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 Posted:   Mar 29, 2001 - 6:28 AM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

quote:
Originally posted by Thor:
[Hook]
The Concorde 2CD boot (which I assume you have) does NOT fulfill its promise to sound like a studio recording. The sound quality is still poor by my criteria - why is the material that is also on the legit release plagued by that "breathing" sound, for example? This is the first flaw. Then there's the common problem that it simply has too much similarly-sounding material presented chronologically and consequently is too repetitative. I couldn't care less for alternate versions with minor changes. Finally, it's too damn long. It occupies too much of my attention over too long a stretch of time. There's no way I can listen to the discs continually. There must be like a 24-hour break inbetween, in fact...

The sound: I never noticed bad sound quality on my discs (I think it's the Concorde boot), but I haven't played it very often, and never on my new system.

The music is indeed too repetitive in places, but I already found some passages on the original album a bit lengthy. That doesn't change the fact that there's quite a bit of great music that's not on the original album.

quote:
Such as E.T. EXPANDED, which is another beast altogether. Although I have not acquired the expanded release yet (*the audience gasps*), I HAVE listened to it. In this case, the expanded release provides a more solemn, dark, modernistic approach to the score while the original retains its suite-like, Claydermannish graciousness that makes it such a "feel-good" listening experience.

And that's one of my main points of critic. A composer writes a score for a movie. I hear that score in the movie, but what I get on CD isn't just only a part of it, but it works differently, too. It's an adaption, so to speak. And while it may be a good adaption, it might just as well be that I prefer, or at least also like, the "original" version as written for the film. What if Williams came along and eliminated all passages using the Imperial March from the Star Wars albums?

quote:
I'll say it again: FILM MUSIC ON MUSICAL TERMS! FILM MUSIC ON MUSICAL TERMS!

I totally agree. See below.

quote:
While reading through the rest of your post, it is obvious to me that you always have the film in mind as a frame of reference. You continually say something like "the album is perhaps fine the way it is, but it nevertheless misses a couple of interesting cues as heard in the film". This might be true. But - if you disregard the film - do they really ADD ANYTHING TO THE INDEPENDENT LISTENING EXPERIENCE AS A WHOLE? Or are they just nice curiosities to own; nice additions to a completist hunger?

You seem to have a wrong image of how I listen to film scores. I'm completely on your side regarding listening to film music as MUSIC.

But: Everytime someone says "in the film", you believe this implies thinking of the film while listening to the music. That's wrong. I do indeed sometimes think of the film while listening to a score, but when I do, I don't do it to relive the film, but to "enhance the music", just as you could imagine the singers on the stage when listening to an opera.

When I say that I miss a cue I've heard in the film, that doesn't have anything to do with the scene from the film it accompanies. Maybe I even hated the film. What counts is that I've heard the cue, know that it is part of the score as it was originally conceived, know that it is one of my favourite parts of the score, and subsequentially get angry that it isn't on the album.

As I said before, I firmly believe that generelly, a good composer writes a score where every part is related to the others. Not always, and not totally I agree; if a long passage from a film is accompanied several very similar cues that don't have any significant musical differences, I won't miss them on the CD.

But a film score's structure is dictated by the film's plot. Yet, to work MUSICALLY, a composer has to write the score in a coherent way. Thus, the film's narrative that dictates the score's structure is represented in the score, as a MUSICAL "shape". The composer introduces themes, writes variations of themes, and develops them. In most cases, this is done in a way that makes sense, musically speaking. Re-sequencing a film or leaving out parts of it usually won't work, because it destroys the film's narrative structure. Likewise, I believe that USUALLY (not always), doing the same to a score destroys it's musical structure.

And this is completely unrelated to the movie's structure, plot, or anything else.

quote:
I'm sure you're not alone in this dilemma. You want both the movie music and the movie music ALBUM at the same time. I have realized that, for me, the best way to deal with this is to like only the latter.

Wrong, as I just tried to explain above.

quote:
There is a strange inconsistency in what you write, however. One the one hand, you want the "little film pieces" that you admit might not add anything to the overall experience (but which you crave for as a FILM music lover). On the other hand, you say that these very same "binding pieces" are the ones that holds the score together and are essential to the overall listening experience. Elaborate, please.

I think there's a difference between the two "bits" I mentioned. There are the more subtle, and seemingly unspectacular parts that perhaps nobody chooses as a favourite piece of music, yet they are integral to the score's structure and development. On the other hand, there often are highly repetitive pieces (perhaps because film composers have such a tight schedule) that don't say anything new. These are the only parts of a score which I usually agree can be left off an album without harming the score.

I'd classify the first type as "elaboration", and the second type as "repetition".

quote:
PHANTOM MENACE (although the original album was fine, there was enough MUSICALLY INTERESTING AND REVEALING material to justify expansion)

I think the original album didn't work very well, because it didn't have a narrative structure. And again: I'm not talking about a narrative structure that has anything to do with the film DIRECTLY, but the MUSICALLY narrative structure that is inherent in every film score (and "true" classical compositions, like symphonies, as well).

quote:
and possibly THE MATRIX (I don't have the original album but its briefness must have resulted in omission of some interesting tidbits).

The Matrix album doesn't just ommit "some interesting tidbits", but actually many pieces that are important, plus it has lots of cuts in the middle of a piece, removing the "elaboration" parts I described above. Additionally, I think this is a score that relies particularly heavily on it's structure and the connections between the cues.

Finally, I'd like to try to express it in another way. I know you're a bit annoyed when I compare film music to classical music, but because of the "musical narrative" described above, I believe this is an important aspect the two types of music share.

Take an opera, for example. Many operas come on three or four CDs, and very often, you'll find "highlights" albums that fit on one CD. Do they replace the full opera? Not at all, some of them even leave out the ouverture. They're teasers for the "real thing", or (the second function) created for people who just want to "hear" the music, but not "listen" to it, i.e. who don't care about what's behind the sound. Which I believe "threatens" music, and is also the reason for the typically superficial top ten music.

Likewise, there are symphonies (e.g. by Bruckner and Mahler) that last for over one and a half hours and fill two CDs. It doesn't make sense to shorten them, even though listening to the whole thing might be more "difficult" than with shorter works.

