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 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 2:30 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)


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?


Yeah, good point. The LP format was a dictator that slashed both record producer and composer into 20 minute slices, without mercy. When you think what soundtracks we might have had had the CD format been invented in 1958...it brings a tear to the eye. Just imagine 75 minute soundtracks of Spartacus, Ben-Hur, El Cid, King of Kings...oh joy! Gosh, where is that parallel universe we so sorely need?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 2:31 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

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?

Not the same exact thing, perhaps, but he would definitely re-conceptualize it -- as he told Royal S. Brown in an interview back in in the 80s or 90s. Of course, I belong to those who think that the fact that the LP format 'forced' them to re-conceptualize the music a GOOD thing.

 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 5:09 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

This all depends on the individual's subjective concept of 'listenable'.

Small cues that seem irrelevant beyond their image context are 'unacceptable' in terms of the concert listener's expectations. But many concert listeners can set aside those expectations if the really want, and do. We all know a film score is not a concerto or a symphony, and not all provide what's considered acceptable as an 'orchestral suite'. But Vaughan-Williams said that the surest way to consign a film-score to oblivion was to arrange a 'suite'. That, mind you, was in the days before the filmscore recording explosion.

If you arbitrarily decide that sonata form is the 'correct' form, and those who deviate are structurally challenged, then you'll by definition see these scores as 'not well composed', even despite their good internal structure. Scores of the o0ld school for instance should be thought of more in terms of operas than sonata form, and more modern pop scores as 'concept albums'.

It's all a false aesthetic in many ways. The 20th Century was all about a retreat from classicism in terms of SHAPE, in literature, art, everything. All the music critics who reject film-scoring on the basis of its shape should explain why they don't live in Greek palaces.


Of course few people know every bit of a score, but that's as true for an opera or a symphony half the time.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 5:49 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Vaughan-Williams said that the surest way to consign a film-score to oblivion was to arrange a 'suite'.

Never heard that before. Where did he say so? Most composers extracted suites (cantatas, symphonies, concertos, etc.) precisely to save their music from oblivion. For of course movies were then expected to vanish forever once they had concluded their original release.

 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 6:13 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)



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".


It needs saying that in the earlier days of vinyl, because of the narrow radius spin at the end, the final track on each side was actually slightly less acoustically perfect than the others, so it sometimes HAD to be a loud piece.


Likewise, the only reason "The Parade 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.


It was at the beginning of Side 2. Actually, probably this is just a coincidence, but did you know that the Phase 4 album tracks are in the order they'd appear in the book rather then the film? A little removed from the film? There, Judah returns to Judaea AFTER the race at Antioch, and no significant love scene with Esther takes place until much later. Wyler moved the whole Esther thing to Book 2 instead of Book 4 simply becuase that's what Niblo had done in 1925. In the book too, 'Arrius' Party' is a different affair, BEFORE the galley stuff, when Arrius boards the ship after a night at the gaming tables. And that's where it is in the recording.

Editing choices were largely Palmer's.





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?


Both those Phase 4 albums had more material recorded than was included. The Bacchanale and Anno Domini were recorded, one extra track for each album. Neither made it to the releases. One wonders if they're mouldering away in some archive somewhere.

 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 6:41 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Vaughan-Williams said that the surest way to consign a film-score to oblivion was to arrange a 'suite'.

Never heard that before. Where did he say so? Most composers extracted suites (cantatas, symphonies, concertos, etc.) precisely to save their music from oblivion. For of course movies were then expected to vanish forever once they had concluded their original release.





I heard it a couple of times, once in print, I think in an interview Rumon Gamba gave? I think it might be in the notes for one of the Chandos recordings, but not, if I remember correctly, one of those of his own music.

I'll try to remember. Maybe someone here knows it too?

He was referring I think to how critics viewed these things then, with 'suites' as a nearly pejoritative term for 'condensed, popular, light' renderings. He meant basically that then they'd be never performed.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 8:12 AM   
 By:   johnbijl   (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.



