ME, as the CONSUMER (heck, that's the whole point of this thread). But the point was that if I was handed a chronological presentation of a score, I would not know how to extract the tracks and rearrange them in an order that would make "best" musical sense. I trust that to guys like Williams, who not only know music better than I do, but certainly also know THEIR OWN MUSIC better and what would make good harmonic transitions, thematic development etc.

 
 Posted:   Feb 29, 2004 - 10:27 AM   
 By:   WesllDeckers   (Member)


However, most of today's score releases don't need to be this long.


Agree. The music has to 'ask' for a longer or complete album. For example: altough there are a few 'killer' tracks in the complete scores to Goldsmith's The Mummy and Hollow Man left of of the album, I find the albums to be very good representations of the score.

Again: the music has to call for it itself.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 29, 2004 - 12:34 PM   
 By:   estgrey   (Member)

Of course, what I meant - and what I repeatedly underline in the above thread - was that I'm not an expert on album arranging and producing. Having absolutely no musical skill, I cannot be expected to know (how to do) this.

What I certainly DO know, is what makes a good listening experience for ME, as the CONSUMER (heck, that's the whole point of this thread). But the point was that if I was handed a chronological presentation of a score, I would not know how to extract the tracks and rearrange them in an order that would make "best" musical sense. I trust that to guys like Williams, who not only know music better than I do, but certainly also know THEIR OWN MUSIC better and what would make good harmonic transitions, thematic development etc.


I think you are confusing two very different and distinct skill sets here. I would not pretend to possess one iota of the musical skill of John Williams (just to mention one composer as an example), but no one is suggesting that we would write a better score than Williams (creating themes, orchestrating them, etc.). But selecting and arranging the cues once they exist is a far lesser skill, however much work it might actually end up being.

If we were to accept your position, then no one but a composer should select and order music for a concert, or no one but an artist should select and arrange items for an exhibition.(Ironically, an artist is often the worst judge of his or her own product, which is why someone like Stephen King desperately needs a good editor. Objectivity can be a real asset.) Everyone who has ever made his or her own tape of music has essentially done what most CD producers are doing, assuming that one has not simply copied the source as an exact duplicate. (I am, of course, intentionally leaving out the business aspects of producing a CD since that is unrelated to the essentially aesthetic issues we are discussing.) We are limited only by access to material, money, technical experts and equipment. These are all matters of opportunity rather than ability. (It might also help to get a few releases under your belt.) If you really think that, given the same technical and logistical support, you could not produce an album of John William's music that would be as good as what he would produce, I believe you are underestimating yourself -- and you are seriously underestimating everyone else.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 29, 2004 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Using your logic, estgrey, would you really claim we could edit films ourselves, and with equal success? Or that we could make suites out of existing music material that would equal that of the great composers and producers?

I think I am not under-estimating my abilities so much as I'm being humble towards the art of "album arranging" (because it IS an art in many ways). All I can claim with certainty is that the exp./compl. presentation doesn't work very well for me (most of the time), and this is solely out of principal grounds (i.e. the assumption that music in film should be presented without alterations for a completely different medium, CD). So other than expressing a preference for abbreviated and re-arranged scores, I don't think it should be required of me to actually ABBREVIATE it and RE-ARRANGE it myself.

What I CAN do is to (aesthetically) evaluate the product I am given. Does the presentation work FOR ME? Note that I'm not advocating a passive acceptance of what we are given (both of us favour constructive criticism), just an admittance that Williams and other guys in the "know" are better album producers than me.

When I read your comments, I am somewhat reminded of the age-old comment leveled at critics: "if you don't like the [film or score or artwork in question], then let's see if you can make it better yourself!". It shouldn't be required of someone to know the trade intrinsically just to take a principal stand.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 29, 2004 - 1:41 PM   
 By:   estgrey   (Member)

Using your logic, estgrey, would you really claim we could edit films ourselves, and with equal success? Or that we could make suites out of existing music material that would equal that of the great composers and producers?

Of course this statement is not using my logic, it is extending my statements beyond their intended purpose, with the express hope of breaking it. (One might suggest that your argument here dictates a chronological sequence for the soundtrack.) Remember that I am chiefly arguing for the original tracks, with no re-thinking beyond keeping the tracks intact as they were performed rather than as they may have been cut to fit a later re-edit of a scene. But since you have raised the point, yes -- an intelligent and insightful viewer with adequate time and resources might re-edit a film and make something very interesting from it. (Some wonderful editing has been done by people other than the director. Ironically, I think the original 1977 Star Wars was so much better than the more recent ones precisely because George Lukas was forced to incorporate the ideas of so many people rather than relying on his own vision. Similarly, I think the LOTR series benefits substantially from Peter Jackson's willingness to grant a strong voice to his designers, etc.) Would the result be as good as the original film? That, of course, would be a matter of opinion.

