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 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 2:38 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

LASHING OUT AT EXPANSION

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/11/2000 : 05:58:58 AM

Everybody in this room probably knows my opinion on film music as a stand-alone listen,
and if you don't already, please click here for a recap.

Based on the above opinion, I am hereby lashing out a strike at expanded scores (and
I'm sorry if this topic has been discussed to death already).

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).

My main quibble is thus with those expanded CD releases, on which each short cue is
presented in a chronological order, completely disregarding the album as a should-be
listening experience.

Take PREDATOR, for example. This bootleg boasts an ok score and ok sound quality. But
the way it is presented - chronological short cues for 70 minutes - makes an entire
listen-through almost impossible (unless the intention is to completely relive the movie
in your head from start to finish). It's simply overkill and one grows weary after 15
minutes. The legit sequel album is much better this way (also musically, btw).

This is a common flaw with complete bootlegs, but the same argument can also be
aimed at commercial, expanded releases. While I cherish the fact that John Williams is
being honoured through expanded scores, some of the those albums are simply a chore
to listen to, because of the constant repetition and fragmented musical structure.

You see, I have always FAVOURED Williams' way of presenting the music on album, as a
flowing, concert-like suite. And never too long either. In fact, the ONLY JUSTIFICATION
in my book for expanded releases is if there is IMPORTANT MUSIC left off of the original
release. For example, in the case of PHANTOM MENACE, some of that "whispering" choral
music would be better included on the album over the double take on "Anakin's Theme"
and "Duel of the Fates". Another example, Rhino's SUPERMAN, restored a great MUSICAL
track to album - "The Big Rescue" - but is otherwise simply TOO complete (5 versions of
"Can You Read My Mind?"??? Nauseous yet?). The expanded scores of CLOSE
ENCOUNTERS, E.T. and JAWS also lack this musical coherence, and - while they include
interesting musical highlights - cannot be compared to the gently flowing, properly
lengthed original rerecordings.

To sum up, then:

I have of course little against expanded releases in so much as they include extra music,
as I have against the way these albums are presented - I don't like the notion that
expanded CD releases automatically is meant to mean "the entire film sans visuals and
sound effects".

I'm really surprised at some of the comments made at mm.com this summer about how
this and that COMPLETE BOOTLEG score lacks two seconds of music as the protagonist
flushes the toilet or whatever. That's really too much.

Edited by - Thor on 08/11/2000 06:09:19 AM

*****************************************************************************************

Greg Bryant

USA
Posted - 08/11/2000 : 06:07:31 AM

I happen to be in the first of Thor's categories (listen to the music to relive the film,
music is indelibly attached to the film). Nonetheless, I still like the expanded scores,
EXCEPT...I can do without all the music that was never in the film to begin with, or all
the alternate versions and outtakes.

*****************************************************************************************

RoboRaymondBurr

Posted - 08/11/2000 : 09:41:15 AM

If you listen to scores to re-live the movie in yer head, then here's my advice:

STOP LISTENING TO RECORDS AND GO WATCH THE FRIGGING MOVIES.

I'm gonna keep repeating that message until I'm blue in the face. Because a lot of you
people are philistine movie-fetishists who only use music as a mnemonic device to
remember the movie. And that mentality is an INSULT TO COMPOSERS.

*****************************************************************************************

Greg Bryant

USA
Posted - 08/11/2000 : 09:59:23 AM

Now, now, Robo...let's have a little respect for different approaches to our listening
habits. Thor mentioned two reasons: however, I suspect there are other reasons as well.

I don't necessarily want to watch a movie over and over just to listen to the score. That
diminishes the impact of the movie. An example is Star Wars IV, A New Hope. It doesn't
do much for me anymore because I have seen it too many times.

So, I'll listen to the music, instead. And I hope that you'll be open to some approaches
to how others choose to enjoy film scores.

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/11/2000 : 10:08:53 AM

WELL...Here we go again...

I certainly do not listen to scores to relive the film, at least not very often (music has
the unique skill to attach itself to certain moments in your life, so there's always this or
that cue of music that you ONLY like because it IS attached to something).

A great deal of my collection consists of scores for movies I've never seen. I've seen
many movies BECAUSE of the scores, among them - really - the Star Wars and Indy
movies, I even got into Star Trek primarily by the music (Eidelman's score for #6 in
particular). I've seen many movies ONLY because of the score, knowing in advance that
I'd probably dislike them.

BUT.
I listen to scores both as "normal" music and film music. That is, I like film music
because of it's differences to classical music (which I also like, as everyone knows). Film
scores are differently structured than classical music, that's what I like about them.
Some of my favourite cues would never sound that way were it not for the visuals; "High
Wire Stunts" from Jurassic Park is certainly based primarily on the visuals. Also, these
cues are often best experienced while watching the film (not because of the film, but
because of the music). That doesn't mean that I don't like to listen to them on CD. But I
want to hear them the way the were meant to be, regardless of if I'm "seeing" them in
the movie or listening to them seperately.

Repetitive cues? I can't agree with that. Yes, theme variations in film scores are usually
more obious than in classical music, because they still must work subconciously the
general audience. But leaving out these parts inevitably harms the score's flow. Also,
they're still variations, and if you leave one of them out, it's likely to be one of my
favourites.

A film score as a whole is structured differently than a classical work. In classical
structures, like a symphony, you usually start with an exposition, where you present your
themes in "raw" form. Film scores, on the other hand, tend to develop their themes, and
often their first appearances are only glimpses of the full theme. Therefore, some
composers tend to restructure their scores for album releases. Williams has begun to put
the end credits at the beginning of the album, where they work as the exposition. But for
me, that nearly destroys the whole score. Also, he often places the climax pieces very
early, e.g. "Duel of the Fates", or the "Shark Cage Fugue". What I like about film scores
is that they AIM at a climax. Placing it earlier again ruins the flow. On the original
release of Rosenman's Lord of the Rings score, the first track was the fully developed
march version of the main theme, as heard in the end credits. For the expanded release,
this cue was dropped, and the album was re-sequenced in chronological order. And, as
Rosenman also says in the album, it works much better now, because all the thematical
development is now in the right order. A good score is based on good development, and
thus cannot be successfully resequenced.

There are exceptions: Williams' The Fury album is a rerecording, and some of the cues
are played with different speed. This is good, because in the movie one of the cues is
played VERY slow over a slow motion sequence. Without the visuals, it would be TOO
slow. Also, there are a lot of score releases which are not complete, but good enough for
me. Others miss cues that I'd like to have. I'd rather have some cues that I don't need
than not have some cues I want.

All IMHO, of course, and I'm sure I forgot a lot of what I wanted to write.

*gasp* Call me D3.

*****************************************************************************************

Brian Mellies

Posted - 08/11/2000 : 6:28:10 PM

Gee, Robo, kewl colors.
Unfortunately, your little temper tantrum exposes your naivete. You seem to think
composers write music for your approval, and therefore are insulted by the way you
listen to it. 'Fraid not, babe. Composers, like most other artists, create for themselves.
As long as they are pleased with their work, and you pay the price to share it, something
tells me most of them wouldn't especially care if you used it to accompany changing the
oil in your car.

*****************************************************************************************

Kimiakane

USA
Posted - 08/11/2000 : 9:39:26 PM

No matter what our reasons for enjoying this artform, we are fortunate to have it in our
homes, and fortunate to be able to share our passion with friends here!

#1 Supporters of underrated animation scores deserving of a CD release!!!

*****************************************************************************************

SPOR

USA
Posted - 08/11/2000 : 9:49:25 PM

One need only be reminded that today's technology provides you all the opportunity in
the world to program your own listening experience. All it takes is few flicks of a thumb.

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/14/2000 : 06:50:43 AM

Thanks everyone (and especially Marian) for these very interesting replies. I'm sorry if
I'm beating a dead horse with this topic, but I thought that the focus on EXPANDED
releases (of which no one has addressed, btw) gave it a new angle.

Robo:

Thanks for the gut response. I know we agree on this, so I have nothing to add, really.

Greg:

>>I don't necessarily want to watch a movie over and over just to listen to the score.
That diminishes the impact of the movie. An example is Star Wars IV, A New Hope. It
doesn't do much for me anymore because I have seen it too many times.<<

I agree to a certain extent. I, too, have seen the STAR WARS movies countless times,
and it is, at times, hard to listen to the music without picturing the movie in your head.
But I have found that, once you've listened to the music enough times, it starts to
develop its own life separated from the movie (especially if you haven't seen it in a
while). The music starts to "purify", appealing to the emotions, intellect, memory and
imagination. Just like classical music.

Marian:

I can certainly appreciate the INTELLECTUAL stimulation that is to be found in analyzing
the music as heard in the film, the intentions of the composer etc. I assume this is the
side of FILM music that appeals to, right? But, don't you think that music should be
ENJOYED and EXPERIENCED first and foremost, and only intellectually analyzed in the
second degree? And don't you consequently think that linking the music to the film too
much, "robs" you of that pure listening experience?

You say that musical development can only come about with a chronological
presentation. Well, you have to define CHRONOLOGICAL AS APPLIED TO WHAT? If you
mean chronological as related to the movie, then you're putting the FILM'S narrative over
the musical narrative (which is what I don't like with these expanded releases).
However, I think that film MUSIC has its own narrative, the MUSICAL narrative that is
only chronological as related to itself, i.e. no chronology whatsoever! It develops in a
programmatic way, yes, but - once on CD - completely independent from the film for
which it was born.

I don't think film music gets better once you've seen the film. Quite the contrary. While I
agree that listening to the music with the film gives you another PERSPECTIVE of the
music, it robs you of its independence and consequently stand-alone quality (because
the memory of the movie replaces the non-locational memory of your imagination).

Brian:

>>Composers, like most other artists, create for themselves.<<

Can't disagree with that. But you have to agree that the text, painting or score ALSO is
reinterpreted in the audience's mind, since the creation should be able to be evaluated
on its own terms, separated from the creator's intentions?

Kimiakane:

I agree. But a little "revolution" now and then....smile

SPOR:

>>One need only be reminded that today's technology provides you all the opportunity
in the world to program your own listening experience. All it takes is few flicks of a
thumb<<

I don't know if this was a defense or attack on expanded releases, but it is the same
technology that you describe that makes a chronological presentation of the music on
album superflous. If people want to relive the movie through chronological presentation,
then please press that "program" button and start arranging...

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/16/2000 : 05:32:54 AM

Hey, where are the rebuttals? I'm LOOKING FOR TROUBLE!

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/16/2000 : 08:39:01 AM


quote:

I can certainly appreciate the INTELLECTUAL stimulation that is to be found in analyzing the music
as heard in the film, the intentions of the composer etc. I assume this is the side of FILM music
that appeals to, right? But, don't you think that music should be ENJOYED and EXPERIENCED first
and foremost, and only intellectually analyzed in the second degree? And don't you consequently
think that linking the music to the film too much, "robs" you of that pure listening experience?


Well, to me that "intellectual" side is quite important, it's my way to distinguish
between "good" and "bad" music. Of course, a piece of music may really move me while
being rather dumb, so the intellectual side is only part of the experience. But for me, it's
as important as any other aspect.

quote:

You say that musical development can only come about with a chronological presentation. Well,
you have to define CHRONOLOGICAL AS APPLIED TO WHAT? If you mean chronological as related
to the movie, then you're putting the FILM'S narrative over the musical narrative (which is what I
don't like with these expanded releases). However, I think that film MUSIC has its own narrative,
the MUSICAL narrative that is only chronological as related to itself, i.e. no chronology
whatsoever! It develops in a programmatic way, yes, but - once on CD - completely independent
from the film for which it was born.


Interesting. If you ask me, the scores's narrative IS the movie's narrative, and therefore
the only correct order to play the score is chronological.

There ARE well-produced albums which feature the score NOT in chronological order, e.g.
The Omen (I THINK it's not in film order) or Jaws 2. To be honest, I never tried to
program my player to play these CDs in film order, although in the case of Jaws 2, the
booklet mentions how this can be done. Nevertheless, I think it is very important that
the key tracks stay in their place. I've always been annoyed by the Raptor track on
Jurassic Park. Then I realized that it accompanies one of the climax sequences of the
movie, near it's end. I think it would work far better there, it just doesn't fit on the CD.
Also, I dislike that several CD tracks combine severa cues which appear in different
places in the movie, because this makes it impossible to re-arrange the CD (unless I
decide to use my burner).

quote:

I don't think film music gets better once you've seen the film. Quite the contrary. While I agree
that listening to the music with the film gives you another PERSPECTIVE of the music, it robs you
of its independence and consequently stand-alone quality (because the memory of the movie
replaces the non-locational memory of your imagination).


Most of the time, I think having seen the movie improves a score; that's why I watch so
many films although I know in advance that they are bad.

It seems like I hear music more abstractly than you do. I listen to the notes, but you
think of your own images to the music. Therefore, for me the music is enhanced when
I've seen the film, because it becomes less abstract. For you, your creativity is limited
when you know the "real" images. Interesting, because I find it distracting to think of
images myself when listening to music.

quote:

If people want to relive the movie through chronological presentation, then please press that
"program" button and start arranging...


No problem with that - as long as the CD is complete (or at least as complete as I want
it to be, I can often live without some cues, but usually more cues are missing than I
can agree with), and as long as there are none of the above-mentioned "merge" tracks.

NP: The Patriot (I started to play it at track #2, because I really think that placing the
end credits at the beginning can ruin the whole album).

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/16/2000 : 09:50:48 AM

Thanks for the very interesting rebuttal, Marian. I gotta go, but I'll get back to ya
tomorrow! smile

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/16/2000 : 6:01:44 PM

A bit more to consider for you, Thor, even if it might sound unrelated at first: What do
you think of the sound quality of the latest Williams CDs (e.g. Phantom Menace and The
Patriot)? Some people like them, personally I find the sound quality to be really quite
bad. Don't take me wrong, it SOUNDS good, but it's hard to hear specific instruments in
them. I prefer the older recordings; even if they seem to sound worse, I can hear all the
counterpoints etc. Goldsmith's scores are usually mixed very well (Bruce Botnick most of
the time, I guess), they SOUND good AND you can hear everything.

Obviously, this is particularly important for the "intellectual" side of the music you
mentiond; I could imagine that you have no problem with the sound quality because you
don't listen to music that way. Or maybe I'm just writing complete nonsense.

NP: The Patriot (Williams)

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/17/2000 : 02:06:13 AM

OK, here we go:

>>Well, to me that "intellectual" side is quite important, it's my way to distinguish
between "good" and "bad" music. Of course, a piece of music may really move me while
being rather dumb, so the intellectual side is only part of the experience. But for me, it's
as important as any other aspect.<<

I see. But is intellect the SOLE criteria you use to decide whether music is bad or not, or
is this the criterion with the HIGHEST PRIORITY? As I've said before, I use 4 criterions to
separate bad from good music, which I think covers the entire arena:

Does the music appeal to/stimulate your:

1. Emotions?
2. Memory?
3. Imagination?
4. Intellect?

Certainly, very few scores please ALL of these criterions, and a score like ALIEN3 is more
likely to stimulate nr. 4 over the others, while THE ROCK probably relies on nr. 1 to a
higher degree. However, all scores include varying degrees of all levels.

My point is that - for me to enjoy a film music album properly - I need to have as many
as the levels stimulated as often as possible. To me, that's a great score. I don't put
INTELLECT over EMOTIONS on a general basis. That's why I must DEtach the music as
much as possible from the film for which it was born, and recent expanded releases do
not exactly HELP me with this...

>>Interesting. If you ask me, the scores's narrative IS the movie's narrative, and
therefore the only correct order to play the score is chronological.<<

Maybe we actually agree on this, but talk past each other: I think that film music only
uses the film as a "womb". Certainly, the "womb" helps to form the "baby" throughout
the first 9 months of the pregnancy, but when the "baby" is born (released on CD), it has
the shape (the chronology) of a human (a film), but it is only when the "personality" is
formed, that the baby truly IS (film music really IS).

So, yes, what I tried to say with that stupid analogy is that the film's narrative indeed IS
the score's narrative (since the film gave birth to the score), BUT that the score's
individial narrative is only allowed to "blossom" or is discovered when arranged in a
certain order, worthy of the aural medium called CD.

