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This is a comments thread about FSM Online article: Scoring Session: King of Kings
 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2018 - 1:53 PM   
 By:   harald.by   (Member)

I can only agree with the text. A thrilling recording session and to my mind the best rendition of a Rozsa score by the Tadlow-Smecky team so far.

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2018 - 1:56 PM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

I can only agree with the text. A thrilling recording session and to my mind the best rendition of a Rozsa score by the Tadlow-Smecky team so far.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 12:26 AM   
 By:   Jerome Piroue   (Member)

I finally got to see my article yesterday. Since I don't have a subcription to FSM, I had to wait until I was given a login to do so.
Well, needless to say, I was a little disappointed to discover 2 complete "chapters" were left out, but... no matter.

Too late to include in the article, I got an e-mail from Luc VandeVen, head of Prometheus Records, clarifying some of the points I raised in my article. Here's an excerpt:

"(...) Sales figures are not discussed. I have never exchanged sales figures with colleagues such as Intrada or Screen Archives, it is not done. But I can freely admit that the two Conan titles have outsold by far all the albums that came later, and that they (are) still selling very well. They are in fact partly responsible for allowing us to continue re-recordings
(so far).

I will also freely admit that some albums have not done well: Hour of the Gun, The Salamander, QB VII — Goldsmith or no Goldsmith. I could understand this if the musicians’ performance was bad, but in my opinion they played flawlessly. I have listened to the original album of HOUR OF THE GUN a thousand times over the past 50 years or so, and I am thus able to compare it — second by second — with the re-recording, and I am unable to find any flaws. Instead, there is a lot of extra music, yet the album does not sell. So I do not see any more Goldsmith rerecordings in our future.

I’d suggest that you leave out James’ remarks about KoK being his last project. I have known him for decades, he’s a born record producer, I don’t expect him to drop a job that he loves so much.

(...)

What you *might* add is a few sentences regarding the cost of recording a film score. Everyone thinks of the orchestra, the technicians, the conductor, the producer, the interpreter,
… but there are many more people who have to earn a living. The recording studio for example is not free, it has to be rented. When an album is released we have to pay not only the factory, but also ASCAP/BMI/GEMA. The people who write the liner notes for labels such as Intrada or LLL do not work for free. If a film score is incomplete or if there are parts of
the score missing, then it has to be re-orchestrated by ear - that takes time and money. The artwork for the cover, the people who design the booklet… Sometimes film studios have to be paid for use of the film stills inside the booklet. And so on. A rerecording such as THE THIEF OF BAGDAD cost a fortune because it involved not only the sizeable orchestra, a choir
and the technicians, but also a children’s choir.

In terms of sales, I doubt we’d break even if we sold 10.000 pieces of THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, or if Tadlow sold 5.000 or 10.000 pieces of KING OF KINGS. Here is why: Most copies will be sold through wholesalers, retailers, and web dealers… they receive a discount. This example is purely hypothetical, but if you sold a 2-CD set of a rerecorded film score at
an official retail price of , say, $24.95, you’d be very lucky indeed if you cleared $10 per album after deducting discounts, manufacturing charges, composer royalties (BMI/ASCAP), musicians’s fees, and so on and so forth. Which would mean you’d have to sell 10.000 pieces up front in order to break even - let alone make a profit ! And therefore highly unlikely
in these times of internet piracy. "

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 2:12 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

I finally got to see my article yesterday. Since I don't have a subcription to FSM, I had to wait until I was given a login to do so.
Well, needless to say, I was a little disappointed to discover 2 complete "chapters" were left out, but... no matter.

Too late to include in the article, I got an e-mail from Luc VandeVen, head of Prometheus Records, clarifying some of the points I raised in my article. Here's an excerpt:

"(...) Sales figures are not discussed. I have never exchanged sales figures with colleagues such as Intrada or Screen Archives, it is not done. But I can freely admit that the two Conan titles have outsold by far all the albums that came later, and that they (are) still selling very well. They are in fact partly responsible for allowing us to continue re-recordings
(so far).

I will also freely admit that some albums have not done well: Hour of the Gun, The Salamander, QB VII — Goldsmith or no Goldsmith.


I'm freeked out about QBVII...that might possibly be JG's greatest score, and that rerecording is phenomenal imo. Makes me consider buying an extra copy.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 3:26 AM   
 By:   Loverozsa   (Member)

Wonderful article. I can't wait for the CD release. Does anyone have a projected release date?

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 4:47 AM   
 By:   orbital   (Member)

Jerome,

thanks a lot for those excerpts from Mr. van de Ven.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 5:56 AM   
 By:   Jerome Piroue   (Member)

Thank Loveroza and Orbital.

