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Topic: Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

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  1. #1

    Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

    I went to the movies after a long time, seeing "The Day After Tomorrow" (I like watching things break ) and the old pain struck again.

    For the last not so few years, most orchestral movie soundtracks are no better than music college exercises in harmony and basic orchestration. Absolutely no melody, no rhythm, same orchestrations, same everything. And the worst of it all, they're signed by world's most famous and respected composers. I won't go into names, as even the terrific friendliness of this forum won't save me from flamethrowers

    Where are the days when Clint Eastwood just stood and stared in the distance, while Morricone spoke VOLUMES with innovative use of ethnic instruments thrown in the orchestra?

    Where are the days of early John Williams whose themes lodged in your head for weeks after you've seen the movie? Remember you couldn't ride a bike for months without hearing the ET theme? Remember watching the stars and saying to yourself OK brain, switch off the Star Wars love theme, I'm trying to think?

    To all the rising soundtrack stars visiting this forum: I beg you, bring us back the soul in film music!!

    and DO NOT GIVE ME THAT about film music not supposed to be noticed; it is not true. Good music gives the movie another dimension and makes the whole product better.

    (I do realise that many times it is the producer's fault ... but you gotta start the revolution somewhere

    Thankfully I believe a new King has ridden into Middle Earth, and Howard Shore is His name.

    Just a load off my back
    Cheers Matt

  2. #2

    Re: Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

    I am not sure I am qualified to reply to this - but as a fan of film scores.....here I go....

    I love film music. I've been in love with the scores of all the greats like Rosza, Hermann, Korngold, Bernstein, Steiner, etc etc all the way to Williams, Goldsmith, Horner, Shore, Elfman, etc., etc.

    I think that the styles of film scores change along with styles of film making itself. A Korngold score, wouldn't go along very well, I think, with today's type of film-making. IMO He was writing for a different type of film.
    Today's film composers might have one or two "big themes", but more often have to create a lot of subtle, subtextual music.
    You mentioned Howard Shore. If you look at his scores for the Lord of the Ring movies, they have big fanstastic themes because they fit the mood and action in the movie - the movie is bigger than life, so the music must be also. That music would be out of place in say a more mordern psychological thriller, which would call for subtle hints and emotional underpinnings. Just compare Lord of the Rings with HS's score of "The Cell".
    I agree with you though that there are some less than par scores out there as of late.

    - But I cannot be a great critic on this until I have had to write something for a director and producer and have to do it all in a short time frame, making them happy in the process. Not until I have walked in the film composer's shoes! (Which I would LOVE to do some day)

    My 2 cents worth.

    Jerry Wickham

  3. #3

    Re: Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

    I agree with the premise that most of what is out there is terrible and/or bland. I'm not even a huge Howard Shore fan these days, but that's another topic all together.

    There is still good stuff being written, but for the most part, not in your typical summer blockbuster. I think the problem is that the producers want something huge, and they want it fast. "Good" comes third.

    So who of the lesser-noticed composers are you guys appreciating these days? Lately I've been really interested in Thomas Newman. I first started really noticing him in the American Beauty soundtrack. He has a very distinct and original sound, blending classical, pop, various ethnic folk music, and sometimes strange percussive sounds in a very organic way. Some of his other recent work was Meet Joe Black, Road to Perdition, White Oleander, and Angels in America. He also wrote the theme song for HBO's Six Feet Under... one of the quirkiest, well-crafted, and mesmerizing pieces ever written for a television show.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  4. #4

    Re: Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

    Film Composers today often have their hands tied by the director's use of temp scores which he/she has gotten too comfortable with, and are expected to mock things up to compete sonically with those temp scores...combined with viciously short deadlines, there is not much freedom for real creativity. I suspect that only a few composers such as John Williams are given free reign.

    I also am a fan of Thomas Newman, noticed him first on "The Player".

    Brian

  5. #5

    Re: Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

    I dont listen to much film, but I watch quite a bit of movies. I think honestly that movies are being put out so fast that the music most likely suffers from it. The world itself is moving at a faster and faster pace. I personally find the older John Williams(first star wars series ect) to be much more interesting and lovely to listen to then even his newer stuff. Its sorta like his ring cycle. The newer series is harder to like for me. Maybe because its not as strong thematically as the originals. Themes from the newer series come and go and never appear again. Granted some are prominant and stay, but some just disapeared right off the story.

    Other then that I can only guess that the trend is more from the massive output of movies. Its become like an assembly line, make movie put it on the conveyer (SP?) belt make another , repeat. I think I read a quote Einstien said that pertains very well to our age "technology will surpass humanity" or something like that. I guess he was right hehe.
    Nicole Davis

  6. #6
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    Re: Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicole
    I dont listen to much film, but I watch quite a bit of movies. I think honestly that movies are being put out so fast that the music most likely suffers from it. The world itself is moving at a faster and faster pace. I personally find the older John Williams(first star wars series ect) to be much more interesting and lovely to listen to then even his newer stuff. Its sorta like his ring cycle. The newer series is harder to like for me. Maybe because its not as strong thematically as the originals. Themes from the newer series come and go and never appear again. Granted some are prominant and stay, but some just disapeared right off the story.

    Other then that I can only guess that the trend is more from the massive output of movies. Its become like an assembly line, make movie put it on the conveyer (SP?) belt make another , repeat. I think I read a quote Einstien said that pertains very well to our age "technology will surpass humanity" or something like that. I guess he was right hehe.
    Well observed Nicole!

    Frank

  7. #7

    Re: Slightly OT: The smoldering ashes of Film music Phoenix

    I am usually just a lurker here, but I'll get my hands dirty on this one.

    There are plenty of great scores coming out these days. In fact, just last week I saw The Bourne Supremecy (John Powell), and it is one of the best action scores I have ever heard.

    Other composers, like Carter Burwell, Rolfe Kent, and Thomas Newman are producing some fantastic scores these days. Scores are moving away from being theme driven, but it doesn't mean film scores are suffering because of it. For example, there are no strong themes in Howard Shore's music for Se7en, but it is a fantastic score.

    I think the moving away from theme driven scores is coming more from directors than film composers. As a young film composer, I have not worked on many projects yet, but I can tell you most of the directors I have dealt with want the textured approach for their films. Sure, I will have some themes, but in most situations I am creating a mood. The use of temp scores certainly don't help the situation; however, I believe the top composers out there are talented enough to not let a temp score hinder their creativity.

    There are always good and bad scores; you just have to search around for the good ones. Currently, some of the composers who I think do great work are Thomas Newman, John Powell, Carter Burwell, Rolfe Kent, and Howard Shore. The style of film scoring has changed from the legends like Korngold, Hermann, Williams, and Goldsmith, but I think there are lots of terrific scores coming out these days.

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