For me, the narrative structure is one of the main aspects why I favour classical and film music, and why I usually rate it higher than "songs". There is something BEHIND the music that gives it it's complexity, and makes the various tracks on the album fit together as one WORK instead just a compilation of separate pieces.

NP: Hamlet (Patrick Doyle) (in this case, I have the feeling that there's a bit too much "repetition" on the album)

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 30, 2001 - 3:49 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Dammit! I can't "reply with quote". I only get half your post up. I'll have to continue doing it the hard way.

>> HOOK:The music is indeed too repetitive in places, but I already found some passages on the original album a bit lengthy.<<

I agree with that.

>>...That doesn't change the fact that there's quite a bit of great music that's not on the original album.<<

A bit, yes. But not to enough to warrant expansion. Not enough to reveal any new emotions etc. In my opinion.

>>And that's one of my main points of critic. A composer writes a score for a movie. I hear that score in the movie, but what I get on CD isn't just only a part of it, but it works differently, too. It's an adaptation, so to speak. And while it may be a good adaption, it might just as well be that I prefer, or at least also like, the "original" version as written for the film.<<

But the "adaptation", as you call it (which I hope is not meant derogatorily), is what the new medium of film music, the CD, is all about. The CD format REQUIRES adaption. It's aural. Music is aural. Music cannot compromize itself to visual regulations IN AN AURAL FORMAT (on film: yes, on CD: no).

>>What if Williams came along and eliminated all passages using the Imperial March from the Star Wars albums?<<

As the masterful "adapter" that he is, he wouldn't do that because the "Imperial March" is an integral MUSICAL statement in the adapted symphony that is (or SHOULD be) the STAR WARS scores on album. It says something musically. Something important. You can't leave that out.

>>That's wrong. I do indeed sometimes think of the film while listening to a score, but when I do, I don't do it to relive the film, but to "enhance the music", just as you could imagine the singers on the stage when listening to an opera.<<

Hmm...interesting. I believe it is the "imagination" criterion that you describe here: The film as a locus, space or stage in which the music unfolds. Nevertheless, I'm tempted to say that as long as you have the film EVEN INDIRECTLY IN MIND when you're listening to a CD, you're compromizing the music as music. By all means, I'm guilty of this myself. There have been numerous occasions where I've had to listen to a CD several times to "distance" myself from the immediate impact of visuals/music. The STAR WARS scores come to mind...the first times I listened to these, the films were there - bright and shining. Now, however, I have become so acquainted with the music in and of itself that I listen to them as regular symphonies. The films have been more or less eliminated from my mind in this case.

>>What counts is that I've heard the cue, know that it is part of the score as it was originally conceived, know that it is one of my favourite parts of the score, and subsequentially get angry that it isn't on the album.<<

Sure. As I said - if there are INTERESTING PIECES OF MUSIC INSIDE THE FILM THAT REVEAL SOMETHING NEW; THAT ADD MORE TO THE OVERALL LISTENING EXPERINCE ON CD and that didn't make it to the original album, then a yearning for these are justified. But only once in a blue moon are there enough of these to warrant expansion, in my opinion.

>>As I said before, I firmly believe that generelly, a good composer writes a score where every part is related to the others.<<

Absolutely. But there's no reason why this coherence should NOT be present in an abbreviated, musically adapted format, is there?

>>Not always, and not totally I agree; if a long passage from a film is accompanied several very similar cues that don't have any significant musical differences, I won't miss them on the CD.<<

Exactly. And while you say "not always", I say "usually".

>>But a film score's structure is dictated by the film's plot.<<

This, of course, is our main point of divergence. Sure, it is a fact that the music was ORIGINALLY WRITTEN to accompany a plot and that the twists and turns of that plot dictates the music. But that's film. A film moves in "waves [of light]", so to speak, meaning that EXACT MUSICAL TIMINGS AT VARIOUS POINTS IN THE FILM are dependent upon the exact visuals at that time. This results in music that "halts" abruptly, that "changes lanes continuously" etc. While the heart/soul/atmosphere/what-have-you of this musical style SHOULD be preserved on album (it's why I prefer film music over classical music), a necessary rearranging, abbreviation etc. is needed for the music to work musically. In short: The film requires a certain type of film music, the CD requires a different type of film music. A direct transfer of music from the film medium to the CD medium is unfair to the CD medium.

>> I think there's a difference between the two "bits" I mentioned. There are the more subtle, and seemingly unspectacular parts that perhaps nobody chooses as a favourite piece of music, yet they are integral to the score's structure and development.<<

Why and how?

>>On the other hand, there often are highly repetitive pieces (perhaps because film composers have such a tight schedule) that don't say anything new. These are the only parts of a score which I usually agree can be left off an album without harming the score.

I'd classify the first type as "elaboration", and the second type as "repetition".<<

I'm still not sure I see the big difference between the two musically, but your classification is intriguing.

By "elaboration", I assume that you mean the music "reveals something new" as opposed to "repetition"?

If so, how is one to musically separate between what is elaborative and what is repetitive (it's the same question as the "how and why" above)?

>>I think the original album didn't work very well, because it didn't have a narrative structure.<<

I think it had. From a musical point of view. I'm sure that if you gave this CD to someone not totally immersed in film music and who hadn't seen the film, they would tell you that they felt the CD to be a sort of "musical odyssey". But in this case, the expanded release made it an elaborative(!) odyssey that expanded upon the first release (duh!). But both are equally viable, IMO.

>>And again: I'm not talking about a narrative structure that has anything to do with the film DIRECTLY, but the MUSICALLY narrative structure that is inherent in every film score<<

Yes, there IS a narrative structure inherent in every film score, but it's not the narrative structure that should be represented on CD at all costs. There's a DIFFERENT narrative structure for that.

>>Take an opera, for example. Many operas come on three or four CDs, and very often, you'll find "highlights" albums that fit on one CD. Do they replace the full opera? Not at all,....<<

That's right. But, although both opera and film are "gesamtkunstwerke", an opera does not transcend media the same way as film music. It's not as strictly tied to the (stage) visuals as its younger brother: Remember, opera usually has the MUSIC dictating the VISUALS, and not the other way around! The same with ballet.

