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This is a comments thread about Blog Post: Film Score Friday 12/13/19 by Scott Bettencourt
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2019 - 9:23 AM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

Totally agree about Herrmann being the only Golden Age composer whose music doesn't seem to date. Not sure if that says anything about the quality of the music, but it is really interesting.

 Posted:   Dec 13, 2019 - 9:56 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

I think the reason Herrmann's music isn't "dated" by contemporary standards is due to the repetitive minimalism of his style, which makes it not stand out as "corny" or "old-fashioned" in the current era of film music where every score has the same simplistic chugga-chugga string ostinato repeating endlessly. Other Golden Age composers like Steiner, Rozsa, Newman and the like tended to write long-line, melodic themes, and while Herrmann was certainly capable of writing in that style as well, his obsessive, repeating two and three-note motifs that play through scenes rather than mold themselves to specific character or visual beats looked forward to composers like Philip Glass, and wouldn't sound that out-of-place even in a modern blockbuster.

 Posted:   Dec 13, 2019 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   Scott Bettencourt   (Member)

You might easily be right -- his proto-minimalism could definitely be a factor.

I remember a review of Einstein on the Beach that said that calling it an opera by Philip Glass instead of one by (director) Robert Wilson would be like calling Citizen Kane a film by Bernard Herrmann instead of by Orson Welles - except, the critic pointed out, that Herrmann was a far more inventive composer than Glass.

 Posted:   Dec 13, 2019 - 12:20 PM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

To tag on to this, much the same could be said about the ostinato driven and minimalist scores of Akira Ifukube. His original 1954 Godzilla music sounded fresh and exciting even in last year's Godzilla King of the Monsters.

Ifukube's stuff is also loaded with parallel fifths in the harmonies, which is of course the stuff that rock and roll and modern pop music are made of. That could play into it too.

 Posted:   Dec 13, 2019 - 12:47 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Truth be told, even a lot of Rozsa's scores had that kind of obsessively repeating "cellular" structure, particularly in the tenser passages. His noir scores from the 40's have that same kind of Herrmann-style terseness that still play well today. Granted, he could also write some of the most beautiful, long-form music imaginable.

 Posted:   Dec 19, 2019 - 10:20 PM   
 By:   Zoragoth   (Member)

I agree entirely on Herrmann being the greatest composer for film ever, and the 'non-datedness' of his music.

However, I would posit Rozsa's BEN-HUR as the greatest score ever.

 Posted:   Dec 20, 2019 - 6:52 AM   
 By:   Scott Bettencourt   (Member)

Coincidentally, I was listening to the Tadlow Ben-Hur last night and thinking about what an absolutely fantastic composer Miklos Rozsa was. (Of course, it's pretty much impossible to listen to Ben-Hur and not think about how remarkable Rozsa was and is).

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