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 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 3:33 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

This comes to mind every time I read a thread about what scores should be released/re-recorded: are we remembering the score as a whole or just a Main Title or cool action cue? I won't cite titles lest people get upset, but some of the choices certainly suggest that some people are nominating scores they might have heard 20 years ago and really liked bits of, but really, if subjected to the whole thing, probably wouldn't care that much for beyond a couple of listens. In a nutshell: are people considering whether the score as a whole--40--120 minutes of continuous music--justifies getting a symphony orchestra together and spending maybe $100,000 on a re-recording.

I'm not pushing any choices here; I've done that elsewhere. I'm just asking people who contribute to What Next? threads to think about the WHOLE score: its complexity, its variety, its staying power. A lot of the older movies aren't even screened on TV anymore, so it's difficult to refresh one's memory, but we should at least ask, how much do I remember beyond that car chase or the cool bit where the guys fight on the cliff? Even mediocre composers can come up the odd good cue.

(Personally I'm not even in favour of devoting re-recordings to single scores; I'd rather see 3 or 4 scores by the same composer get the treatment as I don't think most scores deserve to have every note preserved, but that's a whole other debate).

Oh, here's a question: what score has anyone nominated and looked forward to that ultimately proved disappointing, not because of the performance but just because you didn't remember it right? Or what recordings made you afterwards think, this would have made a good 20 minute suite, but 67 minutes...nah.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

I'm not sure there are that many films I've liked the whole score. So logically you'd think I was in Thor's corner of getting the score pared down to the perfect listening length. But my contention is that the "experts" who put these together either have flawed taste or sometimes are borderline idiots. The things left in and extracted have varied wildly. So my favoring full length scores being released is so I can make my own selections.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 4:24 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Most of the scores I'd like to have expanded are the ones for films I've watched many times, and as such I'm very familiar with the whole score and know it's something I'd like to have.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 4:40 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

But...how many scores are there that you really want all of? I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of scores I would think worth recording in their entirety. Most I wouldn't want more than half of, others just the Main Title and a couple of cues. Or maybe other people have a lot more listening patience than I do and can sit longer through the meh stuff to get to the wow! stuff.

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 4:52 PM   
 By:   yonythemoony   (Member)

Most of the scores I'd like to have expanded are the ones for films I've watched many times, and as such I'm very familiar with the whole score and know it's something I'd like to have.

That's true. Music is always familiar because of the film. Most of the people decides to listen to the score first and after that, watch the film. Which is why is different when people likes scores from the films than hearing them on the CD.

If you listen to a score on a CD, and you don't know the source material, you can't actually know how it works, and what are it's functions on the film. When I heard the Deathly Hallows Part 1 score, I felt that Desplat represented perfectly the world of the books, even scenes that weren't actually filmed on the film. This way, it allowed me to remember the score more than 90% of those who bashed it.

Now, about remembering the whole score or just bits, it's a proof of what some people define as a "memorable score". For some people, it's not about the score, it's about the themes. Even when it's about the themes, you can't remember all. People remembers the main theme, and says that the score is amazing, when it fact, they only know a part from it.

How many people are familiar with the Fellowship, Rohan, Hobbit, Gondor themes from LOTR, but they can't remember the ones for Faramir, Gollum, Grima Snaketongue, Eowyn, etc? It's a delicate matter.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 5:26 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

But...how many scores are there that you really want all of? I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of scores I would think worth recording in their entirety. Most I wouldn't want more than half of, others just the Main Title and a couple of cues. Or maybe other people have a lot more listening patience than I do and can sit longer through the meh stuff to get to the wow! stuff.

It's just up to a person's individual tastes. What you might find "meh stuff," another person might enjoy just fine. I prefer expanded scores because I simply like having as much of a score I enjoy as possible. (Granted, I don't need every score expanded, but for those I really enjoy, I'm happy to have as much of it as possible.) I don't find taking the time to listen to a long presentation an issue. I mostly listen to scores at night, once things have settled down, so it's no problem to put one on and let it play while I toil around on the computer or whatever.

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 8:57 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Most of the scores I'd like to have expanded are the ones for films I've watched many times, and as such I'm very familiar with the whole score and know it's something I'd like to have.