Classical music and opera cannot be shortened or rearranged. On that we agree. But there is a difference.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 30, 2001 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   André Lux   (Member)


Thor likes to think he's special, different... whatever.

A truly pathetic creature.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2001 - 11:13 PM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

quote:
Originally posted by Thor:
Dammit! I can't "reply with quote". I only get half your post up. I'll have to continue doing it the hard way.

Hm. It works for me.

quote:
>>...That doesn't change the fact that there's quite a bit of great music that's not on the original album.<<

A bit, yes. But not to enough to warrant expansion. Not enough to reveal any new emotions etc. In my opinion.


Why does it have to be "new emotions"? When we listen to music, it's not only about emotions. For me, ONE great cue that's not represented on a CD is enough reason for an expanded release. Because a great cue will be missed, even if it doesn't have "new emotions".

I think a good example for this is "Aboard the Executor" from ESB. Does it have new emotions? I don't know. But it's perhaps my favourite rendition of the Imperial March.

quote:
But the "adaptation", as you call it (which I hope is not meant derogatorily), is what the new medium of film music, the CD, is all about. The CD format REQUIRES adaption. It's aural. Music is aural. Music cannot compromize itself to visual regulations IN AN AURAL FORMAT (on film: yes, on CD: no).

I still don't see why. I think that a GOOD film score IS good music, perhaps with a FEW cues that are not required on the album. But if half of the score can be left out without harming the listening experience, I think the score isn't as good as it should be.

"Adaption" is not necessarily derogatory. But it is if the adapted album version is substantially different from the film version, and yet meant to REPLACE the film version as pure music.

quote:
>>What if Williams came along and eliminated all passages using the Imperial March from the Star Wars albums?<<

As the masterful "adapter" that he is, he wouldn't do that because the "Imperial March" is an integral MUSICAL statement in the adapted symphony that is (or SHOULD be) the STAR WARS scores on album. It says something musically. Something important. You can't leave that out.


Exactly. But I also consider Qui Gonn's (sp?) theme from Phantom Menace to be an integral MUSICAL part of the score, and yet Williams removed EVERY appearence of it on the first album. Same with the "key men" motif from E.T..

quote:
Hmm...interesting. I believe it is the "imagination" criterion that you describe here: The film as a locus, space or stage in which the music unfolds. Nevertheless, I'm tempted to say that as long as you have the film EVEN INDIRECTLY IN MIND when you're listening to a CD, you're compromizing the music as music.

Why? Good music has an "intellectual" side (as you have it in your own criteria). Therefore, analysis helps me to better understand and appreciate the music as MUSIC, be it a symphony or a film score. That includes recognizing the themes that are used, and also WHY they are used in specific places. Program music is pure music, yet the composers specifically assign titles to the movements so everybody knows what they should represent. You wouldn't remove the lyrics from an opera just so their meaning doesn't distract you from the music, would you? (Note: While an opera is primarily MUSIC, the libretto still exists BEFORE the music is written, so it generally dictates the music's structure)

quote:
Sure. As I said - if there are INTERESTING PIECES OF MUSIC INSIDE THE FILM THAT REVEAL SOMETHING NEW; THAT ADD MORE TO THE OVERALL LISTENING EXPERINCE ON CD and that didn't make it to the original album, then a yearning for these are justified. But only once in a blue moon are there enough of these to warrant expansion, in my opinion.

Particularly in Williams' case, who often uses "different" pieces for specific sequences in a film (The Basket Game, The Asteroid Field), many pieces are integral that may be left off the album. The "Boo Box" music from Hook stands out from the rest, as does the music for Pan's first confrontation with the pirates shortly after he arrives in Neverland.

quote:
>>As I said before, I firmly believe that generelly, a good composer writes a score where every part is related to the others.<<

Absolutely. But there's no reason why this coherence should NOT be present in an abbreviated, musically adapted format, is there?


If the theme development in a score follows MUSICAL decisions (like it does in a "good" score as I believe), the coherence is indeed lost by "adapting" the music for the album. Flipping a couple of cues might do no harm, as long as the overall order of the cues is maintained. But simply putting the end credits music on the CD as the first track is perhaps the greatest sin. When watching a film, good end credits music makes you reflect on the film, because it reflects on the MUSIC that was heard during the film. Hearing it BEFORE the rest of the score thus reveals MUSIC that shouldn't even be introduced yet.

In "classical" music, there's the Disposition, where the themes are first presented. After they're introduced, they're developed and varied. As I believe a good film score follows musical decisions, the first presentation of a theme in the score IS the equivalent of a classical Disposition, and should therefore be the first presentation of the theme on the album as well.

Leonard Rosenman talks about this in the liner notes of the Lord of the Rings album - the main theme for that film is constantly developed in the film and only completely revealed at the very end.

quote:
>>But a film score's structure is dictated by the film's plot.<<

This, of course, is our main point of divergence. Sure, it is a fact that the music was ORIGINALLY WRITTEN to accompany a plot and that the twists and turns of that plot dictates the music. But that's film. A film moves in "waves [of light]", so to speak, meaning that EXACT MUSICAL TIMINGS AT VARIOUS POINTS IN THE FILM are dependent upon the exact visuals at that time. This results in music that "halts" abruptly, that "changes lanes continuously" etc. While the heart/soul/atmosphere/what-have-you of this musical style SHOULD be preserved on album (it's why I prefer film music over classical music), a necessary rearranging, abbreviation etc. is needed for the music to work musically. In short: The film requires a certain type of film music, the CD requires a different type of film music. A direct transfer of music from the film medium to the CD medium is unfair to the CD medium.


I still don't see why one should see it that way. Doesn't a score have to work MUSICALLY first if it wants to work in the film? I think a score that doesn't work musically to begin with cannot serve the film well. And that's why the musical structure of a film score is nearly the same as the story line structure of the film. The composer ADAPTS the film's narrative and turns it into a MUSICAL narrative that results in theme usage and development. When the score is finished, the musical narrative is inherent in the work, also when it's separated from the film.

quote:
>> I think there's a difference between the two "bits" I mentioned. There are the more subtle, and seemingly unspectacular parts that perhaps nobody chooses as a favourite piece of music, yet they are integral to the score's structure and development.<<

Why and how?