KING OF KINGS is slated for an April release. One of the things I forgot to mention in the article.

THE SALAMANDER is one of my favorite scores and rerecordings. I would have thought that that would be a... better sale than what I've heard (around 1500 copies, I seem to recall). I encourage any Goldsmith and 70's filmscore lover to order it.
I was also surprised to hear that James F. didn't paticularly enjoy recording it.
It just shows that people like VandeVen and Fitzpatrick produce rerecording of what THEY wish to see produced, whether these make financial sense.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Thank Loveroza and Orbital.


I was also surprised to hear that James F. didn't paticularly enjoy recording it.
.


I just read this. Am shocked. I love that score.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 6:21 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

I finally got to see my article yesterday. Since I don't have a subcription to FSM, I had to wait until I was given a login to do so.
Well, needless to say, I was a little disappointed to discover 2 complete "chapters" were left out, but... no matter.

Too late to include in the article, I got an e-mail from Luc VandeVen, head of Prometheus Records, clarifying some of the points I raised in my article. Here's an excerpt:

"(...) Sales figures are not discussed. I have never exchanged sales figures with colleagues such as Intrada or Screen Archives, it is not done. But I can freely admit that the two Conan titles have outsold by far all the albums that came later, and that they (are) still selling very well. They are in fact partly responsible for allowing us to continue re-recordings
(so far).

I will also freely admit that some albums have not done well: Hour of the Gun, The Salamander, QB VII — Goldsmith or no Goldsmith. I could understand this if the musicians’ performance was bad, but in my opinion they played flawlessly. I have listened to the original album of HOUR OF THE GUN a thousand times over the past 50 years or so, and I am thus able to compare it — second by second — with the re-recording, and I am unable to find any flaws. Instead, there is a lot of extra music, yet the album does not sell. So I do not see any more Goldsmith rerecordings in our future.

I’d suggest that you leave out James’ remarks about KoK being his last project. I have known him for decades, he’s a born record producer, I don’t expect him to drop a job that he loves so much.

(...)

What you *might* add is a few sentences regarding the cost of recording a film score. Everyone thinks of the orchestra, the technicians, the conductor, the producer, the interpreter,
… but there are many more people who have to earn a living. The recording studio for example is not free, it has to be rented. When an album is released we have to pay not only the factory, but also ASCAP/BMI/GEMA. The people who write the liner notes for labels such as Intrada or LLL do not work for free. If a film score is incomplete or if there are parts of
the score missing, then it has to be re-orchestrated by ear - that takes time and money. The artwork for the cover, the people who design the booklet… Sometimes film studios have to be paid for use of the film stills inside the booklet. And so on. A rerecording such as THE THIEF OF BAGDAD cost a fortune because it involved not only the sizeable orchestra, a choir
and the technicians, but also a children’s choir.

In terms of sales, I doubt we’d break even if we sold 10.000 pieces of THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, or if Tadlow sold 5.000 or 10.000 pieces of KING OF KINGS. Here is why: Most copies will be sold through wholesalers, retailers, and web dealers… they receive a discount. This example is purely hypothetical, but if you sold a 2-CD set of a rerecorded film score at
an official retail price of , say, $24.95, you’d be very lucky indeed if you cleared $10 per album after deducting discounts, manufacturing charges, composer royalties (BMI/ASCAP), musicians’s fees, and so on and so forth. Which would mean you’d have to sell 10.000 pieces up front in order to break even - let alone make a profit ! And therefore highly unlikely
in these times of internet piracy. "


Very interesting to read, and partially explains why Luc stepped out of the re-recording biz. That said, I wonder what persuaded him to step back in for Vikings (unless he's as big a fan of that score as James).

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 12:48 PM   
 By:   KristenR   (Member)

Well, needless to say, I was a little disappointed to discover 2 complete "chapters" were left out, but... no matter.

We always edit for space and flow, and it was just too perfect to not end it on "So, is it magic? You bet." I loved that line. smile

Really great session recap, Jerome.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 1:17 PM   
 By:   paul rossen   (Member)

I finally got to see my article yesterday. Since I don't have a subcription to FSM, I had to wait until I was given a login to do so.
Well, needless to say, I was a little disappointed to discover 2 complete "chapters" were left out, but... no matter.

Too late to include in the article, I got an e-mail from Luc VandeVen, head of Prometheus Records, clarifying some of the points I raised in my article. Here's an excerpt:

"(...) Sales figures are not discussed. I have never exchanged sales figures with colleagues such as Intrada or Screen Archives, it is not done. But I can freely admit that the two Conan titles have outsold by far all the albums that came later, and that they (are) still selling very well. They are in fact partly responsible for allowing us to continue re-recordings
(so far).