Could it be that the composer is the 'common ground' in the two groups?

For me, I find that Horner's and Williams' expanded or even full film scores are quite listenable. In some cases even better than an original abbreviated album. Just a couple of days ago I was listening to the expanded Home Alone and realized how much more enjoyable an album it is compared to the original album. Same for E.T., Empire and (wow!) Close Encounters.

As compared to the abbreviated albums, Goldsmith's complete scores for example do have the tendency to loose their cohesion. Explorers is a good example. I adore the original, albeit *very* short, presentation of the score. I just cannot get it to the expansion! It's like there's less flow than on the original album. Of course there are exceptions to that. I would part with Poltergeist or First Blood Part II in a lifetime. Or two ;-)

By no means I tend to say this only happens to Goldsmith's scores. The same ca be said to some or most of the complete scores of Poledouris or JNH. I love the expansion of The Fugitive, but the flow of the album is less.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 4:01 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)


It needs saying that in the earlier days of vinyl, because of the narrow radius spin at the end, the final track on each side was actually slightly less acoustically perfect than the others, so it sometimes HAD to be a loud piece.


Actually end-of-side distortion was a huge problem in vinyl days, leading to the development of such things as the parallel tracking arm or it's poor man's equivalent, which I owned once, a Garrard arm that allowed slight head movement as the arm traversed the record, keeping the cartridge parallel--in theory at least--to the groove. Shostakovich symphonies that ended with a bang, or several bangs like the 5th and 7th, could be almost untrackable--or rather they'd track (although I have seen the needle leave the groove more than once) but only with unacceptable distortion. As a Shostakovich admirer in those days this problem drove me crazy, although I did eventually find a complete solution called CD, which has actually been quite successful in its own right. I may even tell some of my friends about it.

Tomorrow in our nostalgic journey through vinyl days we'll tackle pre and post echo. smile

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 5:18 AM   
 By:   lostboy408   (Member)

I hate to be that guy, but just bits for me. pretty much the entirety of Danny Elfman's scores i remember for the main theme and a couple of tracks here and there. With Howard Shore's score to The Fly, i only really remember the ending theme

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 2:51 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I hate to be that guy

Judging by your avatar you're not that guy. smile

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 3:44 PM   
 By:   Trent B.   (Member)

There's movies that I like and remember the whole score if it stands out. IE: Air Force One, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc...

Luckily most of my favorites have been given a complete legit release. There are some that are still in boot form but that's ok. Hopefully one day they are given a legit release.

Those that I consider my favorites and remember the whole score are ones I listen to all the time.

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 3:45 PM   
 By:   Trent B.   (Member)

Even though I have him on ignore...

Cue Thor: "OST's are better".

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   Peter Atterberg   (Member)

I remember parts of the scores in most cases, but in some like Back to the Future or Speed, I remember every single piece.

As for which I prefer? I prefer complete releases. Because even for the stuff I don't remember, I might listen to it and find out that I love it. And the stuff I already love I know is guaranteed to be on there. It's a complete representation of the artist's work.

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 4:16 PM   
 By:   Peter Atterberg   (Member)

Even though I have him on ignore...

Cue Thor: "OST's are better".


That's not fair, Thor posted in this thread and was very cordial with his views.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 1, 2014 - 1:50 PM   
 By:   samlowry   (Member)

The more my collection grows (+6000 titles), the more I find it hard to devote full attention to a score, in particular an extended or complete score. Of course I want to have it for collecting purposes, but do I really need it, or will I ever take the time to fully get into it, analyze it, dissect it, etc…. not very likely in most cases.

Nothing against the music or the composers whose job was to write all that music to support the visuals of a film, but for listening purposes, I think many albums nowadays are just too long and they do not produce the best listening experience.

So it's extra work from our end to figure out what we like and don't like and possibly make our own playlist or compilation… and who's got time for that?