The "key men" motif in E.T.. It's an important main aspect of the overall feel of the score.

quote:
By "elaboration", I assume that you mean the music "reveals something new" as opposed to "repetition"?

It does not necessarily reveal something new, but it does say more, in a musical sense. Just like someone in a discussion who elaborates on a subject to explain it in detail.

quote:
If so, how is one to musically separate between what is elaborative and what is repetitive (it's the same question as the "how and why" above)?

If a cue is nearly the same as another cue in the score, it probably doesn't elaborate but just repeat. As far as I remember, that's the case with the bits of missing music on the Dead Again CD.

"Aboard the Executor" doesn't "say something new", as we already know the Imperial March. But it is a significantly different statement of this theme than any other in the score, therefore it "elaborates" on the theme.

quote:
[Phantom Menace]
>>I think the original album didn't work very well, because it didn't have a narrative structure.<<

I think it had. From a musical point of view. I'm sure that if you gave this CD to someone not totally immersed in film music and who hadn't seen the film, they would tell you that they felt the CD to be a sort of "musical odyssey". But in this case, the expanded release made it an elaborative(!) odyssey that expanded upon the first release (duh!). But both are equally viable, IMO.


The original album is just so out-of-order that I can't find any narrative in it. Williams wisely refrained from using the Duel of the Fates music during the first part of the film. Later, he starts to introduce it, only to reveal it in the finale, as a musical climax of the score. On the CD, it is the second track. You wouldn't put The Battle of Yavin at the beginning of the Star Wars album, after all.

quote:
Yes, there IS a narrative structure inherent in every film score, but it's not the narrative structure that should be represented on CD at all costs. There's a DIFFERENT narrative structure for that.

As I said above, I believe that because the film's narrative structure is the "base" of a film score, all musical development decisions work on that structure. Here, a direct comparison with opera is entirely justified I believe: You cannot change the order of the cues in an opera. In the case of film scores, the film's narrative has a stronger influence on the music, therefore exchanging a FEW cues that don't directly relate to each other may be justified. But the overall structure must be maintained.

quote:
But, although both opera and film are "gesamtkunstwerke", an opera does not transcend media the same way as film music. It's not as strictly tied to the (stage) visuals as its younger brother: Remember, opera usually has the MUSIC dictating the VISUALS, and not the other way around! The same with ballet.

Classical music and opera cannot be shortened or rearranged. On that we agree. But there is a difference.


What about stage music? That's probably the direct ancestor of film music. Edvard Grieg turned his Peer Gynt music into two suties, just like Williams made suites from his Star Wars scores. The difference to re-sequencing and dropping cues is that the compilation of the suites works totally differently. You can easily see that Williams based nearly all of his suite movements on different themes. Only in very few cases does a different theme turn up in another cue (like the Death Star motif in Little People).

For me, this is a DIFFERENT representation of the music, and an entirely justified one, but it doesn't replace the original score album for me. Also, opera composers have turned their operas into suites, using the same approach (e.g. Bizet with his Carmen suites). If the suites are only collections exact copies of several parts from the original work, then usually because the original work's structure contains this kind of "set piece cues", like Asteroid Field. These suites usually leave out the music that binds the various parts, and therefore no suite (or very few suites) is a valid replacement for the original work.

NP: Favorite Love Themes of FSM Messageboard Fans

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2001 - 5:14 AM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

Found something interesting in the booklet for Bruckner's 5th symphony conducted by Sergiu Celibidache:

Normally we experience a performance of music as "something followed by something followed by something", as a sum total of impressions. We perceive this here and that there, and in between our attention may occasionally wane. Celibidache aimed for far more than this: in every particular, he was interested first and last in the relationship to the whole process, and he had only truly made a piece of music his own when he experienced each moment in the score in relationship to all other moments. To make this happen, it is necessary to capture each unfolding moment of the music as a direct consequence of the past AND the future, and that is what Wilhelm Furtwängler meant when he spoke of "remote listening". THe high point of the first movement of Bruckner's Fifth occurs for Celibidache "not in the fortissimo but in the horn pianissimo located between the fortissimos" (bars 325-8) - and this is just the kind of insight that is not to be found by a cumulative enumeration of all the details.

Now Celibidache was a very extreme conductor; for example he totally disbelieved in the recording of music, and said that once it is recorded, it is not music anymore. But while I don't see it quite as drastic as expressed in the paragraph above, I agree with the general idea.

And what makes me see film music as a close relative to classical music isn't so much it's "overall sound" (there are many film scores that don't use traditional orchestrations at all), but rather it's structure and use of "classical methods".

NP: Anton Bruckner: Symphony #5 (Münchner Philharmoniker, Sergiu Celibidache)

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2001 - 7:22 AM   
 By:   H. Rocco   (Member)

I've been hesitant to chime in because this thread takes too long to load as it is. I will simply repeat what I've said before:

There is NO WAY to understand the composer's intentions without hearing EVERYTHING. I am someone who's ALL FOR having EVERYTHING released. Every last note, yes. If you wouldn't delete a note from an opera, then neither should you want to remove things from a film score. John Williams is particularly careful about structuring his albums, and more power to him, but he is the exception in this field. Goldsmith, in the days of LPs, was very careful about structuring as well, but with the advent of CDs seems to have decided, "well, hell, throw it all in the mix." WARLOCK and THE RUSSIA HOUSE are probably the earliest examples of this. (I wish LEVIATHAN, done around the same time, were as well, there's some neat stuff missing.)

The discipline of film scoring is considerably different than that of writing for the concert hall, true, but that doesn't mean that the composers in question don't mean SOMETHING behind every note they contribute, which in turn means each note is implicitly VALUABLE, whether you like the score or not. I must drag out my inevitable Akira Ifukube reference: he mentioned that he thought that the ENTIRE balance of his GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1992) score was thrown off because of a short prologue that the producers added at the last second. He'd have preferred to score that bit himself, or leave it silent, or whatever he thinks about it (curiously, a similar thing happened on MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA in 1964). I think he's overstating his case a bit, but the point is that he had the whole movie thought out from start to finish, and therefore, again, IMPLICITLY, EVERY NOTE AND BEAT WAS IMPORTANT.