I will also freely admit that some albums have not done well: Hour of the Gun, The Salamander, QB VII — Goldsmith or no Goldsmith.


I'm freeked out about QBVII...that might possibly be JG's greatest score, and that rerecording is phenomenal imo. Makes me consider buying an extra copy.


I too think that QBV11 is a great score and a real shame that the Tadlow version didn't sell more copies. A truly magnificent recording.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 6:48 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Here's wisdom after the event, except that it was before the event. I questioned whether The Salamander was a viable project before it was recorded. I said at the time that hardly anyone had ever heard of it (I hadn't, and I'm a film buff--or was). As I think is apparent, even admired scores to successful films have a hard time in the marketplace, let alone a rarely mentioned score to an almost forgotten (and apparently pretty rotten) film. To those who will say, "But I often requested it", I say good for you, but I keep track of FSM and until a re-recording was mentioned I had never seen the words The Salamander in these pages before (or indeed anywhere else. I even had to look up exactly what a Salamander was. [According to Wikipedia it's an unwise choice for a film score re-recording]).

As for QBVII, this was not even a film but a mini-series, and one not well remembered (as most aren't). It enjoyed some praise before sinking into the depths of the ocean (as most do), but though I watched every episode I cannot say that the score made a huge impression on me with the exception of one track: "Into the Desert". No doubt there were other fine bits, but enough to justify a re-recording? I'm not sure.

If I'm upsetting admirers of these scores, too bad. I'm too old to care. I just think they were weird choices in a very harsh marketplace, and every time a weird choice is made and the result fails, it drains the resources that might have been available for a better choice. In short, let's stick to choices that have a chance of losing the least amount of money rather than the most.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 8:48 PM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

I love The Salamander recording. I'm thankful everytime I play it, which is often. I ordered immediately upon announcement. I actually rented & watched the naff film years ago - and am, again, grateful I dont have to watch it again now. I cant wait to hear the new KING recording.

Ditto QBVII, except the film disc, that one was better.

Just one man's opinion...

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 10:43 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

As for QBVII, this was not even a film but a mini-series, and one not well remembered (as most aren't). It enjoyed some praise before sinking into the depths of the ocean (as most do), but though I watched every episode I cannot say that the score made a huge impression on me with the exception of one track: "Into the Desert". No doubt there were other fine bits, but enough to justify a re-recording? I'm not sure.

If I'm upsetting admirers of these scores, too bad. I'm too old to care. I just think they were weird choices in a very harsh marketplace, and every time a weird choice is made and the result fails, it drains the resources that might have been available for a better choice. In short, let's stick to choices that have a chance of losing the least amount of money rather than the most.


Well the first thing I’d ask you is: what are these choices you think would sell much better? 1500 copies sold for The Salamander is indeed very disappointing, but James also shared with us that Taras Bulba, which some might consider Franz Waxman’s magnum opus and certainly a very famous and beloved score...sold only around 1000 copies. And I can guarantee you that much more famous score cost a whole lot more than The Salamander to record, both in terms of length (two full discs including even source music) and orchestra size (larger than was used in the original album recording conducted by Waxman that, as with the UA album recording of Hour of the Gun, used a reduced orchestra). Apparently Prometheus’s three disc release of The Alamo also sold very poorly, implied 1500 copies or less — another famous score by a famous composer for a famous film production, and a much MUCH more expensive recording than The Salamander. So it was actually a less unwise recording decision on a financial level than at least several other more famous scores which would have seemed to be slam dunks. An obscure Goldsmith score no one knows still manages to sell 1500 copies...I fear a comparatively obscure Rozsa score would be lucky to sell 1000...an obscure Friedhofer score probably lucky to sell 500 (hell, even Joan of Arc might be lucky to sell 1000 copies much less as many as The Salamander).

Now QBVII was no doubt a more expensive recording project than the other two Prometheus Goldsmith recordings. Was it “worth it” though? Well, for me...The Artist Who Did Not Want to Paint is my single favorite piece Goldsmith ever wrote...Lonely Are the Brave would be my favorite feature score...but if I had to point to a single work as Goldsmith’s magnum opus, out of his entire amazing career...well, that would be QBVII. It was clearly a very personal subject for Goldsmith and he enjoyed being able to write to his Jewish heritage on this, Masada, and David Lev (remember how desperately he wanted to compose for Schindler’s List!) I think he put his heart and soul into this masterpiece of a score, and yes we absolutely needed every single note. As much as I love The Salamander and Hour of the Gun, THIS was the CoPP’s most important Goldsmith recording, IMO. I’m beyond shocked that only one moment stood out to you as memorable; there are so many great themes and cues in this score...which may also be his single longest work since he didn’t finish Masada.