I think I am not under-estimating my abilities so much as I'm being humble towards the art of "album arranging" (because it IS an art in many ways).

If one considers it an art, in the broader sense of the term, it is a responsive rather than a creative art.

All I can claim with certainty is that the exp./compl. presentation doesn't work very well for me (most of the time), and this is solely out of principal grounds (i.e. the assumption that music in film should be presented without alterations for a completely different medium, CD).

And as an opinion, or preference, that is fine -- as is the opposing opinion, or preference. Your position could be taken to an extreme of endorsing a complete rewrite of the music, with entirely new orchestration, and perhaps even new themes. If one is to separate it completely from the film, one has no restrictions. I doubt you would find many film music fans to support such a view. A well-done suite might be a very nice musical experience, but it is unreasonable to presume that it is the only valid such experience. I like suites and full scores, sometimes of the very same music. Wanting the full score released is a desire for opportunity -- an inclusive wish for as much of the original material as possible. Wanting an abbreviated score is a wish for omission, a reduction of possibility. (I think this is part of why some who disagree with you on this point are so passionate about it.)

So other than expressing a preference for abbreviated and re-arranged scores, I don't think it should be required of me to actually ABBREVIATE it and RE-ARRANGE it myself.

I am not saying that you should have to abbreviate or re-arrange it yourself, unless you are so unhappy with the CD that you feel compelled to do so, or you like such efforts. I don't think those of us who want more of the music should have to beg and scrape (perhaps recording off of TV broadcasts) to get the product we want, especially if we are willing to actually put down money to buy it. At least with a full release you have the possibility of creating an abbreviated version that works better for you. With an abbreviated version, no one has the opportunity to expand it. Imposing your preference for a shorter release is inherently far more limiting that imposing a preference for a longer one.

What I CAN do is to (aesthetically) evaluate the product I am given. Does the presentation work FOR ME? Note that I'm not advocating a passive acceptance of what we are given (both of us favour constructive criticism), just an admittance that Williams and other guys in the "know" are better album producers than me.

I cannot admit what I do not believe to be true. It is curious that here you claim a superior "knowledge" on the part of Williams, the composer, than others. In discussions of original versus re-recorded scores, you seem not to acknowledge such extra value. My position is more nuanced. I am interested in what the composer thinks is the best musical presentation, but I am not obligated to agree with it. I might very reasonably have a strong preference for a particular cue which was omitted, or a dislike of one which was inserted in the middle of a new suite-like setting of cues I did like.

No one is ever going to release any creative product that pleases everyone. Human nature, and the diversity of experience makes this an impossible goal. Accepting this limitation, I want a document, again using a term broadly, that is as inclusive as possible of what was originally created. I understand that the average listener will probably be less interested in such a document, but as someone with a particular (and admittedly peculiar) interest, I absolutely do want it. Having that, I am also perfectly happy to have releases in other forms. I might not like a disco suite, but I have no problem with someone else wanting that -- as long as a release of the original form (or as close a re-creation of it as is practical) is also available.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 1, 2004 - 11:22 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

***Of course this statement is not using my logic, it is extending my statements beyond their intended purpose, with the express hope of breaking it.***

Well, you gotta put things on the edge to keep it interesting. I would say there's a justified similiarity, though.

***But since you have raised the point, yes -- an intelligent and insightful viewer with adequate time and resources might re-edit a film and make something very interesting from it.***

But why on earth would he do that? When I watch a film or buy a sountrack, I expect to get a FINISHED product. I do NOT expect to COMPLETE it (no pun intended) myself. That is beyond the call of duty, and would require too much time and stamina on my end. Of course, the product is further "enhanced" in my creative aesthethic evaluation of it, but I gotta have a finished product to start off with.

All I can ask for is a re-arrangement and abbreviation of the score for album purposes. And as long as I KNOW the producers are capable both musically and technically, I have no problem trusting the EXACT EXECUTION of that wish to them.