Thor, I'm afraid I find you somewhat misguided on this subject. What do you think CD programming is for? Or CDR burners for that matter? Make the album that makes you happy. I personally wouldn't trade my complete Ifukubes for anything, and only wish there were more equivalent Goldsmith and Williams albums extant. That's not to say I wouldn't skip around those (I already have my track preferences on, for example, THE MUMMY completely memorized), but the cues *I* would like to hear are not necessarily those *others* would like to hear.

I'll drag out another comparison I've made before, another Ifukube score, generally known as WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (Japanese title is FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTERS: SANDA VS. GAIRA). There's about an hour of music in this one, much of it almost absurdly repetitive, BUT, one of my favorite pieces is towards the end, a five-or-six-minute elaboration of the three major ideas in the score. All stuff we've heard ad nauseam earlier, but I'd be spitting bullets if someone produced an album and decided "well, we don't need that part." Underline that I'D be spitting bullets -- maybe you wouldn't be, maybe nobody else would be. But it's BETTER to have the CHOICE.

The peculiar animal that is the film score cannot be evaluated in the same way as a classical piece, that's obvious; yet, just as with a classical piece, every note IS important. And since film score albums are often as much a recollective device as an individual experience, every note is all the more VITAL. Some of the BEST moments in Jerry Goldsmith's THE OMEN are not on the album -- the drive to the church, Kathy's last scene in the hospital, the evil dog music (actually there are two versions of this) -- and I've always resented it (though no longer have to, God bless you Brad Wills. http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/biggrin.gif">) And I DO think the album would have been better for those inclusions. (All together, kids: "Goldsmith the album producer is traditionally way too tough on Goldsmith the composer.")

Because of the nature of film music (or "visual music," if you prefer, Thor), it cannot be the same experience for the same person. Yes, that is true of all music; but it's a different proposition to suggest, say, that "I don't like this movement in this symphony, so I skip it," as opposed to "This cue sucks and should never have been included because it spoils the flow." The pieces were written for very different reasons. Say you hate the music for Kathy's fall in THE OMEN. Okay, I happen to love it. I should have a right to be able to hear it. And how could it logically spoil the flow? Maybe for the listening experience the INDIVIDUAL wants, but it's completely of a piece with what the composer intended.

Thor, you bring up the expanded bootleg of PREDATOR. I'll bet there are cues in that I like that you don't, and vice versa. BECAUSE it is film music, BECAUSE it is written for a specific film and specific mood, it is ORIGINALLY meant to connect on THAT LEVEL. And nobody is ever moved the same way by the same thing.

Lashing out at expansion? I lash out at the concept of lashing out against it.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2001 - 5:07 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

First off, Rocco:

I must remind you that my main quibble with expanded releases IS NOT THE SIMPLE FACT THAT THEY ARE LONG. Although that very fact can be "annoying" for me - since I don't have the time to listen to them in one sitting - it is not a valid argument, of course. This is all about THE WAY THEY ARE USUALLY PRESENTED (chronologically). It is the chronological presentation (and lack of musical "hyphenates" that bind the score together cohesively) that makes the extended durability repetitative.

>>There is NO WAY to understand the composer's intentions without hearing EVERYTHING.<<

Maybe not. But why the preoccupation with the composer's intentions? I am a true believer of the Frankfurt School which stresses the autononmy of the text. Once the music is out there (on CD), it lives a life of its own. What the composer INTENDED for the original visuals is of little importance when he's dealing with an aural medium. The music transcends media, and should be treated with the metamorphosis accordingly.

>>The discipline of film scoring is considerably different than that of writing for the concert hall, true, but that doesn't mean that the composers in question don't mean SOMETHING behind every note they contribute, which in turn means each note is implicitly VALUABLE, whether you like the score or not.<<

I disagree. Each note is valuable in the film, yes. It is not on CD. Once again, I refer you to my view that the intentions of the composer should be disregarded.

>>Thor, I'm afraid I find you somewhat misguided on this subject. What do you think CD programming is for? Or CDR burners for that matter? Make the album that makes you happy.<<

Couldn't *I* just as easily return that request? Couldn't the FILM fans arrange or make the chronological album that they're so keen on getting and leave the musical arranging for the ALBUM fans like myself alone (after all, we are talking about a CD here and not the film itself)? It depends on the fact that most of the music is there, of course, but as I said, it is not the longevity of the album (or the completeness of the score in and of itself) that bothers me the most, it's the presentation.

>>Lashing out at expansion? I lash out at the concept of lashing out against it.<<

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Note that the title of the thread is INTENTIONALLY put on the edge. But you knew that.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2001 - 6:13 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Then, Marian:

>>A bit, yes. But not to enough to warrant expansion. Not enough to reveal any new emotions etc. In my opinion.

Why does it have to be "new emotions"? When we listen to music, it's not only about emotions.<<

Of course not. The "etc." referred to the other criteria we use (and that I have touched upon earlier). But the extra music HAS TO DO SOMETHING; HAS TO COMMUNICATE SOMETHING NEW, and not simply fill up unneccesary space, don't you agree?

>>For me, ONE great cue that's not represented on a CD is enough reason for an expanded release. Because a great cue will be missed, even if it doesn't have "new emotions".<<

Then what is a great cue, for you personally?

>>I think a good example for this is "Aboard the Executor" from ESB. Does it have new emotions? I don't know. But it's perhaps my favourite rendition of the Imperial March.<<

Don't remember the piece in question, but what you describe is legitimate and prooves my point. That rendition reveals something new, it gives you "something" extra that was not already there on the first release.

>>I still don't see why. I think that a GOOD film score IS good music, perhaps with a FEW cues that are not required on the album. But if half of the score can be left out without harming the listening experience, I think the score isn't as good as it should be.<<

Oh. I disagree. If the score is filled with a bunch of redundant, similar-sounding material (like PREDATOR or HOOK, or TERMINATOR), then leaving out half the material works wonders for the album (if it is presented properly). So are these scores bad, then? No. They are wonderful in their respective movies (movies THAT CALLED FOR and FOUND ESSENTIAL all those musical repetitions).