I actually think the "raptor" track (track 5) works great on the JP album. It is a blow in
your face early on, after the awe and majesty of the intro. It's a classic way of providing
COUNTER-emotions in a tale where nothing is safe.

>>Most of the time, I think having seen the movie improves a score;<<

Yes, I think the score is enhanced AS A FILM APPENDIX, but definitely not as a musical
oddysey.

>>It seems like I hear music more abstractly than you do. I listen to the notes, but you
think of your own images to the music.<<

Actually, I would think it was the other way around - that YOU are able to listen to
music more concretely, as "attached" to the film in a higher degree, while I listen to it
more abstractly, like an individual musical oddysey.

It is not always that I create my own pictures to the music. More often than not, there
are no pictures whatsoever, simply myself "dissecting" the music intellectually or letting
the music "soar" emotionally. However, I frequently conjure up images of my past (the
memory aspect again) through certain moods in the music.

>>What do you think of the sound quality of the latest Williams CDs (e.g. Phantom
Menace and The Patriot)?<<

Actually, I haven't acquired THE PATRIOT yet. But I must say that I love Shaun Murphy's
way of producing CD's. It gives a "large" concert hall-like sound to the album while
retaining the clarity of solo instruments (unlike some of the concerty RSNO recordings).
Actually, that might be the way you see the Botnick scores? How strange...

>>Or maybe I'm just writing complete nonsense.<<

No, you're definitely not. I really appreciate your thought-provoking posts, and I hope
more people would participate...

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 2:39 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/17/2000 : 08:16:32 AM


quote:

My point is that - for me to enjoy a film music album properly - I need to have as many as the
levels stimulated as often as possible. To me, that's a great score. I don't put INTELLECT over
EMOTIONS on a general basis. That's why I must DEtach the music as much as possible from the
film for which it was born, and recent expanded releases do not exactly HELP me with this...


I don't put intellect OVER emotions, I think I rate them equally high. The difference is: I
can easily appreciate a score that relies primarily on emotions without having seen the
film (e.g. Dragonheart), while I usually like an primarily "intellectual" score better after
seeing it's effect in the movie (Planet of the Apes).

quote:

So, yes, what I tried to say with that stupid analogy is that the film's narrative indeed IS the
score's narrative (since the film gave birth to the score), BUT that the score's individial narrative is
only allowed to "blossom" or is discovered when arranged in a certain order, worthy of the aural
medium called CD.


I still think it's wrong to do this. Take Rosenman's LOTR again, for example. The main
theme builds during the whole score, and is ONLY heard in it's complete, fully-developed
march form at the end of the movie (end credits). This is a MAJOR aspect of the way the
score works, and therefore I cannot agree with re-arranging it. There may be scores that
don't suffer that much when re-arranged, but I think if a score gets really better by doing
so, it's probably a bad score.

You mentioned CE3K earlier. Again, the "change" in musical tone is integral to the score.
I've never heard the original album, but I think removing this "direction" produces the
"Verfremdungseffekt" you often mention. Thinking of it, we seem to stand on the exact
opposite sides on this topic combared to your subtitle thread.

quote:

>>It seems like I hear music more abstractly than you do. I listen to the notes, but you think of
your own images to the music.<<

Actually, I would think it was the other way around - that YOU are able to listen to music more
concretely, as "attached" to the film in a higher degree, while I listen to it more abstractly, like an
individual musical oddysey.


Hm, I think you can put it both ways... Anyway, because I CONCENTRATE more on the
abstract side of the music, I like to know it's emotions so the abstract side makes
sense.

quote:

Actually, I haven't acquired THE PATRIOT yet. But I must say that I love Shaun Murphy's way of
producing CD's. It gives a "large" concert hall-like sound to the album while retaining the clarity of
solo instruments (unlike some of the concerty RSNO recordings). Actually, that might be the way
you see the Botnick scores? How strange...


He may retain the clarity of solo instruments, but not that of the whole orchestra. I like
to hear what the composer did, not only the effect of it. When I put on my old Star Wars
albums, I can hear the bass lines during the main titles. On the Ep1 CD, it sounds rather
muffled, and I can't make out what the "background" instruments play. In a way, Murphy
HIDES the abstract side of the music. It sounds good, no doubt, but I can't HEAR it.
Botnick's CDs sound good as well, but you can hear every instrument clearly, not only
the "primary" instruments.

NP: Koyaanisqatsi (Philip Glass)

*****************************************************************************************

Nils

Norway
Posted - 08/17/2000 : 1:15:40 PM

Hi, everyone - this is my first post here. Since this thread was started by my fellow
countryman Thor and it's a very interesting topic, I thought I'd give it a try...

As to whether seeing the movie improves upon or is detrimental to the (CD) listening
experience: I certainly have experienced both, but I think the 'bad' cases stand out
most. As an example I can mention Horner's KRULL. I listened to this CD a lot before
actually seeing the movie. My favorite track is probably 'Battle on the Parapets',
especially the part with the quick string rhythm and the noble horn melody on top. I was
convinced that this music would play during what had to be an extremely uplifting and
exhilarating scene in the movie. Well, I finally watched the movie, that music started,
and... some people are climbing up a wall??. Not in the least uplifting or exhilarating.
Very disappointing...

As for Shawn Murphy, I think he's terrific! Marian, I agree that his recordings may sound
a bit more muffled than more closely miked scores (I agree with your comparison of the
two STAR WARS scores), but I've never thought of it as a big problem. They certainly
sound more closely miked than some of the Goldsmith/RSNO CDs that Thor mentions, for
example. I think his recordings are a great 'middle ground' between the concert hall-like
ambience and the closer sound most of us (me included) prefer. What I like about
Murphy is the incredible dynamic range he gets out of the orchestra, and the 'fat' sound
this results in. In THE PATRIOT, the opening solo vioin is crystal clear, while the bass
drum during the battle sequences simply thunders. Cool!

Nils

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/17/2000 : 4:56:03 PM

Welcome, Nils!

As I said, I think Murphy's recordings SOUND good, but on the recent CDs I heard, the
"background" instruments (there ARE NO background instruments in good music, that's
why I complain!) are quite muffled. I think he did a great job on the Summon the Heroes
album - sounds great, AND you can hear everything.

NP: The Patriot (I bet there's more in the music than I can hear, although I love what I
hear )

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/18/2000 : 06:06:49 AM

Hey, everyone, let me be the first (well, actually the second) to salute and introduce Nils
to this board! My fellow Norwegian Nils is the ONLY true film music interested person
that I've met in real life, and he's just as crazy about John Williams as I am. He's been a
longtime subscriber to FSM (longer than me, in fact), and has lurked on the various
incarnations of the FSM Messageboard for ages! I'm honoured that he has finally decided
to POST on the board as well. Keep it up, Nils, although no pressure of course!

Your example of KRULL is right-on, although I have never seen the movie, nor do I own
the hard-to-get score. I'm sure you're inadvertandly thinking of the wall-climbing scene
when you're playing that track now, aren't you?

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/18/2000 : 06:27:45 AM

Marian:

>>I don't put intellect OVER emotions, I think I rate them equally high. The difference
is: I can easily appreciate a score that relies primarily on emotions without having seen
the film (e.g. Dragonheart), while I usually like an primarily "intellectual" score better
after seeing it's effect in the movie (Planet of the Apes).<<

Well, there you have it, then: I get both ultimate emotional AND intellectual satisfaction
by listening to the score alone, while you can ONLY get ultimate INTELLECTUAL
satisfaction by listening to the score in the film (note the use of the word "ultimate"). I
guess that's where we part!

>>There may be scores that don't suffer that much when re-arranged, but I think if a
score gets really better by doing so, it's probably a bad score.<<

Hmmm. I don't think so. When you remove the visuals and sound effects from the music
(no matter how good or bad the latter is), you're left with the musical "raw" material, so
to speak. Now, what do you do with it? I'd say you use/form it to "adapt" itself into the
aural medium of Compact Discs. That can only come about with a certain amount of
rearranging. The result is thus a MUSICALLY, SELF-SUFFICIENT NARRATIVE ODDYSSEY
that was born with the movie, but now has a life of its own.

>>Thinking of it, we seem to stand on the exact opposite sides on this topic combared
to your subtitle thread.<<

Yeah, isn't that what makes discussion fun? Actually, I think I am more out of synch
on this matter with DANIEL2 and HowardL. I would place some of us like this:

FILM MUSIC AS A STAND ALONE LISTEN:

FILM music...........->...........FILM MUSIC...........->.............film MUSIC

|D2--HL----------|---------MS---|-------------|-------------|--------LL-T|

Abbreviations:

D2: Daniel2
HL: HowardL
MS: Marian Schedenig
LL: Luscious Lazslo
T: Thor

Anyone else want to place themselves in this neat scheme?

Edited by - Thor on 08/18/2000 06:30:05 AM

Edited by - Thor on 08/18/2000 08:03:04 AM

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/18/2000 : 06:31:59 AM

Let's call each | in the above scheme for A, B, C, D. E and F. Makes it easier to pinpoint.

In other words:

|(A)----------|(B)----------|(C)------ and so on.

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/18/2000 : 10:02:34 AM


quote:

Well, there you have it, then: I get both ultimate emotional AND intellectual satisfaction by
listening to the score alone, while you can ONLY get ultimate INTELLECTUAL satisfaction by
listening to the score in the film (note the use of the word "ultimate"). I guess that's where we
part!


Yeah, that sounds right. Of course, I can appreciate scores without seeing the movie.
Actually, I don't have to see the movies for most scores, just for those that really rely
VERY much on the visuals, like Planet of the Apes or The Fury, for example.

quote:

Hmmm. I don't think so. When you remove the visuals and sound effects from the music (no matter
how good or bad the latter is), you're left with the musical "raw" material, so to speak. Now, what
do you do with it? I'd say you use/form it to "adapt" itself into the aural medium of Compact Discs.
That can only come about with a certain amount of rearranging. The result is thus a MUSICALLY,
SELF-SUFFICIENT NARRATIVE ODDYSSEY that was born with the movie, but now has a life of its
own.


Somehow you keep (unconsciously, I think) ignoring my point : Isn't the musical
structure of a score based on the events on the film? Composers who care about musical
forms (like Williams, obviously) probably try to give their scores a certain form, i.e.
themes build and develop throughout the score (note the Lord of the Rings example I
mentioned above). I'm not against re-arranging because it changes the order of the
tracks when compared to the film, but because it mixes the score's structure up.

Your "categorization" is a good idea. But now I have to ask: How comes that you
particularly like film scores when you nearly neglect the nature and try to see them only
as music? I love film scores and classical music, and I love both types as music. But I
also like the "film" part of film music, and I think taking it away is taking away a part of
it's "soul". Not as much as if you take away the "music" part, but still.

NP: They Died With Their Boots On (Max Steiner)

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Nils

Norway
Posted - 08/18/2000 : 12:41:38 PM

Marian and Thor, thanks for the kind words!

quote:

Your example of KRULL is right-on, although I have never seen the movie, nor do I own the
hard-to-get score. I'm sure you're inadvertandly thinking of the wall-climbing scene when you're
playing that track now, aren't you?


Exactly!
Thor, I think you can place me somewhere between D and E on your scale. Like you, I
definitely enjoy film music as a form of MUSIC first and foremost, with its emotion,
drama, and great variation, both in style and content. For about 70% of my CDs, I
haven't seen the film. Sometimes seeing the film enhances the listening experience,
sometimes it detracts from it, but most of the time it's not a big deal to me either way.

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler

USA
Posted - 08/19/2000 : 8:44:02 PM

Marian makes a vitally important point here...

quote:


I love film scores and classical music, and I love both types as music. But I also like the "film" part
of film music, and I think taking it away is taking away a part of it's "soul". Not as much as if you
take away the "music" part, but still.


Let's face it, Thor. You yourself said that one of the things you like about film music was
its specificity. You also admit that film music requires reference to the film itself to be
analyzed. That means that you admit that film music is aesthetically different from other
forms of music.

Regardless of how divorced from the film you may enjoy it, the simple fact is that it was
composed first and foremost as music for a film. As a result, there can be plenty of
music that may not make the best listening material, although that is very subjective.

That very subjectivity is the point here. What is it that people find interesting in the
music?

I will grant you that I do not listen to every soundtrack album I have all the way
through. However, I do listen to quite a few of them all the way. Many of them I have
not seen the movies for. Nevertheless, these are decisions I make for myself. The more
of a score that is available for my perusal, the wider my selection is.

When I review an album for moviemusic.com, however, I usually check the film first. I do
this in order to give points of reference to the score, as well as to give the reader an
idea as to the interaction of the music with the film, which I personally consider a
fascinating subject.

I think that the reason behind the expanded score releases has to do with the fact that
in many of these cases, these scores have quite a lot of music that was heard by people
in the film, but was not on the album. In the case of The Phantom Menace, I was quite
annoyed by the album presentation because I heard the music in the film, thought it was
excellent in that form, and then found the album had changed much of what I liked
musically, and left out quite a bit of music I considered important (such as "Anakin
Leaves Home").

I'm afraid I have to disagree with your take on CE3K. I think the expanded album (which
follows the chronology of the film) is stronger than the LP version because of the same
reasons Marian keeps bringing up Lord of the Rings; it is a score in which elements come
together eventually, and coalesce in the end into something.

While I agree that bitching over every two second cue doesn't help the cause, expanded
scores heal more than they hurt. If you don't like the expansion, either program the CD
to reflect the original album, or don't buy the new one.

NP - Looking for Richard by Howard Shore

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 08:24:12 AM

Marian:

>>Somehow you keep (unconsciously, I think) ignoring my point : Isn't the musical
structure of a score based on the events on the film?<<

Sorry if it seems like I'm ignoring you. I try not to. Yes, the musical structure of the
score is based on the events of the film. That is a given. But when film composers write
scores, they are UNCONSCIOUSLY composing another music genre. The visual
specificity/narrative structure of a score is "reborn" into musical specificity/narrative
structure, which separates it from classical music.

>>I'm not against re-arranging because it changes the order of the tracks when
compared to the film, but because it mixes the score's structure up.<<

Once again: There are TWO film music structures: One as applied to the film and one as
applied to the "reborn" aural medium. I enjoy the latter. Certainly, one can feel that the
"structure" is messed up on unchronological CD releases as you say, if the
point-of-departure is the former attitude.

>>How comes that you particularly like film scores when you nearly neglect the nature
and try to see them only as music?<<

Because of their specificity. Since the music was written to accompany something visual,
it is more "on-target" (although not always easier to grasp than classical) and diverse
than classical music.

Nils:

Yes, I know we agree on this, although I'm more "extreme" than you, I guess.

Swash:

>>Let's face it, Thor. You yourself said that one of the things you like about film music
was its specificity. You also admit that film music requires reference to the film itself to
be analyzed. That means that you admit that film music is aesthetically different from
other forms of music.<<

For the specificity thing, see above. As regards film music analyzing, there is no doubt in
my mind that you have to put the film into consideration. After all, "analyze" means to
dissect, in this case, the music as applied to visuals. I do think that this is a very
interesting enterprise, but that's NOT why I like/enjoy the genre, of course.

However, scores can also be analyzed as pure music, but only on CD (duh!) and not in
the film. It's all about points of departure. And yes, I DO admit that film music is
esthetically different from other genres, but only in terms of it's MUSICAL difference, and
not in terms of its film specificity.

>>I will grant you that I do not listen to every soundtrack album I have all the way
through<<

Hmmm, I'm not sure what you mean by this. Surely, listening to the album from start to
finish is something you can do whether you're a FILM music fetishist (to relive the
movie) or a film MUSIC fetishist (to go on a abstract musical journey). How is this
relevant to the topic at hand?

>>I think that the reason behind the expanded score releases has to do with the fact
that in many of these cases, these scores have quite a lot of music that was heard by
people in the film, but was not on the album.<<

Yes, of course. As I've said, I agree with you on the sentiment of PHANTOM MENACE to a
certain extent. I thought it was a great album, only hampered by two things: The double
inclusion of "Duel of the Fates" and "Anakin's Theme" and the lack of interesting
MUSICAL bits that were left off the album (musical bits that would have made a great
listening experience and not simple film-reminders).