***Some wonderful editing has been done by people other than the director.***

Sure, usually by the editor! smile But I - as a regular person without any (or very little) understanding of film editing - wouldn't claim to have a similar insight (although it probably be fun to give it a shot). I can POINT to good edits when I see the film, but I cannot be expected to MAKE them myself.

***Similarly, I think the LOTR series benefits substantially from Peter Jackson's willingness to grant a strong voice to his designers,***

OF COURSE. But the designers etc. are well aware of their craft, much more so than Joe Moviegoer.

***If one considers it an art, in the broader sense of the term, it is a responsive rather than a creative art.***

Seeing as it may form the entire affective result (through dramatic understanding etc.), I would certainly label it as creative. Responsiveness is also creative, isn't it?

***Your position could be taken to an extreme of endorsing a complete rewrite of the music, with entirely new orchestration, and perhaps even new themes.***

Actually, it couldn't. The reason I love film music so much is, in fact, because of its "specific" nature. That may sound contrary to my expressed viewpoint, but it really isn't. It is the fact that the music is born to accompany a special scene, that makes it so specific (and often emotionally more direct than classical music). However, there is no reason why this specificness cannot be retained in re-arranged form. You are, after all, not altering the themes themselves. I'm not supporting a complete WATERING-OUT of the thematic (and core) material of the music.

***A well-done suite might be a very nice musical experience, but it is unreasonable to presume that it is the only valid such experience.***

Indeed, the guys who prefer complete presentations prove that it isn't. However, I would maintain that a suite does the music more justice as an aural-only medium than a film-dictated presentation. But of course, it doesn't have to be as radical as a suite. Slighter alterations would also do.

***Wanting an abbreviated score is a wish for omission, a reduction of possibility.***

I disagree. The hermeneutic possibilites lie, IMO, in the presented music itself, NOT in HOW MANY WAYS the music COULD BE presented, hypothetically.

***At least with a full release you have the possibility of creating an abbreviated version that works better for you.***

And as I said, I CANNOT and WILL NOT "play" record producer each time I buy a CD. I would probably have to agree with you (or at least accept) that it's OK to have MORE MUSIC in and of itself - at least for the sake of those who crave these things - but isn't there a way to have a lot of the music (though preferably not ALL), but then re-arrange it for better listening. That way, YOU GUYS could arrange into chronological order, which is a much easier task.

***It is curious that here you claim a superior "knowledge" on the part of Williams, the composer, than others. In discussions of original versus re-recorded scores, you seem not to acknowledge such extra value.***

I said Williams AND OTHERS. Those "others" are musically educated people who know their stuff. In that other discussion, you are right that I down-graded the importance of the original composer in terms of performing the score. But I would never down-grade the importance of musically knowledgeable people performing it! This freedom with the score sheets went to OTHER musically knowledgeable people, not regular Joes!

***I might not like a disco suite, but I have no problem with someone else wanting that -- as long as a release of the original form (or as close a re-creation of it as is practical) is also available.***

And I am - as you know - also very FOR multiple interpretations of a score. But I maintain my right to have a preference among those. And more importantly (and controversially) - on the topic of this thread - I also claim to have a PRINCIPAL reason why complete/film-chronological presentations really don't do justice to the aural-only ability of the music.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 1, 2004 - 2:07 PM   
 By:   estgrey   (Member)

I really do believe that you are grossly overrating the creative/artistic skill required to edit this material, but I think we have both stated our positions, and there isn’t much more to be said. (I think the degree of creativity in evaluating and selecting material is far less than that needed to actually create that material. I also think that the requisite level of skill for this evaluating and selecting is much more broadly held than you would permit. I have no doubt that I could do it – not because I am so special but because I think lots of people have the ability to do so. But I don’t want to extend that discussion anyway since it is essentially unrelated to this one.) Again, I’m not asking for the CD to be edited by anyone. In fact, ideally it is the exact opposite that I want, a CD of the music in its original presentation, except as I have already noted. I want the smallest amount of re-thinking possible, so whether or not a musically-minded person would re-think it better than I might is moot.

If you don’t want to re-edit CDs, then by all means feel free not to do so. The only person saying that one has to re-edit a CD is you, since you seem to feel that a complete and chronologically sequenced CD is inherently unmusical or at least undesirable. That is your “principal” stand, and my “principal” stand is that, in general, I want as much of the music as I can get (assuming that it is music I like). (Again, I am less concerned with the sequence, although it is nice to at least have a listing that would allow the possibility of playing them in that sequence if one chose to do so. Merging cues can make this impossible, although I have less of an issue for combining a series of very short cues, even if that might not be my true preference.)