>>"Adaption" is not necessarily derogatory. But it is if the adapted album version is substantially different from the film version, and yet meant to REPLACE the film version as pure music.<<

Ooops. Here we diverge again. REPLACEMENT is too harsh a word, since it connotes the action of removing most of what is already in the score - emotionally, intellectually etc. But it is a fitting word in that it describes how the ESTETHICS of the FILM composition is (or should be) REPLACED with the ESTHETICS of the film music ALBUM "composition".

It IS actually possible to KEEP the atmosphere, the emotions, A (not THE) narrative, the complexity etc. of the complete film score in an arranged, possibly abbreviated presentation. John Williams should be the spectacular proof of that.

>>But I also consider Qui Gonn's (sp?) theme from Phantom Menace to be an integral MUSICAL part of the score, and yet Williams removed EVERY appearence of it on the first album.<<

You are right. Williams screwed up there. And also by not including the whispering choral music for Darth Maul.

>>Same with the "key men" motif from E.T.<<

Yes.

>>Nevertheless, I'm tempted to say that as long as you have the film EVEN INDIRECTLY IN MIND when you're listening to a CD, you're compromizing the music as music.

Why? Good music has an "intellectual" side (as you have it in your own criteria). Therefore, analysis helps me to better understand and appreciate the music as MUSIC, be it a symphony or a film score.<<

Sure. Absolutely. The intellectual, analytical side is important. But when listening to an album, that intellect should be used to DISSECT THE MUSIC IN AND OF ITSELF, not the film for which it was written. More specifically: The only way to analyze FILM music is in the context of the movie, of course (which I have done in all the Cinema Club-threads, for example), but the preferable way to analyze film MUSIC on album is to use the track titles and film narrative as a vague reference or manual to what is happening in the music. But then, one should immediately learn to disassociate oneself from the film; to create one's own "universe"; to dissect the music as pure music.

>>You wouldn't remove the lyrics from an opera just so their meaning doesn't distract you from the music, would you?<<

Actually yes, but that's another story altogether...

>>(Note: While an opera is primarily MUSIC, the libretto still exists BEFORE the music is written, so it generally dictates the music's structure)<<

Well, you know more about classical music than I do. I just know that the music of an opera CONTAINS the narrative and the basis of the plot to a much higher extent than film music, and is therefore not a fair comparison.

>>But simply putting the end credits music on the CD as the first track is perhaps the greatest sin. When watching a film, good end credits music makes you reflect on the film, because it reflects on the MUSIC that was heard during the film. Hearing it BEFORE the rest of the score thus reveals MUSIC that shouldn't even be introduced yet.<<

Enlighten me: What is the RADICAL difference between putting an end credits first instead of a regular overture or "disposition"? RADICAL?

>>Leonard Rosenman talks about this in the liner notes of the Lord of the Rings album - the main theme for that film is constantly developed in the film and only completely revealed at the very end.<<

Nice. But don't you think that a similar effect can be achieved without expansion and chronology (if it's only one point at the very end and it's very important to the overall MUSICAL structure, then surely that is something which can be maintained on an "arranged" album as well)?

>>I still don't see why one should see it that way. Doesn't a score have to work MUSICALLY first if it wants to work in the film?<<

No, it must work FILMICALLY. It only makes musical sense in the second degree.

>>I think a score that doesn't work musically to begin with cannot serve the film well. And that's why the musical structure of a film score is nearly the same as the story line structure of the film.<<

Yes, it is so to begin with. But once it loses its visuals, the music also loses the only "tie" it had to make sense in the first place. What happens then is that the CD "swallows" the film and then "burps it up" (sorry about the imagery) with a different flavour and smell.

>>The composer ADAPTS the film's narrative and turns it into a MUSICAL narrative that results in theme usage and development. When the score is finished, the musical narrative is inherent in the work, also when it's separated from the film.<<

Interesting. This could be me talking. Except the last part. Sometimes you're lucky and the score does indeed translate directly to the CD medium (because of its inherent narrative and style - Vangelis, for example, who composes unrestricted by onscreen action). More often, though, the many, many DETOURS (there's a good analogy I haven't thought about earlier) made by the film score will have to be made into SHORT CUTS on CD to make sense or at least "flow" properly. If not, the entire listening experience is fragmented and unpleasing.

>>By "elaboration", I assume that you mean the music "reveals something new" as opposed to "repetition"?

It does not necessarily reveal something new, but it does say more, in a musical sense. Just like someone in a discussion who elaborates on a subject to explain it in detail.<<

Thanks for the elaboration! It makes sense. TO SAY MORE is an important justification, which I touched upon earlier in the post.

>>The original [PHANTOM MENACE] is just so out-of-order that I can't find any narrative in it. Williams wisely refrained from using the Duel of the Fates music during the first part of the film. Later, he starts to introduce it, only to reveal it in the finale, as a musical climax of the score. On the CD, it is the second track. You wouldn't put The Battle of Yavin at the beginning of the Star Wars album, after all.<<

You're right - to a certain extent. Because "Fates" can also be seen upon as an entity that has nothing to do with the film, say an overture or introductory mood-setter or something. My quibble is that Williams reprised this one (and "Anakin's Theme") unneccesarily in the end credits, though.

>>In the case of film scores, the film's narrative has a stronger influence on the music, therefore exchanging a FEW cues that don't directly relate to each other may be justified. But the overall structure must be maintained.<<

Oh yes. As I said, the overall structure CAN be preserved through non-expanded presentation. You can have both at the same time if you're a good album producer (like Williams).

>>What about stage music? That's probably the direct ancestor of film music. Edvard Grieg turned his Peer Gynt music into two suties, just like Williams made suites from his Star Wars scores. The difference to re-sequencing and dropping cues is that the compilation of the suites works totally differently....For me, this is a DIFFERENT representation of the music, and an entirely justified one, but it doesn't replace the original score album for me.<<

THERE YOU ARE! You are justifying rearrangement because it results in a different representation. Which is just my point. Although I don't want score albums to consist of loose suites, I want them to preserve most of the original structure (or rather mood, emotions, style, slight narrative etc.), while simultaneously answering to the requirements of an aural-only medium.