By the way...there were only two episodes of this miniseries.

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2018 - 11:00 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

We can argue forever about which film scores would sell worse than other film scores, but ultimately it feels like all we're doing is saying "Sure, this Waxman sold terribly, but a lot better than this Roy Webb would have!" Some victory. It's a niche market, and as much as we'd like to believe the mantra "Goldsmith sells," it's quite clear that he doesn't, or at least he doesn't automatically (beyond the maybe thousand of us who will always buy). It seems that Poledouris sells as long as it's a "Conan," but otherwise I'm sure he doesn't.

I'm just incredibly grateful that any of these recordings exists. A few months ago, I listened again to all of the Prometheus Goldsmith recordings, and they're miraculous, and will remain so even if (as seems likely) they are all there will ever be.

And I'm looking forward to "King of Kings"!

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2018 - 12:59 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

if I had to point to a single work as Goldsmith’s magnum opus, out of his entire amazing career...well, that would be QBVII. It was clearly a very personal subject for Goldsmith and he enjoyed being able to write to his Jewish heritage on this, Masada, and David Lev (remember how desperately he wanted to compose for Schindler’s List!) I think he put his heart and soul into this masterpiece of a score, and yes we absolutely needed every single note. As much as I love The Salamander and Hour of the Gun, THIS was the CoPP’s most important Goldsmith recording, IMO. I’m beyond shocked that only one moment stood out to you as memorable; there are so many great themes and cues in this score...which may also be his single longest work since he didn’t finish Masada.

By the way...there were only two episodes of this miniseries.

Yavar


I think James and co. outdid themselves on QB VII. So did Goldsmith.

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2018 - 2:41 AM   
 By:   Jerome Piroue   (Member)

Well, needless to say, I was a little disappointed to discover 2 complete "chapters" were left out, but... no matter.

We always edit for space and flow, and it was just too perfect to not end it on "So, is it magic? You bet." I loved that line. smile

Really great session recap, Jerome.


You're welcome. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2018 - 2:47 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Yavar, it's understandable you would defend your favourite scores, and indeed I'm not dissing them, merely stating my opinion. My point however is not the relative merits of each score but how wise the decision to record each was at the planning stage based on the popularity of the movie and/or the renown of the score. No one can know how many copies any score will sell, but there are certain factors that should figure into planning decisions as a matter of course. I championed Sodom & Gomorrah despite the lousiness of the film because it was a Rozsa historical epic. There's a logical reason for you. It makes sense. Now S & G may have had disappointing sales, I don't know; doesn't change the fact that there was a logical commercial reason for recording it. (I don't include artistic considerations here, though with Rozsa that's always a factor). I picked on The Salamander specifically because until it was mentioned on this forum I'd never heard of the film and doubted many other people had either, making it to me an odd selection. Of course with any score someone is going to like it. Hundreds may like it. You may sing its praises to the heavens, but here I'm only concerned with initial commercial choices.

 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2018 - 3:45 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

Yavar, it's understandable you would defend your favourite scores, and indeed I'm not dissing them, merely stating my opinion. My point however is not the relative merits of each score but how wise the decision to record each was at the planning stage based on the popularity of the movie and/or the renown of the score. No one can know how many copies any score will sell, but there are certain factors that should figure into planning decisions as a matter of course. I championed Sodom & Gomorrah despite the lousiness of the film because it was a Rozsa historical epic. There's a logical reason for you. It makes sense. Now S & G may have had disappointing sales, I don't know; doesn't change the fact that there was a logical commercial reason for recording it. (I don't include artistic considerations here, though with Rozsa that's always a factor). I picked on The Salamander specifically because until it was mentioned on this forum I'd never heard of the film and doubted many other people had either, making it to me an odd selection. Of course with any score someone is going to like it. Hundreds may like it. You may sing its praises to the heavens, but here I'm only concerned with initial commercial choices.



You and others seem to be making an assumption that Tadlow's recordings are all about commercial considerations. That is patently not the case. James Fitzpatrick has always made clear that he records a score because he is passionate about that particular score (especially Rozsa) and wants to record it. To the best of my knowledge none of the recordings on the Tadlow label have made a profit and if commercial considerations were in James' mind he would have stopped long ago! Of course most of the Goldsmith titles were recorded for the Prometheus label where perhaps subtly different considerations may have applied.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 28, 2018 - 4:38 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Doug, you'll notice I don't mention James at all, nor the word "passionate". If there was passion involved in the selection of The Salamander, fine, there's a viable reason in itself. We should never discount passion or commitment. I'm only judging it from a commercial viability point of view, even if no one else is.

 
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