So once again we have two opposing views, each with its own rationale, and apparently no room for compromise. As is so often the case, I think we have two big problems here. The first is that we are arguing personal preferences, which is usually destined to end in disagreement. The second is that we are arguing a generality which is so broad as to have no meaning. What is the “right” length of soundtrack releases -- should soundtracks be 15 minutes or 30 minutes or 45 minutes? That would be a silly question since the obvious answer would be that it depends on the score and on the person listening to it. A particular release in one form may be more or less successful than the same score released in another form, or both may be successful on their own terms. My own reaction to the same release varies depending on my mood and listening context. Sometimes I may want to hear a full score, sometimes I want only 15 or 20 minutes, and sometimes I may want only a track or two. I at least want the option of hearing the full score when I want to do so. I don’t begrudge your preference for abridged and re-arranged scores, so why begrudge mine for preferring the full score? (As soon as you start to cut out material, you are going to leave out someone's favorite moment.)

Having said this, I understand that there are plans for a full release of the LOTR scores. I probably won't be buying that particular release since it would be very long, very expensive -- and although I like the scores, I don't like them that much. (There is a difference between wanting a full score at 45-75 minutes and wanting one at 6+ hours.) However, I understand those who want every note and I hope they get their wish.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 1, 2004 - 2:48 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Well, estgrey, the point of this thread was never to attack anyone's preferences, but rather to question a paradigm that takes the music of a film, removes the visuals and sound effects and then presents it directly on CD (more or less), believing that this does the music justice AS MUSIC. I wanted to focus on the peculiarity of each medium, and claim that in order for something to transgress into another medium, there has to be some changes made. Otherwise, you end up "discriminating" one of the media. It was basically around these thoughts I wanted - and got - discussion.

***If you don’t want to re-edit CDs, then by all means feel free not to do so. The only person saying that one has to re-edit a CD is you, since you seem to feel that a complete and chronologically sequenced CD is inherently unmusical or at least undesirable***

Well, I don't want to re-edit already edited material, of course. I want to get a finished product and then start consuming it. Very simple, really. And the editing needed to make the film-to-CD medium transgression, I'll leave to those who have done this many times and who knows it better than me. Why would I want to re-edit, say Williams' soundtrack albums, when I feel that his way of arranging suits my tastes perfectly?

***...we are arguing a generality which is so broad as to have no meaning***

Hmmm....well, if you're implying that there is no PURPOSE to a discussion like this, I'm inclined to disagree. It's all about DEFINING the paradigms that form our preferences, in order for the other part to understand it better/nuance one's own viewpoint. Not likely that anyone will change the other's mind, true, but rhetorics can do more than that. I know that I have learned a lot from this thread, anyway, and am grateful for all the responses (including yours) that have "broadened my horizons" just a little bit.

Damn, that sounded like an end to the thread! NO WAY am I going to accept that! smile

Gotta run now...back tomorrow.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2005 - 5:45 PM   
 By:   crimedog   (Member)


Another example, Rhino's SUPERMAN, restored a great MUSICAL
track to album - "The Big Rescue" - but is otherwise simply TOO complete (5 versions of
"Can You Read My Mind?"??? Nauseous yet?).


I disagree with your complaints about Rhino's SUPERMAN album. I think it is one of the best expanded albums of all-time. The best version of "Can You Read My Mind" is included where it should be, consistent with the flow of things. The extra versions are at the end of the CD, where you never have to listen to them if you wish (like me).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 9, 2005 - 4:25 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

And just to stir the pot, I think Superman isn't expanded enough - I want the unused source cues, dammit!
razz

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 9, 2005 - 7:17 PM   
 By:   Membership Expired   (Member)

Just when you think this thread has retired to the bowls of Hell it comes back to haunt us.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2005 - 12:38 AM   
 By:   Ghost Of HR   (Member)

Just when you think this thread has retired to the bowls of Hell it comes back to haunt us.

Hee, hee.

I actually don't see the problem. If you don't want the expanded release, don't buy it. It's as simple as that. As for me, I treasure my expanded Bond releases. The expanded Superman was a dream come true.(My favorite Williams score) And the truth is that a lot of older scores got the shaft because of the limited time offered on LP. Film score fans are so lucky in this day and age. I've seen releases appear in recent years that I could have only dreamed of when I was a kid. Keep those expanded releases coming!!!



 
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