>>I'm afraid I have to disagree with your take on CE3K. I think the expanded album
(which follows the chronology of the film) is stronger than the LP version<<

Well, in this case, I'm actually inclined to agree somewhat with you, but only because
the LP version is so drastically different from the expanded release. The "light" version
vs. the "heavy" version, so to speak. However, only the former justifies the aural
medium called CD and its inherent musical narrative.

>>If you don't like the expansion, either program the CD to reflect the original album, or
don't buy the new one.<<

Actually, I would think it would be easier for YOU guys to program the expanded CD's
chronologically (if the tracks are divided, of course), since the chronology of a film and
its music is easily obtainable. After all, John Williams and his crew are much better than
I am to program the CD to please the non-filmic, musical fan like me.

Let me make something clear, though, in case there should be any misunderstanding:

I think film music as used in the film is an interesting topic: How does the music works
with/against the visuals? How does it "enhance" or "capture" the essence of a scene?
Does the composer go with the "characters" or the general "mood" of the plot? etc.

However, that intellectual stimulation is NOT why I ENJOY film music. That has more to
do with the musical appeal to my emotions, memory, imagination AND intellect
combined, as a musical journey.

Come to think of it, because I find FILM music interesting, I am revising my position in
the scheme above. I will trade places with LL, so that I'm not THAT extreme.

HEY, I just modified my stance. How about that?

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 09:15:00 AM


quote:


Marian: Sorry if it seems like I'm ignoring you. I try not to.


Hey, no problem. I'm sure it wasn't intentional.

quote:

Yes, the musical structure of the score is based on the events of the film. That is a given. But
when film composers write scores, they are UNCONSCIOUSLY composing another music genre. The
visual specificity/narrative structure of a score is "reborn" into musical specificity/narrative
structure, which separates it from classical music.


Hm, I have to admit that I don't know why you think this way. Why do they
unconsciously compose a different genre, and why is the music "reborn"? A good film
composer, I think, has the musical structure very well in mind while composing the score
(again, I point out Rosenman's comments on his LOTR score). Would you re-arrange the
movements (or parts of the movements) of a symphony? And that's even more
"harmless" than re-sequencing a film score. It's rather like re-sequencing e.g. a
symphonic poem. Like if you take Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony and place the
summit section at the beginning.

Again, isn't the "direction" a score goes one of the points that holds it together? Themes
are created and developed in a certain way, and in a way that makes them make "sense"
musically. A theme may build like in LOTR and reach it's climax in a vital center point of
the score, just like in the climax of a symphony movement. It's like Smetana's Moldau.
The work begins "little", like the river, and constantly builds towards a glorious finale.
Would it make sense to re-sequence this work? Certainly not. But not because of the
"story" behind it, but because the musical structure is based on the story.

A completely different issue, however, are concert suites a film composer makes from his
themes. I've nothing against them, on the contrary. That's where a composer can take a
theme out of it's film context and vary it only in a musical fashion. The difference to
re-sequencing an album: Any decision in the concert suite is made purely out of musical
"logic", and therefore the suite, like the score, has it's own structure on which it is
based. And re-sequencing a suite wouldn't make much sense, either.

quote:

However, scores can also be analyzed as pure music, but only on CD (duh!) and not in the film. It's
all about points of departure. And yes, I DO admit that film music is esthetically different from
other genres, but only in terms of it's MUSICAL difference, and not in terms of its film specificity.


Without a doubt film music can be evaluated standing on it's own. That's why I like it.
But like I said above: The consistency of a score in it's original way does not exist
because of the film's narrative, but because the scores's structure is based on it. That
way, the score in chronological order is also in it's correct musical order.

quote:

Actually, I would think it would be easier for YOU guys to program the expanded CD's
chronologically (if the tracks are divided, of course), since the chronology of a film and its music is
easily obtainable.


Certainly it is. As long as the separate tracks do not mix several cues from different
portions of the film, and as long as all the music from the film is presented on the album
- which to me is much more important than the sequencing issue.

quote:

Let me make something clear, though, in case there should be any misunderstanding:

I think film music as used in the film is an interesting topic. However, that intellectual stimulation is
NOT why I ENJOY film music. That has more to do with the musical appeal to my emotions,
memory, imagination AND intellect combined, as a musical journey.


Of course, and as I said, I can also enjoy film music as suites. I love all those Gerhardt
albums, for example. That shows that we generally DO share the same way of listening
to film music: As music. Where I disagree with you is that you say a score's structure is
not vital to the consistency of the music as a whole.

quote:

Come to think of it, because I find FILM music interesting, I am revising my position in the scheme
above. I will trade places with LL, so that I'm not THAT extreme.

HEY, I just modified my stance. How about that?


Well, there must be some truth in what we've said, then. Actually, my preferred
position in your scheme would be exactly in the middle, but in fact, the position probably
varies with each score, too.

Edited by - Marian Schedenig on 08/22/2000 09:16:04 AM

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Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 09:53:04 AM

Oh God, Marian, you're making this so very hard for me to explain!...I love it. I think it is
much easier to defend YOUR position than MINE, though, simply because yours is the
majority view (and my view is also much vaguer). But that doesn't bother me at all....

>>Why do they unconsciously compose a different genre, and why is the music
reborn"?<<

Let me put it this way: A film composer writes music for a film. It is the onscreen
narrative, mood or characters that inspire this music. HOWEVER, when the visuals are
removed (CD release), the music still remains. But no longer as film music, but rather
"visual" music or something generic like that...the brother of program music, if you wish
(although more specific). In this way, the film composer has created a new genre without
actually knowing it - he created music for a film only without a music-specific album in
mind - and the music is "reborn" from FILM MUSIC to VISUAL MUSIC (the latter is my
term, of course). Does this make sense to you at all?

I don't think your comparison to re-arrangement of classical music is fair. After all,
classical music is one genre only (unlike film music), and most pieces were created as
"pure" music from the very beginning. That is why it makes no sense to rearrange it out
of order.

The problem with film scores - unlike classical - is that the composer does not have a
"coherent" listening experience in mind while writing it. He answers to the film only.
That's why an expanded album like PREDATOR or BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY can linger
on for more than an hour without any proper emotional release, just drone after drone,
overly repetitative and not getting anywhere. If PREDATOR had been a concert piece, it
would have been arranged differently.

And maybe that's the core of the matter here: That I want film music to be fluent
concert music?

Suites are indeed a separate issue. While I like the intention of making film music into
concerty suites (and I - like you - enjoy most of them, like the Gerhardt ones), I think
this is a bit too drastic alteration of the original score. I want the music to be arranged
into a concertlike whole while at the same time maintaining the original "story" or
"narrative essence" of the music. John Williams is a master of this type of album
presentation.

*****************************************************************************************

Nash Bridges

USA
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 10:18:51 AM

Personally, I very much enjoy the PREADTOR CD, short cues and all. By I understand
your argument.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 2:45 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 12:39:14 PM


quote:

Oh God, Marian, you're making this so very hard for me to explain!...I love it. I think it is much
easier to defend YOUR position than MINE, though, simply because yours is the majority view (and
my view is also much vaguer). But that doesn't bother me at all....


Hehehe. I think it's a great discussion!

quote:

Let me put it this way: A film composer writes music for a film. It is the onscreen narrative, mood
or characters that inspire this music. HOWEVER, when the visuals are removed (CD release), the
music still remains. But no longer as film music, but rather "visual" music or something generic like
that...the brother of program music, if you wish (although more specific). In this way, the film
composer has created a new genre without actually knowing it - he created music for a film only
without a music-specific album in mind - and the music is "reborn" from FILM MUSIC to VISUAL
MUSIC (the latter is my term, of course). Does this make sense to you at all?


Sure, and I mostly agree. That's why I still don't get your point. That's the reason why
I DON'T like the score to be rearranged - see my references to program music above. I
agree that my symphony example was a bit unfair, but all the other works I mentioned
(Alpine Symphony, Moldau) are all programmatic works.

But I think several composers DO write their scores with the album already in their
minds. I'm quite sure Williams does.

quote:

The problem with film scores - unlike classical - is that the composer does not have a "coherent"
listening experience in mind while writing it. He answers to the film only. That's why an expanded
album like PREDATOR or BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY can linger on for more than an hour without
any proper emotional release, just drone after drone, overly repetitative and not getting anywhere.
If PREDATOR had been a concert piece, it would have been arranged differently.

And maybe that's the core of the matter here: That I want film music to be fluent concert music?


Well, as I said, I think most scores are coherent enough. I don't know Predator, and I've
only heard the official 4th July album, but there ARE scores that I find hard to listen to
because of their long...subdued? ...passages. Psycho (I have the complete McNeely
recording) and Alien³ come to my mind. Yet I still prefer to have them the way they are.
And, as I also said, there ARE albums which aren't complete but don't leave out any vital
cues. They're fine for me, but I could imagine that other people don't like them because
they wanted to hear one of the tracks that are missing.

quote:

Suites are indeed a separate issue. While I like the intention of making film music into concerty
suites (and I - like you - enjoy most of them, like the Gerhardt ones), I think this is a bit too
drastic alteration of the original score. I want the music to be arranged into a concertlike whole
while at the same time maintaining the original "story" or "narrative essence" of the music.


Agreed. Suites are certainly no replacement for the real scores.

quote:

John Williams is a master of this type of album presentation.


That's where we disagree.

NP: They Died With Their Boots On (Max Steiner)

*****************************************************************************************

Ron Pulliam

USA
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 1:20:47 PM

Thor:

Reading how you feel about this issue, I must ask you in all sincerity:

Since you know you don't like expanded soundtrack albums, WHY do you buy them?

Superman was certainly available in its original 2-LP form on CD (out of Japan). All the
original Star Wars trilogy CDs (except the masterful "The Empire Strikes Back") were
released in their original LP presentation on CD. Then there was the 4-CD boxed set,
which you needn't have bought unless you wanted TESB complete. Then there were the
special editions which made no bones about what to expect...complete chronological
unedited cues as written for the films.

That's a no-brainer.

As for bootlegs, why on earth would you want a bootlegger deciding what order to put
these scores in? The bootleggers aren't the composers.

I, too, like a lot of John Williams' own versions of his scores recorded to LP and CD.

Do I want to wish away CE3K? Heck, no! It's a far superior...and far more
satisfying...listen than the LP/early CD presentation. So much was left out!!! The CE3K
expanded edition is one of the most eloquent presentations of a master score I've ever
heard.

As for Superman....come on! The opening track alone is worth whatever other
inconveniences you experience skipping the tracks you don't like. The one you do, I could
live without, actually. It's mostly bombastic, non-melodic action music.

That's the cue most fans wanted, I know...but it's so much the LEAST of what was great
about that score. The music for Jonathan's funeral was the one cue I wanted more than
anything else. Now I have it and all the rest.

On Star Wars, I wanted two bits -- the orchestal burst when Luke and Obi Wan are on
the cliff overlooking Mos Eisely and the cue when the fighters take off from the rebel
base to combat the Death Star. Brief, orchestrally brilliant flourishes that simply could
not be put on the LP...except the dialogue LP, which I treasured for just those cues.

Composers have all too often proven themselves clueless about what music their fans
respond to from their scores...look at what Jerry Goldsmith insisted be left off Star
Trek:TMP (and the one cue that was added after all those YEARS of waiting for it was my
favorite cue!!!).

I realize, of course, that if the scores are presented in their entirety, chronologically, you
are missing the "arranging" traditions of the past, especially Williams' brilliant re-dos. I
think "E.T." is a prime example of this. The original score on LP and CD is magnificent,
thrilling and brilliant. The expanded OST can be a major letdown. Who KNEW Williams
had reorchestrated so much? Who knew that the original tracks were so much more
mellow, simple and homogenized in sound? The listening experience of William's
re-recorded/re-orchestrated score captured the feel the movie left you with...it was
thrilling. The original tracks aren't so much so....

I do prefer, however, the expanded "Jaws." The original score release always seemed so
disjointed, with so much disparity in style and cohesion. The expanded edition is an
entity unto itself and validates all I thought the score should have been on an album,
but wasn't.

I agree with you, however, that there is a lot of tedium in film scores that shouldn't be
recorded onto CD. I could stand half-hour versions of Braveheart, Apollo 13 and
Titanic...at least, I think I could stand them. As they exist, I loathe all three score CDs.
I wish I didn't, but there you are.

Actually, the truth is, there aren't a heck of a lot of composers whose work can stand up
well in 60-plus-minute CDs....their music isn't all that interesting to begin with, they use
far too many synths, and they often sound too much like the temp tracks they were
obviously hired to emulate.

All told, however, if you let me have my "Spock's Arrival on the Enterprise" (I forget the
cue's real title), I can certainly tolerate someone else's special short cue on some other
CD.

The dilemma, therefore, is whether or not the composer ought to just give up on
arranging albums, such as John Williams continues to do....and whether you can bring
yourself to accept the expanded, chronological scores and simply program the cues you
want to hear in the order you feel is best suited for them.

The horse isn't dead, Thor....but it's knees are wobbling, and I see a few buzzards on
the corral fence.

Ron

*****************************************************************************************

Gunnar

Germany
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 1:43:54 PM

Marian,
I thought what you were saying about the recording of scores (e.g. Star Wars) very
interesting. Now, my question to you is: How do you feel about the Sony "Williams
conducts Williams" Star Wars CD? It's the one with the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra,
recorded at Skywalker Ranch. Isn't this the crispest recording you can get? Still, I would
say it is somehow not as effective for sheer listeingn experience as e.g. SW-TPM.
One other bit I'd like to ask you: Any idea what those noises are in the middle of "Hymn
to the Fallen" from SPR? I thought they were terribly distracting...

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 4:59:41 PM

Ron, great that you mentioned E.T. because I find my feelings for the expanded release
conflicting. I'd never been satisfied by the original album because it left off ANY
occurence of the "key" motif. But since I got the expanded release, I hardly listen to the
score anymore. I find the new CD to be far superior in sound quality, and it also has lots
of stuff I like, but it DRAGS. I think certain tracks could have been left in this case, but I
understand that somebody might want the tracks I could live without. So, what's the
best solution in this case? I don't know.

Gunnar: That CD was the first CD I ever owned, and I've always liked it, although I don't
play it that often anymore since I got the complete RCA soundtrack releases. Yet, I
started to realize that I'm not really pleased with the sound on this CD as well, because
I CAN'T HEAR THE PIANO! There's a piano in the Imperial March, and it's one of the
things I like best in this piece, but it's nearly impossible to hear it. Same goes for the
xylophone in the Asteroid Field. The performances are very good, though, except for Here
they come, which I find too slow on this recording (even Gerhardt's version lacks the
energy of the original soundtrack performance).

Actually, I've always wondered what those synthesizer sounds at the end of the Cantina
Band track are supposed to be.

NP: Schumann: Piano Concerto

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/22/2000 : 5:13:29 PM


quote:


Any idea what those noises are in the middle of "Hymn to the Fallen" from SPR? I thought they
were terribly distracting...


Now that you say it, I remember reading about them before I got the CD, but I never
noticed them myself. I'll listen more closely for them next time I play the CD.

*****************************************************************************************

Big T

United Kingdom
Posted - 08/23/2000 : 04:44:50 AM



timmer

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/23/2000 : 08:41:43 AM

What's so funny, Tim? wink

Marian:

>>Sure, and I mostly agree. That's why I still don't get your point<<

Ok. Well, then let me proceed to say that I think we simply talk past each other, and
that we actually agree to a certain extent.

Let me admit, then, that the structure of the film is indeed the structure of the score.
Great. The problem occurs when the CD of the score is released. Since the score is so
strongly attached to the film, it might not always be the best the listening experience as
a simple transfer to CD (certain films are built slowly with a recurrent motif - like CE3K -
and the music follows consequently, in this case with a "subdued intensity" for a long
time). However, if the composer is allowed to take the musical raw material of the score
and "adapt" it into a pure listening experience on CD, this is much more rewarding. So I
want CE3K, for example, to be a concert piece, not a film score per se.

In short: The structures of film and score are the same, but a slight adaption of a score
to the CD medium is required in order to justify a score CD. Just my opinion.

>>But I think several composers DO write their scores with the album already in their
minds. I'm quite sure Williams does.<<

I don't think so. Williams speaks to the film first and foremost. If the music stands on
its own, that's a bonus (these are his own words, btw). HOWEVER, I think a composer
like Williams is so well-grounded in a concert hall tradition (with all that follows from
that), that a certain unconscious "overlapping" in his scores is unavoidable. It's that
selfsame concert experience that makes him such a masterful album adapter.

