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 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 1:24 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I won't "blow it" as I have a lot of experience delivering lectures (and teaching). I'm not asking advice about HOW to deliver a lecture or formulate a thesis, merely some excellent film music composers who can stand alongside Herrmann but also be distinctly different. Looking at how 2 or 3 of them provided a particular aesthetic for the films they scored. I will compare and contrast their responses, much the same way I would if I examined the Piano Quartet genre from Mozart, through Haydn (where these were regarded as 'accompanied piano works') and Beethoven. Easy. And elegant.

Comparing geniuses: it's not a popularity contest or a list.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 4:47 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I know this isn't germaine to the main thrust of your lecture, but an amusing and brief wander down a byway could be illustrated by comparing Herrmann's and Addison's approaches to Torn Curtain.

TG

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 8:33 AM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I've changed the heading of the thread.

The film composers and their use of leitmotif is something I'll discuss in the class. I wanted to compare the way 2 or 3 other film composers did this in order to show different approaches to "the problem". Most of all it's a "Benny fest" but this audience won't know much about any of it so a comparative approach will be much better, IMO. That way they have a point of reference. This will be partly, and necessarily, analytical.

Your course in the 70's obviously taught you a lot, particularly about sonata form. I have post-graduate qualifications in Musicology myself (my specialization is the baroque) but I need to simplify the lecture into easily digestible chunks (just as I used to do when teaching).


Oh, I see. Thanks for clearing that up. But I still think your "problem" is the approach.

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 9:22 AM   
 By:   jeremy_johnson_7   (Member)

I won't "blow it" as I have a lot of experience delivering lectures (and teaching). I'm not asking advice about HOW to deliver a lecture or formulate a thesis, merely some excellent film music composers who can stand alongside Herrmann but also be distinctly different. Looking at how 2 or 3 of them provided a particular aesthetic for the films they scored. I will compare and contrast their responses, much the same way I would if I examined the Piano Quartet genre from Mozart, through Haydn (where these were regarded as 'accompanied piano works') and Beethoven. Easy. And elegant.

Comparing geniuses: it's not a popularity contest or a list.


I agree Regie, there is nothing disparaging about comparing pieces of great music from two master composers. I've been thinking a lot about the mighty challenge before you and I have two pieces of score that would be a great side by side comparison for your lecture:

Marion's Theme from Bernard Herrmann's Psycho
Carol Anne's Theme from Jerry Goldsmith's Poltergeist I & II

It’s interesting to hear the similarities of their nature, but to also hear their stark differences in approach and theme. One is the frustration and aching loneliness of a middle aged woman whose life is very unfulfilled. While the other is the innocence of a child who is thrust into a dark, foreboding circumstance that little girls should never have to endure.
What do think?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   KonstantinosZ   (Member)

Well, I don't know about the same calibre, but the composer who is hugely influenced by Herrmann is Danny Elfman.
In a comparison discussion I surely would mention him, concerning the composing style (using repeated cells and motives to build the music).

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 9:26 AM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

I know this isn't germaine to the main thrust of your lecture, but an amusing and brief wander down a byway could be illustrated by comparing Herrmann's and Addison's approaches to Torn Curtain.

TG


Excellent approach, TG.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 9:38 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I wish I could be in the corner to hear Regie's lecture.

I'm glad suggestions deviated away from "greater or lesser." Music geniuses are unique and have their own different voices. I'd like to show the signature styles of E. Bernstein, Herrmann, and Goldsmith. (They are as different as a Wyeth painting and a Pollack painting.) It would be hard to judge who is the greatest composer as personal taste would influence most of us. For instance, I own many Bernstein and Goldsmith CDs and only one Herrmann. Bernard doesn't speak to me like he does to the rest of you, but that doesn't mean he wasn't great.

I'd add one more suggestion which Regie probably already knows. I think we engage an audience when we start with what they may already know or recognize. I use to do short film score lectures with my students, and I started by playing Williams' Star Wars, Superman, and Jaws. (And other well-known scores.) Sometimes an audience doesn't realize that members really are familiar with certain scores from movies. I.D. Herrmann's shower scene from Psycho.

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thanks, Regie. I was, and remain, just a layman music lover who pretty much knows what he likes and what he doesn't like -- just like so many of the habitués of this site! I was a huge soundtrack aficionado long before I took that class and would have loved to have had an instructor who would have gotten into that. Instead, he dealt with the 4th movement of Shubert's "Trout" quintet, the final part of Britten's "Young Person's Guide To Music," the 1st Liszt piano concerto, the last movement of Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony, the last movement of Ives' 4th symphony, 3 or 4 arias from Puccini's "La Boheme," and others. But no Herrmann, no Barry, no soundtracks period. But the class was soooooooooo much more work than I had expected when I added it, but, looking back 43 years, I'm glad it wasn't the effortless slide I had anticipated. One thing Mr. Campbell did was to have us keep a log of all the music we listened to when we weren't in class, which encouraged me to explore other music from the periods we were were studying. Best of luck -- and I like your new title for the discussion!