Then there are plenty of just "ok" scores in which the main theme and couple of cues are the only things worth remembering from that album.

There are some fans online who have shared "Suites" they created from all kinds of scores, usually 15 to 25 min. long and some of these are really well put together and make you pay attention to the scores through their highlights. Personally I think it's a great idea.

I would like to suggest the labels to do the same. If you're going to give us a 2 or 3 cd set for a title, then add at the end a nice "suite", a neat crowd pleaser that encompasses the essence of the score tightly.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 1, 2014 - 1:59 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

It's a 50/50 thing with me. If I saw the whole movie in the theatres on video or DVD, and if the whole score touched me, then so be it, and there have been loads of those. But I come from the generation years ago with that handy bulky tape recorder next to my TV set taping thousands of opening and end credits in films and not seeing the whole film, just loving the themes. This was also the case when I bought just about every compilation theme LP that came out years ago with just the themes. In life one wish one had more time to be able to see all films and there complete scores, but that is not humanly possible, even if it was there are many more great things to do in life.So my list is big with whole scores and even bigger with themes or bits of scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 1, 2014 - 2:00 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

It's a 50/50 thing with me. If I saw the whole movie in the theatres on video or DVD, and if the whole score touched me, then so be it, and there have been loads of those. But I come from the generation years ago with that handy bulky tape recorder next to my TV set taping thousands of opening and end credits in films and not seeing the whole film, just loving the themes. This was also the case when I bought just about every compilation theme LP that came out years ago with just the themes. In life one wish one had more time to be able to see all films and there complete scores, but that is not humanly possible, even if it was there are many more great things to do in life.So my list is big with whole scores and even bigger with themes or bits of scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 1, 2014 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

The more my collection grows (+6000 titles), the more I find it hard to devote full attention to a score, in particular an extended or complete score. Of course I want to have it for collecting purposes, but do I really need it, or will I ever take the time to fully get into it, analyze it, dissect it, etc…. not very likely in most cases.

Nothing against the music or the composers whose job was to write all that music to support the visuals of a film, but for listening purposes, I think many albums nowadays are just too long and they do not produce the best listening experience.

So it's extra work from our end to figure out what we like and don't like and possibly make our own playlist or compilation… and who's got time for that?

Then there are plenty of just "ok" scores in which the main theme and couple of cues are the only things worth remembering from that album.

There are some fans online who have shared "Suites" they created from all kinds of scores, usually 15 to 25 min. long and some of these are really well put together and make you pay attention to the scores through their highlights. Personally I think it's a great idea.

I would like to suggest the labels to do the same. If you're going to give us a 2 or 3 cd set for a title, then add at the end a nice "suite", a neat crowd pleaser that encompasses the essence of the score tightly.


Tend to agree with pretty much all of this. In fact I've been realizing lately that I have so much material from so many sources in so many formats that, at 67, I will probably never even get to hear all of it let alone devote the sort of attention that some of it deserves. Sure, it's okay to say give us the whole lot and we'll sort the wheat from the chaff ourselves, but do most of us really have the time and inclination?

I mentioned the 3-CD Mutiny on the Bounty set earlier. This consisted of all the music in the film plus every outtake and alternate plus the original album. I love this score, but this set defeated me. Too many choices, too many pieces similar but different enough to create a dilemma. In the end I settled on a compromise that's no doubt considerably less satifying than what I could have achieved had I persevered, but there it is; there's a limit to one's stamina. Mind you, I admire FSM for finding all this material and presenting it in such great sound, with great notes, etc, but in the end it was an embarassment of riches. It's like when you go in the supermarket to buy a block of cheese. Instead of the 6 varieties you were expecting, there are 76, and you stand there for 10 minutes in total confusion and eventually choose one that tastes lousy. "Why can't the bloody supermarket just choose the 6 best!" you cry, but if you asked them they'd say, "Because no one can decide which the 6 best are, so we leave it to you."

 
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