>>there ARE scores that I find hard to listen to because of their long...subdued?...
passages. Psycho (I have the complete McNeely recording) and Alien³ come to my mind.
Yet I still prefer to have them the way they are...<<

Well, that's different. In those cases, it is the MUSIC that is intensely subdued, and not
the presentation that makes it so. I agree that PSYCHO can be a hard listen, but that's
just a matter of getting used to the music. I own the Elfman version myself, which is
unchronological, and thus very rewarding. And ALIEN3 is one of my favourite scores
musically AND what regards production. And the latter is neither chronological nor
complete - again a strong ADVANTAGE!

Ron:

>>Since you know you don't like expanded soundtrack albums, WHY do you buy
them?<<

Because I like to have as much music as possible, and I am also a Williams completist.
If you read my initial post again, you will note that I have no quibble with expanded
releases as COMPLETE or LONG score albums. It has ONLY to do with the way they are
presented - chronologically at the expense of the listening fluidity and with short,
undeveloped score cues. That's film-fetischism at its worst (best?).

As for the albums you mention:

I was very much satisfied with the original SUPERMAN Warner release, and didn't
actually need an expanded release here (the "Big Rescue" wasn't THAT important to me).

I've always been a STAR WARS fan, so I needed the box set and the RCA reissues - but
only because I wanted more interesting, self-sufficient MUSIC from the trilogy that didn't
make it to the first releases, not because I wanted more FILM music.

CE3K is an interesting exception. I only got that because its "atmosphere" was so very
different from the LP release. It builds its way up alongside the film with dark dissonant
soundscapes for 60 minutes before the grand ending. But - despite the fact that it
includes more interesting music - to me it is less intriguing than the LP release because
I listen to film music divorced from the film as much as possible.

>>As for bootlegs, why on earth would you want a bootlegger deciding what order to put
these scores in? The bootleggers aren't the composers.<<

I don't want them to decide anything. Unfortunately, some releases are only available as
bootlegs, so I have to take what I can get. The fact that bootleggers are poor album
producers is an unfortunate bonus.

Your assessment of E.T. is dead-on. That's my sentiment exactly.

>>I do prefer, however, the expanded "Jaws." The original score release always seemed
so disjointed, with so much disparity in style and cohesion<<

Actually, I would think the recent release is much more disjointed, as it is a combination
of a film-chronological release and the LP album presentation.

>>The dilemma, therefore, is whether or not the composer ought to just give up on
arranging albums, such as John Williams continues to do....and whether you can bring
yourself to accept the expanded, chronological scores and simply program the cues you
want to hear in the order you feel is best suited for them.<<


As for the programming issue, see above posts: It is the CHRONOLOGICAL fan that
should program the disc, not the non-chronological album fan.

I cannot accept expanded releases the way they are presented today, because they work
so hard against the film music ideology I stand for. I cannot accept the paradoxical filmic
point-of-departure of a CD release, when all I want to hear is a satisfying CD release in
and of itself.

I can accept that this is a trend, yes, but I do not have to agree with that trend, and I
need to air my discontent with this (as this thread is an example of).

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 2:46 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Swashbuckler

USA
Posted - 08/24/2000 : 6:57:54 PM

No, you certainly don't have to agree with it.

I disagree with you on some points. As I have admitted before, certain film composers
who re-arrange their scores for album listening are more successful at it than others. The
album of The Player is one of my all-time favorites, and that has nothing to do with the
order it appears in the film.

John Williams, however, is one who, despite some great successes (I count the original
E.T. album as one of these, although I like the expanded version as well for its more
experimental aspects) for the most part arranges albums that don't make much musical
sense either; his adventure scores are based on a leitmotivic development that often
enough requires cues to be heard in a certain order for them to make sense.

If you look at many Jerry Goldsmith albums, one often finds that, while the scores may
be out of order, individual cues that develop certain material are presented in the order
that they appear in the film (sometimes alternating cues) so that, even though the score
is out of order, the thematic development is intact.

However, more often than not I've found that John Williams does not do this on his
albums. He seems to program more for mood than for thematic development, which I
consider a mistake given the aesthetic of the music he usually composes.

Regarding the specificity thing, perhaps I'm not explaining myself well in that regard.
Film music has its own "language," so to speak, separate from other forms. Although it
is close cousins to classical, romantic and modern music, it is a sovereign musical form
(to use the language analogy, they are all romance languages). Nevertheless, certain
aspects of film music developed because of the technical nature of the medium, and the
modern form of film-scoring is the result of this (I consider Max Steiner to be the D.W.
Griffith of film music).

Therefore, my point was that how a film score addresses its subject matter is what
makes each one different from one another (if the same approach is used then there is
no real difference between the works themselves... this is what many people [myself
included] have found James Horner and the Media Ventures people doing recently).

"Okay," you may say. "I refer you to my original point that I listen to the music as
music, nothing else."

Ah, but I am talking here about the impact of these factors on the overall aesthetic of a
film score, which plays more of a part in the listening experience than anything else.

Therefore, the things that may attract you to film music (i.e. that which gives film music
its own "identity" as discrete from other orchestral musical idioms) are the very aspects
of the score that you pretend to ignore in pursuit of the "musicality" of it.

I am by no means a rabid completist. In general, however, I have found expanded
albums in the cases of John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith to be superior to their original
counterparts. In general, the more music that is available is better for the listener, who,
with the CD format, is free to arrange their albums in any way they like. It also often
enough gives a better presentation of the score (the original LP of the aforementioned
Krull, for example, did not have the main title sequence, from which much of the film's
thematic material is based, and destroys the internal symmetry from the score by
eliminating the opening choral passage that is answered at the close of the end credits
sequence).

Regarding chronology, in the cases of both Williams and Goldsmith, the linear style in
which their scores are written lend themselves better to a chronological presentation
than to the way that Williams tends to butcher his music cues on his albums.

I don't consider this to be an aspect of a "film music fetish," I think it to be intrinsic to
the way the music was written.

I certainly wouldn't mind a complete score that is out of order on an album provided:


a.The cues on the album are not mixed or segued unless it is done chronologically
itself (a la Rhino's North by Northwest, in which the shorter cues are crossfaded
with each other to make a more cohesive whole).
b.Instructions for a chronology are included in the liner notes (this was done with
Jaws 2 and for most Royal S. Brown liner notes).

I feel that there are probably ways to satisfy both of our desires, given that they aren't
really that diverse. We both like film music, just in different ways, it seems.



Incidentally, as I mentioned elsewhere, Thor, I'm really enjoying this conversation; I
think it's really making people talk about how they listen to music. I may disagree with
some of your points, but you are certainly making a good case for each of them; your
opinions are based in very strong, well-thought out arguments.


NP - Krull by James Horner before he became a hack SuperTracks Edition

Edited by - Swashbuckler on 08/24/2000 7:07:32 PM

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/25/2000 : 04:54:15 AM


quote:

Ok. Well, then let me proceed to say that I think we simply talk past each other, and that we
actually agree to a certain extent.


Yeah, I think so.

quote:

However, if the composer is allowed to take the musical raw material of the score and "adapt" it
into a pure listening experience on CD, this is much more rewarding. So I want CE3K, for example,
to be a concert piece, not a film score per se.


But I don't think most film scores are structured in a way that they can be re-formed into
a "traditional" concert structure (I'd like to hear a real film score in concert, though,
complete and in film order; we had that great discussion on the previous board).

One reason why I generally prefer classical music and film scores over song albums is
that they are consistent works. They may run for 30 minutes of 2 hours, and yet have a
coherent structure. On a song album, you have one song and then another one, and
while the album may have a certain "theme" (not a musical theme, but a certain overall
sound), the songs are still rather unrelated and can be sequenced in the way that makes
for the best listening experience.

quote:

In short: The structures of film and score are the same, but a slight adaption of a score to the CD
medium is required in order to justify a score CD. Just my opinion.


For me, slight adaptions may work very well. Example: The Omen. The album alternates
between menacing and "beautiful" tracks (like Jaws 2). This makes for a good listening.
And I think that's because they don't feature related material. The Ave Satani theme
appears in the menacing tracks only, so putting one of the "other" tracks between each
two menacing tracks doesn't affect the theme development.

(Of course, I don't really know the order of the score in the movie, and it may be in
chronological order on the album ) Nevertheless there's a lot of stuff missing from the
album, and while I can live without the synthesizer cues for the dog scenes (this is the
type of music which I don't necessarily need on a album), I think there are other tracks
which I would like to have.

quote:

>>there ARE scores that I find hard to listen to because of their long...subdued?... passages.
Psycho (I have the complete McNeely recording) and Alien³ come to my mind. Yet I still prefer to
have them the way they are...<<

Well, that's different. In those cases, it is the MUSIC that is intensely subdued, and not the
presentation that makes it so.


But then, I think re-sequencing the subdued tracks would make things worse, so for that
sort of tracks, you may only have two options: Keep them in chronological order, or drop
them alltogether. They are a sort of "link" between the other tracks, and woudln't work
anywhere else. Just a thought, I'm not sure if I really agree with that myself, but it's
what seems logical.

quote:

I agree that PSYCHO can be a hard listen, but that's just a matter of getting used to the music. I
own the Elfman version myself, which is unchronological, and thus very rewarding. And ALIEN3 is
one of my favourite scores musically AND what regards production. And the latter is neither
chronological nor complete - again a strong ADVANTAGE!


You know, now I'm wondering how Alien³ would sound in chronological order...

quote:

I was very much satisfied with the original SUPERMAN Warner release, and didn't actually need an
expanded release here (the "Big Rescue" wasn't THAT important to me).


The "Big Rescue" track doesn't do that much for me, too, but I like it and quite certainly
would have missed it on the original album, had I seen the movie. I'm don't find the
expanded release THAT fantastic, but it certainly has stuff that I'm glad to have. And
then, I don't think the score is that great, although without a doubt very good (and I
just love the beginning of "The Planet Krypton"). I could certainly do without so many
variations of Can You Read My Mind, or simply without those with voiceover, but I
understand that these are the cues that some people would miss (really? ). But they
should have put them all at the ene of disc #2, so they don't appear in the middle of the
score.

On the other hand, I found the sequencing of the original album annoying. Again,
Williams places one of the integral tracks much earlier than it's in the movie (the love
theme), making the latter part of the album less interesting.

Particularly with long scores, sequencing is important: You need to keep the listener's
interest. If you place "highlights" from the end early on the album, the final tracks may
not be able to hold the listener's attention.

quote:

Actually, I would think the recent [Jaws] release is much more disjointed, as it is a combination of
a film-chronological release and the LP album presentation.


True. In this case, because it is generally chronological, the Shark Cage Fugue seems to
be really out of place that early, which I think wouldn't have been a problem on the -
still very good - original album (on which it is interestingly one of the later tracks).

quote:

As for the programming issue, see above posts: It is the CHRONOLOGICAL fan that should program
the disc, not the non-chronological album fan.


If I know how to do it, no problem. It would be best if CDs could store several playing
"paths", so I don't have to program the track order every time (that's why I hardly ever
use the program option).

Swash:
Yes.
(Virtually everything you said can stand for me, too).

As for the different sequencing by different composers, that's a good point I never
thought of. Goldsmith may really be "better" at this, although he puts too little of the
music on his CDs, for my tastes. But at least he doesn't move all the climax cues to the
beginning of the album, and that's what I find most annoying about Williams' albums
(again, Duel of the Fates or The Raptors).

NP: Superman Expanded (good idea )

Edited by - Marian Schedenig on 08/25/2000 05:00:02 AM

*****************************************************************************************
Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/25/2000 : 10:35:48 AM

Some more good points added to the discussion. Thanks a lot, both of you, and thank
you also for those kind words about me, Swash. Let me return those. With all the
mayhem going on at the board, it's good to lean back with a little healthy discussion
with you guys.

Now, AWAY WITH THE NICE WORDS!! Let's get down to business!!

First of all, both of you seem to miss ONE VITAL POINT: The fact that I'm talking about
TWO film musics - one film-attached, and one independent. There is of course a lot of
cross-influences, but I don't think it's fair to me (who prefer tha latter) to apply the
virtues of the FORMER category to look down upon the SECOND. They need separate
classifications and attitudes to analysis, but none is more superior than the other.

More specific:

Swashbuckler:

>>John Williams, however, is one who, for the most part arranges albums that don't
make much musical sense either; his adventure scores are based on a leitmotivic
development that often enough requires cues to be heard in a certain order for them to
make sense.<<

I must take issue with this. Certainly, Williams' approach is not perfect. I have
previously expressed my dissatisfaction with, e.g., some of the way PHANTOM MENACE
is produced. But in general, although he considers film music albums that are good
stand-alone listens as pure luck, Williams has realized one important thing: That he is
operating WITHIN TWO DIFFERENT MEDIA! First film, then music (CD). He responds
greatly to both. When Williams sits down with his scores after it has been attached to
celluloid, he "sees" the music's inherent potential to work as a stand-alone experience.
This can be achieved by "drawing out" the essence of the drama in the music, and
ADAPTING that drama to ANOTHER MEDIUM. He understands that a straight tranfer to
CD (which is nothing more than the film without sound effects and visuals, really) DOES
NOT DO JUSTICE TO THE MUSIC AS MUSIC. What he then does is to transfer the music
to CD WHILE AT THE SAME TIME MAINTAINING THE DRAMATIC NARRATIVE AND MOOD
AS HEARD INITIALLY IN THE MOVIE. I'm no album producer, so I can't explain exactly
how he does that, but he seems to hit the nail on the head time and again, so there
must be something there. I think - unlike you - that he (with a few exceptions) is fully
capable to use the leitmotif approach of the movie score in a fluent musical oddysey
(RAIDERS, E.T., CE3K, HOOK etc.) on CD, underlining FREQUENT "HIGHLIGHTS"/MUSICAL
RELIEFS THROUGHOUT THE ALBUM rather than sheepishly placing it all at the end (like
CE3K).

But I like it the way Jerry Goldsmith does it too.

>>Nevertheless, certain aspects of film music developed because of the technical nature
of the medium, and the modern form of film-scoring is the result of this<<

I'm not denying that. Of course film AS A MEDIUM has influenced the way film MUSIC is
created today. But as soon as the score is released on CD, those influences remain as
just that - INFLUENCES, and not a "criterion" by which to judge independent film music.

I'm happy - as you say - that film music is such a special genre that it allows for such a
vast range of different approaches etc., but it is only as MUSIC LOVER that I benefit
from this, not as MOVIE LOVER.

>>Therefore, the things that may attract you to film music (i.e. that which gives film
music its own "identity" as discrete from other orchestral musical idioms) are the very
aspects of the score that you pretend to ignore in pursuit of the "musicality" of it.<<

No, as I've said numerous times, I do not ignore this aspect of film music. I appreciate it
and acknowledge that it is the FILM that has given birth to the "peculiarity" of a score.
But, again it's only as MUSIC LOVER that this peculiarity becomes universal - speaking to
my emotions, memory, intellect and imagination.

>>Regarding chronology, in the cases of both Williams and Goldsmith, the linear style in
which their scores are written lend themselves better to a chronological presentation
than to the way that Williams tends to butcher his music cues on his albums.<<

But is it not possible to give birth to a NEW CHRONOLOGY, when the music is tranferred
to a different medium? One should not always look to intention and the creator when
deciding the contents of a text. A strong text should speak for itself, and be interpreted
differently away from the intentions of the creator.

>>I don't consider this to be an aspect of a "film music fetish," I think it to be intrinsic
to the way the music was written.<<

Well, I'm being a bit sarcastic with that expression, of course, but there is a core of
truth in it as well...if people want to relive the movie (or the mood of the movie), they
should be renting the movie itself, and not listen to MUSICAL ALBUMS...

I agree with you on your a) and b). CITIZEN KANE is another good example of a).

Marian:

>>But I don't think most film scores are structured in a way that they can be re-formed
into a "traditional" concert structure<<

Well, that's where we disagree again! Consistency can be achieved both ways, IMHO.