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:25 AM   
 By:   BornOfAJackal   (Member)

Regie, I think your best approach on this would be to contrast the prevailing Hollywood style pre-Herrmann, which came out of the European Classical & Opera realms, as well as the New York musical theater and burlesque, with the styles that began to emerge concurrently with Herrmann.

After Herrmann, just about everyone incorporated, to some length, his infusion of jazz motives and dissonance derived from the modernists like Charles Ives.

Read Hector Berlioz' TREATISE ON ORCHESTRATION, which Herrmann said set the course of his career.

And for proof, play your group a John Barry action cue from James Bond, and note the jazz motives in the leading figures, as well as the Herrmann-esque dissonance in the underlying chord structure.

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

BornOfAJackal: Re: Joan, I think your best approach.....

I think you meant Regie, not Joan, who merely replied to Regie's post

But good point. As for Barry's Bond music, I would suggest "007," this wonderful action cue of less than 3 minutes the composer used at very exciting moments (usually when 007 was being chased) in a number of his Bond soundtracks, such as "From Russia With Love." Always loved that gem!

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   BornOfAJackal   (Member)

As for Barry's Bond music, I would suggest "007," this wonderful action cue of less than 3 minutes the composer used at very exciting moments (usually when 007 was being chased) in a number of his Bond soundtracks, such as "From Russia With Love." Always loved that gem!

"007" doesn't have the dissonant chord structure I'm referring to, Ron. But it definately has some shrieking violins!

No, I had in mind cues like the climax of "Bond Meets Bambi and Thumper" from DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, or the first half of "Cable Car and Snake Fight" from MOONRAKER. In both cases, the combination of sharps and flats in the low strings and horns really gives them both that "danger" feeling that no one but Barry could ever pull off.

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 7:10 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

BornOfAJackal:

I'll take your word for it, but I never bought those on CD (I do have the "Diamond's" LP) -- frankly, when the series moved from Sean Connery to Roger Moore, my interest in it plummeted about 90%, so I guess I deserted my favorite film composer. I'll have to look into those. But don't you still love "007" anyway, even if your choices may be more appropriate for the music appreciation class? [An hour later.] I've now had a chance to download both "Moonraker" and "Diamonds Are Forever," and agree that the 2 cues you cited could be good sources for discussion. But I still love the propulsive intensity of "From Russia With Love's" "007," and Barry's playful variations, such as "Gunbarrel-Manhunt" in "Diamonds." This has convinced me to make a new playlist for my iPod: "BARRY'S BOND."

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 8:54 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

One thing you might consider is how Herrmann, coming out of radio, developed an approach to film music based on shorter musical "cells" that could be combined or rearranged as needed to fit the dramatic requirements of a scene, rather than the more extended symphonic scoring style that was common at the time he began writing for films. In this sense, he actually anticipated what came to be identified decades later as minimalism, so it could be argued that Herrmann had an influence on composers like Philip Glass (both in his concert and film work). By the way, at the risk of sounding like a gratuitous plug, you might check out my article "A Lotta Night Music: The Sound of Film Noir" that appeared in Cinema Journal a few years ago, in which I identify a number of the changes in film music between the 1930s and '40s, since Herrmann was at the forefront of a number of these.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:16 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

One thing you might consider is how Herrmann, coming out of radio, developed an approach to film music based on shorter musical "cells" that could be combined or rearranged as needed to fit the dramatic requirements of a scene, rather than the more extended symphonic scoring style that was common at the time he began writing for films. In this sense, he actually anticipated what came to be identified decades later as minimalism, so it could be argued that Herrmann had an influence on composers like Philip Glass (both in his concert and film work). By the way, at the risk of sounding like a gratuitous plug, you might check out my article "A Lotta Night Music: The Sound of Film Noir" that appeared in Cinema Journal a few years ago, in which I identify a number of the changes in film music between the 1930s and '40s, since Herrmann was at the forefront of a number of these.

Thank you everybody for these excellent ideas!! And Doc, I don't mind if you plug your work - where could I find the article in question please as I'd like to read this anyway, irrespective of whether I was presenting a lecture. Actually, I'm thinking that Cinema Journal would be on the academic database at our university conservatorium - the librarian there is excellent and gets me anything I need for my lectures! I've read Royal S. Brown's book and also tangential articles, in "Cineaste" over the years, and composers are often mentioned and discussed in the various directors' biographies I've read. Particularly Orson Welles, by Barbara Leaming.

PS: I've been wanting, for some time, to do a Master of Film Arts degree and I know it would prove exceptionally difficult getting joint supervision if I was to cover 'film and music'!!! This has been a problem in the past.

Now I have to get hold of some of the music that's been recommended here - that's going to be the difficult part!!