>>These suites usually leave out the music that binds the various parts, and therefore no suite (or very few suites) is a valid replacement for the original work.<<

Of course not. You can't use suites as a film score either. That would not match the visuals...

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2001 - 6:31 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Hey, you should all check out my "words of wisdom"-sentence at my site www.celluloidtunes.com. It's at the bottom of the page and pretty much sums up all my feelings on this issue...

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2001 - 10:29 PM   
 By:   André Lux   (Member)


quote:
Originally posted by Thor:
Hey, you should all check out my "words of wisdom"-sentence at my site http://www.celluloidtunes.com" TARGET=_blank>www.celluloidtunes.com

Well, I read it... just the average self-indulgent ("words of wisdom") rhetoric from someone who needs to gain attention and feel important being "different" from the rest (Freud explain).

I hope no one from the record industry is reading any of mr. Thor Haha nonsense because they may consider it that's how the majority of film music appreciators think.

Which it isn't, as mr. Rocco well pointed above. It's just the lunacy of someone who don't have anything better to do except writing long and boring rhetorical statements just to look cool to whoever he's trying to impress (maybe Funfa King - who cares?).

If mr. Haha doesn't want complete scores, fine. Just don't buy it. And if he bought and don't wanna listen to it all, well that's why the SKIP buttom is there for.

Don't need to be a genius to figure it out alone!

Have a nice day.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2001 - 12:01 AM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

I think we agree that we primarily disagree about whether film music has ONE primary narrative structure - the one derived from the film - or not. As the posts are getting so long, I gues it would be a good idea to focus our discussion on this point.

Right? http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/smile.gif">

NP: Gustav Mahler: Symphony #2 (LSO, Leonard Bernstein)

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 4, 2001 - 1:08 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Sure. Your call.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2001 - 5:00 AM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

I found some points in your post that I want to address briefly before getting to the subject of film/music narrative:

quote:
Originally posted by Thor:
Enlighten me: What is the RADICAL difference between putting an end credits first instead of a regular overture or "disposition"? RADICAL?

If a score has an overture, it is MEANT to introduce us to the main themes at the beginning. If it has NO overture, the themes are inevitably introduced in a different way in the film, hence placing the end credits at the beginning of the CD doesn't fit. Also, end credits usually have a different "feeling" than overtures. Compare the Star Wars main and end title music. End title cues have a certain reflective quality, and often contain the most developed usage of themes, too. In the case of SW, the end credits have much "deeper" variations of the Skywalker theme, for example. Plus, end credits music usually ends in a way that is fitting as an ending for the whole score. Main titles don't have such a "final" ending.

Another important point here is that I think the end credits must in all cases stand at the end of the score, as a conclusion. Williams does place them there. But he also places them at the beginning, thus having them TWICE on the album. This is what I call redundant, and it makes the album longer than it actually is, regarding the "true" amount music it contains. Even if I would agree that end titles music works at the beginning, the fact remains that placing them at the beginning either results in having them twice on the CD, or missing them at the end.

quote:
>>Leonard Rosenman talks about this in the liner notes of the Lord of the Rings album - the main theme for that film is constantly developed in the film and only completely revealed at the very end.<<

Nice. But don't you think that a similar effect can be achieved without expansion and chronology (if it's only one point at the very end and it's very important to the overall MUSICAL structure, then surely that is something which can be maintained on an "arranged" album as well)?


The theme is built during the whole score. You'd have to be EXTREMELY careful not to re-sequence tracks that contain that theme.

quote:
Because "Fates" can also be seen upon as an entity that has nothing to do with the film, say an overture or introductory mood-setter or something. My quibble is that Williams reprised this one (and "Anakin's Theme") unneccesarily in the end credits, though.

"Fates" and "Anakin's Theme" are, in their suite forms, parts of the end credits, therefore they're included in the final track. They belong there. The end credits track wouldn't work if these two portions were cut.

--------

So, why do I believe that a film score usually only works if it also works musically, without the visuals?

First, I may have been a bit too radical up there. There are indeed many scores that work fine in re-sequenced, and slightly (!) shortened form. Does this interfere with the way I think about the musical narrative? Not really.

It seems to me that the more score there is in a film, the more important the relations between the musical cues become. Goldsmith often doesn't have that much music in a film. If the cues are separated by, say, ten minutes of (musical) silence, the chance that you can re-sequence them is much higher. However, if the score is nearly wall-to-wall, it DOES have a distinct musical narrative the way it is used in the film.

Once again, I'll use Star Wars as an example. Think about the placement of the Skywalker theme. It is first used as an overture, introducing the theme so that everybody in the audience recognizes it as the main theme. But when does it pop up next? If I'm not mistaken, it is not used before the sandcrawler arrives at the farm, and it is introduced in a way that's comletely different from nearly every other usage of the theme in the rest of the score. It is clearly an introduction of the theme (after the "preview" during the main titles).

Let's take a look at the Battle at Yavin. Here, Williams does deliberatly NOT use the Skywalker theme for a long time, until Luke is alone in the Death Star trench. This also works in a pure musical way, as we are already familiar with that theme and the "positive" aspect it represents (note: While the film's narrative as such is not important while listening to the music, it seems to me that the film's EMOTIONAL narrative is still valid. We know it's a good thing when we hear a jubilant rendition Skywalker theme). And if this works within one single cue, why shouldn't it work in a larger chunk of several cues, or the whole score?

For the same reason, I think the Shark Cage Fugue on the expanded Jaws album is definitely mis-placed. This is a central piece of the score, and again, Williams slowly builds the theme throughout the second part of the work. Yet, he never "lets it loose" before it's full-featured usage in the track called Shark Cage Fugue. Placing it early on the album has several effects: 1) The piece appears without any context or connection to the surrounding cues. 2) During the second part of the score, the fugue theme is introduced, developed, and slowly builds, but it is never stated in it's fully developed form. The climax is missing.

Considering the structure of the score, you could probably do a bit of re-sequencing, as long as you keep the general flow. The fugue is among the most important pieces in the score, and the one that has the greatest effect on the structure of the surrounding cues. It is like placing the Star Wars overture somewhere else on the album instead of the beginning.