>>But then, I think re-sequencing the subdued tracks would make things worse, so for
that sort of tracks, you may only have two options: Keep them in chronological order, or
drop them alltogether. They are a sort of "link" between the other tracks, and woudln't
work anywhere else. Just a thought, I'm not sure if I really agree with that myself, but
it's what seems logical.<<

I'm not sure I understand this. Please elaborate.

>>You know, now I'm wondering how Alien³ would sound in chronological order<<

Well, DON'T! smile It would be a horrible listening experience, I'm sure.

>>On the other hand, I found the sequencing of the original album annoying. Again,
Williams places one of the integral tracks much earlier than it's in the movie (the love
theme), making the latter part of the album less interesting.<<

Do you really think the love theme is that interesting?

>>Particularly with long scores, sequencing is important: You need to keep the listener's
interest. If you place highlights" from the end early on the album, the final tracks may
not be able to hold the listener's attention.<<

I agree completely. But as I said above, I think Williams is a master of "balancing" these
highlights. Sure, A BIT TOO OFTEN the good stuff comes first, but there's plenty more to
look forward to on most of his albums. He "peaks" the music with frequent and regular
intervals.

>>If I know how to do it, no problem. It would be best if CDs could store several playing
"paths", so I don't have to program the track order every time (that's why I hardly ever
use the program option).<<

EXCELLENT IDEA! smile

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler

USA
Posted - 08/25/2000 : 11:49:47 PM

On the way home from the city tonight, I was listening (as I usually do during my urban
commutes) to my trusty MiniDisc player, when it occured to me that the disc I was
spinning was a perfect illustration of my point of view on the subject.

The disc in question was my own version of The Matrix, which primarily features the
original score composed by Don Davis, although a few of the songs do appear here and
there. I enjoy this score because, not only is it exciting, Davis' postmodern approach to
scoring this film fascinates me. It also contains quite a lot of complicated and densely
structured cues.

How I recorded and arranged this 80 minute album is important to this discussion, so
even if I drag a bit here, bear with me. It will all make sense (I hope) at the end.

Basically, I recorded the Varese release. I did this because the sound quality of this
release is phenomenal, also the final cue, "Anything is Possible" appears unbroken on
the record only. Then I took the song album and recorded the four tracks from that.

At this point, I started recording additional score tracks from the DVD.

However, as it should be obvious by now from the length of the disc itself, I did not
slavishly record every score track. I selected what I wanted to hear.

I am quite satisfied with my version of The Matrix, and listen to it very often.

Now, you may very well say that this actually proves your point in that the album does
not contain the complete score (although it is chronological).

I hold that it proves my point, however. The Varese album, due to the cost of the large
Los Angeles orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, runs only 30 minutes. However,
the score is available in its entirety on the DVD. I was thus able to supplement the
album with music cues I admired but couldn't be released on CD.

The main point of this whole, sad tirade is that the choices made in the creation of this
MiniDisc were mine and mine alone. This was only possible because I had the entire
score available to me.

Why must listening to music be a completely passive experience on a listener's part? I
would think that most people come up with their own little "programs" for pretty much
any album in that they choose to skip certain tracks and not others (I know somebody
who loves Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon but feels that "Money" doesn't fit the mood
of the rest of the album. He skips it every time). Come on, who here actually listens to
"Jar-Jar's Introduction?"

quote:


But is it not possible to give birth to a NEW CHRONOLOGY, when the music is tranferred to a
different medium?


Actually, I do agree, but I think it only works with some film scores. I keep mentioning
The Player as an example of this; another might be the album presentation of Capricorn
One (although I like the original soundtrack recording as well). As I mentioned before, I
personally do not find many of John Williams' scores not benefiting, not becoming richer
and more interesting for expansion and chronological sequencing. Jerry Goldsmith is a
different story. While some of his albums can benefit from chronological re-sequencing, a
lot of them sound fine in the order that he places them on the album in the first place.

quote:


I think - unlike you - that he (with a few exceptions) is fully capable to use the leitmotif approach
of the movie score in a fluent musical oddysey (RAIDERS, E.T., CE3K, HOOK etc.) on CD,
underlining FREQUENT "HIGHLIGHTS"/MUSICAL RELIEFS THROUGHOUT THE ALBUM rather than
sheepishly placing it all at the end (like CE3K).


I assume you mean the Japanese CD, which is the original LP version of Raiders, then?
Because the American CD is not only expanded, but chronological, and it works fine
(mostly because the film itself has so many action setpieces).

Regarding CE3K, I still have to side with the re-issue on this one. As I am not a big fan
of this film, and have only seen it a few times, I am not too familiar with the music as it
is used in the film. However, the chronological version shows the music gradually
becoming more tonal over the course of the score and eventually all the elements come
together to form the finale. I don't consider this to be sheepish, I consider it interesting,
and, more to the point, moving. The tension created by the music early on leads to a
catharsis at the end, a release. It is a gradual process; interrupting it with a lighter cue
or a displaced action track (as happens on the original album) destroys much of the flow
of the music.

quote:


First of all, both of you seem to miss ONE VITAL POINT: The fact that I'm talking about TWO film
musics - one film-attached, and one independent. There is of course a lot of cross-influences, but
I don't think it's fair to me (who prefer tha latter) to apply the virtues of the FORMER category to
look down upon the SECOND. They need separate classifications and attitudes to analysis, but
none is more superior than the other.


Well, there's the bone of contention right there. As I have reiterated, many of my
favorite films score albums are for movies I have never seen, or had never seen before
hearing the music; Taras Bulba, The Wind and the Lion, Looking for Richard, Raise the
Titanic etc; with the exception of the last, which is complete, chronological, and a great
album all in one, if you were to offer me expansions on any of them I would jump at the
chance.

Why?

Basically because it stands to reason that if I like the film score album, I would like
more of the rest of the score. Tracks that spring to mind as horrible omissions that
expansions rectified are:


1."Total Logic/Kirk's Arrival at Starfleet" and "Floating Office" on Star Trek- The Motion
Picture by Jerry Goldsmith.
2.Everything restored to Conan the Barbarian by Basil Poledouris.
3."Brother and Sister" and "Final Duel" from Return of the Jedi by John Williams.
4.The main title sequence from Krull by a younger, better James Horner.
5.Anything restored to Silverado by Bruce Broughton.
6."The Hunt" from Planet of the Apes by Jerry Goldsmith.
7."Mos Eisley Spaceport" from Star Wars by John Williams.
8.Most of the Varese releases of Vertigo by Bernard Herrmann (more on that in a
moment)
9.The entire "The S--t Hits the Fan" finale sequence on The Empire Strikes Back by
John Williams, formerly only available in bits and pieces on the original 2 LP set,
and not at all on the CD.

What should be obvious here is that these cues were, for some reason, judged less
important than others, and were not included on the original versions of these albums.
Granted, most of these albums were produced when the length limitations of the vinyl
format dictated how much music could be included on an album, but nevertheless, you
must admit that these particular cues deserve to be heard, no?

Vertigo is a perfect example of a film score that must be appreciated in long form (as
opposed to the 35 minute Mercury album) and chronologically.

Since the score is based on keeping the love theme in check until the "Scene d'Amour," it
remains revealed only in bits and pieces peeking out here and there. Although there are
some moments (such as "The Beach" and "Farewell") in which the score sort of fools you
into thinking that you are hearing the full version of it, but it is not until the "Scene
d'Amour" is heard that the full impact of this material is had. Intergral to the
development of this music is the cue "Madeline's First Appearance," which is a relatively
short cue. It did not appear on the original album, and as a result parts of the score
didn't make sense (as a fragment of the theme appears in a most forboding manner in
the title sequence, this is a neccesary variation to hear before the theme can be
developed).

I can only hope that this post made even a modicum of sense.

NP - Flight of the Intruder by Basil Poledouris

Edited by - Swashbuckler on 08/25/2000 11:54:47 PM

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 2:47 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/27/2000 : 07:41:20 AM


quote:

First of all, both of you seem to miss ONE VITAL POINT: The fact that I'm talking about TWO film
musics - one film-attached, and one independent.


No, I don't miss this, I only don't understand it. When I listen to film music, I don't
listen to FILM music. Like you, I listen to the MUSIC. In most cases, I film music is for
me very similar to program music: I want to be aware of the "background", but I want to
listen to it as music. Take Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel, for example. Near the end of this
work, when Till dies, you can hear a strange flute sequence, representing his death. I
wouldn't want to hear this piece at the beginning, or anywhere else. I want to know that
it represents Till's death, as this is the ONLY reason that it at all exists. And, knowing
that, I'm happy to enjoy it as music.

quote:

>>But then, I think re-sequencing the subdued tracks would make things worse, so for that sort of
tracks, you may only have two options: Keep them in chronological order, or drop them
alltogether. They are a sort of "link" between the other tracks, and woudln't work anywhere else.
Just a thought, I'm not sure if I really agree with that myself, but it's what seems logical.<<

I'm not sure I understand this. Please elaborate.


What I was trying to say: In many cases, the subdued sequences are originally placed
between not-subdued tracks. They represent some sort of bridge between their
surrounding cues. I can imagine that after re-sequencing, these subdued tracks suddenly
have to stand on their own, which they may not be able to do very well.

quote:

>>On the other hand, I found the sequencing of the original album annoying. Again, Williams places
one of the integral tracks much earlier than it's in the movie (the love theme), making the latter
part of the album less interesting.<<

Do you really think the love theme is that interesting?


Well, yes. For one, this is my favourite theme from the whole score. And then, it isn't
used for a long time at the beginning of the score. Because it's not there, the music is
written the way it is (had it been there, it would have affected the structure of the rest
of the music). At one point, it appears for the first time, and I consider that not only
important to the movie, but also to the music.

quote:

I think Williams is a master of "balancing" these highlights. Sure, A BIT TOO OFTEN the good stuff
comes first, but there's plenty more to look forward to on most of his albums. He "peaks" the music
with frequent and regular intervals.


I don't think so, particularly when considering his recent albums. Not only does he place
the end credits tracks at the end AND the beginning, removing from the score whatever
introduction of themes there may have been (just think of the wonderful way the Leia
theme first pops up in Star Wars, and imagine you'd heard the fully developed version
before). Also, he has begun to put the climax pieces at the beginning. The Shark Cage
Fugue is a fully developed piece, consisting of material that previously pops up in the
movie, but is never as complete as in this track. Putting it so early on the CD not only
makes me miss it at the point where it originally belongs (the climax to which the score
is building is no longer there), but also weakens the impact of the cues where Williams
hints at the theme, BEFORE developing it. In most classical works, the themes are
gradually developed and varied before they appear in their fully developed form.

quote:

>>If I know how to do it, no problem. It would be best if CDs could store several playing "paths"<<

EXCELLENT IDEA! smile


They should have included this in the DVD format...

NP: Koyaanisqatsi (Philip Glass)

*****************************************************************************************

Marian Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/27/2000 : 07:47:25 AM

Swash, as you mentioned the expanded Raiders: Although it's nearly complete, it's still
missing the second half of the "Well of the Souls" track, accompanying Indy's and
Marion's escape. And exactly this track is one which I'd really like to have (I understand
that it IS present on the LP release), much more than the part of this track that IS
available on the CD; I think I could have lived without that one.

But I'd like to try a little experiment now: Thor, please take a complete score and list all
the tracks which YOU would leave off if you had to produce the album. I'm curious to see
how our views of "important" tracks differ.

NP: The Patriot (Williams, of course)

*****************************************************************************************

Mark Olivarez


USA
Posted - 08/27/2000 : 12:11:25 PM

Wow this thread is great. The missing 6 minutes of the Well of the Souls is indeed available on the
LP. I'll be honest and admit Williams is my favorite composer. So I have no problem with his
expanded CDs. Yes I think he does put alot of thought into his scores. CE3K expanded compared to
the original is quite a different listening experience. The original album to me represents a dark
brooding almost a horror film type atmosphere. Yet listening to the expanded album gives way to a
rich, thematic element missing from the original album. I feel the same way about Jaws. The first
album seems like going to a concert while the expanded version presents the score in a whole new
light. It was amazing to hear the shark theme played differently each time it appeared, much like
Darth Vader's March from Empire. Each time it is played it is done differently. I love the ET expanded,
yes it is a shock at times to realize how simple some of the cues are, but I do like to hear them as
heard in the film. Of course minus the editing and pasting like The Phantom Menace. I wish I had kept
my original ET CD, but I have kept CE3K and Jaws. However not every score should be expanded, and
not all are written with long cues in mind. Herrmann wrote alot of short cues for most of his Hitchcock
scores. I don't really have a problem with short cues because it doesn't ruin the listening experience
for me. I wish Jerry Goldsmith would allow more of his music to be released.

*****************************************************************************************

Luscious
Lazlo

Posted - 08/27/2000 : 6:10:09 PM

MEMO TO SWASHBUCKLER: I sympathize with your friend who considers "Money" as a mood-breaking
track on DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. But I don't object to its presence due to it being a disparate
mood-breaker. I simply dislike the tune. (Come to think of it, I dislike the whole record for being
suicidally depressing.) An analogous example is Radiohead's inclusion of a boring raucous tune called
"Electioneering" on OK COMPUTER. "Money" & "Electioneering" are both placed midway thru the record.
They're both there to pep up their respective albums and to bring those albums down to earth with
some obligatory earthy music. I have more respect for the fact that SERGEANT PEPPER kicked off Side
2 with a sitar-drone tune.

MEMO TO MARIAN: I can't remember the German word that means "pure music that is written for its
own sake". (I know it's not reinmusik or absolutmusik.) As opposed to film-music or
Gesamtkunstwerks.

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler


USA
Posted - 08/27/2000 : 6:27:25 PM

Marian, the Raiders disc is not complete even aside from the additional "Well of the Souls" material
on the LP. There are a few more cues that aren't on it. However, this is an album that I am happy
with.

Lazlo, when there were two sides (or four) to play with on an album, the opening and closing of each
platter had to be carefully thought-out. One of the reasons why I don't like much of today's rock is
because the albums the bands put together do not have this mentality at work...

*****************************************************************************************

Marian
Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/28/2000 : 08:05:28 AM


quote:

I can't remember the German word that means "pure music that is written for its own sake". (I know it's not
reinmusik or absolutmusik.) As opposed to film-music or Gesamtkunstwerks.


Hm, no idea either.

Swash: Interesting, the last few times I watched Raiders, the cue I mentioned was the only music I
noticed that's not on the album. I think the album is very good, but nevertheless I miss that track
and would buy an expanded release (but more important to me are expanded versions of the other
two Indy movies).

*****************************************************************************************
Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/28/2000 : 10:13:48 AM

The saga continues.

Swashbuckler:

>>The main point of this whole, sad tirade is that the choices made in the creation of this MiniDisc
were mine and mine alone. This was only possible because I had the entire score available to me.<<

I do not consider myself a very good album producer, and I seriously lack any music-technical
knowhow. I do not consequently think I am capable of creating a score album that would satisfy my
own need. I trust that to the guys who know this better than me, John Williams included.

That is why your MATRIX story is unapplicable to me, although I see where you're coming from.

What I simply want is the album producers to make albums that represent the essence of the score
while adapting it to the peculiarity of an aural medium. I won't even dare to suggest that I know this
better than they do (although some album productions are unfulfilling, of course).

>>Why must listening to music be a completely passive experience on a listener's part?<<

Music listening is never passive. The term "listen" in itself refers to an activity of the mind and senses
to produce meaning and emotions. No matter how the meal is served, we actively digest it.

The main task for a listener should then be to "go into" the music as presented and receive
enjoyment from that, NOT messing with it. That will only cause a "distancing" effect, I think.

>>I assume you mean the Japanese CD, which is the original LP version of Raiders, then? Because
the American CD is not only expanded, but chronological, and it works fine (mostly because the film
itself has so many action setpieces).<<

Well, yes, I meant the japanese CD, but I also like the expanded DCC release, like you. In this case,
maybe out of pure luck, the music survived a direct transfer from film to CD. This, though, is more
because the film itself was so scattered with emotional ups and downs (highs and lows) that the
music followed consequently. The DCC release is therefore a good example of an expanded,
chronological release that actually SUCCEEDS! The STAR WARS scores the same.