I almost never watch a movie more than once so I am very rarely familiar with a score enough to know or notice what is missing from an already released album. The only time I notice what is missing is if I happen to be familiar with the score already when I watch the film such that I notice that some really good music in the film was not on the album.

So mostly I would agree that the average score just isn't worth listening to the full thing. I find this far too often with scores I buy based on a few samples that just don't have the interesting structure enough to sustain an hour. Repetition is quite common on scores and often not in an interesting way.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2013 - 10:14 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

You should take a peek at waxmanman35's comments on the Definitive Golden Age Scores thread.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 2:46 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Most of the scores I'd like to have expanded are the ones for films I've watched many times, and as such I'm very familiar with the whole score and know it's something I'd like to have.

Exactly, most of the scores I'd like to see get expanded are scores I know from seeing the movie and am not satisfied with the album presentation. A re-recording for me is only necessary when the original elements are lost, I prefer the original version of a score because in a lot of instances rerecordings fail to capture the intensity and mood of the original.

As to the OP's question when this has 'backfired', I wouldn't exaggerate to that extent, but in the case of Conan the Barbarian I prefer the original version (and yes I know it's not what the composer wanted), as for an expansion a score like for instance Undiscovered Country by Eidelman does not play very well in expanded fashion, despite my desire to hear certain cues that weren't on the album. But they also included the trailer music (which is epic) and that is amazing to have. smile

I also agree with Morricone in wanting to have the complete score in order to make my own preferred program.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 4:29 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

It's not really an either/or question for me.

As someone who listens to soundracks as 'concept albums' from beginning to end with little to no relation to the film it originated from, I tend to remember the contours of the whole thing rather than individual pieces ("the journey", in a way, which is why the re-arrangement/abbreviation aspect is so crucial to me). That being said, there are obviously certain highlight tracks/showpiece tracks or themes that stick out and become a sort of representative of the whole thing -- just like it is in any odd symphony or prog rock album or whatever.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 4:44 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

I'm remembering just bits. For the generation who grew up holding tape-recorders up to the telly to get the Main Theme from any low-budget SF movie (for example), those brief moments became representative of the whole score. I only ever saw the majority of those films once, or maybe twice, and very often my memory is based on the Main Titles.

But my intuition seems to be pretty good. Sometimes I will be a little disappointed in the full score, even if it's only 30 or 40 minutes. Neither THE SPACE CHILDREN nor WAR-LORDS OF THE DEEP has really grabbed my attention yet in their (brief) entirety for example. But many more have. I only knew ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS because of the End Titles on a cassette from my childhood, but the whole CD is a joy. I had the "feeling" it would work, and it did.

In fact, taking into account the nature of film music, it's surprising how much of it actually does work on album. Every case is different of course. Sometimes it takes a double-CD to do the score justice (you can put any titles you want there - I'd put something like CLEOPATRA, or any Rózsa epic), other times 40 minutes seems about right, but given the nature of the beast I'm still happily surprised that these things work at all for more than ten minutes.

That's the way I see it anyway. Don't feel the need to agree with me!

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 8:17 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

The 45-75 minute releases almost always leaves me wanting more. Many outstanding cues were missing from Star Wars, Superman, Empire, Conan, WOK, etc...

Ironically I find that most 30 minute scores are better in their abridged form. Congo, Explorers and Black Stallion Returns, for example.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 1:59 PM   
 By:   bdm   (Member)

I remember just "bits." Why I like complete expanded releases is that ALL the bits I like are there; this is usually not the case with "an official" (i.e. commercial) score release. In short, I want all the bits I like. I would venture that this is true of most who like complete expanded releases, and not true for those who don't - it's that simple.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

my contention is that the "experts" who put these together either have flawed taste or sometimes are borderline idiots. The things left in and extracted have varied wildly. So my favoring full length scores being released is so I can make my own selections.

A gentler way of putting this would be to say that any exercise of editorial selection will result in somebody feeling that his personal favorite bit has been left out. Thus I can see why the specialist record companies have opted for completeness. Nevertheless, I believe that 95 percent of all film scores are unsuitable for serious listening apart from the film. And because I don't have time to edit them myself, I find so many of these valued and respected albums to be unlistenable over the long term. It's a dilemma.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 3:53 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

my contention is that the "experts" who put these together either have flawed taste or sometimes are borderline idiots.