With my thanks and good wishes.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:21 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

Hi Regie. This isn't exactly what you asked, but for what it's worth, you could have a look at this article from the inaugural volume of the Journal of Film Music that makes the argument for Herrmann being the Beethoven of film music. Sigerson already mentioned Benny's tempestuous personality and that could be an enticing way of linking the two figures if you so desired. I was recently pondering a similar link between Mozart and John Williams, both being "maestros of melody" that fuse styles of their day in a highly distinctive way and have a knack for finding "just the right" musical scoring for a particular dramatic situation (opera in Mozart, film in Williams), which leads to frequent descriptions of the music as something nearing perfection. But I digress - here's the article:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.equinoxpub.com%2FJFM%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F6798%2F7174&ei=dwJmUvTMOceP2gWf-YCoDA&usg=AFQjCNELCkTbVDsYnX-z2uOOttZaqPR-gg&sig2=OiGLEzKAEB7hBwp2XcLx3Q&bvm=bv.55123115,d.b2I

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:25 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Hi Regie. This isn't exactly what you asked, but for what it's worth, you could have a look at this article from the inaugural volume of the Journal of Film Music that makes the argument for Herrmann being the Beethoven of film music. Sigerson already mentioned Benny's tempestuous personality and that could be an enticing way of linking the two figures if you so desired. I was recently pondering a similar link between Mozart and John Williams, both being "maestros of melody" that fuse styles of their day in a highly distinctive way and have a knack for finding "just the right" musical scoring for a particular dramatic situation (opera in Mozart, film in Williams), which leads to frequent descriptions of the music as something nearing perfection. But I digress - here's the article:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.equinoxpub.com%2FJFM%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F6798%2F7174&ei=dwJmUvTMOceP2gWf-YCoDA&usg=AFQjCNELCkTbVDsYnX-z2uOOttZaqPR-gg&sig2=OiGLEzKAEB7hBwp2XcLx3Q&bvm=bv.55123115,d.b2I


Absolutely brilliant; thanks. Actually I was thinking of emailing you about this but I thought you might be too busy and this approach about Herrmann and Beethoven is very appealing. However, I must be very mindful of the audience's abilities to consume all this. In the past some people have complained that my lectures were "difficult" (but others love them!). I'll read the article you've suggested anyway!! "I kiss your hand a thousand times" (Mozart)!!

PS: your comment on "just the right scoring" is very reminiscent of one of Bernstein's Norton Lectures (at Harvard) where he says Beethoven always knew when to use "just the right note".

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:30 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Regie:

If your computer will accept music tracks via email and you have something like iTunes to put them in, it would be quite simple to email you some of these, or even burn them to a CD-R for you. I think, for the sake of higher education, it would be a good cause. Let us know.

And speaking of Leonard Bernstein, I have his collection of young people's music education tv programs on DVD, as well as a CD of his recording of Beethoven's 5th symphony with a wonderful lecture about Beethoven's experiments with writing the 1st movement of that symphony. Bernstein takes fragments later discarded by Beethoven and orchestrates them to show the path he COULD have taken, alongside the actual path he DID take. Which reminds me of when Vladimir Horowitz performed Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it was broadcast live over FM and I taped it onto the old reel-to-reel tapes and eventually moved it to cassette and then to digital. The announcer explains precisely why Horowitz chose one cadenza over another -- apparently a popular one was almost a coda unto itself and Horowitz felt that using it would be performing a premature coda, which, interestingly, is a similar point made by Bernstein about a discarded fragment from the Beethoven 5th. Incidentally, I've never downloaded the Beethoven 5th lecture, because Bernstein gives it in 4 or 6 languages, with one language coming out of the left speaker and another out of the right, which can be distracting -- unless you can turn off the language you don't want. Sorry for all the babble!

Ron

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:33 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Regie:

If your computer will accept music tracks via email and you have something like iTunes to put them in, it would be quite simple to email you some of these, or even burn them to a CD-R for you. I think, for the sake of higher education, it would be a good cause. Let us know.

Ron


Thank you for your very generous offer! I do have iTunes as I used this to transfer much of my CD library to IPod when I lived in Europe in 2011. But let me first check with my eldest son as to whether what you suggest is possible as I am a technological neophyte, I'm afraid!!

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2013 - 10:44 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Do that -- and see what I added to the above about Leonard Bernstein while you were writing me! Incidentally, I've started a playlist with the 2 Barry cues recommended above by BornOfAJackal, as well as some Herrmann. Tuesday will be a very hectic day for me as I prepare to fly Wednesday morning from Los Angeles to Helena Montana to see my mother for probably the last time -- she has fast moving dementia, which I mentioned in the discussion by the fellow whose dear mother had just died. So I'll be away until late Saturday night.

1-27-13: Follow-Up. Regie: I'm back from visiting my parents in Montana, and while they were ailing (they are in their 90s!), they were in better shape than my sister Sue had suggested -- I paid for her to take her daughter and 2 grandchildren on the train to see them, and they had been at their low point at that time). So now I'm back home to Los Angeles.

My offer to email you some tracks of music still stands -- you were going to check with your son, who, apparently, is the tech-savvy one in the family, to see if you can receive such things. You would need to have high speed internet (DSL), and you would merely move each music icon to your iTunes. It's really not complicated, as long as your system accepts it.

It looks like you have gotten some VERY good suggestions here -- and I like to think that the change I recommended in your title may have helped in that respect!

Ron

 
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