>>the chronological version [of CE3K] shows the music gradually becoming more tonal over the
course of the score and eventually all the elements come together to form the finale. I don't consider
this to be sheepish, I consider it interesting, and, more to the point, moving. The tension created by
the music early on leads to a catharsis at the end, a release.<<

I agree with this. As I've said, the expanded release is a very DIFFERENT listening experience than
the original LP release. But I don't think it's a better one. When I said "sheepish", I only meant that
the expanded release "stupidly" follows the film narrative, and since a film narrative is plagued with
many variations and "fragments" throughout, the music must follow that.

While I can understand the sensation you describe - that the exp. release builds tension towards a
catharsis - this fragmentation only leads to an unfulfilling listening experience. Suddenly, there's that
militaristic motif, then some atonal strikes, then some lighter stuff etc. This is music following the
film.

Consequently, if a composer could take the film score, adapt it with the "rules" of a CONCERT PIECE
"development" and release it on CD, he does the music justice as music. That is the case with the
original CE3K LP release.

>>but nevertheless, you must admit that these particular cues deserve to be heard, no?<<

Certainly. But only because they work as good MUSIC, not necessarily as film music heard in a
particular sequence in a film.

As I said as early as my first post: I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST EXPANDED RELEASES IN AS
FAR AS THEY INCLUDE MORE MUSIC! Of course not. That's a HUGE advantage. My only quibble is with
the "direct-to-CD", chronological, short-cued presentation that plague these releases.

Your example of VERTIGO is interesting, as a companion to your CE3K example (continual, longwinded
build-up to climax etc.). But in my opinion, this build-up is also feasable with rearranged albums. The
premise is different, but it can be just as pleasing, depending on a good album producer.

When you say that the love theme is only allowed to blossom in the scene d'amour, you're arguing
with A POINT OF DEPARTURE IN THE FILM NARRATIVE ITSELF. So, while I don't disagree with your
assesment of Herrmann's intelligent "checking" of the love theme in the film, I can't accept that that
should be a criterion for the MUSICAL ALBUM PRESENTATION AS WELL.

Marian:

>>Take Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel, for example.<<

Again you pull in a concert piece to defend your viewpoint. I don't disagree with your opinion on that,
but I see classical program music as another (although related) beast altogether, simply because the
music was written for ONE MEDIUM ONLY. It does not transgress into another medium, and
consequently it would be absurd to alter/rearrange the original music.

Actually, since you say you listen to film music as program music, you should be SUPPORTING MY
VIEWPOINT about rearranging film scores for CD releases, since film music only becomes program
music when "altered" into a CD presentation.

I don't expect you to understand this, though. This is very vague, and it's difficult to defend by using
concrete examples.

>>What I was trying to say: In many cases, the subdued sequences are originally placed between
not-subdued tracks. They represent some sort of bridge between their surrounding cues. I can imagine
that after re-sequencing, these subdued tracks suddenly have to stand on their own, which they may
not be able to do very well.<<

If I understood you correctly, I agree completely. Often, film-chronological scores contain several
intensely-subdued tracks after each other, simply because the film asked for it. That's where the
composer's album presentation comes in, perhaps "bridging" the intense cues with contrastive
material - for the better.

I think the SUPERMAN love theme is a bit too schmalzy for my taste. But I don't think it was
presented to early on the ORIGINAL Warner album, do you? (if you disregard the main title). It came
on in track...was it 7?8?9?. Not in the beginning, anyhow.

>>Putting it so early on the CD not only makes me miss it at the point where it originally belongs
(the climax to which the score is building is no longer there)<<

There it is once more. When you say "originally belongs", you think about the movie again. I don't see
how the film's climaxes or lows or anything should influence the way we listen to the album. If
Williams places the climax cue early on, that's great, as long as it makes musical sense and the
album "flows" as a concert piece.

But I'll be the first to admit that some of Williams' decisions on this matter are controversial, and I'm
not as avid a fan of his producing as it seems. I just put things a little on the edge here

MEMO TO LUSCIOUS LAZSLO:

COME ON, YOU SCOUNDREL YOU! You know better than this. STAND UP FOR ME! It's me against the
others here....

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/28/2000 : 10:20:52 AM

Oh, and Marian:

>>But I'd like to try a little experiment now: Thor, please take a complete score and list all the tracks
which YOU would leave off if you had to produce the album. I'm curious to see how our views of
"important" tracks differ.<<

Once again, I LIKE THE FACT THAT EXPANDED RELEASES INCLUDE MORE MUSIC, so I don't consider
any tracks more or less important than others, strictly speaking. It's only a question about the way
they are arranged.

I'm NOT a good album producer, so I don't know if I should dare to select a complete, chronological
CD and say how the tracks should be combined, though!

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler


USA
Posted - 08/29/2000 : 9:42:20 PM

Thor, would you say then that if an album is to be expanded, most of the time it should follow
RykoDisc's model of additional cues, which is to present the original album (albiet remastered)
followed by the previously unreleased material? It was a good way to serve both masters in such film
scores as The Living Daylights. If this approach appeals to you, than we are really seeing eye-to-eye,
as I am fine with that. I happen to like how the original album worked in that case (although I must
say that the situation is different; no cues were segued into each other on the original LP).

quote:


I do not consider myself a very good album producer, and I seriously lack any music-technical knowhow. I do not
consequently think I am capable of creating a score album that would satisfy my own need. I trust that to the
guys who know this better than me, John Williams included.


Yeah, actually, I have to conceed this point. My friends have often commented on my somewhat
obsessive and perfectionist standards while creating my own mixes (although they always compliment
me on the results), so I must admit that it is not fair to ask people to devote the time and energy I
spend on doing stuff like this; whether I would call it "messing with it" is another story.

quote:


When you say that the love theme is only allowed to blossom in the scene d'amour, you're arguing with A POINT
OF DEPARTURE IN THE FILM NARRATIVE ITSELF. So, while I don't disagree with your assesment of Herrmann's
intelligent "checking" of the love theme in the film, I can't accept that that should be a criterion for the MUSICAL
ALBUM PRESENTATION AS WELL.


In this case I consider it one and the same. The music after the "Scene d'Amour" is different from the
music that appears before it; the love theme is now fully developed and is audibly different from how
it is presented in "The Beach" or "Farewell." As a result, I would consider the musical construction to
coincide with that of the film (of course, that is the point). I believe the Vertigo albums tend to work,
considering how well they were recieved by not only film music but the casual listener.

Of course, just as you make a comment here and there that you admit undermines, to an extent, your
argument, I'll make this one:

The scores all of us have brought up in this discussion are all examples of the best of their kind.

The music written by people like Williams, Goldsmith and Herrmann are all highly layered works with
many aspects. As a result, with all good art, multiple interpretations are supported. Obviously, few
people are fighting about the importance of various cues and their placement on an album for a less
interesting score.

NP - The Empire Strikes Back by John Williams RCA Victor Complete

Edited by - Swashbuckler on 08/29/2000 9:43:01 PM

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 08/30/2000 : 08:48:37 AM

Judging from your diplomatic attitude, Swash, it seems like you're finally out to kill this dead horse
one and for all!

Just kidding.

What you say:

>>Thor, would you say then that if an album is to be expanded, most of the time it should follow
RykoDisc's model of additional cues, which is to present the original album (albiet remastered)
followed by the previously unreleased material<<

RykoDisc is (was?) one of my favourite film music "feinschmecker" labels. They not only resurrected
old scores, but did so with style and grace, enveloping the CD in luxurious packaging and extra CD
goodies.

I do indeed approve of the way they handle "expanded releases". It far outdoes the recent trend of
clicktrack fanaticicm. However, it's not as good as rearranging the music as CD music, which Williams
does brilliantly. Having the extra tracks tacked on to end may cause a disjointed listening experience
(since after the "conclusive" end titles, we "resurrect" the score again, at various places. Kind of a
moodbreaker).

Mind you, there's a difference between this and the way I like it, which is: Feel free to mess around
with the chronology of the score on album, but do it in a way that makes MUSICALLY COHESIVE
SENSE.

>>In this case I consider it one and the same. The music after the "Scene d'Amour" is different from
the music that appears before it; the love theme is now fully developed and is audibly different from
how it is presented in "The Beach" or "Farewell."<<

Maybe you're right about this. My knowledge of VERTIGO is not good enough, so I won't dare to say
something I don't know anything about. If I think you're right, though, it is because the MUSIC AS
MUSIC has a certain unalterable chronology. VERTIGO is thus pure program music in a sense.

>>The scores all of us have brought up in this discussion are all examples of the best of their
kind.<<

Indeed. But if we're talking "bad" and "good", we have to specify as related to what. Incidentally, all
the scores mentioned here have been good BOTH AS SEPARATE LISTENING EXPERIENCES AND THE
WAY THEY WORKED IN THEIR RESPECTIVE MOVIES.

So my philosophy still stands: In general, ALL film music DOES and/or SHOULD get a new life on the
aural CD medium. However, exceptions occur where the music works in the film medium only (like TERMINATOR 2).

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 2:49 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Marian
Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 08/31/2000 : 2:46:30 PM

I just want to let you know that I've definitely NOT dropped out of this discussion, I'm just a bit short
of time at the moment and writing these massive replies here takes so long. I'll write my next essay
tomorrow or on Saturday.

NP: Canto General (Mikis Theodorakis)

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler


USA
Posted - 08/31/2000 : 7:12:35 PM

I have no intention of dropping out of this discussion, this is exactly what I missed about this board!

quote:


As I said as early as my first post: I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST EXPANDED RELEASES IN AS FAR AS THEY
INCLUDE MORE MUSIC! Of course not. That's a HUGE advantage. My only quibble is with the "direct-to-CD",
chronological, short-cued presentation that plague these releases.


Aha!

Here's the rub. Although the chronology issue is the one that you take to task, the title of the thread
suggests something different.

I brought up The Living Daylights because the original LP, which was designed for listening, is
presented first, allowing the purely musical experience to come first. The additional cues are
presented afterward, and can be programmed into sequence with the score if the listener so desires,
or one can simply play the original LP.

Nevertheless, the additional cues are fantastic.

I happen to, as did Marian, take issue with the chronology subject, although there are times when the
two seemed very intertwined because of how most expanded albums are presented.

I would say that you do have a point about the possibility that some film scores can be heard in a
different order than they appear in the film in order to make more sense musically. For the most part,
however, I find that a chronological presentation tends to show a film score written with a leitmotif
style in the best light, regardless of whether one is using the film itself as a reference point or not.

My comments about Vertigo were strictly limited to the album presentations. I was not at any point
referring to the film (although the film/music interaction in that film is a wonderful topic).

I wish to say, however, that I find the editing of cues from different parts of the film together into
one track many times has the opposite effect it is supposed to: rather than smoothing out the
listening experience, it tends to make it more uneven. I cite "Inner City" on the original Star Wars LP
as an example.

NP - North by Northwest by Bernard Herrmann Restored DVD Isolated Score

Edited by - Swashbuckler on 08/31/2000 7:18:26 PM

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler


USA
Posted - 08/31/2000 : 7:25:41 PM


Listen Up!!!

Can someone out there archive this thread for re-posting on the board after it is changed? I can't do it
(I'm using someone else's computer) and I'm really enjoying this discussion.

*****************************************************************************************

ZapBrannigan


USA
Posted - 09/01/2000 : 01:51:32 AM

I just checked out "Air Force One" on Amazon.com. The reviews include claims that the CD runs only
30 minutes, and that this is 40 percent of the music in the film.

Was it recorded in Los Angeles, where re-use fees make long CD's too costly?

Is this CD worth it?

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 09/01/2000 : 06:52:19 AM


quote:


Here's the rub. Although the chronology issue is the one that you take to task, the title of the thread suggests
something different.


I know. I just wanted to put the topic "on the edge", so to speak, since so very few people have
anything against expanded releases in general. The word "chronology" should probably have been
mentioned, though.

quote:


I brought up The Living Daylights because the original LP, which was designed for listening, is presented first,
allowing the purely musical experience to come first. The additional cues are presented afterward, and can be
programmed into sequence with the score if the listener so desires, or one can simply play the original LP.


I see. Well, surely one can still play the LP release, but I WANT THE ADDITIONAL MUSIC INTEGRATED
INTO AN ALBUM PRESENTATION AS WELL. In other words - although I prefer the LP release
presentation - I want the extra music too, and not only tacked on to the end, but presented in a
musical cohesive way.

quote:


For the most part, however, I find that a chronological presentation tends to show a film score written with a
leitmotif style in the best light, regardless of whether one is using the film itself as a reference point or not.


Well, you say that SOME scores lend themselves easily to chronol. mix-up. I say that MOST scores do
so on album. Only a FEW scores - such as VERTIGO, RAIDERS and to a certain extent CE3K - are just
as good (albeit different) when presented chronologically.

The leitmotif style of the movie can be transferred into a leitmotif style for an album - using the SAME
LEITMOTIFS - which differ from each other.

quote:


My comments about Vertigo were strictly limited to the album presentations.


Yes, they probably were. But indirectly I think your source of a perception of chronology stemmed
from the movie - you described how the love theme differed BEFORE and AFTER the scene d'amour,
which is, of course, a specific scene in the movie. However, as I said, in this case I think they are
more or less the same. VERTIGO is program music, which has a certain "unalterability" to it.

quote:


I wish to say, however, that I find the editing of cues from different parts of the film together into one track many
times has the opposite effect it is supposed to: rather than smoothing out the listening experience, it tends to
make it more uneven.


Yes, I agree with this. Please feel free to separate the music into distinct, short tracks, BUT ONLY IF
THE ALBUM STILL "FLOWS" COHERENTLY, like a concert suite (a good example would be the excellent
CITIZEN KANE album, the Joel McNeely version). The sad fact is that most expanded releases (check
out the recently released GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN, for example) overlook this, and so the
listening experience is very fragmented.

*****************************************************************************************

Marian
Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 09/01/2000 : 08:51:22 AM

Swash, archiving this thread was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read about the
board change. Bill said there'll be plenty of warnings before they do the switch, so I'll save this thread
then.

Thor, I was also under the impression that you're arguing against expanded releases initially, I also
think I remember some comments by you that made me think you dislike too complete releases.

When I mentioned Till Eulenspiegel above, I did this because it's program music, and film scores are
to me very closely related to program music; I think scores and program music have more in common
than program music and symphonies.

I've had another thought, though: Could it be that wall-to-wall scores work best in chronological
presentation, and less massive scores are more like collections of several musical cues, without so
much chronological relations?

NP: Grand Canyon Suite (Excerpts) (Ferde Grofé)

*****************************************************************************************

Howard L

Posted - 09/01/2000 : 09:52:14 AM

If you're playing Grand Canyon Suite, put on "Sunset". Or "Sunrise". Whichever one starts with the
solo French horn fanfare. And turn it up.

*****************************************************************************************

Marian
Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 09/01/2000 : 10:13:31 AM

Howard, it has to be "SunSET", but my CD only has two movements from the suite, "Sunrise" and
"Cloudburst".

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler


USA
Posted - 09/01/2000 : 6:06:57 PM

Well, I was just responding to a post on the other board about Once Upon a Time in the West, and it
occured to me that Ennio Morricone scores, although they contain recurring themes, tend to work fine
in the mixed-up order they appear in on the albums (with the exception of The Untouchables,
although that's more because the album doesn't really have a finale, it just sort of fades into the
ether with "Machine Gun Lullabye"). This is because Morricone doesn't compose cues the way that
Williams, Goldsmith and Herrmann do. In general, Morricone cues take one thematic element at a
time. As a result, the mixage that occurs doesn't bother me as much. An example would be the
wonderful (albiet amatuerishly recorded) score for Cinema Paradiso.

quote:


I've had another thought, though: Could it be that wall-to-wall scores work best in chronological presentation, and
less massive scores are more like collections of several musical cues, without so much chronological relations?



quote:


The leitmotif style of the movie can be transferred into a leitmotif style for an album - using the SAME LEITMOTIFS
- which differ from each other.


I believe these two comments are actually related to one another, and to my previous point.

Perhaps a wall-to-wall score, because of its highly specific nature, may indeed lend itself better to a
chronological presentation on record than a shorter score. In fact, it is possible that a well-written
wall-to-wall score requires that...