NP: Jaws Expanded (John Williams)

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 9, 2001 - 3:40 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

***"Fates" and "Anakin's Theme" are, in their suite forms, parts of the end credits, therefore they're included in the final track. They belong there. The end credits track wouldn't work if these two portions were cut.***

You're right. So he could have skipped the first two tracks on the album instead. I don't MIND that they are featured as track 2 and 3. Not at all. I just mind that they are also in the end credits. But I agree; keep them in the end credits and drop them as track 2 and 3 (and fill the free space with, for example, the whispering choral music).

***It seems to me that the more score there is in a film, the more important the relations between the musical cues become.***

That is a valid point. On the other hand, one could say that the more music there is in a film, the more raw material you've got; consequently you're free to make a large number of "combinations" and "arrangements", depending on what makes musical sense.

***Think about the placement of the Skywalker theme. It is first used as an overture, introducing the theme so that everybody in the audience recognizes it as the main theme. But when does it pop up next? If I'm not mistaken, it is not used before the sandcrawler arrives at the farm, and it is introduced in a way that's comletely different from nearly every other usage of the theme in the rest of the score. It is clearly an introduction of the theme (after the "preview" during the main titles).***

Also a good point. You're probably right. But I still think that it is possible to PRESERVE these essential musical STATEMENTS by AVOIDING a chronological presentation. My point is that a film score has so many detours relying on the onscreen action that they are superflous on album. I'm not only referring to a "mickey-mousing" score, but a regular score that suddenly repeats previously established MUSICAL STATEMENTS because we return to a familiar locale or something. This harms the overall listening experience when done ad nauseum.

But certainly; the introduction of the Skywalker theme in the film is probably structured a way that also makes it a "musical" introduction of sorts. But that is because this particular theme intro is important. From that point, I wouldn't really mind if we segued directly into a latter point in the film that would be "appropriate" after the Skywalker intro.

***Let's take a look at the Battle at Yavin. Here, Williams does deliberatly NOT use the Skywalker theme for a long time, until Luke is alone in the Death Star trench. This also works in a pure musical way, as we are already familiar with that theme and the "positive" aspect it represents (note: While the film's narrative as such is not important while listening to the music, it seems to me that the film's EMOTIONAL narrative is still valid. We know it's a good thing when we hear a jubilant rendition Skywalker theme)***

Sure. That's one way to go. But there are numerous ways to achieve this "good feeling" Skywalker theme sensation. I'm not a good album producer, so I am reluctant suggest any alternatives - I leave that to the excellent John Williams - but who says that the "Yavin" battle needs to be followed by the Skywalker theme and not, say, "Yoda's Theme"? .

***For the same reason, I think the Shark Cage Fugue on the expanded Jaws album is definitely mis-placed. This is a central piece of the score, and again, Williams slowly builds the theme throughout the second part of the work. Yet, he never "lets it loose" before it's full-featured usage in the track called Shark Cage Fugue***

I know. But it works nicely as sweetened "suite" inside a dense part of the album.

***1) The piece appears without any context or connection to the surrounding cues***

None except the one I mentioned above.

***2) During the second part of the score, the fugue theme is introduced, developed, and slowly builds, but it is never stated in it's fully developed form. The climax is missing.***

Maybe. That is because JAWS EXPANDED is neither foul nor fish. If the producers had been consistent in this case, they would have either eschewed or followed the chronological disposition. You are probably correct in that the score now builds up (chronologically) to something that is not there (non-chonologically presented).

Not that I really mind this (or even think about it when I listen to the score - there are lots of OTHER climaxes), but I see your point.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 14, 2002 - 12:40 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I'm ressurecting this ol' bag because I found myself listening to Alfred Newman's wonderful GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD yesterday, and it got me thinking.

This magnificent Ryko release INCLUDES THE BEST OF TWO WORLDS. It satisfies both of the warring camps in this thread. It has CD 1 for me, and CD 2+3 for the completists!

I find myself listening to CD 1 most of the time. It flows wonderfully. I find CD 2+3 somewhat repetitive, although there are obvious gems to be found here that are not on CD 1.

One might wish, of course, that more releases would be be presented like this, but it's a futile hope, I would assume (both because it's exorbitantly expensive to produce and because it will be too expensive to buy for most people). But it's an excellent concept!

Any other soundtracks out there that have done the same?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 14, 2002 - 9:50 PM   
 By:   Originalthinkr@aol.com   (Member)

Ryko did go above and beyond the call of duty with GSET, but no, I doubt that such attention to detail and regard for customers will extend to most of the CD's we see in the marketplace.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 15, 2002 - 12:38 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yup.

But now that I think of it, doesn't some of the FSM releases include BOTH the original album presentation AND the complete score in chronological order (on the same disc)?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2002 - 11:45 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I'd like to lift my glass in honour of Miklos Rozsa, whose comments in the following Royal S. Brown interview MADE MY DAY!!!:

RSB: How do you regard the recording of film music separately from the film? For instance, the album with the music from SPELLBOUND, conducted by Ray Heindorf: that doesn't particularly resemble what you hear in the film. What do you think a film music recording should be? Should it be all of the cues....should it be rearranged?

MR: It should be rearranged. It should be rearranged for listening. Without seeing something, it's a different experience.

RSB: Do you prefer a concert suite, or do you prefer simply arranging the cues as they were written in a different order?

MR: It could be both.


Thank you for the post-mortem support, Mr. Rozsa.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2004 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   Thor   (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.

This discussion dates back to august-2000, which was before the current interface of the board was even created! God, how I miss the days when we could have LOOOONG discussions like this!

 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2004 - 10:03 AM   
 By:   WesllDeckers   (Member)

Now, why would someone in their right mind NOT like expanded scores, you might ask?
After all, you get more MUSIC! True, that you do, but the trend is that you - at the same
time - link the music to the film in an almost FETISCHISTIC manner (thanks to Luscious
Lazslo for that formulation).


LOL!
I, for one, do not link the music to the film. Let alone in a FETISCHISTIC (ouch, my tong!) manner...

 
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