Presumably you don't mean to apply this epithet to Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann, George Korngold, Charles Gerhardt, Christopher Palmer, or John Williams -- to name some of the most prominent personages who have edited or advocated the radical editing of their music for home consumption. Better perhaps to just say that you differ with some of their choices.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 4:39 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I believe that 95 percent of all film scores are unsuitable for serious listening apart from the film.

Your obviously not a score fan.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 8:14 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

my contention is that the "experts" who put these together either have flawed taste or sometimes are borderline idiots. The things left in and extracted have varied wildly. So my favoring full length scores being released is so I can make my own selections.

A gentler way of putting this would be to say that any exercise of editorial selection will result in somebody feeling that his personal favorite bit has been left out. Thus I can see why the specialist record companies have opted for completeness. Nevertheless, I believe that 95 percent of all film scores are unsuitable for serious listening apart from the film. And because I don't have time to edit them myself, I find so many of these valued and respected albums to be unlistenable over the long term. It's a dilemma.


Some will be outraged, but I agree 95% of scores are unsuitable for serious listening (which of course still leaves a huge chunk of music). It's also fine to say let's have it complete and edit out what out what don't want, but it's not so simple. I tried to edit down the 3-CD Mutiny on the Bounty and got thoroughly confused; by the end I couldn't remember which track was the original, which the alternate, which the second alternate of the first cut, which had the quiet ending, which the big ending....and which was the best anyway. If I'd perservered I'd have been so sick of the music I'd have never wanted to hear it again. So yes, it IS possible to have too much of a good thing.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 8:35 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)


Some will be outraged, but I agree 95% of scores are unsuitable for serious listening (which of course still leaves a huge chunk of music). It's also fine to say let's have it complete and edit out what out what don't want, but it's not so simple. I tried to edit down the 3-CD Mutiny on the Bounty and got thoroughly confused; by the end I couldn't remember which track was the original, which the alternate, which the second alternate of the first cut, which had the quiet ending, which the big ending....and which was the best anyway. If I'd perservered I'd have been so sick of the music I'd have never wanted to hear it again. So yes, it IS possible to have too much of a good thing.


Imagine being a soundtrack producer. wink

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 8:53 PM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

I don't have a single answer to this question.

There are some scores that I like primarily for isolated moments within them. There are other scores that I like because of how the whole experience fits together. I would be hard-pressed to pick a single favorite moment out of the aforementioned Alex North's Cleopatra, for example, but it's a score I love to get lost in.

 
 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 9:40 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

my contention is that the "experts" who put these together either have flawed taste or sometimes are borderline idiots.

Presumably you don't mean to apply this epithet to Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann, George Korngold, Charles Gerhardt, Christopher Palmer, or John Williams -- to name some of the most prominent personages who have edited or advocated the radical editing of their music for home consumption. Better perhaps to just say that you differ with some of their choices.






Home consumption for Rozsa was LP. That means he was hamstrung in having to produce 2x20 minute programs. Apart from LP time limitation being the key editing factor in itself, those programs needed to be relatively self-contained, so his choices were limited mechanically as much as musically. For example, his re-recording of Quo Vadis (Phase4) splits The Chariot Chase and The Burning of Rome for no musical reason, other than wanting the LP to have one action track on both sides. Same with the out-of-order marches. Rather than end side one with a whimper, they'd say "let' go out with a bang at the end of the side and put the big march there".
Likewise, the only reason The March of the Charioteers" in his Ben-Hur re-recording (Phase4) is positioned so far out-of-order is because they wanted to end side one with some clout.
People saying LP albums best represent the composers' intentions are kidding themselves. Most of the time they simply demonstrate how their hands were tied by the constraints of the LP medium and the synthetic demands they placed on construction of programs – constraints that are entirely absent from continuous play, longer length reproduction.
If Rozsa was recording Quo Vadis today, does anyone think for even a moment that he would choose to make it the exact same length and present it in the same order as the recording he did for the LP?



 
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