Vertigo was heavily scored, and how the different motives interacted with one another and how they
were presented change over the course of the film. This was done for dramatic purposes, of course,
but listening to the score by itself, which is, as Thor rightly points out, a very different experience
than seeing the film, proves that the score could possibly not work in any order other than how it
appears in the film. Certainly the way that the "Scene d'Amour" develops out of fragments heard in
the title music, "Madeline's First Appearance" and other cues is dependent upon that order. Should the
music be presented out of filmic chronology, it would make less sense as music.*

A close relative of that idea would be the "Luke and Leia" theme in Return of the Jedi. Although it is
not heard often in the film, it is a very important theme in the score. Williams created a descending
motif heard in "The Death of Yoda" that later introduces the "Luke and Leia" theme in the cue
"Brother and Sister." The progression of the theme is dependant upon hearing these cues in their
proper order.

Thematic material can be developed differently on an album. Lalo Schifrin did it very well with his
original Bullitt LP, which I think is a great album. However, I would say that the music on the album
is very different from the film's score... this can be supported by listening to the new Aleph CD, where
you can do an A-B comparison of the original film versions and the album tracks. As has been pointed
out in Comerford's review of the new disc, the album arrangements make for pleasant listening, but
some of the most interesting musical elements in the score is more prickly material. As a result, the
original film score arrangments have something the album arrangments lack.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Zapbrannigan, that's exactly it. Goldsmith and Townson wanted a longer album, but couldn't float the
bill. They both chipped in for an extra five minutes though; the album actually runs 35 minutes.
Apparently the cue both wanted on the album but couldn't afford was a choral cue. The cost of that
would have been astronomical because the entire orchestra and chorus would have to be paid, and
the chorus was overdubbed several times, and they would have to be paid again for each one. This is
all hearsay. I'm not a big fan of Air Force One, and this is only what I gathered from interviews.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

* Regarding your comment that you thought I was referring to the "Scene d'Amour" as a filmic
moment rather than a musical one... form follows function, and a film score follows the film that it is
married to. In this case, a cinematic moment is reflected in the score as a listening experience.
Regardless of why the score does this, the music by itself also features the same structural dynamics
as the film, and therefore shares the same focus point as the film.

Some of the confusion can be attributed to the fact that, in general, film music cues are named after
moments in the film, which may make a purely musical discussion sound like a cinematic one. As you
have admitted, Thor, and analysis of a film score is useless without taking the film itself into
consideration; I can go on for hours why the music in Vertigo does what it does (and it is quite an
interesting topic), but when you come right down to it, when you take the music away from the film,
you are left with something that has a definite structure because of what it was written for.

NP - Once Upon a Time in the West by Ennio Morricone RCA Spain Expanded Edition

Edited by - Swashbuckler on 09/01/2000 6:19:38 PM

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 2:50 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Marian
Schedenig

Austria
Posted - 09/02/2000 : 05:53:46 AM

But I think that many Morricone scores are essentially a couple fully developed cues that get
repeated. At least that's what the scores to the Dollars movies and OUaTitW seemed to be in the
movie, there are several appearences of the same cues (same recordings). Therefore, they don't even
have a specific order in the film and obviously can be put on an album in many different orders.

NP: Ummagumma (Pink Floyd)

*****************************************************************************************

ZapBrannigan


USA
Posted - 09/02/2000 : 09:03:50 AM

Thanks, Swashbuckler. No point in waiting for an AFO expansion.

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler


USA
Posted - 09/02/2000 : 6:04:16 PM

No point at all. There is a boot, but you know how most people feel about them...

*****************************************************************************************

starblade

USA
Posted - 09/03/2000 : 05:04:09 AM

Wow! Great thread!
Hi Thor! (Thanks again for the JMJ disc)

I've been tracking this thread through all the replies. Great elucidations, everyone! I've come to an
analagous conclusion after reading everyone's statements. Here's my two cents :

I like potatoes (film music). I like to eat them many different ways. I'll eat them peeled and plain
boiled (initial, shortened, not-inclusive first releases). But you may not. I'll eat them cut up and
"french fried" (cued chronologically). But you may not. I'll eat them mashed with butter (cued
non-chronologically). But you may not. I'll eat them au gratin ( 'complete' expanded releases). And I'll
even eat them raw with the skins (bootlegs). But you may not.

My point is: Everyone likes what version of potatoes he or she likes. You may try a differently
prepared kind sometime. But it all comes down to a matter of taste (listening experience).

Why do people like the sound of a Major fifth, but cringe to the sound of an augmented fourth? They
are "almost" the same note, just as parts of Zimmer's Gladiator score is "almost" the same as Holst's
Planets.

I listen to (and like) music for it's mathematical musicality. Not for 'what it was written for' or 'what it
came from'. I see the musical notes and their relationship to each other playing out before my mind's
eye as I listen to it. Similar to the conductor's score. Now I don't have perfect pitch or anything, but
18 years of music lessons, theory, and performing have given me a little insight into the actual
composition of music. I'm not talking just sitting in front of a synthesizer and pecking away, but
actual music construction.

It's true that I like *most* of the movies that I have the scores for, but there are some movies that I
like but don't like the score (Mad Max, Forbidden Planet, et al.); and there are movies that I can't
stand, but thoroughly enjoy the score (Bad Girls). For me, the enjoyability is the heart (the theoretical
[or non-theoretical, if it's badly written {you know, just a bunch of notes thrown together}] aspect of
the music.


Just my opines...........

*****************************************************************************************

starblade

USA
Posted - 09/03/2000 : 05:16:58 AM

Whoops! Where's the edit function?

The last sentence on my above post was meant to be:

The theoretical technicality of the music is what draws me to (film) music, not necessarily the
presentation.
(Whew! big words.....)

NP-GTR (Steve Howe, Steve Hackett)

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 09/04/2000 : 04:56:20 AM

Marian:

quote:


I've had another thought, though: Could it be that wall-to-wall scores work best in chronological presentation, and
less massive scores are more like collections of several musical cues, without so much chronological relations?



That's a good thought, Marian. You're probably right. But I still think it is possible to take a massive
score like CUTTHROAT ISLAND or MIGHTY JOE YOUNG or DEEP IMPACT and shorten it, using
non-chronological means. It would work for the better in those cases, IMHO, since the listeners might
feel uncomfortable with the non-developing, film-related presentation that is presently the case.
Music should not be overcomplete to the extent of gratuity (grating?).

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 09/04/2000 : 05:24:43 AM


quote:


Well, I was just responding to a post on the other board about Once Upon a Time in the West, and it occured to
me that Ennio Morricone scores, although they contain recurring themes, tend to work fine in the mixed-up order
they appear in on the albums



I don't own enough Morricone albums to verify this, but you're probably right. He seems very
concerned with the ALBUM presentation as a separate listening experience, concert music-experienced
as he is. In his case, though, this type of presentation is essential, since his style is or can be - as
mentioned - very monotonous and droney (WOLF comes to mind).

quote:


A close relative of that idea would be the "Luke and Leia" theme in Return of the Jedi. Although it is not heard
often in the film, it is a very important theme in the score. Williams created a descending motif heard in "The Death
of Yoda" that later introduces the "Luke and Leia" theme in the cue "Brother and Sister." The progression of the
theme is dependant upon hearing these cues in their proper order.



Yes, you're right. Those two tracks are dependent upon presentation in that order. But then again,
STAR WARS in general is program music, and is - in most cases - better served chronologically. I have
no quibble with the recently released RCA reissues.

quote:


form follows function, and a film score follows the film that it is married to.


While I agree with this assessment as related to VERTIGO or STAR WARS, I do not agree with it on
general terms.

Film music gets a different function as an album. The musical highlights may thus be programmed
differently on the album than in the film. The "focus point" is radically changed as the music swaps
medium. The core of the matter is no longer to retell the film musically, but retell the MUSIC
musically, if you get my point. But I DO NOT favour a SLAUGHTERING of the film score, of course. It
takes a good album producer to balance the initial development of the music in the film and the
development as music on album.

quote:


Some of the confusion can be attributed to the fact that, in general, film music cues are named after moments in
the film, which may make a purely musical discussion sound like a cinematic one.



Yes, this is very unfortunate. Since I would have loved for film music to be called something more
generic - like "visual music" - I would have preferred the track titles to have more generic titles as
well. Elliot Goldenthal fortunately excels at this, naming individual tracks "Adagio", "Lento" etc.

quote:


As you have admitted, Thor, and analysis of a film score is useless without taking the film itself into
consideration; I can go on for hours why the music in Vertigo does what it does (and it is quite an interesting
topic), but when you come right down to it, when you take the music away from the film, you are left with
something that has a definite structure because of what it was written for.



Once again, I disagree. Yes, I do admit that a film score as a whole can only be ANALYZED IN
CONTEXT WITH THE FILM. But that's not the way I ENJOY the genre. Furthermore, a film score can
ALSO be analyzed INTERNALLY or MUSICALLY, but in this case more music-technically detailed,
referring to certain parts and movements in the score and not the "initial big picture" (or rather: of
how it WORKS in the film).

I'll say it again: Film music is reborn on CD. It does not have a definite structure that cannot be
altered outside the celluloid. Yes, it has a definite structure as FILM music that no aural CD can ever
dear to restructure (although certain film freaks tend to think so). But as pure MUSIC, justification of
musical adaption is called for.

----------

This is all getting very repetitative, I know. But you should understand my main point by now. Since
my view is a minority view, it's also more abstract and harder to explain with concrete examples.
That's why I tend to "drone" somewhat. I'm sorry for that.

Edited by - Thor on 09/04/2000 05:25:59 AM

*****************************************************************************************

Thor

Norway
Posted - 09/04/2000 : 05:35:15 AM


quote:


Hi Thor! (Thanks again for the JMJ disc)



Likewise for the Williams concerti! smile

quote:


My point is: Everyone likes what version of potatoes he or she likes. You may try a differently prepared kind
sometime. But it all comes down to a matter of taste (listening experience).



That makes sense. But my main quibble is with the way producers of recent expanded releases tend
to think that the "film way is the only way", obviously ignoring those who listen to film music as any
other music genre. It's a bit....racist, perhaps?

quote:


For me, the enjoyability is the heart (the theoretical [or non-theoretical, if it's badly written {you know, just a
bunch of notes thrown together}] aspect of the music.



Isn't the theoretical/mathematical approach rather a result of your INTELLECT/BRAIN and not so much
your heart? I would think that 'heart' was more associated with the EMOTIONAL impact of the music?

But thanks for the opinion. I've got the feeling we enjoy film music almost the same way...

*****************************************************************************************

starblade

USA
Posted - 09/04/2000 : 06:18:33 AM

Thor: "Isn't the theoretical/mathematical approach rather a result of your INTELLECT/BRAIN and not
so much your heart? I would think that 'heart' was more associated with the EMOTIONAL impact of
the music?"

Just to clarify:

I meant "heart" as in the crux, the 'make-up of the actual written notes on the page'. Anyone can
make whatever emotional impact out of the "sounding" of the music, but I'm talking about unravelling
the tapestry that the composer writes down. Granted, when a composer writes a piece of film music,
it is for a specific purpose, but a good composer can squeeze whatever "emotion" out of the notes
that he wants. 'That' is what Horner is good (relatively) at. (I'm not trying to turn this into a Horner
topic, I swear). BUT, a really good composer who understands the way notes interact with each other,
can make it work on more than one level, hence, 'it works in the film' AND 'it works just as a listening
experience on the cd'.

To me, it HAS to work as right (correct, theoretically, as opposed to incorrect) music first. (Yes there
are rules to writing music. A lot of popular music today ignores these rules. That is why it is [sounds
like] crap.)

But we all like what we like.

*****************************************************************************************

Swashbuckler


USA
Posted - 09/04/2000 : 09:56:15 AM

For the most part, Thor, I think we're seeing each other's points...

quote:


I'll say it again: Film music is reborn on CD. It does not have a definite structure that cannot be altered outside the
celluloid. Yes, it has a definite structure as FILM music that no aural CD can ever dear to restructure (although
certain film freaks tend to think so). But as pure MUSIC, justification of musical adaption is called for.


I'm not saying adaptation is completely uncalled for. I am only saying that there are many cases that
the music in a film, which was written to follow the movie itself, will often display characteristics of
that film. As a result, as in Marian's example of Lord of the Rings and mine of Vertigo, one finds that
both the films and the scores operate on a certain structure that have the same chronology. In cases
like these, the score itself is dependent upon a cinematically chronological presentation to make
sense.

In cases like these, then no, the music does have a structure dictated to it by its placement in the
film. What you don't seem to understand is that it is my point that this is a musical decision, and if
some scores are presented chronologically, it is not neccesarily at the expense of musical sense.

This is, as I admit, not always the case. However, I believe that John Williams, who writes some
fantastic scores, tends to butcher them on his albums for the purposes of "listenability;" however,
there seems to be quite an ambiguous definition of that term given how awful some of this scores
have turned out on record (once again, The Phantom Menace leaps to the forefront).

Williams often enough seems intent on destroying the things that make his music interesting by
re-arranging and combining cues on his records. Since the largest amount of chronological expansions
have been his, and he is so obviously involved with the production of his trunucated albums, he is at
the epicenter of this argument, with Jerry Goldsmith not far off.

However, as I expressed before, Goldsmith has a better sense of how to present a score on record
than Williams does. While he does not always do it in order, and at times has combined different
cues onto a single track, he has a better sense of how to make film music flow on an album.

Ennio Morricone, I don't think, gets too deeply involved with his albums, I just think that the style in
which he writes (the droning you refer to actually comprises a very small portion of his considerable
output) tends to lend itself to bizarre combinations.

*****************************************************************************************

Howard L

Posted - 09/08/2000 : 4:32:19 PM

I too have never been a big fan of Williams soundtracks for the same reasons; then again, I'm a cue
specialist as opposed to a general full-soundtrack listener. But I agree there is much more common
ground in the stand-alone area than you might expect.

It seems to me that regularly listening to film music on its own devoid of the film-viewing experience
is an acquired taste, whereas listening to film music is more of an instinctive thing to the film/film
music appreciator. There is art within the perfect melding of film with music. This may help to explain
why Thor feels surrounded and confounded, for he is trying to restructure the music into a form for
which it was not intended. That's not to say he is wrong, although I have a slight disagreement about
the "reliving the movie" business. I believe it's more like recapturing a special mood, not unlike
viewing snapshots of an enjoyable trip or experience. Just as you need not physically return to the
place or event, you need not watch the film. The music on its own, therefore, becomes an "earshot".

Nevertheless, about not being wrong: I have an audiocassette of the original Obsession release. It is
one of my rare stand-alones (I got it before seeing any of it and have still never seen the entire film
end to end). Herrmann did a masterful job in terms of album presentation and it remains a definitive
full-soundtrack listening experience for me. Recently, Shaun sent a CD of the expanded release. Now,
I am all in favor of expanded releases owing to my penchant for select cues (and Williams is
diabolical in terms of omitting cues!) but the expansion actually weakened the Obsession
full-soundtrack listening experience for me. You may recall Herrmann's foresight in this area and his
belief in, shall we say, "suitenizing". Perhaps it is not by accident either that I revere Herrmann,
among other reasons, for his stunning portfolio of great complete scores.

Getting back to cues and how even they may fit into this discussion: I loved hearing and watching
Goldsmith conduct the Star Trek:TMP/TNG theme in Detroit. It was a rousing, magnificent opener. And
I enjoy it also as the opener of the ST Astral Symphony. But I absolutely HATED it in the film. Too
triumphant, as if to say "Hey gang, we finally made the movie!" I would have preferred something
along the lines of an expanded Ilia Theme-offshoot, something with a little more humility endemic to
awed explorers of the unknown. Something along the lines of Voyager. However, much as I preferred
the opening of Wrath Of Khan movie-wise, I find the TMP soundtrack a better full stand-alone
listening experience, although I continue to treasure Wrath of Khan for select cues.

Again, unlike its sister thread about properly judging film composers, this one has tons of gray area
with much more room for agreement--and dare I say, expansion.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 3:54 AM   
 By:   samanthasmom   (Member)

Thor:

I understand what you are saying, but I want all of the score, not 1/2 or less, but all of the score. The entire score also tells a story also. If you are only getting 1/2, that is only half a story.

I am very glad to own Superman, the expanded, it is excellent. Also Close Encounters and other expanded scores are welcomed in my home.
I want all the score.

Let hope that soon we will have The River, Empire of the Sun and other COMPLETE SCORES.

NP: The Fury, John Williams ***1/2

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2000 - 1:50 AM   
 By:   Wickenstein   (Member)

For the longest time, If it wasn't complete, I wasn't happy. I would only be satisfied with every note. Then I bought a score not too long ago that changed my mind. It was Prokofiev's ALEXANDER NEVSKY. The two forms I own are the complete score from the movie, and the Cantata based on the score. I vastly prefer the Cantata. The complete score has too much repetition for me. Maybe it's unfair to judge the two, because one is a classical peice and one is a film score, but it's the same music.

The thing that makes me clamor for complete releases is that the makers always sem to leave out the best cues. Take TPM for example. JW's use of the star wars main theme when the two jedi's are attacking the droids is awesome! Also the end battle when the Force Theme intermingles with Duel of Fates is incredibly exciting. That part alone sent me humming the entire next week!

A good example of a score that was released and has all the music required is Silvestri's CONTACT. I am an avid fan of the movie and the score, and I was satisfied with the album. While I think of it, THE ABYSS seemed fine as well.

In the end I think this situation usually works differently from score to score.

NP: Bond Back in Action *****

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 5, 2000 - 4:35 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

samanthasmom: If you would have had the courtesy to read the entire thread (or at least the first post), you would have discovered that my main quibble is not with expanded scores IN SO MUCH AS THEY HAVE MORE MUSIC, but rather with the way they are presented (chronological).

When that is said, I DO admit that I find certain scores TOO complete. When you have something like SUPERMAN, a complete listen-through is simply too ear-exhausting and time-consuming. When it is presented chronologically in addition, the entire listening experience can be fragmented and extremely repetitative.

But on a general basis: Expanded scores are good because you get more music. But they are detrimental to the art of film music as music when presented the way they usually are today.

 
 Posted:   Oct 5, 2000 - 4:10 AM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

...and it was my point of view that, while I certainly see where Thor is coming from, I believe that many scores are better heard in their cinematic chronology.

We both agree that not all film scores support a complete and chronological presentation, but I generally prefer them presented that way.

NP - Various Casablanca: Classic Film Scores for Humphrey Bogart (Gerhardt/NPO)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 5, 2000 - 11:37 PM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

Right. Although I really want complete releases in 99% of all cases, because when something is left off, it's probably exactly the one single track somebody cares for.

NP: The Elephant Man (John Morris)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 5, 2000 - 11:46 PM   
 By:   OHMSS76   (Member)

Nice thread Thor! http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/smile.gif">
Gotta tell ya it's fun to listen to some of these scores that last hours on end(Star Wars,Young Sherlock Holmes,Batman and Robin,Superman) with every last cue in sequence.
Guess it's a listener's preference though.

Only bad thing is that some of these really take a LONG time to get through, so unless you have 2 1/2 hours (Ben Hur)..fuggedaboutit!

I remember our very own Lukas Kendall stating that he's listened to certain lengthy scores complete and that their boring!
Yet I NEVER tire of the 70+ presentation of Supergirl and Rambo 3 for example.
So if you can, release it all in order!
Moving around some of those cues really goofs things up!
Tom Null are you out there? http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/eek.gif">

NP: Love Field(Goldsmith)

All the best,
Sean
[This message has been edited by OHMSS76 (edited 06 October 2000).]

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2000 - 6:50 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

How does the expanded PHANTOM MENACE edition fit into this discussion? I haven't acquired it yet.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 5, 2001 - 6:23 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

After several people claimed that the sound quality of the recent Concorde 2CD set of HOOK was as good as a studio release, I decided to pick it up (the sound quality was the main reason I rid myself of the previous HOOK boot). However, to my dismay - although the sound quality HAD been improved upon - it was still rather poor and "muffled". Even the tracks that are also available at the official release were lackluster.

Additionally, of course, I found the disc TOO complete - too many repetations of motifs and too "filmey". The fact that it is more or less presented chronologically did not help either. Although there were a few musical bits here that should have deserved a spot on the official release, I'm quite certain that I will find myself returning to the official release more in the future - with perfect sound quality, a great musical-narrative presentation and JUST long enough to devour in one listen (a massive 70 minutes). The boot had great artworks, though, better than the official release.

I hope you don't kill me for this, Wedge!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 5, 2001 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   Stephen Lister   (Member)

Thor, what film is that toilet-flushing cue from? I've just got to have it!

Seriously though, I didn't catch this thread first time round (before my time as a member) so it was interesting reading it, and I don't think I have anything substantial to add that hasn't already been said.

(but he continues anyway!)

I guess I fall into both camps - sometimes I prefer a superior album presentation rather than the score-as-heard-in-film ... THE LAST RUN is a far better CD than the film score because Goldsmith has expanded on and improved some of his ideas ... but if I catch the film again no doubt I'll hear some ten second cue that makes me go, "Damn, if only I had that..."

The vastly expanded FIRST KNIGHT bootleg kicks the official CD right out of the ballpark, but still has its downside as a listening experience - the love theme cues get a tad repetitious, and I'd gladly trade them for the two cues that are still missing. But most of the time I think I'd prefer to have EVERYTHING simply because it empowers me as the listener/purchaser to dip into as much or as little of the score as I feel like. (Plus I can stop worrying about that "expanded" release that's lurking somewhere in the future with its beady eyes set on my wallet!)

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2001 - 2:44 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

>>But most of the time I think I'd prefer to have EVERYTHING simply because it empowers me as the listener/purchaser to dip into as much or as little of the score as I feel like<<

Then you're a lucky man, Stephen. When I buy score, I feel like I owe it to myself and the composer to listen to the work from start to end (depending, of course, that I have the time). Start to end as the music is presented on album. Call me the anti-HowardL if you like (with appropriate choral cue from FINAL CONFLICT).

I want to go out on a fulfilling musical journey that appeals to my memory, emotions, intellect and imagination, not go sightseeing. I don't want to mess with the album presentation, and so I feel "forced" to take it all in at one time. That is why some releases can be TOO complete for me, particularly if presented chronologically.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 27, 2001 - 11:53 PM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

Thor says:

Marian:

>>Thor, I'm beginning to feel that you're too critical of expanded releases, even judged by your own criteria. Just because the existing albums are fine, this doesn't mean that there's still great stuff missing. Many short score releases are fine, even the original Jaws and Hook are fine, but the expanded versions are better.<<

Marian, what are you talking about? If anything, I've grown increasingly ACCEPTIVE(?) of expanded releases (avoiding numerous chances of "chiming in" with my emotional qualms on this issue).

I am one who actually thinks that your examples - JAWS and HOOK - are much better in their ORIGINAL form. Especially HOOK (the expanded JAWS is somewhere inbetween since it is presented less chronologically than most expanded releases). We discussed the why's for this in the "Lashing Out"-thread, though.

Now, in my opinion, albums like WILLOW or BATMAN are perfect. They are presented rather extensively (with generous playing times) and beautifully/partially UNchronological, accepting the music on purely musical terms.

So although there might be an interesting cue or two that didn't make it to the final album, I can't see how adding those will improve the OVERALL and seamless listening experience of these two scores in question.

It might be that my cynicism on this issue is grounded partially on my poor financial situation and lack of time to listen to lenghty CD's. But I don't think I have strayed off from my original criteria.
[This message has been edited by Marian Schedenig (edited 28 March 2001).]

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2001 - 12:49 AM   
 By:   Marian Schedenig   (Member)

quote:
Originally posted by Thor:
Marian, what are you talking about? If anything, I've grown increasingly ACCEPTIVE(?) of expanded releases (avoiding numerous chances of "chiming in" with my emotional qualms on this issue).

I just had the feeling that you're more frequently making dismissive comments about expanded releases recently, but perhaps I'm wrong.

quote:
I am one who actually thinks that your examples - JAWS and HOOK - are much better in their ORIGINAL form. Especially HOOK (the expanded JAWS is somewhere inbetween since it is presented less chronologically than most expanded releases).

Jaws: If I had to choose one disc, I'd pick the expanded release, because there's a lot of great stuff on it that wasn't on the original disc. The old one is a different recording and therefore still valid, too.

Hook: I agree that the 2CD boot I have doesn't play as well as the original release. On the other hand, there's some great stuff in here too which I missed on the legit disc, like the "Boo Box" music. And there's the great swashbuckling second half of the final battle, that's missing on this boot, too. I've hardly played the score since I got the boot though. More on this issue in the next paragraph.

On a similar note: E.T.. I always was angry about the first release, because among others, the "key men" motif was totally absent. Also, the expanded release has much better sound. For some reason though, the disc doesn't play as well as the first one. Also in this case, I didn't play the score very often after I got the expanded release.

Still, I'm glad to have these discs. They might be too complete, and I think I wouldn't mind if some cues were left off, to make them more fluent albums. But the music that was missing on the original albums was the wrong stuff. More on that issue below.

quote:
Now, in my opinion, albums like WILLOW or BATMAN are perfect. They are presented rather extensively (with generous playing times) and beautifully/partially UNchronological, accepting the music on purely musical terms.

I don't know the scores in the films, so I don't know if music is missing, and what, if any. I agree that the discs play very well as they are, and it might very well be that they contain all the music I want. But it could also be that some great stuff from the films is not on the discs, in which case I'd rather have an expanded release.

quote:
So although there might be an interesting cue or two that didn't make it to the final album, I can't see how adding those will improve the OVERALL and seamless listening experience of these two scores in question.

If I like a cue, I want to have it on the CD. For me, it's not solely about the overall experience (which is without a doubt very important). I also want to be able to listen to the music I loved in the film. Very often, my favourite parts are missing on the album. The album might work very well in this form, but I still miss the cue!

And often, the highlights of a score are included on the album, but the nearly equally important "binding music" is missing. And this music is essentially important for the overall listening experience, because it holds the score together.

I'll give some examples of soundtrack releases:

1. Expanded releases

  • Star Trek TMP: A look at the track listing of the expanded CD (I never had the original) release tells me that the original album certainly worked very well. Yet, some of the additional tracks contain very nice music which I wouldn't want to miss.
  • Total Recall: The original worked verry well, but the deluxe release contains lots of stuff that are not completely necessary, yet enhance the listening experience.
  • Legend: Main Title previously unreleased? Living River? Faerie Dance? Some of my favourites from the album.
  • The Lord of the Rings: I bought the re-release mainly because of the better sound quality, but the four additional tracks are nice, particularly the great statement of the main theme in Company of the Ring. Also the score only works well in chronological order, as presented on the re-release. On the original album, the last third was completely uninteresting, because it only consisted of material that was already used much earlier. And the original usage of the march as opening track destroyed the score's structure.
  • Star Wars: The original album seems to be great, but I still wouldn't want to miss the additional bits of music on the Special Edition, even though they're probably not essential.
  • Empire Strikes Back: Imperial Probe, Aboard the Executor, two of the best cues from the album. Aside from that, the original release seems to have been very good.
  • Return of the Jedi: (Okay, we need not argue about that one, right? http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/wink.gif">)
  • Phantom Menace: The original album was chaotic, and missed some of the best stuff from the score. The expanded release seems a bit long, and all those Duel of the Fates edits at the end are annoying, but it's much better than the one-disc version.
  • CE3K: Navy Planes, The Mountain, The Escape!
  • Superman: Some nice stuff on the 2CD version, but I wasn't too overwhelmed, probably because I'm not quite as enthusiastic about the score as most people. The original album seemed a bit butchered at the end though.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Main Title, Journey to Nepal, The Medallion, The Dig Begins, Airplane Fight, The German Sub, Ark Trek, The Warehouse!

2. Scores without official expanded releases:

  • Star Trek: First Contact: The album is nice, but some of the best stuff is missing, including the Phoenix music.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection: The album gets tiring after a few listens, basically because most of it is the redundant action music. The score in the movie is about twice as long, and about half of the unreleased material is among the best music in the score, like the "trek" music that includes the echoplex from Alien.
  • Alien: The original is fine, but the expanded DVD score is miles ahead.
  • The Omen: I have the boot from the laserdisc iso score, but I haven't found much music that I miss on the official album so far.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Where's the theme for the Cross of Koronah (or whatever it's called)? Where's the second part of Belly? These two alone are worth an expansion.
  • Jurassic Park: The album works very well, but some great music is missing, notably the T-Rex Car Chase music, and Nedry's car music. Also, while the sequencing works rather well, I've always found the position of the raptor track totally out-of-place. The end of the album isn't entirely satisfactory either, because the end credits music is placed in the middle of the CD and titled Welcome to Jurassic Park.
  • Dead Again: A great score, and not entirely complete on the official CD, but I don't think there's any "important" music missing. I've watched the film several times, and I'm still perfectly happy with my CD.
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: All the great source music is missing, also the nice Ingolstadt cue. They could have left out a bit of the action stuff though, which gets rather annoying after repeated listens. The score on CD feels much heavier than the score in the film.
  • The Matrix: The album is totally butchered, including brutal edits in the middle of cues. The easter holidays are approaching, and I hope I can finally finish my complete score set from the DVD iso score then.

So, while there are many incomplete discs that are fine as they are, this doesn't mean that they can't get better when they're expanded. Many scores don't need to be complete, because some of the unreleased music in the film isn't notably different from what is on the albums. But if it's a great score, I think chances are high that missing music is important.

NP: A Zed and Two Noughts (Michael Nyman)
[This message has been edited by Marian Schedenig (edited 28 March 2001).]

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2001 - 4:15 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

>>I just had the feeling that you're more frequently making dismissive comments about expanded releases recently, but perhaps I'm wrong.<<

Well, you're right about that, actually. I AM trying to express my opinion on this matter as often as I see necessary (because I think it is a minority voice that needs to be heard). But I have given up responding to each and every one of the complete-fetishist threads and posts that pop up twice an hour. Reading Henk's adbook, for example, is a bloody nightmare in this regard...

Continuing with specific comments about specific albums:

>>Jaws: If I had to choose one disc, I'd pick the expanded release, because there's a lot of great stuff on it that wasn't on the original disc. The old one is a different recording and therefore still valid, too.<<

I like the way the original flows. From jagged suspense into mock-baroque into jagged suspense again. And finishing off just in time for me not to tire of it. The expanded release is not bad, by any means, and it is ok simply because it is not presented chronologically. But there are no extra tracks that "do anything" for me, that reveal any emotions that weren't already available in the original release. At least none that I can think of right now (I've only listened to it three times). As I said, I'm somewhere inbetween on this one.

>>Hook: I agree that the 2CD boot I have doesn't play as well as the original release. On the other hand, there's some great stuff in here too which I missed on the legit disc, like the "Boo Box" music. And there's the great swashbuckling second half of the final battle, that's missing on this boot, too.<<

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 above "arguments" can easily be applied to most expanded bootleg releases (PREDATOR is the quintessential example), and are not so prevalent with legit releases...

...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. The exact same thing can be said about CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, although in that case the original is rather dense as well. In both of these cases, I prefer the original over the expanded release. Not because I dislike complex music, but because the complex music on the expanded releases are disjointed and chaotic MUSICALLY (they make sense filmically, of course). I'll say it again: FILM MUSIC ON MUSICAL TERMS! FILM MUSIC ON MUSICAL TERMS!

Still, I'm glad to have these discs. They might be too complete, and I think I wouldn't mind if some cues were left off, to make them more fluent albums<<

This is an interesting statement, actually. There are several albums which would work superiorly in ABBREVIATED FORM.

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?

In the following paragraphs, you're trying to respond to this paradox:

>>If I like a cue, I want to have it on the CD. For me, it's not solely about the overall experience (which is without a doubt very important). I also want to be able to listen to the music I loved in the film. Very often, my favourite parts are missing on the album. The album might work very well in this form, but I still miss the cue!

And often, the highlights of a score are included on the album, but the nearly equally important "binding music" is missing. And this music is essentially important for the overall listening experience, because it holds the score together.<<

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.

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.

As for all the nice examples you provided, there are only a few that I approve of as expanded releases: RETURN OF THE JEDI (as my favourite score of all time), PHANTOM MENACE (although the original album was fine, there was enough MUSICALLY INTERESTING AND REVEALING material to justify expansion) and possibly THE MATRIX (I don't have the original album but its briefness must have resulted in omission of some interesting tidbits).

I could go into detail about why I don't see expanded releases of the others you mention as necessary, but I don't have the time right now....

 
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